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OKG Newsletter

Letters to the Editor

Devious changes

Wanda Jo Stapleton July 27th, 2011

Thank you for the Gazette’s July 13 issue, which is a “keeper” because of the stunning revelations made by Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid, Ward 2, about behind-the-scenes shenanigans going on at City Hall.

First, Clifton Adcock’s two articles, “Shift happens” and “Crossed wires,” quote Dr. Shadid. Then, Shadid’s two-page paid advertisement tells the complete jaw-dropping story about how we taxpayers are being suckered and gouged.

When we voted for the MAPS 3 sales tax in December 2009, one of the projects to be funded was a convention center, although only 27 percent approved and a large majority opposed, according to a Gazette/News 9 poll. Nevertheless, MAPS 3 passed because several other projects were popular, and this was an “all or nothing” vote. Now Oklahoma City will have a third convention center — in addition to the Cox Convention Center and the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

However, we were not told before the vote that a hotel with about 650 rooms would accompany it, and we taxpayers would owe roughly another $50 million as our part for that hotel.

Then the City Council approved a 10-acre site chosen by the convention center subcommittee whose members are “some of the most powerful business leaders and downtown real estate holders in the city.” This 10-acre site is in an area where slightly less than an acre recently sold for $6.9 million as listed on the Oklahoma County assessor’s site. Switching the location of the convention center, then, will cost us tens of millions more than necessary.

Incidentally, that MAPS 3 sales tax will cost about $930 for the average OKC resident: about $10 per month for this 93-month tax (based on an economic analysis conducted by Mark Snead of Oklahoma State University for the Oklahoma City Finance Department).

In conclusion, there’s much more; but this is about all my blood pressure can stand because of all the devious changes that we voters did not approve.

—Wanda Jo Stapleton
Oklahoma City
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