OKC Central Chat transcript, Feb. 14, 2014

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer and William Crum Modified: February 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm •  Published: February 14, 2014

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

NewsOK 9:25 a.m. Good morning! Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. Good morning everyone! I am here with Bill Crum, The Oklahoman's City Hall reporter, who will be answering all the question I duck!
Bill Crum 10:01 a.m. Yes, please send your city hall questions our way.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. Yea! Our little test of doing a double host chat is working! Let's get started, shall we?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. I will be giving priority to questions addressed to Bill or pertaining to City Hall this morning.
Ian 10:04 a.m. Does the Oklahoman know that Mick has a sealed protective (gag) order in his divorce with his wife over financial information signed by the same Judge in the Shadid divorce, and she can terminate it at anytime? If you know why aren't you trying to look into that, or if you don't know are you going to do something or just stay one-sided?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. Bill is having trouble with his connection to Cover it Live. But he is suggesting you contact reporter Nolan Clay, who did the Shadid court records coverage. You can reach Nolan Clay at nclay@opubco.com
Frank 10:08 a.m. Have you asked the candidates what are the largest gifts (cash, goods, services) they have received in office and from who? Even if giving cash and gifts seems "legal" for the mayor and council, to most everyone it seems unethical to accept or not report.
Bill Crum 10:12 a.m. This is Bill .. it's on my to-do list to ask all council members.
John 10:13 a.m. Mr. Crum thanks for joining us today. First things first, who do you think is the better mayoral candidate for the future of Oklahoma City and why?
Bill Crum 10:13 a.m. That's up to the editorial page.
Brian 10:14 a.m. What is taking trader joes so long to get going?That's one I really am looking forward to.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. No deal is done. We'll have to wait until it happens.
Eric 10:14 a.m. My friends are mostly socially liberal and financially conservative. How do the two main mayoral candidates stack up in your mind on that?
Bill Crum 10:16 a.m. I think that describes both of them pretty well. Obviously, it's a matter of degree, but both Cornett and Shadid agreed with the city's position in the controversy over "Most Fabulous Story Ever Told" at the Civic Center.
Gary T 10:16 a.m. Good morning William and Steve! How do you see the Mayoral race playing out? If Shadid loses, do you think he would lose his council seat in reelection too come November?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. I think voters are blessed with two very different choices. In terms of urban core development, Shadid's campaign has clearly been playing the urban core vs. the suburbs card, and he has indicated he wants to put more resources into hiring more police and firefighters. This could significantly impact development....
Bill Crum 10:21 a.m. Turnout will matter on election day. Will Councilman Shadid lose his council seat if he loses the mayoral election and chooses to seek re-election in Ward 2? No.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. Turn-out is everything in this election. You can count on Ed Shadid's hard core followers showing up at the polls. But will Mick Cornett's supporters assume he has the election in hand and not bother to show up? If so, Ed has a shot at winning this.
Gary T 10:23 a.m. I asked this to Steve but I think it is good enough to ask to you too: What is the one story at the top of your list to write about but you can't just get enough information that you can share with us?
Bill Crum 10:23 a.m. My problem is time.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. Ditto.
Gary T 10:24 a.m. Do you think Hughes and Nelson will take more votes away from Shadid or Cornett?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. From my experience, it's likely Nelson and Hughes will draw very few votes, but what support they do get will likely detract from votes for Shadid.
Bill Crum 10:25 a.m. They'd be capturing some of the anti-Mick vote?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. That's my thinking. Someone who is voting for Joe Nelson or Phil Hughes is very, very unlikely to have voted for Mick Cornett.
Bill Crum 10:27 a.m. So if Cornett can't get a majority on March 4, Shadid benefits on April 1.
Gary T 10:27 a.m. 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 Crum 10:29 a.m. Streets, sidewalks, trails, parks, transit. The metro area needs Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail and/or light rail.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. I agree. That seems like the natural next step.
Phil 10:30 a.m. Consultant Michael Walker spoke at a well attended town hall meeting last night about the 2009 police manpower study and what has transpired in the ensuing five years. He had some thoughts about police morale and why violent crime is trending upwards in OKC vs a national trend of decreasing. There was extensive discussion of downtown public safety including closing the fire station south of the Chesapeake Arena and moving a fire engine from downtown to the far south side of the city. Any thoughts on the meeting?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Let me clarify one thing - was this really a town hall meeting, or was it a campaign presentation hosted by mayoral candidate Ed Shadid, who is promoting hiring more police and firefighters as a main plank in his campaign? The FOP and firefighters union are among his biggest backers. I just think it's important to say what we're really talking about here. Bill, the question is your's....
