Hizzoner makes the pitch

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, somewhere between pragmatist and evangelist, in an interview with Streetsblog:

I will say that one secret to our success is that we’ve been able to convince the suburbanite that their quality of life is directly related to the intensity of the core. And so they have continually passed initiatives to support inner-city projects, sometimes at the expense of the suburbs.

It helps that a lot of us outside the core remember what it was like thirty years ago, and don’t want to see it like that ever again.

I try to win an intellectual argument. I stand toe-to-toe with a lot of retired suburbanites who don’t like downtown, don’t like me, are tired of funding taxation. I’m serious, they have more negativity than you could possibly imagine.

And when I’ve lost on every turn and every argument in this debate that takes place in neighborhood after neighborhood I close with this: “We’re creating a city where your kid and grandkid are going to choose to live.”

My own neighborhood, just outside the I-40/I-44/I-235 loop, has skewed much younger in the ten years I’ve been here: the empty-nesters (like, um, me) are still around, but the influx of young families has transformed the area. They don’t necessarily like taxation any more than the folks out on 199th Street do, but they’re seeing things get done, and they like that.







2 comments

  1. McGehee »

    27 January 2013 · 12:04 pm

    They don’t necessarily like taxation any more than the folks out on 199th Street do, but they’re seeing things get done, and they like that.

    Politicians might consider demonstrating that before they start hitting people up for tax hikes. Agreeing to hikes and getting bupkis in return (or something unwanted, which is also bad) is a pretty common reason for habitually opposing tax hikes in the future.

    I suppose a lot of pols would argue, “If we get something done without a tax hike, people will assume we can do it all without tax hikes!” That is what is known as “projection.”

  2. CGHill »

    27 January 2013 · 12:35 pm

    The original MAPS package was a Hail Mary: Mayor Norick had rolled everything into a single ballot measure — take it or leave it. By a small margin, voters took it. And everything promised was actually built, though there was a smidgen of cost overrun. This gave the city far more credibility the next time it came asking for money.

    The one-cent sales tax that pays for this stuff has an expiration date, so the next time the city went to the well, they specified the same tax with a later expiration. This looks a lot more like No Tax Increase, because the actual tax increase was a long time ago.

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