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Thread: Cox Center

  1. Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    Is there current pedestrian traffic that would benefit from this restoration? Going west/east, there's already a barrier in both directions from the gardens and the rail line. North to South, there could be benefit there.
    Yes, Like I said a few post before, this area, if developed well, has the potential to become a funnel for the many pedestrians that are already downtown in the area:

    The myriad gardens is always packed with peeps despite not having anything engaging adjacent to it.

    The Arena Draws thousands for games and concerts,

    the CBD has thousands of people working in it during the week,

    and eventually there will be a connection to bricktown through the Hub and hopefully transit traffic.

    These four (well 3, soon to be 4), already established areas surround this block. Opening the grid would connect them and would tap from all these popular areas. Mega potential here.

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    From a traffic standpoint, would this help or hinder flow? Adding more stoplights would probably slow down traffic....which can already be terrible at busy times. But a GOOD traffic study could potentially solve that if the city will do it.
    Well, considering currently NO traffic can flow through that block, it stand to reason that it would help traffic flow by adding another street to disperse congestion. Increased connectivity can make the environment safer for pedestrians and help alleviate traffic congestion.

  2. #252

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    I'm just stirring conversation here.....so knowing that a new arena will be going back and forth for any foreseeable future, what would be the overriding reason to break up the block rather than make the city search for and purchase new land each time the conversation comes up instead of using existing owned land downtown?

    Is there current pedestrian traffic that would benefit from this restoration? Going west/east, there's already a barrier in both directions from the gardens and the rail line. North to South, there could be benefit there.

    From a traffic standpoint, would this help or hinder flow? Adding more stoplights would probably slow down traffic....which can already be terrible at busy times. But a GOOD traffic study could potentially solve that if the city will do it. Not some of the crap studies they have been doing that dont actually DO anything.

    In understand the desire to split it up and spur development. Of course that's an assumption that there is interest in creating good development in this space. It's speculative at this point, but i will for sure acknowledge that it would probably happen....im guessing low-rise.

    If this were a couple of block west, i think i would probably be less of a fan of keeping it. But given where it is, (obviously) im skewed to leaving it as is. And remember, i'm trying to spur conversation for people to discuss this, not to start a mud slinging fest
    I don't think a new arena is going to happen at any point in the near-ish future. We're at least 25 years from anything like that. It's far enough in the future that it doesn't make sense to leave the Cox Center sitting there waiting for it to happen. Not when it's in such a good location.

    There was a wave of new arena construction in the recent past, and many locations that were not that old had to be replaced. This has created a false sense in many people that the life expectancy of an NBA arena is only 20 years or so. This is incorrect. The reason those arenas had to be replaced was because of the increased use of luxury boxes. This was a significant physical change to the design of newer arenas that significantly increased revenue for the team. With a new collective bargaining agreement paying players a lot more money, if you didn't have luxury boxes bringing in cash, you went broke. That was the problem with the Seattle Key Arena. They renovated the damn thing just before luxury boxes became a thing you had to have.

    The Chesapeake Arena was built with luxury boxes built-in. It has all the modern amenities that you'd want for an NBA team. Unless some structural defect is discovered, or some new physical change in arena design becomes the must-have thing, the Chesapeake will be fine. New electronics equipment can just be retrofitted in. Most new amenities can. The only thing that would require a new building is if they come up with some new arrangement of how the concrete is poured. As of May 22, 2017, zero NBA arenas have such a design change. Until something like that happens, there's no point in planning the new arena.

    The Cox Center will be immediately across the street from what is planned to be the central hub of our future regional mass transit system. It will also be a short distance from the Chesapeake and the new convention center. And it's on the streetcar route. It will be a pretty bustling place, as opposed to the dead zone it is now.

    The best use for it? Restore the street grid. Break up each block into sections and begin privately bidding them out. The city should be willing to take its time, and demand high quality designs. I think we could get two full service hotels, probably two residential towers, two or three office towers, a parking garage, and some sort of pedestrian-oriented events center. Let's say we orient the towers so they're towards the outside of the superblock, and then the "inside" of the block would have a 4-5 story streetwall all the way around on the new connecting streets.

