View Full Version : Thanks, Gov! It's a 4 point play!



Doug Loudenback
03-02-2008, 12:42 AM
Bold, visionary step Ford Center renovations would boost city's status | NewsOK.com (http://newsok.com/article/3210460)

http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/DougLoudenback/misc/GovHenryvs.jpg


Sun March 2, 2008
Ford Center renovations would boost city's status
By Gov. Brad Henry

Oklahoma City voters have an opportunity Tuesday to take a bold and visionary step, seizing on the momentum of our capital city. A proposed 12-month extension of the penny sales tax would pay for a host of improvements to the Ford Center — renovations that are critical if Oklahoma City has any hope of landing an NBA franchise.

This city and state are more than ready for such a prospect. When the New Orleans Hornets temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina, people throughout the region responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. The team's presence spurred tremendous economic activity and led to the creation of hundreds of jobs.

If approved by voters, the Ford Center renovations would be astounding. Improvements include a number of amenities, such as restaurants, clubs, concession areas, rooftop gardens and a family fun zone. The 12-month sales tax extension would include three more months if Oklahoma City has a signed lease with an NBA team. The additional months would enable construction of an NBA practice facility. Both facilities would be owned by the city, debt free, and an NBA team or other eventual occupants would make lease payments to the city.

The impact of these improvements extends well beyond the chance of seeing your favorite basketball stars up close. Joining the ranks of only 28 other American cities with an NBA team sends a clear and powerful message to the nation. It elevates Oklahoma City to a rarified status of cities boasting an aura of energy, style and creativity.

It is important to consider Tuesday's vote in the larger context of how it builds on past achievements.

Momentum is tough to create and even tougher to maintain. You can try nudging it along with attention and strategic investment, but ultimately momentum either materializes or it doesn't. Fortunately, Oklahoma City is reaping the dividends of an electrifying momentum that began with MAPS in 1993.

That landmark initiative spurred a downtown renaissance that shows no sign of slowing. Building state-of-the-art facilities such as the Ford Center, AT&T Bricktown Ballpark and Bricktown Canal — as well as development of the Oklahoma River — inspired further investment, growth and jobs. Bricktown emerged as a dynamic entertainment district and bona fide tourist destination. The shining jewel that is downtown Oklahoma City has economic, cultural and perceptual implications felt throughout the state, contributing to the ascendancy of Oklahoma as we enter our second century of statehood.

Let's ensure that momentum continues. Before us is a rare opportunity, a chance for Oklahoma City to become — quite literally — a big league city. We have witnessed a remarkable transformation over the past two decades, but it behooves us to heed the advice of Will Rogers: "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”

We have incredible momentum. The task at hand, as Will Rogers suggested, is to build on that momentum. If we take advantage of this opportunity, our city and state will flourish. Please vote yes on Tuesday.

fubaduba
03-02-2008, 01:35 AM
Ive spoken to over 25 house reps and senators and 19 are against it, 3 aren't sure and 3 are for it... 2 of the 19 against, Brogdan and Connie Johnston have the courage to go public about it...others like Mike Reynolds and so on have asked me to keep their opposition to this quiet. Reminds me a lot of the former Soviet Union, not something to be proud of.

bornhere
03-02-2008, 04:14 AM
Tracked the chamber talking points exactly. Well done. Did somebody point out to him how much McClendon contributed to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?

Doug Loudenback
03-02-2008, 05:28 AM
I, too, agree with the Chamber's "talking points." The Oklahoman's editorial this morning is also quite good, at Counterpoints: Some answers to arena questions | NewsOK.com (http://newsok.com/article/3210457)


Sun March 2, 2008
Counterpoints: Some answers to arena questions
The Oklahoman Editorial

OKLAHOMA City residents will vote Tuesday on a plan that, if approved, would upgrade the Ford Center and give the city a chance to land an NBA franchise. It's a proposal we've supported since the mayor first announced the plan back in December, because we see it as an excellent way to continue the momentum that's been building here for more than a decade.

The question before voters is whether to use revenue from a 1-cent sales tax to overhaul the Ford Center and, if an NBA team is placed here, to also build a practice facility. Not everyone feels as we do — that this plan figures to be a real winner for the city — and have used any number of arguments to make their case. We thought we'd review some of those and offer rebuttal.

