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  1. #1

    Default State of the City address

    Did anyone attend yesterday? I totally forgot about it.

    OKC to focus on education, health

    February 1, 2008

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The city is experiencing a culture shift that emphasizes health and education, Mayor Mick Cornett said Thursday in his annual State of the City address. He also reiterated a responsibility to continue to grow Oklahoma City via the Core to Shore development plan near downtown, with emphasis on massive upgrades to the Ford Center arena to attract an NBA basketball team.“People judge cities by how they feel,” Cornett told a full auditorium at the Cox Convention Center. “Does it feel safe? Does it feel clean? Does it feel like the people are friendly? Do they seem educated? Are they tolerant? Is there an energy, a vitality, that any visitor can sense? When it comes to Oklahoma City, you bet there is.”

    The mayor cited several statistics and news items that present a positive image, including the metropolitan area’s gain of more than 65,000 jobs in the last four years, the U.S. Census counting Oklahoma City as the 12th fastest-growing large city in the country since 2000, the city recently passing a six-figure bond issue with nearly 80-percent voter support, and tourism-driven hotel revenues rising 16 percent in the last year.

    “We have some issues, too, but we’re working on them,” Cornett said, citing a homelessness task force that’s developing a 10-year action plan and joint efforts with the U.S. Attorney’s office to fight gang violence.

    Cornett said city leaders have four main issues to support in 2008, all of which have a direct impact on the local economy: education, health, city core development and the promotion of the so-called “big league city” tax issue worth $120 million to remodel the Ford Center.

    The city will host the NCAA women’s basketball regional tournament this year and the Big 12 men and women’s championships next year, but such large events are not guaranteed in later years, Cornett said. Oklahoma City faces the likelihood of falling behind other cities in the region competing for tournaments – including Tulsa – unless the Ford Center is improved. It’s an added benefit that about $20 million of the March 4 ballot question is expected to help sway the NBA’s board of directors in their decision to allow the Sonics basketball team to relocate to Oklahoma City, he said. Cornett used his address as an opportunity to secure support for the campaign, asking the audience to fill out cards for volunteer help or monetary donations.

    Citing the one-penny MAPS for Kids sales tax that expires next year, Cornett said, “We’re creating a city where people realize you must invest in your community. And there may be no better example of our community’s willingness to invest in itself, than our ever-increasing support for public education.”Continued support of school bond issues throughout the metro area proves that residents realize the need for continued funding, which in turn leads to an educated work force that attracts new business, Cornett said.

    Executives looking to establish jobs in the city also look at the overall health of the community, he said. To that end, the recently passed general obligation bond issue included nearly $70 million for about 350 miles of pedestrian walkways. The mayor has also gained national recognition for his initiative to put the city on a diet, urging residents to lose 1 million pounds of body weight collectively. About 25 percent of the city’s population is considered obese, according to a national health study.

    “While we have raised the standards for the city from a capital projects perspective, and a beautification perspective, in many ways we have not raised the standards for ourselves. And I’m speaking now about our health,” he said. “Let this be the year that we stop pretending that obesity is going to go away on its own.“We are at the beginning stages of a cultural shift,” he said. “We have not built this city by expecting little. And we do not have to accept less, not in our capital projects, not in our commitment to education, and certainly not in our health. ”Cornett’s luncheon presentation was sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

  2. Default Re: State of the City address

    Can we just keep Mick as mayor until he dies? I vote for that. lol

  3. #3

    Default Re: State of the City address

    I didn't get to go, either, but I did read the speech. You can find it online at City of Oklahoma City | News.

  4. #4

    Default Re: State of the City address

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrown84 View Post
    Can we just keep Mick as mayor until he dies? I vote for that. lol
    I feel the same way. So do others. In fact, I know a bunch of people who didn't vote for him for Congress, because they didn't want him to leave OKC. If he feels the need to move on, Governor might get him more votes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: State of the City address

    I didn't vote for Mick the first time around and really thought the citizens had made a big mistake voting him in as mayor. Boy was I wrong.

  6. Default Re: State of the City address

    When you have a mayor who gets more cheers and whoops than most celebrities when he appears in public, you know something good is going on in his city.