  3. #253

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Since it looks like a new arena will be built at the fairgrounds, if and when we need a new one why not just rebuild the Peake and play temporarily at the fair venue?

    In any event, absolutely no need to set aside prime property for something that may never happen.

  4. #254

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Since it looks like a new arena will be built at the fairgrounds, if and when we need a new one why not just rebuild the Peake and play temporarily at the fair venue?

    In any event, absolutely no need to set aside prime property for something that may never happen.
    ^ we need a like button!

  5. Default Re: Cox Center

    Remember, i'm just stirring conversation, which seems to be a plenty on this

    So since the city does own this, lets explore the possibility of tossing the Cox after the CC opens. Couple of things to look at with that.
    1 - What's the current contract with the Renaissance (or whatever it is now) since they manage the Cox Center's meeting space? Do we have to retain the space for some length of time or is there a buy-out or something similar available?
    2 - If the meeting space is lost, one would assume all of the "traffic" would move to the new CC. So does that put another nail in the coffin for the "R" to survive under its new flag? Do you think the city would include some sort of construction option for at least some amount of meeting space tied to the existing skybridge? Do we even keep the skybridge?
    3 - The big one. Would anyone be willing to contact the city manager to ask if the city would be interested in dozing the Myriad after the CC is open?

    If #3 happens after 1/2 are worked out, then a couple of other assumptions have to have happened.
    1 - The city will not close the doors as long as the place is budgetarily positive. If it's making money, they could even shudder part of it (ie the arena as suggested by Pete since the Fairgrounds one will be pretty close in capacity ability), and use the meeting spaces as needed per above point 1/2.
    2 - The city will not close the doors and bulldoze until they have something sold. I'm sure they are looking at the Stage Center lot and are very unhappy with how that went.
    3 - Any legal folks know if a plot like that can be speculatively sold as "broken up" before the grid is actually there? Meaning, if the city wants to sell off the land to developers, can they even do that before they doze and construct the road since right now, it's a single plot? I'm not up on the legal side of how that would work. The last thing we need is a Myriad sized plot of dirt in the heart of downtown where a functioning/occupied/maintained building stands.

    My only other word of caution (dont hate me, i'm just playing devil's advocate for the other side since everyone here seems to be on the "tear it down" camp). This is speculative development....like ALL of C2S. With all of the C2S space 30 years from being developed, and supposedly prime real estate, what makes this so special? And being private development, like C2S, we have zero idea of what quality/type the development would be. We also don't currently have a market for office/residential to eat up that HUGE block of land. Throw something like the Stage Center plans on this plot and we'd flood the market on both sides...which also is not good. I'm honestly thinking we're looking at more of a 5 floor type structure space without current market. And with everyone pushing ground floor retail....we sure dont have the market to support that much of it. You manage to get all those structures built with something other than upscale residential, you might have something there though.....if a grocery store is part of it. That much ground retail would be equivalent to an entire shopping district, which is nothing to brush off in terms of how difficult it would be to convince retailers to move in. And we can't rely on only local shops....its going to HAVE to have chains to sustain/spur it.

    Commence the shredding of my post....3...2...1.....

  6. #256

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Since it looks like a new arena will be built at the fairgrounds, if and when we need a new one why not just rebuild the Peake and play temporarily at the fair venue?

    In any event, absolutely no need to set aside prime property for something that may never happen.
    The NBA is never going to play a season at a 12k arena with no suites and no club level That would not be realistic.

    Also the Chesapeake site is really not big enough for a modern arena

    People that say the Peake is "fine"

    1 the Peake needs (or will need soon ) a second level of suites
    2. The Peake is lacking in bars/restaurants and really has no place to add them

    3. Back of house room at the Peake is pretty cramped

  7. #257

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    Remember, i'm just stirring conversation, which seems to be a plenty on this

    So since the city does own this, lets explore the possibility of tossing the Cox after the CC opens. Couple of things to look at with that.
    1 - What's the current contract with the Renaissance (or whatever it is now) since they manage the Cox Center's meeting space? Do we have to retain the space for some length of time or is there a buy-out or something similar available?
    2 - If the meeting space is lost, one would assume all of the "traffic" would move to the new CC. So does that put another nail in the coffin for the "R" to survive under its new flag? Do you think the city would include some sort of construction option for at least some amount of meeting space tied to the existing skybridge? Do we even keep the skybridge?
    3 - The big one. Would anyone be willing to contact the city manager to ask if the city would be interested in dozing the Myriad after the CC is open?

