Oklahoma City Ward 2 candidates answer questions

Six candidates seek Ward 2 seat in Oklahoma City
Oklahoman Published: February 23, 2011
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The Oklahoman asked the candidates for the Ward 2 seat on the Oklahoma City Council a series of questions. The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot.

Charlie Swinton, 61, senior bank officer

What does the city need to focus on when it comes to improving roads?

“Because of the recent ice, the first priority right now is repairing all these potholes before they tear cars up ... I know with as many miles as there are, there are constant constraints on the budget. From time to time the city has gone out in the past with (general obligation) bond issues to try to keep up with that and I would be in favor of looking at that if we need to, to stay ahead of the curve.”

What, if anything, should be done to improve police and fire service?

“Because of the budget cuts since 2008, I know that from speaking with police and firemen they feel like they've been stretched, there have been vacancies that haven't been filled. I think as our economy recovers ... the first dollars once we're healthy ought to go into looking at the manpower situation at the police and fire department.”

What, if anything, should be done about public transit?

“MAPS is trying to address part of it. Of course, there's the existing transit, which I'm not sure is doing all that great. Again, it's about dollars. I think in the long run we need transit systems, it's just a question on how we fund it and how quickly we can move on it and work with other cities to build such a system.”

What do you think of the MAPS 3 projects?

“I voted for every one of the MAPS. It's just a priority on which one we do first. I think there's one that ought to be shoved back and that's the trolley system. I hear there's some technology issues that might be happening that might help us do more with less ... I'm not saying not do it. I'm just saying there might be some technological changes that might be coming so why not wait and see if they do come.”

Ed Shadid, 42, doctor

What does the city need to focus on when it comes to improving roads?

“The first problem is that from 1960 to 2000, Oklahoma City didn't invest at all in sidewalks. People come from other cities in the surrounding region and one of the first things they notice is the lack of sidewalks in the city and the low density of streetlights. The second thing is, especially in the north section of this ward, we have potholes that area a foot deep.”

What, if anything, should be done to improve police and fire service?

“The problem is that you got almost 700 square miles to provide services for and it makes it very difficult ... You're going to have to have the manpower. In terms of supply and vehicles, things are adequate but the primary problem is manpower. You've got at times 11 police officers patrolling 240 square miles ... Police and fire, not just endorsed us, but strongly endorsed us.”

What, if anything, should be done about public transit?

“I think that you can focus on getting a transit hub built so you can have intermodal transportation. You put the bulk of the rail lines downtown, but then you break off about 2 miles of it and head north into Ward 2, into an area such as the Paseo District. When you look at what happened in Dallas, every single transit stop you've had an explosive economic development.”

What do you think of the MAPS 3 projects?

“My primary concern with MAPS 3 is exactly what we're facing in this city council election. All we voted for was a 1-cent sales tax and unlike the first MAPS there was no line item for the voters of exactly what we were getting ... There's no guarantee that the voters are going to get what I think they believe was promised to them. What we're risking is the legitimacy of referendums.”

Sam Tichenor, 32, student and entrepreneur

What does the city need to focus on when it comes to improving roads?

“I would say for one, just general maintenance of the surfaces would probably be a major key and probably the functionality of some of the traffic signals. I think some increased visibility of officers could also help with aggressive driving and speeding that leads to unsafe conditions.”

What, if anything, should be done to improve police and fire service?

“I think response times are really the key and that's a subject that I wouldn't necessarily say I'm an expert on how to improve that. I would say visibility of officers is key to improving safety in most situations. People feel like that our public servants are there and available.”

What, if anything, should be done about public transit?

“While I support several of the MAPS 3 projects, one that I specifically was not a supporter of was the downtown trolley. That's a system that could cost the city after it's built a ton of money with a project that probably couldn't be shut down very easily. It could just sit there with nobody riding a trolley that goes around the city for years or decades.”

What do you think of the MAPS 3 projects?

“Some of them I like some of them I don't like. What I really like is the city got to vote on them. What I would prefer is that the city got to vote on them individually. I think some of them were put in there to just appease certain groups into voting for it. Sort of divide and conquer politics. Senior wellness, that one I wasn't particularly supportive of ... I think the private market should deal with that.”

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