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Mayor McSelfie silent as FEDs investigate OKC’s response to mental health crises…

4:49 AM EST on November 18, 2022

Yesterday morning, the US Justice Department announced it’s investigating the State of Oklahoma, the City of Oklahoma City and the OKCPD to see if they have failed to “provide community-based mental health services to people in Oklahoma County, leading to unnecessary admissions to psychiatric facilities and police contact.”

To save the government a lot of time, money, and a visit to the NW 23rd and Penn intersection, the short answer is “Yes.”

Here are details about the investigation via a press release:

The investigation will examine whether Oklahoma fails to provide community-based mental health services to people in Oklahoma County, leading to unnecessary admissions to psychiatric facilities and police contact. The investigation will also examine Oklahoma City’s systems for responding to people experiencing behavioral health crises, including through the 911 call center and OKCPD.  

Prior to the announcement, the department informed the offices of Oklahoma’s Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Chief Executive Officer for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, as well as Oklahoma City’s Mayor, City Manager, Municipal Counselor and Chief of Police of the investigation. As part of this investigation, department officials will reach out to community groups and members of the public to learn about their experiences with mental health services in Oklahoma County, and Oklahoma City and OKCPD’s response to mental health crises.

“Community-based mental health services, which are proven effective in transforming people’s lives, are critical to preventing a cycle of unnecessary institutionalization and avoidable contacts with law enforcement,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring appropriate responses to behavioral health crises and protecting the civil rights of people with mental health disabilities.”

Even though the FEDS gave the city a quick heads up about the investigation, and the announcement generated a bunch of interest in both traditional and social media, our sunshiny, like-addicted city spokesman – Mayor David Holt – has been oddly quiet on the issue. 

I figured he’d at least be proactive and spin the announcement into a positive and promote that a morsel of MAPS 4-EVER funding will be used to build two new mental health crisis centers, a restoration center, and temporary crisis housing.

Instead, he hopped on Twitter to brag about his multiple media appearances, the Myriad Gardens, and share a selfie with the local airport shoeshiner:

Listen, I know Oklahoma City is a weak mayor system, that David Holt is just 1 vote out of 9 on the city council, and that he’s more of a social media influencer on the city’s payroll than day-to-day decision-maker in city operations, but he’s still the mayor, still the face of the city, and still helps set and enact the local Ruling Class and Establishment's guidance and vision on things. 

Yes, he likes to avoid negative or controversial news at all cost, and always take the middle lane on issues so they won’t hurt his political career, but can’t we get a little tweet acknowledging the situation, that our city is cooperating with the investigation, and that we’re taking steps to help members of our community who may be struggling with mental health? 

Seriously, what gives? Why’s he so quiet? This is a progressive cause that can win him some brownie points with the local do-gooders! Maybe he’s waiting for Gary Busey or Kanye West to stop by OKC again so he can tweet a selfie with them and really show the world he really cares about mental health.

Anyway, while we wait for all that to happen, you can read the Justice Department’s full announcement here

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

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