McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 11, 2011

Letter to Editor: Cow trails and bayou water

By Frank Cuzalina

McALESTER — I’m mad! Make that dang burned livid!

What must the citizens of McAlester do to get the city fathers and leaders to start representing “us”? The “us” who pay the bills up at city hall.

The winter storm was poorly handled by our city leaders. Roadways were not de-iced with any salting or sanding applications. Refuse service was nil. Yet even more deplorable was the lack of attention to provide service to roadways leading to and adjacent to medical treatment facilities, pharmacies and medical supply providers. This is an unacceptable neglect of providing services.

Apparently our city fathers and leaders have forgotten the basics of city government, services that must be provided first before any other services are contemplated. Are you listening city hall? Please provide: potable and safe drinking water, police protection, fire and ambulance protection, dependable refuse pick-up, sanitary removal of liquid waste and safe streets and roadways! These five or six services need to be in tip top operation twenty four hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year! Not a day or hour less! There is no excuse for these five or six essential services to not be provided every day of every year. Anything besides these five or six essential services is “fluff.” Yes, “fluff,” which means we can do without it if push comes to shove.

Being a longtime school superintendent, I am well aware of local politics, budget needs and priorities. Certainly new jobs are great but what good is a new job if you cannot get to it? The city of McAlester’s priorities are not only skewed but grossly misplaced.

Certainly, I would think being a city mayor or city council member would be the bees knees for an ego but it is still just being a public servant; a public servant to be attentive of the needs of its citizens who pay the bills up at city hall.

Yes, I have heard of the big salaries up at city hall, and all the new high-paid people in the finance offices (which we never needed for fifty years before; a regular city employee does a fine and reliable job.) It’s the direction and supervision of the city fathers and leaders which seems to be the failing grade of our city government.

We have settled for bayou water to drink, cow trials to drive and for our city fathers to not be held accountable for providing the basic essential services. But we do have pretty blue trash cans, even though they are picked up half as much.