Bill Crum 10:34 a.m. I'd note the MoveOKC event at Belle Isle Brewery last night was a Cornett campaign event. On to a question about police staffing ….
Drew K. 10:35 a.m. Bill do you think we need the large increases in police that Shadid is calling for? I live in what would not be considered the best neighborhood in OKC but rarely do I feel unsafe when walking around outside even at night. Steve if I am correct don't we have a police force comparable to most other cities our size?
Bill Crum 10:37 a.m. 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.
HL 10:39 a.m. Hi Steve, My ex-wife and I have a sealed order in our divorce papers too..from 20 years ago...only due to assets held and divided. Very common practice.
Mark 10:39 a.m. Bill do you think Wenger or Couch would be willing to take a new urbanism class or at the least attend a seminar of some sorts? I more asking since you know them well if they are capable of real adaptation to a changing future or are pretty much rooted in their current ways.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. Mark, I am aware of both Couch and Wenger having recently attended urban planning sessions hosted by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Urban Land Institute.
Drew K. 10:40 a.m. Also Bill I know steve is not a fan of the design of the park, what are your thoughts?
Bill Crum 10:41 a.m. I'd hang out there.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. My big question on the park, which I posed to one of the designers - why would I go there? What makes it special? What makes it a better destination for me than Stars and Stripes Park, the Myriad Gardens, Will Rogers Park or our other city parks?
Bill Crum 10:45 a.m. Fly a kite on the great lawn for starters. Looks to me like a great place to end your morning bike commute or begin your ride home. Connect to the river. Walk. Turn your children loose to run and play. I expect people will be drawn to it.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. All of which can be done at Stars and Stripes. Nope, not seeing it. Especially when the operating cost will be at least $3.5 million a year and there is no certain funding source. But I guess we'll see what happens.
Downtown Sally 10:46 a.m. I heard a rumor that Trader Joe's will announce multiple locations in the metro area. Any truth to that rumor??
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. A lot of folks would like for that rumor to be true.
Mark 10:46 a.m. Steve major props on landing Couch for next week and Bill this week. How did you do that? Is there anyway you could make sure Couch has read or seen that video you posted about bmw engineers vs. creatives a few weeks ago?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. Bill is a friend, co-worker and has a high tolerance for my quirks. Jim Couch is genuinely interested in interacting with NewsOK readers.
Richard Mize 10:48 a.m. Hey, Steve. I just now stumbled across this honest critique of the Great Banking Room. And I agree. Just putting it out there. http://www.yelp.com/biz/first-national-center-oklahoma-city
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. Nice!
Gary T 10:49 a.m. Steve, when can we go back to the old comments on Newsok articles? I feel like every time I read them, I get a little bit dumber... I know, I know, I shouldn't read them, but it is like a car wreck in that I cannot look away.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. I agree! It's an ongoing conversation ... I don't know how this quandary will be resolved.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. More on the grocery question from Bill....
Bill Crum 10:50 a.m. On the grocery, some of those concerned about developing the SW corner at SW 104 and Penn think the owners are looking to put in a Sprouts. I think there's growing interest among high-end grocers in this market.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. I think we may also see some efforts pay off on the northeast side of town.
Guest 10:50 a.m. What is the truth about police positions? I've heard OKC has added 93 positions since 2003/4 fiscal year. Is that correct?
Bill Crum 10:53 a.m. 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.
Guest 10:53 a.m. Steve, who has current control of the Melvin Luster House in the Deep Deuce?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. Believe it or not, it's still owned by the Luster family - Frank Luster. The Lusters were prominent civic leaders in the city's earlyday black community in Deep Deuce. Sadly, the mansion has seen better days, but is still a real gem. I am aware of numerous efforts by folks to buy it. So far, the family has not shown much of an interest in selling.
