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A mayoral candidate for a healthier, safer, more inclusive city. Shadid wants to look beyond downtown for improvements

Cutline: Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Dr. Ed Shadid, left, with Jack Werner, PhD., CEO of A to Z Inspections, after Shadid spoke at the Thursday networking meeting Werner’s group hosts with Suzanne Broadbent. Photo by Stacy Martin.
Cutline: Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Dr. Ed Shadid, left, with Jack Werner, PhD., CEO of A to Z Inspections, after Shadid spoke at the Thursday networking meeting Werner’s group hosts with Suzanne Broadbent. Photo by Stacy Martin.

By Stacy Martin
Managing Editor

City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Dr. Ed Shadid told a midtown group last week he doesn’t want to undo MAPS 3, but he’d like to give the voters a chance to decide whether they’re happy with its current priorities.

To that end, Shadid brought with him two petitions – both proposing putting MAPS 3 before voters again to either sunset it July 2015 because of what he says is powerful evidence the proposed convention center hotel may require massive public subsidies. Or, he’d like to see if they want to reprioritize spending – for instance spend some funds creating MAPS-like neighborhoods improvements similar to those now happening downtown.

Shadid said having an outdoor-friendly downtown is great for the 2,000 people who live there. But the other 598,000 people in the city might want a chance for sidewalks, trails and parks too.

The physician put it this way:

“I have a particular interest in building a happier, healthier, Oklahoma City. We’ve had kind of a unique experience going on here.

“In a 624-square mile city, we went 40 years without building sidewalks, the candidate said. “Our destinations are too far apart. We no longer walk the 10,000 steps a days that we’re designed to do.

“I think there’s a whole science evolving that way you design and build your city can impact your daily experience, your health and your happiness. So I want very much to apply those things and build a healthier, happier city.”

Shadid, Ward 2 Councilman, is running to unseat incumbent Mayor Mick Cornett, who is seeking a fourth term. The election is March 4.

Shadid addressed his remarks to the A to Z Inspections Group’s monthly networking meeting, held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Thursday of the month at 3625 N McKinley. It is hosted by Suzanne Broadbent and A to Z Inspections CEO Jack Werner.

Shadid expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to speak to the group because he said his opponent hasn’t debated or participated in a forum with him on the issues, as he would like to do. He added that he is an inclusive leader and wants to speak to any interested group that invites him.

If we don’t start focusing Oklahoma City’s hundreds of neighborhoods, it will take a long time to help add features that will make them healthier, he said.
I think a MAPS for neighborhoods is a great idea,” he said.

Beyond building upon and improving the city, Shadid said self-improvement is a key issue to him both in governance and personally.

Over a decade ago his brother’s death, his own descent into drug addiction and events leading to his divorce converged to lead him to total despair, then to recovery and a renewed commitment to Christ and a renewed life.

Nine years later and still in recovery, he says he would bring a servant leader approach to governing, in keeping with his faith. He envisions a city government that represents its people, their varied backgrounds, ethnicities and stations in life.

He noted the dozens of appointments a mayor makes should represent the tapestry of the city and he would seek out those most committed to finding efficiencies in their roles.

He hasn’t forgotten those who brought him here in his life – the recovery community. He wants to be voice to them – though they typically don’t come forward.

“I come from a very strong, very beautiful, very robust community in Oklahoma City and that’s the recovery community, Shadid said. “Unfortunately it’s so robust because so many people are suffering in Oklahoma City. I want to give voice to it.
“There are some things that are not talked about at any level of government and I want to give voice to it. I think shame and stigma are a public health hazard in Oklahoma City and I want to attack it.

“I’m really frankly fed up with intolerance – the shame and stigma that are applied to so many groups that I don’t personally identify with but I would defend….I would be a mayor for all of them. I’m tired of groups living in fear. I want to decrease the shame and stigma for all of them.”

“Oklahoma ranks very high in just about every social ill, he said, including domestic violence, sexual molestation of young males and females, record levels of incarceration, record levels of self-medication (opiate abuse).

“For some reason (Oklahoma providers) are just writing opiate prescriptions right and left. On any given day only one out of three people who want help (drug recovery) are able to get it. This affects our public safety too. That’s what a mayor can do. All this needs to be talked about.”

Shadid, a spine surgeon, was asked what would become of his practice.

“My feelings about spiritually are very inclusive, but I do take direction from Christ,” he answered at one point in his discussion. “I pay attention…when he says once you have a certain amount of money…once you can meet your needs, you probably should not just keep accumulating more money – that’s probably not spiritually going to bring you to the healthiest place. You should probably use some of those resources to speak for the poor, for those who have no voice, fight for other people. That’s probably a healthier path. I certainly have found that.

“A lot of my life has been selfish, egocentric, and narcissistic; it just leads to spiritual bankruptcy. But spiritually it adds meaning and it’s so rewarding. I want to give voice to those who don’t have a seat at the table.”

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