Due diligence needed
Dear Rep Osborn,
I would like to extend to you an invitation to visit the two state museums in Claremore, Okla. that you are rushing to cut funding. If you haven’t visited either place in the last two to three years, I would challenge you to make the trip. It’s well worth both your time and trouble (after all, the admission is free to the public?).
If you could let me know when you will be in Claremore, I would like to meet you and show you that NE Oklahoma has lots to offer the “general” tourist. I could even find some $$ figures to show what the financial impact of these two fine museums are, if you might be interested in that type of light reading. It’s rather obvious that you haven’t done “due diligence” before writing your new bill.
Looking forward to your response.
Will’s words cited
Dear Rep. Osborn,
I just read that you got a high honor from the ranchers and farmers for your stand on taxes on farmland. Then I saw where you wanted to cut off state dollars to the Museum. Now I can’t blame you for being conservative and frugal with the dollars you collect from Oklahoma citizens, especially farmers. That’s a mighty fine attribute, and one that ought to get you re-elected.
Here’s something I wrote in 1932 that you perhaps have quoted a few times for your Farm Bureau friends,
“...look at land, farms, vacant lots. You pay year after year on them whether you make it or not. Every land or property owner in America would be tickled to death to pay 45 per cent of his profits, if he didn’t have to pay anything if he didn’t make it.” So, you see, I’m on your side in this land tax debate.
When it comes to the Museum paying its own way, maybe that 20-acre hillside pasture could be turned into a revenue generating site. You may have noticed that during the recent snows there were at least 200 folks sledding and skiing down our slopes every day.
If we built a ski lift, installed a snowmaking machine, and constructed some luxury condo units at the base of the slope, we could easily attract the wealthy snow lovers in Kansas, Missouri and Texas who normally go all the way to Colorado to ski. In summer, with a new barbed wire fence, we could rent out pasture rights to local cattlemen. If we retained the rights to the manure, we could shovel it up, dry it, and sell it in 10-pound bags as organic fertilizer, and put out of business the chicken manure truckers coming into our state from Arkansas.
If you wonder who’s gonna do all the shoveling, well, it’s Oklahoma school kids. See, there’s thousands that come to the Museum every year to learn about Oklahoma history, politics and humor. We’ll schedule a different school district for every day of the summer, give each student a scoop shovel, and they could earn their way into the Museum.
Or, with your plan, we could just charge $10 a student ($15 for teachers), taking the money from the extra dollars you want to appropriate to schools, and make this a paying proposition. Roping lessons would be a dollar extra.
By the way, I’ll be entertaining in Hugo the evening of March 17. I would be happy to schedule a stop at the Capitol, or even drive out to Tuttle to meet you. I know you’re a fine legislator and you have the taxpayers at heart. You have seen the statue, “Riding into the Sunset” by Electra Waggoner, just down the hill from the Museum. There are four of them, and three are in Texas. I hope we don’t have to sell this one to ‘em also, just to keep the doors open.
I wrote one time, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” Well, I’m optimistic, too. And good luck to you.
“Will” Randall Reeder
Will Rogers Today
Thanks for the support
Randy, thank you for your superb editorial about the preservation and legacies of the J. M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum and the Will Rogers Memorial Museums. True to form, it was well stated. The museums indeed are icons in Claremore and treasures of the State of Oklahoma. They each reap multiple benefits for the people of the state.
The members, staff, and friends of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission appreciate the support of the Claremore Progress and we value the partnership we share in enhancing the community. Please convey to Joy Hampton and Tom Fink, our sincere gratitude for their contributions and their fair and impartial coverage. Again, thank you.
Steve Gragert, Director
Will Rogers Memorial Museums