Guest 10:55 a.m. Will we see the open spaces in the Deep Deuce fill up in the next 5-10 years? You have the space east of the Deep Deuce Grill and the space west of Urban Roots. Then a lot of land next to the proposed Firehouse, which would really fill the neighborhood in. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. There is a stretch of land running north and south that is an ODOT easement. That will remain empty. But the other empty lots? Yep, they'll get developed.
Drew K. 10:56 a.m. Bill do you like the 'Z' pattern for the streetcar route and do you think it was the best one for the city?
Bill Crum 10:56 a.m. I tend to be with people who think the streetcar should go somewhere and I think there's validity to the argument that the loop amounts to an amusement ride. That said, I've seen opposition to light-rail melt away in other cities when the systems came online and were wildly successful.
Ryan Bent 10:56 a.m. Steve, I have always found Oklahoma City to be a great place to live even though I don't live there, but I have seen things in other cities like nice hotels downtown like Drury Inn or Hyatt Regency. Have any of those hotels or others considered moving into downtown Oklahoma City or the suburbs?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. The market on full-service hotels has changed dramatically the past few years, and financing for such projects is hard to come by. I don't see one happening without some sort of developer or city incentives.
James 10:59 a.m. If Shadid wins, how much suppport would he have from the council for his agenda? Does the council have distinct urban/suburban split. Any members openly anti-development?
Bill Crum 10:59 a.m. He's only one of nine votes. One area where the mayor can influence the city's direction is through appointments to boards and commissions. If Shadid brings forward qualified candidates for those appointments, I think the council will support them. Despite all the criticism of the mayor's appointments, Shadid has supported the vast majority of them, as have the other members of the council.
Sooner 10:59 a.m. Have you been over to the Windsor Area lately? ...lot's of good ethnic restaurants where you should do a chat sometime...Mama Simni (West African) is my suggestion! What do you think is the potential for development of the district once the streetscape is complete?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. I am really, really remiss in not having checked out what's going on in the Windsor area. It's on my list.
Drew K. 11:00 a.m. Bill which of the maps 3 projects are you most looking forward to?
Bill Crum 11:01 a.m. I'm thinking it would be the park.
Gary T 11:02 a.m. Do you think Mick's Neighborhood Steering Committee has helped him prove that he is about more than just downtown than people thought?
Bill Crum 11:02 a.m. No.
Brian 11:03 a.m. Steve... maybe you don't realize you're doing it, but for months now, every time someone mentions more police you seem to jump to the conclusion that the person who asked the question is a Shadid supporter. Has it ever occurred to you that outside your little bubble this town really DOES need more police?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. The city does need more police. But I'm not blind to the politics either.
Drew K. 11:04 a.m. Bill, I think Shadid's attempts to remove a single maps project from the group and put it up for a general vote has the potential to set a dangerous and very unwise precedent. Do you agree or disagree with this?
Bill Crum 11:05 a.m. There's some nuance here. Shadid is not attempting to "remove a single MAPS project from the group." He's seeking a vote on it. If voters approve of it, he's going to support going ahead. But he has serious, well-thought out concerns that he's trying to air through the initiative.
John 11:05 a.m. Bill what would you like to see in a maps 4? This is of course assuming Shadid isn't going to tarnish the maps name beyond repair
dw-dude 11:06 a.m. Morning Steve: Have you seen the new corporate headquaters Hobby Lobby is building near 44th and Council? It's going to be massive.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Not yet. But that's what I'm hearing.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. As for the question for Bill on Maps 4...
Bill Crum 11:06 a.m. I think there's a desire from the neighborhoods -- the people living in the neighborhoods -- to have more attention paid to their needs.
Ryan Bent 11:07 a.m. Steve, Has Oklahoma City considered doing something like Nashville's broadway with the huge Bridgestone arena at one end and the river at the other end with bars and night clubs in bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Not that I'm aware of.
Gary T 11:07 a.m. Lots of movement going on in Sosa. What else can you tell us about upcoming projects in that area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Just a lot of ongoing in-fill. Rental and for-sale housing.
Rock Jockey 11:08 a.m. Has there been any polling done for the Mayor's race?
Bill Crum 11:08 a.m. I've spoken to people who say they've been polled. I don't expect The Oklahoman to do a poll.
Gary T 11:10 a.m. Ed Shadid has said multiple times he wants to hire more police and firefighters to protect the city. Has he ever said where the money was going to come from?