    If #3 happens after 1/2 are worked out, then a couple of other assumptions have to have happened.
    1 - The city will not close the doors as long as the place is budgetarily positive. If it's making money, they could even shudder part of it (ie the arena as suggested by Pete since the Fairgrounds one will be pretty close in capacity ability), and use the meeting spaces as needed per above point 1/2.
    2 - The city will not close the doors and bulldoze until they have something sold. I'm sure they are looking at the Stage Center lot and are very unhappy with how that went.
    3 - Any legal folks know if a plot like that can be speculatively sold as "broken up" before the grid is actually there? Meaning, if the city wants to sell off the land to developers, can they even do that before they doze and construct the road since right now, it's a single plot? I'm not up on the legal side of how that would work. The last thing we need is a Myriad sized plot of dirt in the heart of downtown where a functioning/occupied/maintained building stands.

    My only other word of caution (dont hate me, i'm just playing devil's advocate for the other side since everyone here seems to be on the "tear it down" camp). This is speculative development....like ALL of C2S. With all of the C2S space 30 years from being developed, and supposedly prime real estate, what makes this so special? And being private development, like C2S, we have zero idea of what quality/type the development would be. We also don't currently have a market for office/residential to eat up that HUGE block of land. Throw something like the Stage Center plans on this plot and we'd flood the market on both sides...which also is not good. I'm honestly thinking we're looking at more of a 5 floor type structure space without current market. And with everyone pushing ground floor retail....we sure dont have the market to support that much of it. You manage to get all those structures built with something other than upscale residential, you might have something there though.....if a grocery store is part of it. That much ground retail would be equivalent to an entire shopping district, which is nothing to brush off in terms of how difficult it would be to convince retailers to move in. And we can't rely on only local shops....its going to HAVE to have chains to sustain/spur it.

    Commence the shredding of my post....3...2...1.....
    The Renaissance contract is ending soon which is the main reason they are taking their flag to Bricktown. Its all about supply and demand, if you build a new larger modern convention center, your older convention is not going to be able to charge as much as it did before. I don't know what the operating expenses are on the Cox Center, but half of it sits empty most of the year and I don't see the convention center half of the building maintaining its current level of business.

  8. #258

    Default Re: Cox Center


  9. #259

    Default Re: Cox Center

    I think we need to start a "Save The Cox Center" campaign. It's such a marvelous piece of architecture and a part of OKC history that should be preserved. /sarcasm

  10. #260

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    I think we need to start a "Save The Cox Center" campaign. It's such a marvelous piece of architecture and a part of OKC history that should be preserved. /sarcasm
    I’m terribly confused as to what you mean a “marvelous piece of architecture”. The cox center doesn’t have any true architectural elements to it nor any potential in my eyes. Tearing it down would help our city much more than ever keeping it up. It’s time to restore the grid!

  11. #261

    Default Re: Cox Center

    he was being facetious. ...

    OF COURSE BCHRIS WANTS THE COX REMOVED AND THE GRID RESTORED!!
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  12. Default Re: Cox Center

    I think it should be converted into the International Urban Renewal Museum

  13. #263

    Default Re: Cox Center

    If the grid is restored, do we trust OKC to sell the land to quality developers, and those developers to come up with top-notch developments?

  14. #264

    Default Re: Cox Center

    I'm more worried about (so called -- rightly so I'm sure) top-notch developers that will buy-and-hold vs buy-and-build. We shouldn't even tear it down until there's an approved, funded plan on the books. Keep using the arena for things, make money of it, etc, until we have plans in hand.

