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Political notebook: Senate District 35 getting muddy

Political notebook: Senate District 35 getting muddy

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The shenanigans are underway in Senate District 35, where one candidate had a swastika spray-painted on her driveway last week and the other is the subject of an anonymous mail campaign linking her to rioters and looters.

It began early in the week when an unknown number of mail pieces went out bearing the obligatory unflattering candidate photo, this one of Democrat Jo Anna Dossett, pasted onto an image of what apparently is intended to portray rioters and/or protesters, one of whom is carrying a sign bearing an old Soviet hammer and sickle insignia. The people in the image actually aren’t doing much except standing around, some of them with arms linked.

“When it comes to public safety, leftist Jo Anna Dossett stands with Antifa!” warns the mailer text, referring to an amorphous group whose name is a shortened form of “anti-fascist.”

The back side is a blurred image of people running along a street, presumably after looting a store.

“Leftist Jo Anna Dossett wants to bring New York City lawlessness to Oklahoma by eliminating cash bail for looters and other felons” reads the text.

The mail piece is attributed to the Oklahoma MAGA Coalition, which does not appear to have reported the expenditure to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. Its address is a rented east Tulsa mailbox.

Then, on Wednesday night, someone spray-painted a red swastika, a fascist symbol, on Republican SD 35 candidate Cheryl Baber’s driveway. State and county authorities and party officials condemned the action but no arrests have been made.

SD 35 may well be the state’s most contested legislative seat in the general election, so Baber and Dossett may not have seen the last of such attacks.

Republicans are using the vandalism at Baber’s home to stir up indignation on her behalf, while Dossett quickly emailed images of the over-the-top mailer to supporters and potential donors, telling them she needs money to combat such tactics.

Counter-COVID: Two critics of the prevailing advice on COVID-19 testified at an Oklahoma House of Representatives interim study called by Public Health Committee Chairman Sean Robert, R-Hominy.

Dr. Jim Meehan, a well-known “anti-vaxxer” — an opponent of childhood vaccinations — and Dr. Chad Chamberlain, both of the Tulsa area, spoke at length about what they say is an overstatement of the dangers of COVID-19, particularly to those younger than 65.

They acknowledged that much of what they said contradicts leading experts in the field. Meehan said face masks and “lockdowns” are no deterrent to spreading the disease, which is the opposite of federal recommendations.

Chamberlain and Meehan are ophthalmologists, not epidemiologists — although Meehan has also worked in other areas — but they said clear scientific evidence indicates COVID-19 is not as deadly or dangerous as it’s been portrayed.

Earlier this month, Meehan even tweeted a video about coronavirus using the hashtag #fauxVirus.

The study’s only other witness was interim health commissioner Lance Frye, who reviewed the state’s efforts to confront the epidemic.

Frye portrayed Oklahoma in general and the Health Department in particular as unprepared in general for the outbreak. He described some Health Department workers as “unhelpful and even obstructionist” as the Stitt administration pushed it to ramp up.

Frye noted the state’s mortality rate from COVID-19 remains much lower than the nation’s as a whole, and said all things considered, “It’s been a pretty impressive response by the state.”

Meetings and events: National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday. Events in Tulsa and elsewhere can be found at https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/events.

Bottom lines: Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin testified at a state Senate hearing on law enforcement training and mental health needs. ... Oklahoma is one of 20 states recognizing Clean Energy Week Sept. 21-25. ... A bipartisan group of Oklahoma legislators is forming a “Future” caucus for members under 45.


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