The October 18, 2011, City Council meeting provided several items worthy of coverage ... ranging from the sublime (a fine presentation by A.J. Kirkpatrick, assistant city planner, who conducted a Bricktown long range planning study and presentation) to the lowly (vis a vis the finger-pointing remarks of Ward 8 council member Patrick Ryan while arguing against approval of a paltry $300 claim by the Edgemere Park neighborhood association which incurred sprinkler system damage at the hands of an Oklahoma City snowplow this past winter).
My shortlist includes the following video clips from the October 18 City Council meeting:
- Bricktown Planning. A.J. Kirkpatrick, a member of the City Planning Department, presented a study concerning the future of Bricktown. All things considered, this may have been the most substantive 30 minute segment of council proceedings.
- EMSA Emergency Services. Up for a vote was whether the council would approve a contract that EMSA continue to provide emergency (911) medical transport services. Only council member Ed Shadid opposed the same but he articulately expressed the reasons that he voted no.
- Occupy Oklahoma City. Organizers of the local movement, as a stub of Occupy Wall Street movement, presented their request that the city waive or reduce the $55 daily charge for a permit to use of Kerr Park for its activities. Although that didn't happen, near the end of that discussion, council member Shadid invited an after-council meeting with Mark Faulk to find ways for the permit fee to be paid by interested citizens.
- Inclusion of Sexual Orientation in Prohibited Discrimination Ordinances. Council member Shadid telegraphed his intention to propose that the same be added to the list.
- Patrick Ryan Continues to Undistinguish Himself. One can make book on the odds that that if Ward 2 council member Ed Shadid moves approval of something, Ward 8 council member Patrick Ryan will oppose it. It happened once again on the otherwise small matter of the Edgemere Park $300 claim.
Bricktown EMSA Occupy OKC
Sexual Orientation Edgemere Park Claim
1. Bricktown Planning. The 32 ½ minute video clip below from the October 18 council meeting contains the presentation by A.J. Kirkpatrick, assistant city planner, about Bricktown's long range planning, aka the Bricktown Strategic Plan.
Oklahoman reporter Steve Lackmeyer reported on this presentation here as well as in his more thorough OkcCentral blog posts, Staring Down the 800 Pound Elephant, Part 1 and Part 2. Additionally, concerning comments by Russell Claus beginning around 22:00 concerning media coverage of a particular Bricktown proposal's parking provision during Kirkpatrick's presentation, where Claus said, "I think the media did a poor job of characterizing the discussion on that...," see Steve's rebuttal at OkcTalk.com where he said, "For what it's worth, I was completely bewildered by Russell Claus' claim that the Chris Johnson story wasn't reported right by "local media." There are only two of us covering it - myself and Brianna Bailey - and we've both delved into the very issues Claus claimed wasn't represented in local coverage. Have Bailey or I left any doubt that the committee does not agree with the idea of creating parking lots along the canal?"
2. EMSA Emergency Services. For several weeks, the council has considered whether or not to continue EMSA as the provider for 911 emergency medical transport and the resolution continuing EMSA in that capacity came up for final vote on October 18. Without reviewing that history, on October 18 council member Ed Shadid was the lone opponent to not do so, he instead favoring placing that duty with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. He expressed his reasons in the 12 minute video clip below:
Personally, what he said made sense to me. When you have an emergency 911 call for emergency health matters, as I did when my wife had collapsed on the stairs many years ago while barely being able to breathe and with severe heart issues, response time matters. In that experience, Fire arrived 4-5 minutes sooner than EMSA did and Fire literally saved my wife's life because of its fast response. Does response time matter? Make your own call.
3. Occupy Oklahoma City. Doubtless you've been closely or vaguely following the Occupy Wall Street movement for the past several weeks which has been catching on around the world. That's been true in Oklahoma City, also. At the 10/18/2011 council meeting, local Occupy OKC proponents asked that the city waive or reduce the $55 daily permit fee, in this instance, for Kerr Park. Oklahoma Citian Mark Faulk was the most articulate, and presentable, of those advocates and his part begins around 7:00 of the 16 minute video clip, below.
At about 9:30 of the clip, Faulk said that the local movement consists of disabled, unemployed, single mothers, all races, all types. He said, "This is a fully inclusive organization that we hope that we open a dialog with our city and with our state that will be an ongoing dialog and well give a voice with the rest of the people who honestly have not been represented in our government."
