"It's not bad to think in terms of your ward, but you also want the ability to see how it affects the whole city,” Marrs said, "They were part of this big-picture, inclusive attitude.”
White served on the council from 1982-1989. After leaving to pursue other interests, he won a seat on the council again in 2005. He said personal attacks and north vs. south rivalries were common among council members during his first tenure.
White said Simank, Johnson and Foshee were part of a change in attitude in the early 1990s, led by then-Mayor Ron Norick, that helped MAPS become a success, led to MAPS for Kids and established an unprecedented level of trust between Oklahoma City residents and city government.
Cornett said keeping the council away from petty bickering should be an expectation of whoever is chosen to fill Simank's seat.
"There aren't any guarantees that harmony will prevail,” Cornett said. "There is turnover on the council. Things could change, and I think we need to be protective of it. I don't think we should take it for granted.”
An election to fill the remaining two years on Simank's term is expected Nov. 4, with a runoff Dec. 9, if necessary.