NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Thomas Jefferson stated during a debate over the Constitution, ”Without ethics, morality and religion, we will not last.”
According to Oklahoma state law, a contract has to do with certain and specific items.
In the case of the Lindsey Street modification, a contract including certain and specific items has been presented to the citizens of Norman in the form of a vote. The citizens of Norman read and accepted this contract by voting for those items in the ballot language and detailed in the engineering design.
Oklahoma law also stipulates that consent for contractual changes must be free and mutual, and acceptance must be absolute and unqualified. Written contracts are regarded by law to exceed all oral negotiations. A meeting in a local restaurant cannot supplant the original vote already taken.
The citizens of Norman accepted consent for the Lindsey Street modifications, and any changes to this contract, written or oral, without Norman citizens’ consent would be in violation of Oklahoma state law.
It is the opinion of the Citizens For Responsible Government organization that these aspects of Oklahoma contract law have a direct bearing on our support of the original Lindsey Street plan.
We believe late alterations to this project by the University of Oklahoma violate the original contract voted upon by the citizens of Norman and should not be considered by the city council. There were public meetings months prior to the vote. That was the time for university representatives to step forward and present their recommendations, not after the vote was taken.
In our opinion, council members must not violate the contract already voted upon by the citizens of Norman by allowing any of the proposed changes by OU. We believe it is the ethical responsibility of the city council to stay within the recognized costs, the timing with ODOT’s work on Interstate 35 and the scope of the original contract.
Council members should not put voters’ trust in jeopardy by making changes to the original contract.
If voter trust is abused by the council, a future strategic drinking water plan, estimated to be at least $500 million; a storm water rate structure that may cost residents, businesses and institutions some $4 million or more per year; and a request for extending the half-cent public safety sales tax could be in question.
Spokesperson for Citizens for Financially Responsible Government