    At a recent talk by Aubrey McDermid, she said they were trying to put more teeth into the municipal code regarding compliance with Plan OKC. It's possible I'm misremembering certain details, but the point is she said they're actively working on being able to prevent some of the things that have happened in recent years that really shouldn't have, but did because the Plan OKC has no teeth due to the way the municipal code is written.

    (incidentally during Q&A I asked how she felt about de-annexation and she said she preferred not to answer publicly)

  15. #265

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Maybe it could be turned into the Pei plan disaster museum.

  16. #266

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Sooner.Arch View Post
    I’m terribly confused as to what you mean a “marvelous piece of architecture”. The cox center doesn’t have any true architectural elements to it nor any potential in my eyes. Tearing it down would help our city much more than ever keeping it up. It’s time to restore the grid!
    ...?

    How could you be confused? He literally wrote the word "sarcasm" at the end of his post. You quoted it.

  17. Default Re: Cox Center

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but since this property is owned by the City of OKC, wouldn't it go through a competitive RFP process for redevelopment?

  18. #268

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but since this property is owned by the City of OKC, wouldn't it go through a competitive RFP process for redevelopment?
    technically yes. assuming it isn't all done in informal and behind closed door meetings..

  19. Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by jedicurt View Post
    technically yes. assuming it isn't all done in informal and behind closed door meetings..
    Please cite an example - ANY example - of a significant public property being sold for redevelopment purposes to a private party or parties via "informal and behind closed door meetings."

    Here are the downtown parcels that I can think of off the top of my head which have been sold or transferred for private redevelopment by the City or OCURA over the past 20 years or so:

    • Deep Deuce Apartments (developer selected via RFP process)
    • Lower Bricktown (developer selected via RFP process)
    • The Hill (developer selected via RFP process)
    • Skirvin Hilton hotel (redeveloper selected via RFP process)
    • Legacy/Avana (developer selected via RFP process)
    • Devon Tower (yes, even Devon Tower property was transferred via RFP process, and Devon took the process very seriously)
    • The Edge (redeveloper selected via RFP process...actually two RFPs because first award for old Mercy site was unable to perform)
    • Page Woodson (redeveloper selected via RFP process)
    • Convention Center (Omni) hotel development and operation (developer/operator selected via RFP process)
    • Housing/mixed use adjacent Omni Hotel (developer selected via RFP process)

    Other notable projects with public land interest, and their respective processes/transactions:

    • First National Bank redevelopment (awarded by federal judge based upon recommendation of court-appointed receiver, who utilized a competetive RFQ/proposal process)
    • South of Stage Center site (awarded to Clayco via RFP process, though developer did not perform, showing like old Mercy site that RFP doesn't solve all issues)
    • Block 42 (developer approached OCURA asking for them to assist in acquiring blighted property adjacent to land on which he was already in control of)
    • PLICO/Flatiron (originally acquired by OCURA on behalf of Presbyterian Health Foundation, this was not done via RFP as its development was specifically tied to adjacent land owned by the foundation. The entire thing was complicated, but OCURA and PHF and then the owner it was transferred to had a say in how it was developed. When the original development partner was unable to perform the current developer was selected and designs approved after an extensive review process covered extensively in multiple local papers and in this forum)
    • Aloft (mostly private aquisition although included some City/OCURA land after application from owner controlling adjacent property)
    • Renaissance Hotel ( having a hard time finding contemporary detailed stories on this deal - as no local reporters were specifically covering downtown beat at time - other than that it was happening. OCURA was involved, but I THINK this property was COTPA land, which would not have been subject to the RFP requirement. In this case I know the City sought out JQH because they desperately wanted a hotel across the street from the MAPS-funded Myriad conference facilities and John Q Hammons was top-of-the-heap at the time. I know that they made deals to lure him that they since had some regret over, including tying up catering and bookings at Cox Center and also obligating them to also allow him to build a future hotel adjacent to Chesapeake Arena, which eventually was Courtyard by Marriott. At the time - 1995 - they were truly desperate to get a hotel as there was only one single hotel downtown, off-brand at that).
    • Courtyard by Marriott (this property was subject to a handshake deal with John Q Hammons to get him to do Renaissance. By the time arena was constructed the City was less desperate and took a look at other deals - at least one of them, that is - before allowing Hammons to proceed. Not sure what process was as I cannot find reporting specific to how selection was made.
    • Like PLICO, a number of deals in the OU Medical Center area were/are subject to a long-term development agreement between OCURA and what was the Presbyterian Health Foundation, so they have different layers of processes but still go through a pretty rigorous vetting.

