EDMOND — Mayor Charles Lamb and challenger Richard Prawdzienski will face each other in the April 2 general election.
Lamb has been on the city council for 16 years. He has been mayor since November 2011 when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Patrice Douglas, who resigned to become a state corporation commissioner.
This will be the seventh time Lamb has run for a city council job. He was successful four of those times.
Prawdzienski has run for state office six times and lost each race, the latest in November against Republican state Sen. Clark Jolley.
Prawdzienski doesn't like decisions being made by council members.
“I am upset the way the city is spending its money and raising taxes,” said Prawdzienski, who is against the construction of a new Public Safety Center and the half cent sales tax that voters approved for five years.
He said he had wanted the police department to stay in its old building at 23 E First St. A bridge could have been added to connect the building to the Downtown Community Center, which could have provided space for detectives.
Now that plans are under way for the new Public Safety Center, Prawdzienski, 65, said he would like to see the sales tax measure stopped as soon as the building is paid for.
Lamb said the ballot was specific and simple in its description on how the money would be spent. Once the building is paid for, Lamb said, the ballot told voters any remaining money up to five years would be spent on capital projects.
“Voters voted a half cent for five years,” said Lamb, 66. “It really doesn't give us any latitude. It is my opinion; we would have to go the vote of the people to change that.”
Prawdzienski is against public-private partnerships, particularly the city's $11 million investment in a conference center and the development of Interstate 35 and Covell Road.
“We shouldn't bribe companies to come here,” said Prawdzienski, who is retired after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked in logistics at Tinker Air Force Base. He also has been active in the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma and is former chairman.
Prawdzienski is in favor of a free-market economy and wants to stop public-private partnerships.
“We took deliberate steps to protect the city,” said Lamb, explaining that the city will get $9 million back over the next 15 years, will own two pieces of property and infrastructure improvement in the conference center private-public partnership. “This is a great deal for economic development. I don't recall Richard being in any of the public meetings.”
Prawdzienski said he wants a two-year moratorium on changes to the city's building and zoning codes. He wants to give homeowners against zoning changes more say than the council.
“I want the neighbors to have more power,” said Prawdzienski, who thinks six families would outnumber the five city council members and he would vote against the zoning change.
“I am not sure what to say,” Lamb said. “The council is elected to represent the people.”
Lamb represented Ward 3 until his appointment to the mayor job.
“I am going to work for Edmond,” Lamb said. “Hopefully, the people will let me do it a little more.”