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Quotes of the week: Observations on civic affairs in Oklahoma City

They said it: Observations on development, transit, public schools and elections from inside and outside City Hall.

“The citizens in Canadian County who live in Oklahoma City also are really sensitive to — do we really care about them or do we only care about people in, quote, downtown, unquote. This would seem to possibly add fuel to that argument, which is an invalid argument, because we obviously do care.”

— Ward 3 Councilman Larry McAtee, commenting on plans for an Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council. McAtee said Canadian County was not included in the council despite “tremendous” growth in parts of the county that are within the Oklahoma City limits. City Manager Jim Couch said the “urgent” focus was on Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County but “it doesn’t mean this couldn’t be broadened in the future.” Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner noted the long-troubled Oklahoma County jail “is the backdrop on all this.”

“There are solutions out there to help improve funding for public education. All of them require either legislative or constitutional changes. And it would be fruitless for the city to get engaged until more global solutions can be agreed to.”

— Jim Couch, Oklahoma City’s city manager

“Unanimous support of the Oklahoma City Council marks a significant step toward the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, with rewards that go well beyond the economic benefits to include a legacy of cultural and historic value beyond measure.”

— Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, commenting on the Oklahoma City Council’s approval of agreements among the city, state of Oklahoma, Chickasaw Nation and others to complete and open the long-stalled American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near downtown.

“Oklahoma City has changed slower than other areas for a couple of reasons. One is because of our lack of density, two is because of our cheap outside housing. And No. 3 is our lack of congestion, and No. 4 probably is our cheap downtown parking.”

— Jim Couch, Oklahoma City city manager, commenting on the pace of public transit development. When downtown parking costs increase, and suburbs with free parking and cheaper rent gain a competitive advantage, he said, “then you’re not going to have any offices downtown.”

“This will allow us to hire 129 more officers. That is vital for public safety. We want to thank the citizens for this support.”

— John George, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 123, commenting on passage of a quarter-cent sales tax hike in Tuesday’s election. The city expects to raise an estimated $26 million per year, primarily to hire additional police officers and firefighters.