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Letter to the Editor: A ‘Yes for Hafer’ vote on Oct. 12 is a ‘yes’ for democracy!

Lydia Lee

To The Editor:

It’s no secret who’s behind the ‘Vote No for New Tax Oct. 12’ signs with which someone, in the middle of the night, stealthily peppered downtown Edmond.

The sign-stakers aren’t simply people who don’t want to pay a temporary, marginal tax increase, which amounts to only a quarter more on every $100 spent for 2022 alone for the City of Edmond to buy and protect wooded land abutting the beloved duck pond at Hafer Park. It’s more convoluted than that.

The nightwalkers obviously were commissioned by people who stand to make big money if the tax fails — developers of a proposed $30 million high-density, 278-apartment/commercial project there, and any undisclosed investors, who want the planned urban development to come to fruition.

Two of our five councilpersons are developers, which is a blatant conflict of interest, and earn their livelihoods in a back-scratching industry where developers support others’ projects if they’ll support theirs.

It was more than odd that Edmond Councilman and developer Josh Moore, at the July 26 council meeting, laboriously touted the PUD, before moving to put the sales tax vote on an Oct. 12 ballot; a motion that passed unanimously.

Moore, who months ago crafted the unique sales tax alternative alongside a former mayor and concerned citizens, later told the media that he was “on both sides;” he was for putting the issue to the vote of the people, but was against the city buying private property. Huh? Both sides?

I call “foul” on the democratic part of Councilman Moore’s statement. Despite overwhelming public objections, our city council keeps passing this and other housing projects. This will be the third effort to stop apartments near Hafer Park in the past 15 years. Voters in 2017 said ‘no’ through a special referendum that rolled back the zoning and prevented the higher commercial use, increased traffic accidents at Bryant and 15th, and overcrowding of our already overcrowded schools.

Meanwhile, this time, the same attorney representing developers of the PUD at Hafer and an apartment complex at I-35/Memorial managed to bump the two zoning referendum votes from the Oct. 12 special election by filing frivolous lawsuits against the proponents of the referendum petitions — after volunteers from both camps collected more than enough signatures to bring the issues to the vote of the people and the City of Edmond certified those signatures. Some democracy!

Let’s squash these greedy developers and put an end to a decades-long feud regarding land near Hafer Park. A ‘Yes for Hafer’ on Oct. 12 is a ‘yes’ for democracy!

Signed:
Lydia Lee, Edmond resident