The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer and City Hall reporter Bill Crum took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Read the complete chat transcript here.
There has been some talk about a MAPS for Neighborhoods for the next MAPS projects. What do you think would/should be included in this to make it attractive to the public and successful?
Bill: Streets, sidewalks, trails, parks, transit. The metro area needs Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail and/or light rail.
Do you think we need the large increases in police that Shadid is calling for? Don't we have a police force comparable to most other cities our size?
Bill: It's not Shadid or the FOP, if you want to get right down to it. The police chief's update on the 2009 manpower study shows a persistent need for more police officers. Everything I've seen tells me OKC needs more police officers to 1) be proactive in fighting crime and 2) be able to respond in a timely fashion when crime occurs.
What is the truth about police positions? I've heard OKC has added 93 positions since 2003/4 fiscal year. Is that correct?
Bill: The council has added positions each of the last couple of years. With retirements, etc., and two academies a year, the department can add around 40 officers a year. The latest additions should mean official staffing is above 1,000 officers. That's still short of the figure the chief says he needs, by more than 200 officers.
Who has current control of the Melvin Luster House in the Deep Deuce?