The serendipity of my resuming activity on Newsvine and the debut of Jon Stewart's movie, Rosewater, coincides with the impending election of some Enid City Commissioners this December, prompts this article about this particular government's relations with press and news writers in general.
Some background setup is needed before I proceed further, though: earlier this year, the City of Enid was considering killing the 501(c)3 organization set up to be responsible for Enid's public access to cable channels, of which there were (are) three. I decided to start attending board meetings and City study sessions about this matter and was immediately challenged. I said that I was press and when asked which organization, I said "MSNBC Newsvine". The treatment I got went downhill from there, but I continued to attend every study session and board meeting that I could, with a vidcam.
Sure, the City of Enid doesn't threaten your life like Iran would, but they're just as allergic to cameras as any Iranian official. But this seems to be an Oklahoma-wide phenomenon as well.
As you're more than likely aware, Governor Mary Fallin got re-elected by a landslide. Trouble is, you couldn't tell she was a shoo-in when she showed up in Enid's Five80 Cafe and got allergic to my camera. Much later, in a video clip I haven't posted on YouTube yet, a Party official informed me that Mary's security detail was nervous about my camera "because of the opposition". Really? What opposition? So press is the opposition now?
The Oklahoma version of Rosewater: People with cameras don't get thrown in jail and tortured, but they sure get elbowed sharply. This is how the Falin Tango with the gov's security detail begins, and the only problem is the camera.
This is where things just began to get interesting; my intention was to edit the remaining video and set it to waltz music, culminating in a tango. Every time I repositioned my camera to get a better shot, those two would dance in front of it and so I held the camera over everybody's heads. Then they sent in the basketball-player-sized security detail, and hilarity ensued. But back to the City of Enid. They're just as allergic to cameras as well, but they're far from amusing and I'm sure these City people would make excellent Iranians. Next we have the City Manager, Eric Benson, warning everybody about discussing things too frankly in front of the camera. The City has never had a camera down in the basement with the City study sessions before--this was a first, and because of the cable channel debacle the City executed before, Eric Benson points to the camera and claims that it's MSNBC.
City of Enid's version of Rosewater: He sez MSNBC and he's wrong. He's clueless about Newsvine, but that's not the point--City Commission study sessions weren't used to cameras shining a light on what goes on down in the basement of City Hall. Jon Stewart, this is Enid's equivalent of Rosewater.
He was corrected at a later City session, though, but after this City study session wrapped up, people were chatting with each other when Eric Benson once again took exception to the camera, but with extreme prejudice, shall we say.
City of Enid's version of Rosewater. Not life threatening but intimidating--official allergy to cameras all the same. Critters that don't like sunlight abound in Iran and Enid OK alike, 6-legged and 2-legged.
Oh, the fun doesn't just end right there. I did mention that there were City Commissioner elections coming up, and one of those Commissioners is in Ward 5: Tammy Wilson. It looks like she's running opposed, too, but she's been celebrated as the person who invented the Halloween event called Scare on the Square, but she didn't. The person who did invent that filed for a City permit in June to do that without Wilson on Halloween but mysteriously, the City never issued the permit but issued Wilson a permit to hold "Hallowenid" in a City park far, far away from downtown (that's a story that deserves its own article). The next video is of Hallowenid with Commissioner Wilson at the microphone, but surrounded by people that the Iranian regime would be proud of:
City of Enid's version of Rosewater: No one is surprised that Enid Wardsman Tammy Wilson wants to enjoy more years of power to do whatever she wants (per her statement during a City study session) but does Enid really benefit from a gal who is in business with THESE thugs? Enid Police officer S.Abei viewed the full video and identified these people as Tammy Wilson's business partners. Officer Abei filed the video in report number 201413272.
This video is a clip from a video now on file at the Enid Police Department, Report number 201413272. The officer filing that report identified the people in the video as people that Commissioner Wilson is in business with, which explains her financial interest in putting on such an event to the exclusion of others. Does the term "self enrichment" ring a bell? So yeah--I'm not beaten or tortured like would be the case in Iran, but make no mistake--these guys are very likely to be thinking about it.