•This is a tax increase. Wrong. It would be an extension of a tax we're already paying to finance MAPS for Kids initiatives. This tax would begin Jan. 1, the day after the MAPS for Kids tax expires.

•Why not finance improvements with a bond issue, rather than a sales tax? Bond issues incur debt. The sales tax plan, like the sales taxes that funded MAPS and the bulk of MAPS for Kids, allows for a pay-as-you-go strategy with no debt.

•Only a small percentage of those who pay the tax will ever use the Ford Center or attend an NBA game. The same argument could have been applied to the original MAPS vote. Not everyone goes to the Bricktown Ballpark, walks along the canal, bikes along the Oklahoma River, visits the downtown library or attends trade shows at Cox Center. All these projects were made possible by the MAPS sales tax. Many, if not most, of the people who pay the existing tax don't have children in a public school built by MAPS for Kids money. Yet the MAPS projects and the new schools have spurred private investment and dramatically increased the quality of life.

•Let those who attend NBA games pay for the arena improvements. Hundreds of thousands of people attend all kinds of events at the Ford Center every year. And again, should only those who walk along the canal or bike along the river have paid for those improvements? Should only those who check out books at the downtown library pay for those upgrades? Should only those who drive on May Avenue every day repay bonded indebtedness to maintain that street?

•The Ford Center is a luxury. Improving it only six years after it opened is senseless. The city has many greater priorities, such as street repair. The Ford Center was part of the original MAPS proposal and designed in the early 1990s. It was built in a modest fashion to keep costs down. It's now 2008. Kansas City has a sparkling new arena. Tulsa is building a first-class arena. Oklahoma City needs to remain competitive with its own arena as it vies for concerts and major sporting events such as Big 12 and NCAA basketball tournaments. As for street repair, citizens passed a major bond issue three months ago to address infrastructure needs.

•The poor are hardest hit by sales taxes. Oklahoma's taxation system, unfortunately, limits cities to the sales tax almost exclusively for revenues. Changing the taxation system is the answer to the problem of overreliance on sales taxes.

•The city is big enough. We don't need to be a major league city and have the traffic problems that cities like Dallas and Houston do. If you're not going forward, you're going backward. Standing pat isn't an option. Our city must pursue growth strategies that benefit the entire community through higher earnings. Major league sports franchises attract the people who bring jobs to a city. Those jobs benefit the whole economy. Remodeling the Ford Center won't turn Oklahoma City into Dallas. But it will give us an edge on cities such as Tulsa, Wichita, Little Rock and others.

•Why spend $120 million to accommodate a team that will play only 40 or so games each year? Upgrades to the Ford Center wouldn't be solely for the benefit of an NBA team. The arena will be available year-round for events of all kinds, appealing to all groups of people. The offering of things to do in this city since MAPS led to the arena construction is dramatically different than it was before the Ford Center. An upgraded Ford Center could make a similar difference.

•The arena is a freebie for an NBA team's owners. Wrong. If an NBA team is placed in Oklahoma City, the team would pay to lease the practice gym and arena office space.

•Citizens shouldn't subsidize private business. In an ideal world, that might be true. In a competitive world, it's not practical. We subsidize private business with tax incentives such as the Quality Jobs Program. We seek to lure movie production companies to the state through incentives. We attempt to match subsidies offered by other states in order to reap the benefits of economic expansion. Public participation in projects related to sports franchises is common because citizens recognize the value of these franchises to increase jobs, boost tax revenues and increase the visibility of the city on the world stage.

A yes vote Tuesday is a vote for continued progress for Oklahoma City, which has come a long way in a relatively short time. Let's not stop now.

solitude
03-02-2008, 08:03 AM
And Clay Bennet says, thanks family! The family paper is one big Pro-Yes flyer today. Here's the front of NewsOK.com - of course, Clay Bennett really hasn't pushed hard for this and "doesn't really have much of a voice."

http://aycu13.webshots.com/image/47412/2004041254033472658_rs.jpg

Doug Loudenback
03-02-2008, 09:31 AM
Here are Council Member's Skip Kelly's views, from the Black Chronicle, Black Chronicle (http://news.mywebpal.com/partners/356/public/news881610.html)


Another Sound Investment

Vote Yes for Big League City Proposal

02/29/08

To the Editor:

My greatest memory of going to the Hornets games at the Ford Center was seeing the joy on the faces of the kids in the audience.

