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Back to the public space


Keith Gaddie December 17th, 2009

MAPS 3 passed. Now, what does this vote tell us about Oklahoma City? The first lesson is that voting majorities in Oklahoma City continue to be willing to invest in the public space. If you look at...

MAPS 3 passed. Now, what does this vote tell us about Oklahoma City?

The first lesson is that voting majorities in Oklahoma City continue to be willing to invest in the public space. If you look at the list of projects in the MAPS 3 proposal, they are largely what are called "public good" or "collective good" projects " projects that are available to the public at little or no cost in terms of fees. No one needs to recount those projects to show why they are public goods. Parks, trails, sidewalks and transit are outdoor assets that belong to the people, and the people get to enjoy them.

The second lesson, arising from both the vote and the willingness to build in the public space, is that the politics of economic selfishness have limited appeal in city politics. The best effort to paint the downtown park and the convention center as "millionaire" benefits was unable to capitalize on the belief in the public that the taxes were not worth the result, even if voters could not directly measure the benefits they would receive from MAPS 3. Our polling for News 9 on the eve of the vote revealed that two-thirds of likely voters saw no direct benefit of past MAPS or future MAPS projects to their neighborhoods"

 
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