Mark 11:10 a.m. Steve/Bill, does Shadid have a plan to pay for this increase in police/firefighter staff? I know several cities such as Chicago and Detroit have ended up in real fiscal messes due do to over hiring and over promised pensions and have had to drastically reduce officer numbers now because of this
Bill Crum 11:12 a.m. The city is hiring police officers as fast as it can, and paying for it from the general fund. Every council member I've spoken to believes that should continue. Firefighters and police are on state pension programs.
Sooner 11:12 a.m. Comment on Police Staff standards: They are arbitrary technical calculations that do not take into account externalities such as built environment, etc.
Guest 11:12 a.m. OKSEA is being moved to 2nd St. What are you hearing about plans for its original location?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Richard McKown, who took over the OK SEA project, says the first site has a pending development. The owner is not saying that, however. So we will see ....
Gary T 11:13 a.m. Do you think it is fair to say the reason Tulsa gets so many good smaller concerts (non-arena shows) is because not only do they have venues like Cain's and Brady but the company that books the bands is the same that books the Diamond Ballroom? Do you think the Farmer's Market would be getting a lot better concerts if Burt McAnally were to talk to use someone else to book shows? Has he considered it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. I say it's because of DCF Promotions ... Tulsa has the biggest boy in the pond.
Joe 11:14 a.m. Is there another bond package coming for OKC? Couldn't a lot of MAPS ideas, police, fire, or other city investments be part of that? How will that play out and will the mayoral election have an impact?
Bill Crum 11:14 a.m. You're confusing MAPS, which is pay as you go, with bonding, which is borrowing. The general obligation bonds go to pay for streets and drainage. The argument is over where those projects are done.
Look for the next GO bond program in 2017 or thereabouts.
CJ 11:15 a.m. What is the status of the Main Street Parking garage housing on top of the parking garage?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. I am sorry to inform you it's not looking good. I doubt we'll see any development atop the garage despite the third request for proposals effort.
Joey 11:16 a.m. You reported Mick said that: “He is the most accessible and transparent candidate in this race,”. What is your experience of the two main candidates with this?
Bill Crum 11:16 a.m. They're accessible to me.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. They answer my phone calls.
Bill Crum 11:16 a.m. Draw your own conclusions.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. I will say this: I had a great deal of difficulty getting a straight answer from Mayor Mick Cornett when I was digging into the question of reserving $30 million to buy and relocate an electric sub-station from the site he originally was promoting for the convention center. We'll leave it at that.
Guest 11:18 a.m. Do you think stopping MAPS early could affect the city getting future sales tax projects passed, such as for transit?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Yes. Absolutely. The city can not pay for or wage a campaign for a tax. These campaigns are traditionally funded and operated by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. How eager will they be to invest such resources in a MAPS 4 campaign if the part of the MAPS 3 campaign they wanted most is cancelled out? I will also leave Bill and everyone else with a question of my own - what happens if voters say "no" to Ed Shadid's ballot question to kill the convention center but say "yes" to his ballot question to end the MAPS 3 tax early?
Bill Crum 11:21 a.m. What do the people want, what does the business community want, and where do their interests intersect?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. This is where the whole foundation of MAPS comes into question. It was started as a way to force different interests and constituencies to agree to support an entire slate of projects to get their preferred project completed. After the first MAPS, the state supreme court decided this amounts to log-rolling and is unconstitutional. So Mayor Mick Cornett and the city council came up with a way to do a resolution of their own and ask voters to approve a "capital improvements" tax. I questioned at the time whether this might lead to issues later on, because it's not as binding as the original ballot - the resolution could be overturned by five council votes. Or, maybe, as Shadid is seeking, a public vote triggered by an initiative petition. The public does use a convention center - it's used for high school graduations, cultural and civic events, etc. But the question that may split the business community and regular citizens is how big of a new convention center is needed? And of course, we have that hotel question lingering...
Bill Crum 11:25 a.m. I don't know that Shadid has any obligation to submit the signatures on the convention center initiatives, assuming he collects enough. What if he doesn't submit them?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Wow. That's a mind-blowing question. Bill, you've left me speechless. I've never contemplated that possibility. Is it possible?
Bill Crum 11:27 a.m. Maybe city attorney Ken Jordan could fill us in.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Don't expect a Valentines Day card from him after posing this question.
