The Norman Transcript

Letters

January 12, 2014

We must defend our rights to vote

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

A special election was held Nov. 12 for Norman’s Water Reclamation Improvement Project. More than 60,000 voters were qualified to vote, but, sadly, only 9 percent voted.

Citizens who fail to vote allow small groups to exercise undue influence over our government by relinquishing control to a small minority.

A poor voter turnout leaves too much power in the hands of a few city officials and community focus groups. Minority rule but majority dissent is contradictory to our system of government.

The next year or two promises to be a rough-and-tumble financial time as a number of costly issues are being planned for the citizens of Norman.

These include:

· A vote to renew the Public Safety Sales Tax.

· A proposition asking voters to pass a citywide storm water project that will tax the square footage of all homes, out-buildings and driveways in the city limits, with walking trails and buffer zones that also have been added to the project.

· The Strategic Water plan for our drinking water.

· A vote on four City Charter Amendments.

· A still-developing project for a commuter/light rail line from Norman to Oklahoma City.

The charter amendments being drawn up have four questions. The dangerous one — suggested by the mayor and the committee chaired by Norman attorney Harold Heiple — would repeal the right for the people to vote on water rate increases. If approved, it would affect all Norman ratepayers, since the city council could then raise water rates whenever they chose.

While all these initiatives need public scrutiny, the repeal of Norman citizens’ right to vote on water rate increases is the most crucial to our family budgets.

The utility rate amendment was overwhelmingly adopted by a vote of the people in 1974 via an initiative petition.

According to The Daily Oklahoman on June 19, 1974, “More than 500 people jammed the council chambers to protest a leap in utility rates.” After numerous public protests throughout the spring and summer, the mayor and the council, in spite of public outcry, adopted an 85 percent increase for single-family dwellings on July 1, 1974. Businesses and institutions received a similar increase.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Stick to the sports

    Editor, The Transcript: Why must we, especially us nice conservatives, be subjected to political commentary in a sports column? I hear/view Fox News routinely and find their coverage quite acceptable. I also hear/view CNN and MSNBC. I ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Corporation Commission should should evaluate quakes, fracturing

    Editor, The Transcript: Is your house at risk of being damaged in an earthquake because of fracking? Maybe. We’ve seen more earthquakes and tremors in Oklahoma seven months into 2014 than in the two previous years combined. At the same ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Norman can stop fracking before it escalates

    Editor, The Transcript: There are 163 fracked wells within Norman city limits. With growing attention to health and safety concerns, the city is considering changes to the existing oil and gas ordinance....

    July 27, 2014

  • We should be offended by things that matter

    Editor, The Transcript: I’m offended. Why you say? I live in the USA, in Norman — a great town. What could possibly offend me? I’ll tell you. It’s people that are offended by the most meaningless things (what to call an evergreen tree in ...

    July 27, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Natural beauty makes way for parking

    Editor, The Transcript: In support and response to an editorial in The Transcript on June 28 by Pam McIntosh, I am writing this article. In the early ‘70s, many years ago, I lived in what was known as the Sooner Mobile Home Park on South ...

    July 20, 2014