Their request was not granted. But, see the discussion beginning around 10:58. At about 13:50, Shadid remarked, "... there does seem to be a coalescing around one message, that we need to get money out of politics, that many politicians are bought ... does that [coalescing] seem to be happening ... ." At around 21:40, Shadid offered to meet with Faulk immediately after the meeting to assist in finding funding solutions for the daily permit fee.
As for me, I found Faulk's statements to be rational, reasonable, politely and civilly put, and, at their core, not dissimilar with council member Ed Shadid's viewpoints about plutocracy, to which I also subscribe.
Have we already forgotten the experience with the Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum in City Council elections earlier this year? A more than ample basis and justification exists locally, certainly nationally, for this expression of speech, in my opinion.
4. Prohibition Of Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation. Although not on the council agenda, Ed Shadid used the "Items From Council" section of the council's agenda to wonder out loud why the city lacks such prohibitions in addition to the items already covered, e.g., race, gender, religion, etc.
At Dr. Shadid's Facebook page, he made this post on October 19: "Next Tuesday I will introduce resolution prohibiting discrimination among 4300 city employees based on sexual orientation; please attend or call your councilperson in support (city currently prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, political affiliation, national origin and religion but not sexual orientation)." Now, if council member Patrick Ryan gets upset over a motion by Shadid to pay a paltry $300 damage claim by Edgemere Park, it ought to be interesting to hear Ryan's remarks about this proposal.
October 22 Update: I've just had a look at this Tuesday's council agenda. Shadid's item reads,5. About Jefferson Park's $300 Claim. First, a show of hands: Raise your hand if you remember a motion made on a contested matter by Ward 2's Ed Shadid that wasn't opposed by Ward 8's Patrick Ryan who represents the far northwest section of the city, which includes Gaillardia. Although I stand ready to be corrected, there should be no hands seen — from the get-go on this council member term, Ryan has expressed animus as to Shadid, and he has yet to give him a compliment (which is a customary and frequent practice on the city council dais). Ryan, or so it seems to me, opposes Shadid at every turn. It is recalled that Ryan was backed by the Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum, which organization/entity has been strongly criticized by Shadid, among many others, including this writer.X. Items from CouncilI was not able to locate the city's "Personnel Policies" at the city's website, but, since a mere resolution (and not a proposed ordinance) is involved here the same must be administrative in nature.
A. Resolution amending Sections 105 and 401 of The City of Oklahoma City Personnel Policies, as amended and adopted December 13, 2005, to include specific reference to discrimination based upon sexual orientation, and directing the City Manager to disseminate said amendments. Councilman Shadid
Proposed changes to the municipal code (i.e., city ordinances) must follow a 3-public-meeting track and wouldn't be handled like Shadid's proposed resolution. As far as city ordinances are concerned, I did find a few ordinances which prohibit discrimination, all in Chapter 25, Human Rights. Section 25-39 relates to housing discrimination, Section 25-40 relates to employment by the city, which reads,No head of any department, official, agent, or employee of the City, or any department acting for or on behalf of the City in any manner involving employment by the City, shall discriminate against any person otherwise qualified in employment or in tenure, terms, or conditions of employment, or adopt or enforce any rule or employment policy which discriminates between employees or prospective employees or seek information relating to race, creed, color, sex, national origin or ancestry for any person or employee as a condition of employment, tenure, term or in connection with conditions of employment, promotion or increase in compensation, or discriminate in the selection of personnel training. Willful violation of this section by any person within the Division of Public Management shall constitute grounds for appropriate disciplinary action or termination by the City Manager.Probably, the intention of such ordinances is to track state statutory requirements, e.g., 21 O.S. §1302 but those statutes do not specifically prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
So, if the city does adopt Shadid's proposed resolution, the city's policies will go further to prevent discrimination than state statutes do, which would indeed be interesting.
On this otherwise mundane matter, it seems that Ward 2's Edgemere Park's sprinkler system had been damaged by an city snow plow, and it asked to be reimbursed that $300 expense. Watch below and judge for yourself whether Ryan was "reaching" for a reason to deny Shadid's motion and Edgemere Park's claim:
Ward 1 council member Gary Marrs' comments began around 21:40. Ordinarily an ally of Ryan, he was interrupted by Ryan while he was stating his views favoring the motion. After that interruption by Ryan, Marrs' facial expression says it all.
That's it for the highlights of this fine day at the races. Come again ... there will be more to tell as more council meetings take place.