The Norman Transcript


March 29, 2014

Ward 4 candidates speak out about views

NORMAN — The Transcript emailed four questions to Norman City Council candidates regarding some of the pressing issues facing city leadership today. Candidate responses will be published in a series of three days grouped by ward. Ward 6 candidates Jim Griffith and Jerry Lang were previewed on Friday. Today will highlight Ward 4 city council candidates Bill Hickman, Rhett Jones and Greg Jungman.

Candidates were asked to keep answers to 200 words or less.

1. Infrastructure needs for city water and wastewater projects have been delayed due to funding issues. Under the city charter, utility rates cannot be raised without approval by voters. Do you favor asking voters to amend the charter provision to allow utility increases? If not, why not? If so, what proposal do you believe would best suit Norman and why?

· Greg Jungman — No.  It’s not appropriate to ask voters to give up their right to vote on utility rates; there is no credible basis for this action.  To date the voters have asked city hall to deliver utility services at the lowest possible cost. This has created great efficiency in our utility programs.  Also, voters have asked for appropriate cost-sharing of new infrastructure.  This has increased the fairness of our rate system.  Continuing to badger the voters about “the need” to give up their right to vote is simply wrong.  The notion that the city would save money if the vote were taken away is only true if you ignore the cost of bad decisions and inefficiency that is likely to result.  I see an increase in costs without the right to vote.

· Bill Hickman — I believe the citizens of Norman should continue to determine the appropriate utility increase. By putting it in citizens’ hands, it is less likely to be politicized. However, the city needs to do a better job of communicating what the needs and challenges are. There isn’t a citizen in Norman who doesn’t want clean water and who doesn’t want reliable access to water. Yet I doubt the vast majority are knowledgeable about the current challenges. If citizens are given reliable, consistent and transparent information, I trust they will make sound decisions at the ballot box when it comes to something as vital as water. If needed projects are being delayed because of funding, the solution is not to take away the right to vote. Rather, the solution is for the city to tackle the funding challenges and earn the public’s trust to secure the funding. And, communication and transparency shouldn’t be treated as events. They should be the city’s daily mode of operation with citizens. If elected, I would do my part by having regular Ward meetings and initiating a monthly e-newsletter to share vital information with Ward 4 citizens.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Body 1 Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014

  • County moves forward on nursing home bonds

    Cleveland County commissioners on Monday approved a resolution authoring a county trust to issue up to $15 million for a nursing home on the site of the former Whispering Pines nursing home at 501 E. Robinson St....

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal to improve health care costs $17B

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Breast Care Center will relocate to HealthPlex

    The Norman Regional Health System will move its Breast Care Center to the HealthPlex campus, making it more accessible for patients, hospital officials said Monday. At its monthly board meeting, the Norman Regional Hospital Authority ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Little Axe Health Center hosting blood drive

    Norman-area blood donors this summer will not only save lives when they donate with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), they’ll also get “Feel Cool” T-shirts and two tickets to the Oklahoma City Zoo....

    July 29, 2014