Editor’s note: A statistic on crime in Kelly Lynn’s quote has been verified and shows aggravated assaults have risen by 60.8% in Norman from June 2019 to December 2019 for the same period in 2020. The trend mostly accounts for domestic violence and similar trends are being reported nationwide, according to Norman Police Department spokeswoman Sarah Jensen.
With little more than a month before the April 6 runoff election for the Ward 3 City Council seat, candidates shared more about their philosophy of governance and priorities with The Transcript.
Incumbent Alison Petrone and challenger Kelly Lynn answered five questions which demonstrate their knowledge of lesser-known issues and their approach to making decisions.
1. What are some of the issues, outside of police funding and the pandemic, that constituents have brought to your attention?
Ward 3 is very diverse with differing issues affecting various areas. Flooding and stormwater mitigation, traffic congestion, neighborhood park revitalization, sidewalks and neighborhood street resurfacing, public transit, affordable housing and homelessness, internet connectivity, environmental concerns, infrastructure, accessibility needs for residents with disabilities and city budgeting are all commonly-voiced concerns.
It is hard not to discuss police funding when some crimes, such as aggravated assault, have risen by more than 60%. This is a main issue and an absolute priority to rectify, as well as the morale of the NPD, which is at an all-time low. There is no prosperity without peace. We also need to change our attitude about business and become pro-business. More growth equates to more revenue. More revenue equates to funding the quality of life issues that the residents of Norman crave.
2. What have you learned about your ward since the campaign?
Ward 3 residents understand that issues facing our ward are oftentimes complex and nuanced. They appreciate intelligent dialogue that goes beyond surface level platitudes, and are eager to discuss our challenges in a respectful, neighborly manner. They think deeply about potential solutions to both neighborhood-specific concerns, as well as citywide problems. One of the common interests that I hear among ward residents centers on preservation and access to the Canadian River.
I was unaware of the vast amount of agriculture in the Ward and how many of our neighbors are helping to feed our community. Farming and ranching are noble endeavors.
Also, I was surprised to learn that my neighbors in Ward 3 have been ignored, and many have never received responses to emails and phone calls from our current representative. I plan on listening to all of my neighbors and being responsive to communication.
3. How will you work to solve these problems?
Communication, respectful and intelligent dialogue, and strategic remedies based on industry-specific, evidence based “best practices” are the key ingredients for creating smart public policy. Norman values innovation, creativity, fiscal responsibility and compassionate solutions that elevate opportunities for the disenfranchised and residents at large. Focusing tax revenues to the betterment of the public good, rather than allowing the public purse to be siphoned to private interests, creates public trust in municipal government because residents personally enjoy the fruits of their individual contributions.
To fix the police funding, I will present fact-based evidence to my fellow council members and mayor, hoping they have the courage to fix the situation that was caused by their vote to defund the police. It has had terrible ramifications. It is still at the point of salvaging, but time is slim.
4. What are the guiding principles by which you will act as a councilor? Why should voters cast their ballot for you?
It is crucial for Council to interact with residents in a truthful, transparent, and respectful manner. Being well-studied on the topics and agenda items prior to discussion and council meetings is paramount for this job. Building public trust by communicating with residents and avoiding personal entanglements are ethical principles that I take very seriously. I value the democratic concept of the “marketplace of ideas” as instrumental to general problem-solving. Truthfulness, transparency, integrity, meaningful dialogue, well-studied preparedness, community collaboration and evidence-based solutions to challenges are guiding principles that I bring to this job.
Common sense and conservative values are my guiding principles. Both of these things are longed for by the constituents of Ward 3. I will always take a common sense approach in making moral and ethical decisions, guided by conservative principles.
5. Under what circumstances would you make decisions that are the opposite of many or a majority of constituent wishes?
Keeping your thumb on the pulse of the ward is vital for effective leadership of a City Councilor. That said, I often remark that wards are not islands unto themselves. We are ultimately one community that thrives or suffers together, as a whole. City Councilors do not make decisions in a vacuum; it is a legislative body where policy-making in one ward inevitably affects the community at large. We must be cognizant of our neighbors living throughout the city in our deliberations to ensure that the solutions we craft do not have harmful unintended consequences that alienate other parts of our community.
Without specific scenarios, this question is quite difficult to give an appropriate answer to. I will use the same trust and integrity that voters placed in me as my conscience in all decisions.