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Ed Shadid discusses his “Mission for Mayor”

Ed Shadid at his Mayoral Campaign Launch Rally at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market. Photo by Mary E. Sine.
Ed Shadid at his Mayoral Campaign Launch Rally at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market. Photo by Mary E. Sine.

By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

“It’s never happened before,” Oklahoma City Council member Ed Shadid said referring to his Oklahoma City Mayoral Campaign Launch Rally held at the Farmers Public Market. “It was really nice seeing people taking time out of their schedule to come to a rally over city politics.”

Since that event, Shadid is pumped about his mission to become mayor in the election scheduled for March 4, 2014.

The hopeful said he plans to hold town hall meetings, neighborhood association meetings, knock on doors, use social media and have lengthy conversations about the issues to reach the public with his message.

“It’s a matter of getting in front of neighborhoods and people and explaining what’s going on in the City and the different direction we can take,” Shadid said. “I think that they’ll understand that there is a clear choice, that this is important, and that their voice matters.

“We’ve got to use social media to get theses issues out there so that people sitting in their pajamas at 9 o’clock at night can let us know what they think we should do with pubic transit, or how we should fix the streets or the parks.”

MAPS 3, a 10-year, $777 million construction program designed to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma City, is funded by a one-cent tax initiative that began in April 2012 and ends in December 2017. That concerns Shadid.

“The next bond, which will come up between 2015 and 2017, is going to be bigger than MAPS. It is going to affect people’s day to day life and their neighborhoods the most,” Shadid said. “If you miss being on the list of projects, then you can wait another 10 -15 years before your neighborhood gets what it needs.”

In October 2012, City Council approved a sidewalk master plan report that prioritizes where MAPS 3 sidewalks should be located.

“During MAPS we said we were going to get 70 miles of sidewalks. To arrive at that number we used 4-foot sidewalks, which we haven’t built in years,” said Shadid. “The 2007 bond, which has a couple of 100 [hundred? Ask Darla] miles of sidewalks uses five to six-foot sidewalks depending on how close it is to the curb.

“We were never going to use four-foot sidewalks. Because of that, we’re getting less than half of what was promised to the voters.”

The MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board recently approved the $94.4 million Streetcar Project route. The City Council will review the approved route, a 4.6-mile loop from Midtown to Bricktown, later this month.

“We’re trying to do it differently than virtually every other city in the United States,” Shadid said. “Generally you have a partnership with developers where the streetcar is used as an eco-nomic development tool. The developers help pay for the streetcar in a public/private partner-ship.”

Shadid refers to this as the “Achilles’ heel” of the streetcar plan saying, “Oklahoma City’s plan has no partnerships whatsoever with developers.

“We’re not trying to go into a new area that’s not developed, like the Core to Shore area, where we’re building an 80-acre park surrounded by blight. Instead, we’re going to put it in areas that are already developed, and shockingly, we did not ask the property owners if they would be willing to partner with us to help pay for some of the operations and maintenance.”

Shadid continued, “That’s painful, because now we’re entering into the project. They think that sales taxes are just going to continue to rise, and with that, you’ll be able to pay $3 to 5 million dollars for the streetcar, $5 million a year to run the park, at least $4-5 million a year for the new convention center.

In terms of construction and jobs, Shadid argues, “The city is going to do the same dollar amount of street work – it’s just where are you doing it. On 23rd & May where people live, or are you doing it on Rockwell & Memorial where nobody lives,” he said.

Shadid continued, “When we had federal sequestration start earlier this year, you saw Oklahoma City’s sales tax revenues decline in perfect unison. We also have this bizarre annuity plan, in which we have all of this construction activity after each weather event. We have hailstorms that created all this roofing activity and now we’ve had the horrible tornados in May that hopefully lead to some increase in economic activity. nIt’s a difficult way to plan your economy.”
Shadid feels that he will do a better job of city planning as mayor.

“When the economy is expanding we have the opportunities to make smart decisions that hope-fully will position us for the rest of the 21st Century,” he said.

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