    Deals which to the best of my memory mostly unencumbered by public land ownership:

    • Brownstones at Maywood (mostly property acquired privately, a ton of which was a private sale of Kerr-McGee lots in Deep Deuce to Triangle partners)
    • Lofts at Maywood (spinoff of Triangle after Brownstones failed to connect and for-sale market upheaval and correction
    • Maywood II (same as above)
    • LEVEL (same as above)
    • Mosaic (same as above)
    • Central Avenue Villas (private land acquisition)
    • Metropolitan (private land acquisition)
    • LIFT (land acquired and development driven by Saint Anthony)
    • Too many Midtown Renaissance, Steve Mason and other redevelopment projects to mention here, all via private land aquisition
    • Steelyard (private land acquisition)
    • Criterion Theater (private land acquisition)
    • Hotels in Bricktown not already mentioned, including Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, all private land acquisition
    • West Village (private land acquisition)
    • Sandridge and associated property (private land acquisition)

    Everything in the above list, despite being privately acquired, endured various levels of scrutiny in public meetings including Bricktown and downtown design reviews, all of which occurred in open meetings with published agendas and minutes.

    Sometimes of course public land has been swapped (mostly with other cities or government entities), but nobody is swapping the Cox Center land, as evidenced by the city turning down such a proposal by REHCO for the old Ford dealership site.

    Regarding COTPA, which as I pointed out is a public trust with OKC as its beneficiary municipality and NOT the same thing as the City of Oklahoma City (read a description of the purpose of municipal public trust here), there have been a number of transactions in recent years. Keep in mind that the responsibilities of a public trust are to work to the benefit of its associated municipality, NOT necessarily to get the most money out of a property. For instance, in the case of the Santa Fe garage - which let's be honest obviously drove the post that I quoted - this means for instance not putting a property on the market to the highest bidder but instead looking at the most benefit for the City and its taxpayers.

    If you do the former, you could end up with a single-focus, bottom-line-only parking operator who price gouges, drives up the parking rates in the immediate area, runs off corporate users - like Continental or BancFirst, for instance - and makes redevelopment of contiguous space such as Cotter Ranch Tower tricky or even impossible. Can you think of ANY scenarios whereby a highest bidder might not be the best deal for OKC? Can you think of any downtown property owners who you might not want to own it, simply by nature of writing the largest check?

    Instead, the deal currently being considered does the following:

    • Provides Continental a long-term parking solution and solidifies their ability to remain in downtown OKC
    • Enables BancFirst to confidently purchase and redevelop Cotter Ranch Tower with contiguous parking
    • Guarantees the existing parking arrangement with the Skirvin
    • Requires after-hours event parking availablity to remain in place
    • Frees up Cox Center underground parking from Contintental requirements so that it can be redeveloped at some point
    • Frees up bonding capacity for COTPA to build and participate in other needed structured parking deals

    COTPA also, by the way:

    • did redevelopment deal for Century Center Garage after being approached by developer with plan
    • Developed Arts District Garage, with a public selection process for architect and an attempt via OCURA to RFP residential above garage

    Again, these things were done by a public trust charged with managing its assets to the best possible benefit of Oklahoma City, and these things were done largely through open processes. If you care to, you can go find links to every single thing I posted. Meeting agendas, meeting minutes, extensive reporting in publications like The Oklahoman, The Journal Record, The Gazette and others, television stories, etc., and extensive coverage and conversation ad nauseam in this very forum.

    Regarding The Alliance, which is a frequent target here, it is pretty openly acknowledged by those who follow such things that - although there are still areas where media would like more access - the OCURA business it conducts is VASTLY more transparent than it has ever been. One of the deals struck during the creation of the organization was a requirement that their meetings be public, which is NOT a legal requirement (meaning they exceed the legal requirement there). You can go attend an OCURA meeting anytime. Here is the meeting schedule for both OCURA and the Economic Development Trust.

