By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Lindsey Street debate has ignited politicking on both sides of the roundabout issue.
An open records request to Council member Robert Castleberry for email records this week illuminates part of what has been going on behind the scenes in this email from Council member Greg Jungman:
I am impressed that you have taken me at my word to “not talk”. It’s probably not hard to do.... Many are doing it as well intentionally or otherwise. Anyway, I take it back.
With that out of the way, we need you back on the game on this Lindsey project. I think we strongly agree. Add in STH and Heiple and Chad (if they agree) and that’s 5. This one chance to make a real difference on Lindsey.
Unless you stop me, I am going to Jeff to get a clarification. How can you be forced to recuse when we don’t even know what this project looks like? And if we do one land roundabouts... That may not require any taking on your lot.?
Let me know please!
Jungman is referring to council members Stephen Tyler Holman, Greg Heiple and Chad Williams. Some believe naming names of council members creates a walking quorum and violates the intent of open meeting laws. Jungman disagrees and said the email is being mischaracterized.
“I have never talked to Chad Williams or Robert (Castleberry) about Lindsey Street,” he said. “I support the safest, most effective solution and one that honors the ballot language.”
Castleberry’s commercial property is located on the northeast corner of Berry Road and Lindsey Street.
He has recused himself and said he has no intention of casting a vote on the project design.
Whatever decision the council makes regarding Lindsey will affect his future property value.
Mayor Cindy Rosenthal, who works for the University of Oklahoma, has yet to recuse herself, despite that her boss, President David Boren has been influential in advocating a vision for the future Lindsey Street.
Last week’s city council session is purported to be only the second time Boren has ever attended a city council meeting — the first was when the city was considering the University North Park TIF.
Expect to see more design changes. With the Lindsey proposal shifting moment by moment, it’s still anyone’s guess what Tuesday’s meeting will bring.
Insiders say it’s unlikely the city council will make a formal decision on Lindsey Street as early as Tuesday night.
If a design is not approved soon, expect to see delays on the project, at least the portion east of McGee Drive.
One possibility is that council, in its nonvoting 5:30 p.m. study session, will make a consensus recommendation to city staff, thereby sending the Lindsey proposal forward with no public input or formal vote.