ED Shadid invites comparisons to Ralph Nader for his tenacious vigilance concerning suspected impropriety. Perhaps a better comparison for the Oklahoma City councilman is Don Quixote: Shadid's quest to prove impropriety in the matter of the MAPS 3 convention center borders on the obsessive.
He bought a two-page newspaper ad to argue that the convention center was the least popular MAPS 3 project. And to raise his lance against business interests over the convention center's construction timetable. And to hint that the site was picked to benefit certain people financially.
The ad contains about 2,500 words. By comparison, the Gettysburg Address is around 250 words and the Declaration of Independence is roughly 1,300. But word count isn't the issue. It's the actual words he used in the ad and in a subsequent news story on the same topic.
They show that the councilman can't get past the decisions his colleagues made on July 5, when Shadid was absent. Unlike Mayor Mick Cornett, who also didn't favor the chosen convention center site, Shadid can't move on. He's demonizing the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Devon Energy Corp., whose investment in downtown is unprecedented.
What's making Shadid raise his lance? Naderite suspicions of impropriety. He wonders if MAPS 3 would have passed had citizens been “fully informed” about the convention center's details. Perhaps a 2,500-word ballot section could have accomplished that goal, but Shadid might question why the ink was black instead or red. Or the choice of a printer.
The pre-election popularity of MAPS 3 projects is irrelevant. The first MAPS brought us the Bricktown Canal, widely ridiculed before the election but much beloved since its completion. As for when the MAPS 3 projects will be built — and when — voters left that to city officials and civic leaders. The people trusted them because the previous MAPS initiatives were carried out.
MAPS 3 will have its hitches. This is a $777 million initiative. The council is ultimately responsible for how MAPS 3 plays out. It approved the staging timeline. It approved the convention center site.
As a council member, Shadid has a legitimate oversight role for MAPS 3. We don't fault him for initially raising questions. But engaging in a great civil war over the convention center isn't productive. His views didn't prevail around the council's horseshoe.
Sometimes in the course of human events it becomes necessary to fight another battle on another day, to tilt at another windmill rather than to beat a tired horse. Instead of 2,500 words for the Man of Ward 2, we have just three:
Move on, councilman.