Nate 11:28 a.m. The last two (maybe 3) Mayor elections were not seriously contested. This one seems to be creating a conversation about priorities like safety, neighborhoods, what to build, where to build it, who benefits? Money and power will always want to tilt the playing field, I hope this election can bring more balance. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. What's your question?
dw-dude 11:29 a.m. Hello Bill and Steve: Here's an idea i'm suprised no one has suggested. Why not have the people vote on a small permanent sales tax like the one for the OKC zoo? It would go 100 percent to police and fire. The zoo tax might be the best tax every passed anywhere. Doesn't that make sense?
Bill Crum 11:29 a.m. There is a public safety tax. The FOP probably would welcome an expansion.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. John "Radar" Doyle, also known as Judge Nightcourt, has a good question of his own - why not simply seek a quarter-cent sales tax hike, split it in half with half going to public safety and the other half going to transit.
Rod 11:31 a.m. Steve, I am pretty sure I can guess what your response will be but is there any new news regarding a new tower going up downtown. Do you have any time table on when we may hear something new?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. No.
Bill Crum 11:31 a.m. I don't think this council would raise taxes.
Orin 11:32 a.m. How come people are not allowed to scalp tickets to Thunder games...but downtown parking lots are allowed to jack up prices to $20 on game nights? You can go to a Barons game and pay $8 to park in the same lot that charged $20 a few days before for a Thunder game? No regulations on price gouging?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Parking rates on privately owned lots are not regulated by the city. Ticketed events at the publicly owned arena and convention center are addressed by city ordinances.
John 11:33 a.m. Bill, glad to hear Wenger has decided to finally put in angled parking along broadway. 2 questions related to this. First do you think he would ever consider doing back in angled parkings and second do you think this is a sign that the city and Wenger himself have finally started to see there is something to new urbanism ideas?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. I'm more familiar with this issue. I would say that there is a chance for experimentation with back-in angled parking on some lesser traveled downtown side streets. I am seeing evidence that Wenger is attempting to look at how the discussion of public infrastructure and improvements is evolving...
Chris 11:34 a.m. I have recently relocated to OKC. One that I have noticed is the road conditions throughout the city including downtown streets such as Shields. Is there a lack of tax dollars to support street infrastructure and maintenance? Many roads throughout the city are horrible with pot holes and ruts. We love okc but the roads are terrible.
Bill Crum 11:35 a.m. Street conditions leave a lot to be desired. The city has a limit on what it will borrow for street projects. I believe that's a matter of policy. I'll be watching over the next couple of years to see whether the trend is toward improved roads. Don't hold your breath…nothing is going to happen overnight.
Joe 11:36 a.m. Will the mayoral election have an impact on city staff and/or their various departments? How much does that sort of change affect the day to day operations, planning, and maintenance done by the City of Oklahoma City? It seems like the city staff would have gotten used to having Mayor Cornett around for so long now.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Bill and I are talking about this. All we can say is that Ed Shadid has publicly dressed down Couch and city staff during various council meetings whereas Mick Cornett has rarely done so. It was something Kirk Humphreys never did, Ron Norick did only once to my recollection. So yeah, this has to be a question. Could Couch retire if Shadid is elected? Will more emphasis be put into the planning department if Shadid is elected? These are all questions.... I think this election poses voters with a huge choice.... move forward with the direction taken so far, or take a dramatic turn toward a different vision championed by Shadid.
CJ 11:40 a.m. Bill between the Myriad Gardens and the new park, which would you choose? That is the problem with the new park. WE ALREADY HAVE ONE! Why do we need a twin park?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. I promise I am not smiling at this one.
Bill Crum 11:42 a.m. I see the new park if anything as an extension of the Myriad Gardens. Myriad Gardens is dinky. I used to ride my bike in Forest Park in Portland … you ride for miles and you're still in the park. We're not even in the same (big) league here.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Dinky? So am I to assume Devon Energy Center, where we are now, is dinky? OK. I see your point Bill. But I still don't see anything in that park design so far that will make people say "wow."
Gary T 11:43 a.m. Steve, it looks like there are some much needed upgrades coming to Woodson Park on the SW/C of SW 29th and I-44. Do you know of any other upgrades to any other city parks in the metro? How do you think this will affect the Central Park plans?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I don't know. I am still at a loss as to where the constituency and demand is for the Core to Shore (or central) park. How can improvements to existing parks impact the success of a park that does not yet exist and for which I've yet to understand what unique contribution it makes to the city's parks system.
