I’ve not heard any public discussion about what the name should be for the boulevard that will replace the current alignment of Interstate 40 south of downtown. Mayor Mick Cornett is asking the Planning Commission tomorrow to consider naming it “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” What do you think?
So Mayor Mick Cornett won’t say why he yanked David Wanzer from the Board of Adjustment. I am told Wanzer did not request to leave the board. I’m getting calls from the preservation crowd fearing Cornett yanked Wanzer because he cast the lone “no” vote to SandRidge Energy’s demolition of downtown buildings some deemed to be historic and worth saving (the demolition is the most extensive clearance of intact buildings since the heyday of Urban Renewal in the 1970s).
So far I can’t find anyone involved in this matter who is willing to deny this was retribution. We also know much longer serving members of the Board of Adjustment were reappointed (Wanzer only served two and one-half years).
So who is Mark Stonecipher?
Mark is an oil and gas attorney with Fellers Snider law firm.
David Wanzer was the only member of the city’s Board of Adjustment to oppose SandRidge Energy’s application to tear down three older buildings on its downtown campus. Mayor Mick Cornett chose not to appoint Wanzer for another term and instead appointed Mark Stonecipher in his place. Cornett reappointed the other two members up for new terms – Jim Allen and Michael Dunn, who both supported the SandRidge building demolition (the council gave its blessing to Cornett’s appointments).
Cornett declined to say why he was reappointing Dunn and Allen but chose not to reappointment Wanzer, citing his policy of not discussing appointments to boards and commissioners. Cornett’s predecessors Kirk Humphreys and Ron Norick on various occasions did discuss changes to boards (Humphreys was quite vocal in voicing his displeasure with former Riverfront Redevelopment board member Dusty Martin after Martin openly advocated on behalf of controversial property owner Moshe Tal).
Cornett’s authority to appoint and remove members from boards and commissions includes the MAPS citizens oversight board.
Want to see something cool?
Demolition is underway.
So was there a hard and fast deadline given on Project 180 that dictated the MAPS 3 transit committee move fast on picking preferred streetcar routes?
I talked to Eric Wenger, director of the MAPS office, and the answer is … not really.
There was a schedule given. The committee was told the next round of Project 180 construction bids were set for later this spring. The committee asked if the phasing of a couple of the streets could be delayed to integrate streetcar improvements. But the committee didn’t ask if the overall bid package could be delayed by a few weeks. And city staff didn’t offer whether or not the bids could be delayed. In visiting with committee members, it becomes clear they agree – they were given a schedule for Project 180, but it’s not so certain they were told it involves a deadline that can’t be changed.
And so you have a committee that has picked preferred routes without knowing cost per mile the location of the new convention center, streetcar or transit hub – venues that all are set to be sited within the next two months.
One member of the committee, Jane Jenkins, president of Downtown OKC Inc., has repeatedly objected to the pace of the preferred route selection. The remainder of the committee, however, has continued to move forward.
Committee member Jeff Bezdek responds that the “spine” of the preferred route chosen last week comes close and can still be flexible enough to reach any of the potential convention center and transit hub sites. He also counters that a preferred route needs to be identified first – before potential costs are weighed.
What do you think?
ONE MORE THOUGHT: Clearly some members of this committee are upset by the Tuesday column. If anyone took from it that this committee convened one day and quickly chose a route without any discussion, I apologize. This committee has donated an incredible amount of their own time to this project, and what I wrote Tuesday was intended to show the confusion over deadlines, schedules, and asked whether that confusion might be forcing the committee to make decisions without needed information. I’ve invited Jeff Bezdek to do a guest post on this discussion. Hopefully he’ll accept.
So if you had your choice….
Would you prefer to see a Braum’s downtown? A Forward Foods Market? Or an ALDI, Walmart Neighborhood Market or Homeland?
On Tuesday I delved into the whole discussion of the streetcar and I’m still not sure I understand all that’s going on with the move by the MAPS 3 transit committee to pick a preferred route before they know route costs, schedules, venue locations, etc.
I’ve continued to delve into this on OKC Talk, and there are some folks not happy with my questions. I understand the frustration. There are a lot of good people donating their time, and they might feel as if I’m trying to insinuate something. But what I’m trying to figure out is what is driving this schedule, what’s at risk, and whether some options might be ruled out, or a system might be favored, by proceeding at the pace currently set.
It’s that simple.
“We have two Tea Party candidates for OKC City Council, Cliff Hearron for Ward 8 and Adrian Van Manen for Ward 6. … These races are very low turnout; literally a couple thousand voters will choose who gets the seat, so we stand an excellent chance of winning these two seats if we put money and effort into the races. No doubt other conservative candidates will be found before the filing deadline, so the Tea Party could simply take control of OKC city government if we can rally the Tea Party members.”
- Sooner Tea Party
Voting ends today at 7 p.m. folks.