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Letters to the Editor

‘Bait and switch'

David Orr August 24th, 2011

In an Aug. 10 Gazette letter ("Why pay $30 million to move OGE substation?”), Larry D. Fry predicts revenue enhancements benefiting OKC from the recent decision to change the MAPS timeline and build the convention center before the projects citizens actually voted for, and with a $50 million tax incentive to spur construction of a multistory convention center hotel.

Unless the city has something more to offer than Austin, Texas, or Baltimore or Minneapolis or Phoenix (it’s not direct fights if you’ve traveled recently), recent history says otherwise.

New construction has been a deficit producer in some places, and junked the hotel debt rating of Austin and Phoenix. Communication in the 21st century and a space glut have taken the steam out of traffic. All this is surely familiar to the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber junta that won’t release the study conducted by Convention, Sports & Leisure International, the outfit that recommended construction in the mentioned towns.

Apparently, OKC has some significant challenges in becoming a convention mecca, but that’s on a need-to-know basis, so keep it under the hat. No doubt why Mayor Mick Cornett and his likeminded cohorts are willing to corrupt the genial tradition of the Oklahoma City Council, and deny the deferral request of the honorable Councilman Ed Shadid before the best informed and researched member of the horseshoe could enter his findings into public record. (These are the same members that assured Dr. Shadid in the just proceeding session that deferrals are always granted when requested.) The chamber must have thought it providential intervention when Dr. Shadid missed that international flight connection.

It’s hard not to see this whole sordid affair as a cynical textbook case of bundling and bait and switch. Package the expensive, unpopular project with ones people are enthusiastic about, all with an inferred timeline, then do the bidding of the ruling class in town once you get the vote. If the good citizens of OKC are fed up and reject an extension, they’ll be spiting the projects they wanted.

—David Orr

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

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