Children of all ages and colors had such fun.

Well, I truly believe that, after those youngsters experienced something on such a grand scale (something bigger than themselves), it helped them get up the next day and go to school and have a positive outlook on life.

The progress Oklahoma City has made in the last decade has had a similarly positive effect on those who live here, as well as on those who view us from afar.

The Oklahoma City residents I encounter (whether they are bankers, teachers or construction workers) are all proud of the progress our city has made.

Even residents of other cities and other parts of the country I encounter realize something great is happening in Oklahoma City.

We should be proud of our progress, but we must continue moving forward and stay ahead of our competition.

We can do that by voting yes on the Big League City proposal on the ballot on Tuesday, March 4.

During the past 15 years--as MAPS and MAPS for Kids have been implemented--we have seen the benefits and economic growth that can occur when the city and private industry work together to improve our community.

I believe that voting yes on March 4 will prove to be another sound investment.

Ronald “Skip” Kelly
Ward 7
City Councilman

Markbb
03-02-2008, 09:58 AM
What if we vote Yes and they don't come, does the tax still stay in effect are we assured that this tax WILL bring a pro basketball team

BDP
03-02-2008, 10:18 AM
Ive spoken to over 25 house reps and senators and 19 are against it, 3 aren't sure and 3 are for it... 2 of the 19 against,

How many of these people were from districts inside the Oklahoma City limits?

Maybe they're against it because they know that many surrounding communities have thrived off the decline of Oklahoma City over the years and may have felt the interest in locating to their district decline in recent years as the city is becoming a viable and more attractive place. Do they want their people spending their money at the big show in Oklahoma City or staying put and spending it in their districts??? Do they want Oklahoma City to become THE place for business in the state or do they want to still be able to run down the city as an option?

I don't know, but if I were not representing Oklahoma City in the state legislature, I'd probably have an interest in being against it too.

Doug Loudenback
03-02-2008, 10:24 AM
Ive spoken to over 25 house reps and senators and 19 are against it, 3 aren't sure and 3 are for it... 2 of the 19 against, Brogdan and Connie Johnston have the courage to go public about it...others like Mike Reynolds and so on have asked me to keep their opposition to this quiet. Reminds me a lot of the former Soviet Union, not something to be proud of.
Reminds me that no one should tell you anything they'd like kept quiet! Not something to be proud of.

flintysooner
03-02-2008, 10:37 AM
There is a lot of jealousy directed towards Oklahoma City from people who live outside the City and even in the suburbs. Partly I think it is just envy and partly because they feel they have no say in the sales tax issue.

But I think it is important for the entire metropolitan area and for the entire state that downtown Oklahoma City be as viable and vibrant as possible.

fubaduba
03-02-2008, 10:56 AM
If we want to be a Big Leauge City we CANT continue to have what Columbia Journalism Review and many others call "The worst newspaper in America"

Citadel is looking to divest from some of its radio holdings, I think some good okc people, not the usual monied interests here, should look into finding a way to take those stations back. We need to start telling our own story, not letting some myopic corporate interest in Nevada do so....

http://www.citadelbroadcasting.com/uploadedFiles/Websites/Citadel_Broadcasting/Content/Press_Room/2007/CITADEL%20BROADCASTING%20HIRES%20INVESTMENT%20BANK S%20TO%20DIVEST%20RADIO%20STATIONS.pdf

betts
03-02-2008, 10:59 AM
Although it is true the Daily Oklahoman is run by a relative by marriage of Clay Bennett, I think they would support this regardless. The Journal Record has come out in support of it, and even the Gazette has, both the publisher and in this week's editorial. This is a good thing for Oklahoma City. The Bricktown Merchants and the Merchants on Western have endorsed it. Personally, I have yet to speak to anyone on a face to face basis who does not think this is a good thing. That includes people in what we might consider the lower income parts of town where I have been putting out promotional materials. That includes the elderly. I have two friends whose parents are very elderly, and both have insisted they be driven to the polling place on Tuesday so they can vote. They told their children that although they might not be alive to see the changes an NBA team can bring, they want the city to move forward for their grandchildren.

