Editorial: Tulsa looks to OKC for help in passing public improvements
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, September 08, 2012
9/08/12 at 4:06 AM
Tulsa's city councilors got some good advice during a joint meeting with their counterparts from Oklahoma City about how to succeed in improving the quality of life in a community.
Tulsa's relationship with the state capital city hasn't always been cozy, so it's nice to see the state's two major cities coming together to work toward the betterment of our communities.
But Tulsa leaders must pay heed to the advice they received in order to have much success. There's little doubt that Oklahoma City's leaders know what they're talking about when it comes to this subject.
Oklahoma City has received national attention for its multiple MAPs initiatives that feature sales tax funding for major quality-of-life initiatives. The first one-cent sales tax for MAPs, which stands for Metropolitan Area Projects, was passed in 1992, and since then two other packages have been approved by voters.
Tulsa has had some success in recent years with similar initiatives but hasn't achieved the overall success Oklahoma City has enjoyed. So far, the MAPs initiatives have provided roughly $1.6 billion for Oklahoma City public improvements.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who is also a member of his city's council, said leaders there work closely with the business community to come up with packages that are supported by business and local leaders and also attractive to at least half the city's voters.
"Ultimately, these elections are campaigns," he said. "The most well-meaning initiative that gets only 49 percent of the vote isn't worth a whole lot, and political capital was expended in the loss."
"We all have our pet projects we'd like to see funded, but if it's polling at 28 percent, it's not a good idea," he added. "It might bring down everything. Your entire package is only as strong as its weakest link."
Certainly good advice.
Cornett also pointed out that any negative views emanating from elected officials could hurt a package's chances for success. "Negativity fuels voter sentiment. ... It's hard to get someone to vote 'yes.' But to get someone to vote 'no,' all you have to do is create a little bit of doubt."
Oklahoma City Councilor Gary Marrs related to Tulsa leaders that OKC leaders learned after losing out on an airline maintenance base that the reason for that decision was that "their employees didn't want to live here."
"That really resonated that we needed to improve ourselves and make our city a place people want to come to rather than paying them to come," he said.
These officeholders know what they're talking about. We could learn a lot from their experience.
Original Print Headline: Good advice