Bill Crum 11:47 a.m. You're not coming around to my point of view Steve. The new park gives us a link to the river and once you get to the river, you can get (eventually) throughout the city.
Bill Crum 11:48 a.m. There's improvements beginning at another park, too. Maybe Jennifer McClintock can help me remember which one that is ...
Sooner 11:48 a.m. OKC Problem: We are so spread out over low density that our level of service infrastructure (police/fire) are required to cover such a larger area for a relatively low density over a huge square mileage. We're not only outgrowing our ability to provide sewer/water infrastructure, but also our ability to afford a larger police/fire presence. If you want to FIX the problem then we need to reign in our growth pattern.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Yep. But home builders and commercial developers really like to buy up former farm land because it's cheap and the city has proven it will time and time again pay to widen streets and provide infrastructure and public safety to these new developments. If you a developer, why would you want to build an apartment complex in a challenged area like Western Avenue between NW 122 and Hefner where there is plenty of vacant land when you can build in "virgin" territory where there are great new public schools and cheap vacant land out on Western Avenue and NW 192? Sure, Western out there is an old two-lane county road. And the infrastructure, utilities, parks and public safety for the area isn't as adequate as it is for NW 122 and Western. But the city keeps widening those roads and accommodating this growth. It's a win-win for developers.
Bill Crum 11:54 a.m. And parents do want affordable homes and good schools. Who can blame them? They trade a commute to have good schools for their kids. Look at the neighborhoods around the new elementary school in the Deer Creek district. It's crazy to be building out there when the city has 12,000-plus vacant and abandoned buildings. But the forces of darkness conspire against redeveloping run-down residential neighborhoods.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. And what happens in the long run? Remember when Putnam City was the gold standard in terms of metro public school districts? But these days, everyone wants to get their kids into Deer Creek schools. Putnam City now struggles with some of the same problems faced by the Oklahoma City Public Schools district. Does anyone see how this trend might end?
Bill Crum 11:56 a.m. That's the $60 trillion question, isn't it?
MB 11:58 a.m. I see the big downtown park as more a venue for special events that will draw larger crowds from all over the metro, like the Festival of the Arts, 4th of July, Opening NIght, etc. For daily use it would be more of a te flying venue for folks who live downtown anyway. I just don't see people driving from 63rd and May to hike around a downtown park.
CJ 11:58 a.m. Bill yes the Hispanic community will love the new park and it will be a draw for them. I don't see downtown moving south to the park because it won't tie to downtown. The boulevard will be a massive divider keeping the downtown community to the north. There is nothing in the park that is designed to bring development south. The Film Exchange Building would have been a great draw for the hipsters and business community to hang out before Thunder games or after bike rides, if it had a restaurant or cafe. But the current design has the massive great lawn that divides puts a divide up from the Chesapeake Arena.
Guest 11:58 a.m. As with everything else that occurs in the downtown/midtown area, my first question is always, "where to park, how big of a pain will it be, and how much will it cost?" The answer usually thwarts any notion I have of going there. I suspect similar thoughts will occur for many when/if the park opens.
Sarah 11:58 a.m. Any update on the street car situation?
Follow the money 11:59 a.m. Bill: when do the spending reports have to be filed for the Mayoral campaign? Have any been filed already?
Bill Crum 11:59 a.m. First deadlines are next week.
jason 11:59 a.m. Mr. Crum this is a two part question 1) if Shadid win would that be the end of MAPS type growth in Oklahoma City? 2) I know that we are years away from this but does the city have a plan or offer for an arena for the Barons?
Bill Crum 12:00 p.m. Regarding No. 1, I don't think so. Shadid argues for prudence and thoughtfulness, not to drive the city back the the Stone Age.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. I think the relationship between the Chamber and City Hall gets a bit frigid under a Mayor Shadid - and yeah, that could have ramifications. As for an arena for the Barons? Nope - I would be shocked by such a proposition.
