The Norman Transcript

Headlines

June 14, 2012

Divisive politics create high emotions

NORMAN — Things turned ugly at Norman City Council this week, leaving residents and city officials at odds.

Lengthy discussion of funding for the city sewer plant upgrade and over budget amendments occupied a sizable chunk of the evening.

Then, the council reached the final and one of the most debated items on the city’s agenda — the creation of an economic development authority. It was approaching 11 p.m., and the public had voiced concerns about the authority at other meetings, including protracted discussion at a public hearing on the issue two weeks earlier.

That input resulted in significant changes to the trust document and to the composition of the authority. The council will serve as trustees, and an advisory commission of professional people will also be established.

When the item to establish the authority was introduced, Council member Hal Ezzell immediately called the question, shutting down all public comment.

Council member Roger Gallagher objected, but Council member Tom Kovach seconded the motion, and it went to an immediate vote.  

“I moved into the meeting considering the history of this issue,” Ezzell said. “We had been meeting since 2011 on this issue. This was all in the public domain for comment for well over a month. We were past the point of legitimate debate. At some point, you have to cut off the discussion, vote and move on.”

The measure passed six votes to three, with Mayor Cindy Rosenthal and council members Gallagher and Dave Spaulding voting against it.

“By censoring discussion of the citizens and even the council itself, the city council majority failed our citizens in terms of openness, transparency and responsible representation,” Rosenthal said. “Our job is to listen to our citizens, try to respond to their questions and concerns, and ultimately to explain our positions as best we can. My ‘no’ vote is a protest against a process which confirms some of the worst fears of citizens who wonder if their voice matters.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Okla. City museum shows pigeons in positive light

    OKLAHOMA CITY — It wasn’t long after Lorrie Monteiro started her new gig as curator of the American Pigeon Museum that she started to wonder, “What have I done?” Monteiro had experience working at museums but knew almost nothing about the ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Bicycle Racks Five more bike racks installed downtown

    Public art was installed Thursday along east Main Street in historic downtown Norman. Five colorful art pieces aren’t just for looks. The musical notes, dream catcher, fork and spoon, scissortail flycatcher and a bent arrow also are bike ...

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Sooners on Saturday

    Meet the Sooners Day will be Saturday at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The annual, free event kicks off preseason practice and gives University of Oklahoma fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite players and ...

    August 1, 2014

  • OKC man charged with rape

    After being brutally raped and kidnapped for four days, a woman escaped and called 911 last week, which led to charges against an Oklahoma City man. Zohaib Sahibzada Dastgir, 28, was charged with three counts of first-degree rape, two ...

    August 1, 2014

  • One killed when shipping container falls onto vehicle

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say one person was killed when a shipping container was knocked from an Oklahoma National Guard vehicle and landed on a pickup truck....

    August 1, 2014

  • Target taps outsider as CEO for shakeup

    NEW YORK — Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

    August 1, 2014

  • Parks officials set to fog for mosquitoes in Norman

    Norman parks and recreation officials will fog for mosquitoes Saturday night in northeast Norman....

    August 1, 2014

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Motorists should watch for pedestrians

    With another school year approaching, the Norman Police Department wants motorists to be mindful of the increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic. During the month of August, the Norman Police Department will concentrate resources in the ...

    August 1, 2014