And, as has been said before, there's not a city that has an NBA team that wants to lose it. Even Seattle, which has two other professional teams, and so could be expected to be more complaisant, is fighting to keep the team. Their populace and their political leaders may not want to pay for an arena, but they want the team.

Oklahoma City is not a perfect city, but what city is, really? I see getting a team as a means to raise the tax base in the city proper, by hopefully bringing people back from the suburbs into town. Not the only means, but an important part of multiple things being done to make our downtown more vibrant and a better place in which to live. To me, this is about far more than basketball.

Easy180
03-02-2008, 11:35 AM
Seems to be a few opponents on here are having to get very creative to try and sway opinion

Might as well come out and say Cornett is actually against it as well...About as effective

solitude
03-02-2008, 11:38 AM
Seems to be a few opponents on here are having to get very creative to try and sway opinion

Might as well come out and say Cornett is actually against it as well...About as effective

I agree with that. Quoting unnamed State Representatives is pretty lame.

OUSoonerfan3
03-02-2008, 11:54 AM
What if we vote Yes and they don't come, does the tax still stay in effect are we assured that this tax WILL bring a pro basketball team

The tax would be in effect for 12 months instead of 15 and would still pay for improvements to the Ford Center. The practice facility would not be built.

BG918
03-02-2008, 10:36 PM
OKC is the capital and largest city in the state. The OKC metro is home to more than a third of the total residents of Oklahoma. Investing in OKC, in the center of the state, is like investing in the entire state. The NBA coming helps OKC AND Oklahoma, including Tulsa.

Kerry
03-02-2008, 11:10 PM
Did somebody point out to him how much McClendon contributed to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? - bornhere

Why is this relevent? I'll tell you why. You are more wrapped in the "who" than in the "what". According to you if McClendon had donated to the John Kerry campaign you would be all for this tax vote. Just how shallow are you?

andy157
03-03-2008, 12:44 AM
Although it is true the Daily Oklahoman is run by a relative by marriage of Clay Bennett, I think they would support this regardless. The Journal Record has come out in support of it, and even the Gazette has, both the publisher and in this week's editorial. This is a good thing for Oklahoma City. The Bricktown Merchants and the Merchants on Western have endorsed it. Personally, I have yet to speak to anyone on a face to face basis who does not think this is a good thing. That includes people in what we might consider the lower income parts of town where I have been putting out promotional materials. That includes the elderly. I have two friends whose parents are very elderly, and both have insisted they be driven to the polling place on Tuesday so they can vote. They told their children that although they might not be alive to see the changes an NBA team can bring, they want the city to move forward for their grandchildren.

And, as has been said before, there's not a city that has an NBA team that wants to lose it. Even Seattle, which has two other professional teams, and so could be expected to be more complaisant, is fighting to keep the team. Their populace and their political leaders may not want to pay for an arena, but they want the team.

Oklahoma City is not a perfect city, but what city is, really? I see getting a team as a means to raise the tax base in the city proper, by hopefully bringing people back from the suburbs into town. Not the only means, but an important part of multiple things being done to make our downtown more vibrant and a better place in which to live. To me, this is about far more than basketball.Betts, I may be mistaking. But in another thread you made a statement to the effect that, you will(or would) move away should this vote fail. I truly believe that would be a bad thing. I don't know who you are but you seem to be a very nice person. If by chance this vote were to fail, thereby causing you to move away, then sadly OKC would lose a fine Citizen. It's going to pass. So, even though at some point in time you may feel the need to move away, or other circumstances dictate you do so, it won't be over this issue.
But here is my question, and it concerns this post. I understand you used the term "hopefully", but do you truly believe that OKC landing an NBA Basketball team would cause anyone that lives in the surrounding suburbs to move into or back into OKC? If so. I'm sorry. But that seems a bit far fetched. But, if by your meaning of "by hopefully bringing people back from the suburbs into town" refers to coming into town to attend a home game, then by all means, you are correct.

betts
03-03-2008, 03:53 AM
I'm not saying I will necessarily move if we don't get an NBA team. But, I've said in the past that my children have all or are moving away. They pretty much told me it was because there's not enough to do here, and they want to go out and enjoy themselves while they're young. A couple (I have quite a few....well, four) have indicated they might be willing to move back at some point in their lives when they're feeling staid, but I kind of doubt it.