CJ 12:02 p.m. Bill do you see the massive issues with the latest MAPS 3 projects being an end to MAPS. I know most people are upset with the way the park and convention center sites and designs have panned out. I will not support another MAPS myself because of the politics.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. Bill is deferring to me on this - MAPS has always had an ugly sausage making process. We won't know the true outcome of MAPS 3 until the projects are completed and experienced first hand by voters.
Bill Crum 12:03 p.m. What he said.
Joe 12:03 p.m. Do you think OKC will get an extra council member anytime soon?
Bill Crum 12:03 p.m. No.
Cathy 12:03 p.m. How do TIFs work? The money would have gone to the county as property tax but instead the city keeps it and does what they want? Who decides, council or another board? What is the rough total amount money - redirected over time?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. Tax increment financing is a temporary, usually 20-year agreement, by area schools, libraries, Career-tech, city-county health department and the city to capture rising property tax increment and re-invest it into the immediate area. Take Deep Deuce as an example: it was blighted and development prospects were pretty dim. The property was generating little to nothing in terms of property taxes for the various entities. A TIF was created that diverted 50 percent of the tax growth (increment) back into area improvements (sidewalks, streets, infrastructure, parking) that has played a big role in sparking the redevelopment of Deep Deuce. That whole area is now set to be fully developed. And at the end of the TIF term. the full amount of the property taxes will start flowing to those entities. Those entities also get a chunk of the TIF funds for their own projects in these areas. In terms of overall TIF funds raised to date, I need to get an update on that, but it's in the millions.
Joe 12:07 p.m. Do you think the salary and/or full-time/part-time status of the city council members should change? Is it being discussed? What are our peer cities doing?
Bill Crum 12:08 p.m. The Dallas Morning News had an interesting editorial last weekend arguing in favor of increasing council members salaries there. One thing they noted was the disparity between what council members are paid and what the city manager earns. The disparity is greater in OKC. That said, I don't see council members' salaries going up here.
Principled? 12:08 p.m. Exactly which appointments has Shadid voted against?
Bill Crum 12:08 p.m. I have a list. E-mail me.
Intelligent Discourse 12:09 p.m. Steve - Exactly what is the party line in the Dark Tower for why there is ony Facebook comments on your blog?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:09 p.m. It's complicated. We're talking. I think everyone now agrees it hasn't been good for OKC Central.
King George 12:10 p.m. ULI is actually doing a luncheon at the Windsor district in April to hear about what is going on. They are providing food from all of the various restaurants in the area. Pretty neat what they are trying to do.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:10 p.m. I'll be there!
Bob 12:10 p.m. The problem with more Police officers is not a commitment, the problem is training. It takes time to get recruits thru the training process. The City has budgeted for additional positions in the last two budgets.
Guest 12:11 p.m. Are there plans in the works to connect the OKC/Edmond trail systems? If so, is there a projected timeframe?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:11 p.m. We don't know. It's a good question!
Guest 12:11 p.m. Why isn't anyone willing to attempt housing atop the Main St. garage? It's obvious with three requests the city wants to see it done.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:11 p.m. No one seems to think it's an economically viable project.
Gary T 12:11 p.m. William, this should have been asked earlier so I apologizze, but what do you prefer to be called in this setting? William? Will? Bill? Will.I.Am? B-Crum? Dub-Crum? Dub-C?
Bill Crum 12:11 p.m. Bill.
Kelli 12:12 p.m. Regarding the convention center issue and Shadid's petition, I feel like it's an insult to assume voters didn't know the issues when they voted. Didn't the city do surveys and meetings with residents to determine what projects they were interested in? Just because Shadid didn't pay attention to civic issues (or vote) back then doesn't mean the rest of us didn't. Any thoughts on this?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:12 p.m. I think a debate is going to ensue.
Brian 12:13 p.m. Mayor Mick didn't want to debate Shadid because of so-called negative campaigning. Really? Thoughts on that? To me, Mayor Mick came across as a whiner.
Bill Crum 12:13 p.m. Voters will decide.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:13 p.m. Clearly we have some Ed Shadid campaigns supporters on this board.
Gary T 12:14 p.m. Mick has stated that downtown is for everyone and that is why a lot of the projects are there. Shadid has stated he would like to see more money spent outside of downtown, but all of the sidewalks and wellness centers are going to be built outside of downtown and all the streets that are being done as part of the 07 GO Bond are outside of downtown. If we were to build a convention center on 122nd and MarArthur, a new large park at SW44th and Villa and a new whitewater rafting course off Lake Overholser all the other parts of the cities would feel left out. Does this logic hold water to you?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:14 p.m. It's one of Cornett's arguments for sure.