    Additionally, The Alliance publishes meetings minutes and also reports on their activities, including a President's Report and a regular newsletter. There are also regular blog-type posts, most directly from Cathy O'Connor. There is a description of who they are, there is lots of detail on what they do, there is a list of current RFPs (right now there are ten).

    I honestly question whether many who are so critical of this group have ever been to a meeting, read an agenda, or even spent time on the website. For all of the talk about how nefarious this group is, a huge amount of what they do is available online at the click of your mouse. Click for yourself and judge for yourself. And go to a meeting if you'd like. You can even sign up to be heard.

    Embark/COTPA's meetings are also pretty easy to track down, by the way.

    So I will ask again...which of the above-listed projects makes you think that the Cox Center site would be sold off to a private developer for redevelopment purposes via a back-room deal with no public process? I'm sure I haven't listed everything, and maybe you can give me an example of it happening before, but before you casually toss out a suggestion that it is possible or even likely that it would happen to the Cox site, maybe you could list at least...one?

  20. #270

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Iíve been an avid reader of this site for over a decade and as much as I enjoy your posts, this is one of my favorites... great job...

  21. #271

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    Regarding The Alliance, which is a frequent target here, it is pretty openly acknowledged by those who follow such things that - although there are still areas where media would like more access - the OCURA business it conducts is VASTLY more transparent than it has ever been. One of the deals struck during the creation of the organization was a requirement that their meetings be public, which is NOT a legal requirement (meaning they exceed the legal requirement there). You can go attend an OCURA meeting anytime. Here is the meeting schedule for both OCURA and the Economic Development Trust.

    Additionally, The Alliance publishes meetings minutes and also reports on their activities, including a President's Report and a regular newsletter. There are also regular blog-type posts, most directly from Cathy O'Connor. There is a description of who they are, there is lots of detail on what they do, there is a list of current RFPs (right now there are ten).
    To clarify a few things:

    None of the Alliance meetings, negotiations, documents or anything else are subject to open meetings and records laws. They don't publish minutes and the information they share is completely at their own discretion and is selective. Prior to establishing the Alliance, everything regarding the matters they now handle was subject to open meetings and records laws.

    And long before the Alliance was formed, OCURA published its minutes and their meetings were open. In fact, I have minutes that date back as far as 2006 (the Alliance was formed in 2011) that were provided upon request and they specifically state the group was operating under the OK Open Meetings Law and list attendees that include reporters.

  22. #272

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    Please cite an example - ANY example - of a significant public property being sold for redevelopment purposes to a private party or parties via "informal and behind closed door meetings."
    I was being facetious. but am actually very glad that it resulted in your post. because I actually wasn't aware, or not fully understanding the history of a few of the things you mentioned. it is a very informative post and I thank you for your time and effort you put into it.

  23. #273
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    Default Re: Cox Center

    Pete, what Alliance secret deals do you believe are being concocted at this time that are being done in bad faith or in avoidance of transparency?

    Other than the Alliance persons themselves, who are the main bad actors conspiring to do the behind the scenes deals? You seem to know what all is happening, so in the public's interest, please identify projects and name names. If you don't have the resources or wish to be at the forefront, can you get your new partner, Ch 4, to do it? You seem pasionate about resolving this, so light the fuse.

  24. #274

    Default Re: Cox Center

    Nobody is really saying that the Alliance is doing anything shady.

    I think the point is that there should be no reason for anybody to ever even have to worry about anybody doing anything shady due to FOI and Open Records laws. And having an organization that doesn't have to comply with these laws at the very least creates the impression that something 'could' be going on, but that impression could be mitigated by having open meetings, releasing records, etc.

    Sunshine Laws don't always exist to catch bad actors, they exist to show that bad actors didn't exist to begin with.

  25. #275
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    Default Re: Cox Center

    If what is being insinuated is true, then the open meetings act has been regularly violated. That would mean there are bad actors conspiring to meet and conduct business. And, it seems as if they would be meeting to discuss the business presented to them from outside interests who then are likely part and parcel.

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