I'd had quite a few busy years working and raising children, and so evenings were kind of a time when I could take a breather. I was happy to sit down and relax. But, as my parental responsibilities have lessened, I'm more interested in having things to do in my free time. When the Hornets were here, I bargained with my husband for season tickets (he escaped the responsibility of buying me any birthday, Christmas, anniversary presents for those two years). I missed three games in two years, and despite the fact that he was initially disinterested in going, after a couple of games my husband was hooked too. This year, when winter rolled around, we realized our evening options included the movies (how many can you seriously go to?) and Modern Marvels and Animal Planet on tv. Well, reading of course was another option. It's been a huge loss to not have those games to go to, now that we know what we're missing. So, with children other places, jobs that give us some flexibility, I have to admit that it has crossed my mind that I could live near my kids and enjoy professional basketball. I love Oklahoma City, and have been really proud of the changes we've made in the last few years. But, I must admit that if this tax proposal doesn't pass, I am going to be extremely disappointed, and probably in mourning for a few weeks minimum for what could have been.

Now, why do I think having an NBA could bring people back from the suburbs? I realize that it seems like a bit of a stretch, but I'm not sure that's the case. I think that some of the factors that drove people out to the suburbs are gone, and I think there's a changing perception of city life on the part of people these days. Edmond's growth, at least when I moved here, was directly related to busing of schoolchildren. Prior to that, everyone I knew attended city schools. Now, busing is gone, but people are in Edmond, and the city has grown to the point that you can get a lot of what you need there. But I still think the city has some cachet that it can use to it's advantage. There are some unique neighborhoods and architecture you can't get in a new house. To bring people back into OKC proper, there has to be something people can get in the city that they can't get in the suburbs. First, if we can develop our downtown to the point that a significant number of people work there, that fact and the price of gas will help tremendously. But, the thing I think will be most effective is a combination of entertainment you can't get in the suburbs and downtown retail. We have to create a walking community of stores, restaurants and entertainment that is unique. It's kind of a catch 22, as you have to have the population to get the retail and the restaurants, and yet you have to have them to attract the population. That's where an NBA team will help, I think. I spent far more time downtown when the Hornets were here, and that's when I started thinking about moving downtown. I suspect that I'm not the only one, as I've heard several people say they're thinking about moving downtown when their kids are out of school. Having a team there, being able to walk to games, enjoying the conviviality of Bricktown and the surrounds before and after a game is very appealing to me. I'd be delighted to live right downtown if that were the case, but families probably are going to be less likely to be interested in that. But we've got some great close in neighborhoods, and we've got some with great renovation potential. If we could get that "it's cool to live in the city" mentality going, I think we'd start to see families buying houses and fixing them up. All of that would increase our property tax base in the city and help the schools. I think an NBA team would be a great jump start to this whole movement.

Sorry to be so longwinded, but I'm pretty passionate about this idea. And have my fingers crossed for tomorrow......

kevinpate
03-03-2008, 08:32 AM
Crytal ball time, just for betts

Looking 36 hours ahead, the outcome is -

Yea - 56.8%
Nay - 43.2%

There will be dancing in the streets, along with nashing of teeth, but come Wednesday, the sun will shine, the rain will clear, and life will go on.

I'm certain of the percentages, all I had to do was take the median number of words in for posts, and the mean number of words in nay posts, divide by the cube root of my third cousin's gardener's birth month and there it was, plain as day.

Karried
03-03-2008, 08:50 AM
yay for yeas!!!

Kevin, I so hope you are spot on. Look for me doing the moonwalk down Broadway ( or not).

metro
03-03-2008, 08:55 AM
Good article by the Gov.