    The reaction to Mick at the Centennial Parade last October really made me smile.

  7. #7

    Default Re: State of the City address

    Just curious, besides his determination to get an NBA team, what are his major accomplishments that would make one want him as mayor for life? This is not to bash Mick, he's done a fine job (as far what the mayor in OKC can do), I'm just really curious.

  8. Default Re: State of the City address

    I don't think it matters who the mayor happens to be, at this point... He's just a figurehead (and not a bad one at all) and since he's the mayor it looks like he's holding all the strings behind the city's successes

    Obviously there's more to it than just Mayor Mick, but he's doing a heck of a lot as far as the NBA (which is NOT minor and NOT limited to sports- it permeates into international publicity, economy, quality of life, and tourism). He has also pushed really hard for urban neighborhoods and less auto-dependence in the city. For at least 2 years in a row he has stated in his State of the City that dependence on the automobile is not sustainable.

    But like I said, the things that are going on in this city right now are making him look really good. That's how things work for authority figures- they get all the praise or all the complaints, one way or the other.

  9. #9

    Default Re: State of the City address

    Anyone who thinks Mayor Cornett is just a figurehead is not seeing straight. The Mayor has shown himself to be one of the most visionary Mayors in OKC history. He has stirred this community to continue to believe and invest in itself. He is well respected among those in power at the City and State level around the Country and if we land an NBA team, it is my sincere belief that it will for OKC be one of the most significant achievements and contribute to the growth and development of the City for years to come. If that happens, I credit Mayor Cornett (from the Government perspective). This is a Mayor that loves this City and I believe most citizens love him. He has represented this City at all levels in an exceptional manner and I would support him as Mayor as long as he wants to continue to serve.

  10. #10

    Default Re: State of the City address

    Quote Originally Posted by dcsooner View Post
    Anyone who thinks Mayor Cornett is just a figurehead is not seeing straight.
    To be fair, I think Shane meant in a legal way. The mayor of Oklahoma City has a bully pulpit to push for things with a louder microphone, but that's about it; and like I said, he's used it well. The best comparison I have heard is the mayor of a city with our local governing structure is like an ambassador. It's mostly PR. And like Shane, that's not really an opinion, that's just the nature of the office in this city.

  11. Default Re: State of the City address

    Yeah, I wasn't trying to take away from Mayor Mick in any way.

  12. #12

    Default Re: State of the City address

    Quote Originally Posted by shane453 View Post
    I don't think it matters who the mayor happens to be, at this point... He's just a figurehead (and not a bad one at all) and since he's the mayor it looks like he's holding all the strings behind the city's successes

    Obviously there's more to it than just Mayor Mick, but he's doing a heck of a lot as far as the NBA (which is NOT minor and NOT limited to sports- it permeates into international publicity, economy, quality of life, and tourism). He has also pushed really hard for urban neighborhoods and less auto-dependence in the city. For at least 2 years in a row he has stated in his State of the City that dependence on the automobile is not sustainable.

    But like I said, the things that are going on in this city right now are making him look really good. That's how things work for authority figures- they get all the praise or all the complaints, one way or the other.
    Totally agree shane. At this point in our progress he is more of a "face" or "figurehead". While he has done some great things and is a great ambassador and communicator, most of the work is done behind the scenes by tons of others. I voted for Mick and like him as mayor, and know him personally, but I think to have him for "life" would be a vital mistake. I think this would cause us to "rest on our laurels", heck I've seen Mick do it on several issues already. I think another term would be fine for him. (In fact, I don't know who would be a better replacement at this moment in time). We need someone young, energetic and highly visionary but is still grounded to keep the momentum going. A lot of the successes Mick has had is because of Mayor Norick and Mayor Humphreys with the initial MAPS Tax. Just like Mick wants his legacy to be years later with the passage of the Ford Center Tax and MAPS 3 and the new projects and recognition will come from that.

    Not saying it's an easy job, but with all the success OKC is having lately, almost anybody with a good personality,appearance, and passion for the city could do a good job as Mayor. Advisors and key staff are the ones that relay pertinent information to the figurehead.

    Anyhow, can't wait until next month to see what Mick's legacy will be on the NBA.

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