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Emphasis on downtown Oklahoma City development takes a hit in election, council member says

Voters reacting to a perception that the balance in public investment has shifted away from their neighborhoods sent a clear message by voting two city council veterans out of office on Tuesday, a council member says.
by William Crum Published: April 4, 2013

/articleid/3779533/1/pictures/2002171">Photo - Convention center design provided by GSB
Convention center design provided by GSB

Still, George said, it appeared voters in both sections of the city were ready for change. Concerns about how neighborhoods benefit from the millions in public spending figured into it, he said.

Neighborhood help

“Everybody has the impression that everything's related to downtown and they just want something different,” George said.

Pettis said Wednesday night that he wants to see MAPS projects progress but, “I would like some of those resources to be put into Ward 7.”

The city needs more police officers — the No. 1 priority of the FOP — and an expanded bus system with evening and Sunday service, Pettis said.

He said he centered his campaign on making sure Ward 7 “gets its fair share.”

The election results should prompt an assessment, said Councilman Ed Shadid.

“I think any time two incumbents lose by such decisive margins, it should be an inducement for some introspection on the part of the council as to the will of the people,” said Shadid, who is in his first term representing north-central Oklahoma City's Ward 2.

Shadid has indicated in a memo to potential consultants his interest in running for mayor in 2014.

Elected leaders would do well to add police officers, finish the MAPS sidewalk program that directly benefits neighborhoods and fix the public transit system, said White, a longtime council member who ran unopposed and will start a new four-year term next week.

“I do think there's a kind of sense of unrest,” White said.

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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