To the editor,

Most people are tired of hearing about the TIF by now (myself included). Dwain Sehon continues to write letters to the editor trying to stir up the emotions of the public. I have patiently ignored his ramblings, but feel it is time to reply.

Mr. Sehon's most recent letter complained that all his group wants is a vote of the people to decide the TIF issue. But why do they want a vote of the people so badly? The truth is, they just want one more chance to kill the TIF. They have already lost three separate votes by well informed citizens and office holders from this community. Following numerous meetings and hours of consideration by the Review Committee, the opposition lost the vote at the Review Committee by an 8 to 1 vote. They lost at the Chickasha Planning Commission by a four to one vote. They lost the final vote at the City Council by a vote of seven to two. Their last and only recourse left is to try to kill the TIF with a vote of the people.

There are rules and procedures on how to bring about a vote of the people. Had the group followed those rules and obtained sufficient signatures, we would have already voted on the issue and it would be settled. Instead of following the rules, they ignored the rules and submitted far too few signatures. The vast majority of the signatures they did submit were improperly submitted. It should be noted that in the 1998 Liquor by the Drink petition, 2000 signatures were required and 2459 were submitted. In the TIF case, the City Attorney has determined the group needed 550 signatures and the Chickasha Lumber/Sehon group say they only needed 128 signatures, which is convenient given that the group claims they had 284 signatures. A lawsuit was filed by the group to challenge the City's determination. If the opposition to the TIF is as overwhelming as the group would have you believe, why didn't they just collect 700 or 800 signatures and not worry about which number was correct.

Just who is this group and why are they so opposed to the TIF? Some very interesting information has been discovered while preparing for the upcoming hearing. We discovered that Steve Smart, the manager of Chickasha Lumber, recruited Dwain Sehon to be the spokesperson for the group. We also found out that Chickasha Lumber was the only financial contributor to the group. Apparently Chickasha Lumber recruited Mr. Sehon as the spokesperson, because they knew it would look bad if they were out front and leading the opposition of the TIF. But yet they quietly funded the entire opposition movement.

One might ask why is Chickasha Lumber so opposed to the TIF. The answer is simple. It is all about stopping Lowe's or Home Depot from coming to Chickasha. There has never been any question that if the TIF passes, I will attempt to bring a Lowe's to Chickasha. I have consistently stated my intentions publicly from the start. Without the TIF, there is no chance Lowe's or Home Depot will come to Chickasha. This whole issue is about whether or not Chickasha Lumber can block the possibility of a Lowe's from coming to Chickasha.

As a footnote, it should be noted that Chickasha Lumber is not locally owned. Chickasha Lumber is owned by a Duncan businessman that owns several lumber yards throughout Oklahoma. Their last chance to stop a Lowe's is by bringing the issue to a vote of the people. The only way Chickasha Lumber can remain the only lumber yard in Chickasha is to kill the TIF. The only way they might be successful in killing the TIF would be if they have an opportunity to put out misinformation in an election campaign.

If Lowe's were to build a store in Chickasha, they would employ approximately 180 people. Chickasha Lumber employs around 30. In light of the recent announcements at Delta and Arvin, an additional 150 to 180 jobs would be a welcome announcement. In addition to the huge selection of products, being able to shop at the times that are convenient to the shopper, instead of convenient to the only lumber yard in town, would be welcomed by most all citizens in the area.

The next time you have to drive to Norman or OKC to go to Lowe's, you can blame Chickasha Lumber for trying to make sure it stays that way.

Steve LaForge


To the editor,

Re: Billy McDuff’s accusation

Just to set the record straight, I did not make the comment that Mr. McDuff accused me of making in Wednesday’s Express-Star. At one city council meeting I publicly expressed my confidence in our city government and, as I recall, made reference to the fact that from Washington to local government levels, including our school system, we elect officials to research the issues and then make decisions based on their findings.

On another note, I was hoping to be counted as one of the rich people McDuff mentioned as living on “Daddy’s money” but my family laughed until tears came to their eyes when I tried to paint myself with that brush.

Guess you can’t win them all.

Rick Johnston

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