Bill Crum 12:14 p.m. Mick Cornett: "You can't be a suburb of nothing."
Sooner 12:15 p.m. I'll say it again...there's lots of FREE street parking and a cheap city-owned parking garage that can easily be used for Thunder games...don't park in those expensive lots!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:15 p.m. OK.
guest 12:15 p.m. What does the FOP and Firemen do with the public safety tax proceeds. Buy downtown parking lots. That is my main beef with them. We need some transparency before they ask for additional funds.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:15 p.m. That's not true. There is no such expenditure like that.
Sooner 12:16 p.m. In reference to streets: If we weren't spending millions of dollar widening roads in rural SE OKC out by Draper Lake...we could use that money to maintain our existing road network, don't ya think?
Clark 12:16 p.m. When Mick ran for his first full mayor term he was asked in the Oklahoman if he planned to run for congress, he said no, but then started running the following month and got 2nd to Mary Fallin. How do we know he is not planning to do that again? He would be very strong candidate.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:16 p.m. How do we know Ed won't do that?
Dan 12:17 p.m. With as spread out OKC is, has there ever been any talk of de-annexing parts of the city into their own municipalities?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:17 p.m. Not that I am aware of.
Delta 12:17 p.m. Steve, what would you put in the area where the core to shore park will be? There was nothing there to look at in the first place. I just do not understand your objections to something that will be an improvement as opposed to a blighted area.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:17 p.m. I am questioning the designs.
Larry 12:17 p.m. Steve, I see the difference in OKC's parks as Woodson, Will Rogers, and Stars and Stripes were designed to support suburbian living. The expansion of trails and parks around Lake Hefner was a step towards more invigorated urban living. If 10,000 people are going to live downtown, there needs to be a very large park within walking distance to support the urban living being envisioned of for the central core. Maybe the difficulty that you are having with the proposed park is the type of urban living visualized is in its infancy in Oklahoma City.
Guest 12:18 p.m. Bill, what do you mean by forces of darkness? Are you just being glib?
Bill Crum 12:18 p.m. Glib.
tired of developers 12:18 p.m. I grew up in Yukon and developers have destroyed that community. I would never live there now. Same with Edmond. They are starting to be like Putnam City schools with the same issues. We need to stop sprawl, don't we?
Sooner 12:18 p.m. Exactly....that's why *gulp* impact fees should be assessed at a level that helps pay for the infrastructure that's needed. "Sure, you can build out there, but you're actually going to have to PAY for the infrastructure that you need".
Bill Crum 12:19 p.m. It's been discussed.
Brian 12:19 p.m. Has a timeline been set for the implementation of the quiet zone?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:19 p.m. I know it's being worked on.
Ed not Shadid 12:19 p.m. The park needs something like a very large artificial stone hill or mountain. Think Disney Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The park version could be mad into any attractions you want with year round access.
Guest 12:19 p.m. I am personally offended that someone is trying to invalidate my well-informed vote for all of the MAPS 3 projects.
Guest 12:19 p.m. They curbed impact fees in 2011, FYI. Look up 62 OS 895.
Sooner 12:20 p.m. Steve- Thoughts on all of the recent Director of department resignations/retirings with the City? planning...parks...COTPA
Steve Lackmeyer 12:20 p.m. Questions should be asked.
Bill Crum 12:20 p.m. Change is good, right?
Michael 12:20 p.m. Convention business is down nationwide, building of space is way up and they seem to be giving it away everywhere. Why not massively renovate in place to the dirt? Lots of savings, keeps action closer to Bricktown and current hotel stock. Every time I'm in the COX everything works and it is paid for.
Guest 12:20 p.m. The Aloft website is now saying that the Grand Opening is April 17th, and they are taking Reservations for May 8th. Any idea what is going on with this development? http://www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3623
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. An update is coming soon.
Guest 12:21 p.m. What's the latest updates on the Tower Theatre?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. Nothing.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. Folks, this chat is the longest yet and Bill's battery is clinging to life. Have a great weekend!
Bill Crum 12:21 p.m. Goodbye.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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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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