In this week’s (August 29) print edition of The City Sentinel, in the sixteenth paragraph of a story about Ed Shadid’s campaign for mayor, we incorrectly used the word “billions” when Councilman Shadid actually said “millions.” The two-sentence sequence should read: He also pointed out that of the 20 cities planning to add streetcars, Oklahoma City is the only one not receiving federal funds. “The reason is that we don’t have a plan to pay for the millions of dollars of annual operating costs.”
We regret the error and will also correct it in next week’s print edition.
By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Dr. Ed Shadid, a spinal surgeon and Ward 2 City Councilman, spoke last week to over 1000 interested Oklahoma City citizens during his mayoral campaign Launch Rally held at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market.
It was the same venue he used last February when the lifelong Oklahoma City resident held a rally in support of public transportation attended by over 600 people.
Shadid’s speech was often interrupted by cheers and applause from a diverse audience. Attendees included Oklahoma City police officers, business entrepreneurs, union workers, farmers, schoolteachers, families, and senior citizens of various ethnicities and faiths. The atmosphere indicated they are ready for a change.
He expressed his views, not only about the need for public transportation, but on the new Downtown Convention Center, neighborhood improvements, poverty, MAPS 3, schools, public safety, female incarceration, city budgets, and veterans.
“People can be complex, but their needs are really simple,” Shadid said. “We all want to be accepted for who we are, and we want to belong to a community. We want to be included.”
He said his campaign would emphasize honesty, transparency, and public participation along with neighborhood interests over special interests.
Shadid’s opponent, Mick Cornett has served as Oklahoma City mayor since 2004. According to his website, Cornett was re-elected in 2006 with 87 percent of the vote, the highest percentage by any mayoral candidate in Oklahoma City history.
The Oklahoma County Election Board says there are currently 232, 606 registered voters eligible to participate in the next mayoral race, which will take place on March 4, 2014.
“I’m running for mayor because, although there have been some good things that have happened, there have been some fundamental mistakes made that will hurt out city and taxpayers and that cannot happen again,” Shadid said.
Shadid vowed that as mayor he would be honest with the people of Oklahoma City and more fiscally responsible than the current mayor.
He pointed out that unlike other states that use property taxes to pay for city operation expenses, Oklahoma City does not. It is one of the few cities in America to be dependent on sales tax.
“In medicine, the primary rule is first do no harm,” Shadid said. “If you bring projects online without the ability to pay for their operation, then we are going to hurt people.”
Marguerite McGuffin, Oklahoma City real estate broker and former OK County Democratic Party chair said, “Dr. Ed Shadid has proven to me to be ethical, fiscally responsible, and inclusive. I have come to know him as a man of his word.”
Shadid told the crowd that the new Downtown Convention Center would require “millions of dollars to operate what’s being planned,” asserting that the convention center study has never been released to the public.
Shadid added, “We’re getting ready to build an 80 acre park, which will cost about $5 million a year to operate,” noting the popular Myriad Gardens park is only a few blocks away. Outside of downtown we have neighborhood parks that are not being maintained.”
He also pointed out that of the 20 cities planning to add streetcars, Oklahoma City is the only one not receiving federal funds. “The reason is that we don’t have a plan to pay for the millions of dollars of annual operating costs.”
Shadid says that by not knowing all the facts, by not properly vetting city projects ahead of time and by not having a plan for paying for future operating costs, the current mayor is threatening the future of MAPS.
He reported that neighborhood associations feel they are being left behind and that Oklahoma City “has the same number of police officers (963) that we had 20 years ago with 150,000 more people spread out over a much greater area.”
“As mayor I will immediately begin to work to get our police department the manpower they need to keep us safe,” Shadid said.
“The bus system, and the streetcar system for that matter, is missing what virtually every large city in America has – a dedicated public source for public transit,” he said.
“Placing a senior wellness center at 114th and Rockwell and Social Security Administration at 122nd and Kelly, miles away from bus lines is a prime example of what not to do,” Shadid said.
At the rally, Darcie Harris, CEO & Founder of EWF International, a metro company offering business advice for female entrepreneurs said, “Ed’s speech was both intelligent and inspiring. I love his thoughts about creating community – what he calls ‘Place-making.’ I’m excited to see him genuinely reaching out to involve and engage the people, encouraging more people to be informed and vote.”
Speaking to the audience in both English and Spanish, Shadid talked about the Latino community and their need to get more involved. “We must work to partner with the school board,” he said citing that “half the students in our public schools are Latino.”
Shadid spoke of the current city project building sidewalks where “virtually no one lives,” and “spending $5 million a year widening streets, while we can’t keep up with the 80,000 potholes in the neighborhoods.”
The rally featured performances by local artists including singer Ali Harter, poet Lauren Zuniga, Putnam City North High School performance artist Laura Johnson, musicians Casey Friedman & Minna Biggs of Honkytonk Stepchild and Mariachi Orgullo de América closed the event.
Zuniga said, “I think to be the kind of city that shows what we are capable of, not only requires us to choose the right leader, but also it requires us to be leaders.”
Shadid added, “Tonight I would like to invite you back to the Farmer’s Market 201 days from today, because then it will be clear to everyone that no one gets to the mayor’s chair of Oklahoma City without going through the people of Oklahoma City.”
For more information, visit the Ed Shadid for Mayor campaign headquarters at 723 N. Hudson, or online at www.ed.shadid.com.