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Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@ or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Don’t tax ideas

As Oklahomans, we face an important decision with State Question 766: Are we going to tax people’s ingenuity and ideas?

As executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, I believe it’s wrong to tax ideas, inventions, brand names — all are “intangible property” that are the seeds of future growth.

These are the very things that fuel new businesses and new jobs across our state. New ideas are at the core of Oklahoma’s success.

Can you imagine what a tax on ideas would do to the entrepreneurial spirit that is creating Oklahoma’s vibrant growth?

One of my life’s passions is the Oklahoma River. Nothing symbolizes the rebirth of Oklahoma City like our river. I’ve seen firsthand as this former “ditch” has turned into one of the premier river venues in the world. Like every other good thing in our community, it started with an idea. Until now, none of us have had to worry that our ideas would be taxed. But now we do.

Oklahoma City is at a unique point in our city’s history. Never before has our community grabbed the national spotlight like it has the past five years. We dream big in Oklahoma City. From the Oklahoma River to the Thunder to everything else that has helped redefine Oklahoma City, it all started with a simple idea.

At its core, SQ 766 is very simple.

A yes vote means that Oklahomans would not allow a tax on intangible property — things like ideas, inventions and trademarks. A no vote will allow the Oklahoma Supreme Court to begin taxing your intangible personal property. Please join me in voting yes for ideas by voting yes on SQ 766 on Tuesday.

—Mike Knopp Oklahoma City

A chilling effect

Thirty-one years ago my family started Home Creations to build quality homes at a great value. We believe in the American dream of homeownership and strong communities, things that help improve our state in innumerable ways.

But the threat of new taxes on intangible property could have a chilling effect on home builders and homeowners.

When the state Supreme Court ruled that all intangible property could be taxed, we realized that this could impose new taxes on our designs, architectural drawings, computer software, and even the awards we’ve won for our work.

These new taxes would severely hamper home builders’ ability to do business. It will raise the cost of building and result in increased costs to home buyers in Oklahoma. A yes vote on State Question 766 will prevent these new taxes and will help businesses like ours continue to invest in our communities.

—Jalal Farzaneh Oklahoma City

Mitt’s no everyday folk

Mitt Romney recently divulged in his tax release that there were deductions he had elected not to take. On face value, one could assume Mitt was just paying his fair share. I do not make that assumption.

Romney has hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore tax shelters, allowing him to dodge his real fair share. This is the true American way: capitalism, profit for profit’s sake. Hiding his millions in the Cayman Islands in special accounts set up for Mitt by Bain Capital is not against the law. It should be, especially for any person wanting the job of president of the United States. Mitt has spent a small fortune running for president in 2008 and again in 2012.

The Mormon Church spent a small fortune the last couple of years running ads about normal, everyday folk being Mormons. I am quite sure they (the everyday folk) are. Romney is not everyday folk. He is a car-garage-with-an-elevator guy. He is a gated-community-insideanother-gated-community guy. His horse has it better than you.

The term “vulture capitalist” was leveled against Romney during the Republican primaries by his Republican opponents. His opponents also claimed Mitt has a history of being on both sides of every issue, depending on which way the political winds are blowing. His pedigree is with the uber-rich as his mouth tells you he is for the common man.

I believe Romney will seal the deal and make America a country run for the corporations and by the corporations. There will be more unrelated earthquakes near fracking sites. More mountaintop coal-removal operations. More bioengineered foods. More wars to protect our corporate interests. I also believe his unclaimed deductions will be claimed in an amended tax return, win or lose this election.

—Jim Ammerman Norman

Old gray mitt

You may never read about this anywhere else, but Mitt Romney’s hair is a toupee. No, I’m just kidding. I would wager, though, that Mitt has his personal barber traveling with him — and not just any barber. This one knows color. Check those gray sideburns next time you see Mitt on TV, and freeze the picture if you can. Notice how all of Mitt’s hair is a charcoal color except for the sideburns and temples. The sideburns are totally gray, and the temples have a gray that is perfectly swept on for, I’d guess, about three inches.

If you had my trained eye, you would recognize that the gray has been combed in and then given a smooth brush to make the temples just perfect. Now, when old Mitt puts on a sport coat with a white shirt and a tie and denims, he’s sure he’s the sexiest 65-year-old in America. How do I know this? Professional experience from my barber days.

Now here’s a really big give away:

the back of Mitt’s neck. Take a good look, and you will see gray at the bottom. This is where Mitt’s barber trimmed — just a little bit between colorings and, whoops, exposed some of Mitt’s gray roots. You read it here, first, and I’d bet I’m right.

—Merle Wright Oklahoma City

Recognizing grief

October is Depression Awareness Month — a time to recognize a condition that affects nearly 10 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, an estimated eight to 10 million people experience the loss of a loved one. In addition to death, people experience the loss of a job, a child leaving home, or other major life changes such as a divorce.

Each of us experiences grief through a range of emotions such as sadness, confusion and anger, and the grief process is unique for each person. But sometimes intense feelings of hopelessness and guilt do not go away, and are accompanied by physical symptoms like loss of appetite, sleeping problems and trouble concentrating on daily tasks.

When the emotions of grief persist for a prolonged period and affect all aspects of a person’s life, this is known as “complicated grief.” If untreated, complicated grief can lead to health conditions like depression, substance abuse, and heart disease. People who are at the highest risk for depression are those with a past history of the condition or those who lack a strong support system.

Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, joining a local grief recovery program, or seeking treatment from a professional, no one should experience grief alone. If you know someone who is grieving, let the person know you are there for them. Simply showing your support can make all the difference.

—Joanette Clipson Oklahoma City

Clipson is a bereavement coordinator for Crossroads Hospice.

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