Winning the vote by over 70% proved Norman Forward had broad support in the community. I believe one of the greatest promises of this effort is not just the opportunities in Norman for juniors and seniors and everyone in between but also a model for how we can come together. Few goals have brought such diverse groups as the Sierra Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of a 21st Century Senior Center, Pisces and so many more together in a common goal.
So why would we leave this great effort and promise to chance?
We cleared the hurdles of persuading the City Council to put these long awaited projects up for a vote of the people and won that vote. Now the hard work of getting them done correctly lies before us. It is not just the City Council that needs to roll up their sleeves but also all of us who have supported and fought for these projects for years as well as those who voted for and against them, because we all want this to be as good an outcome as it can be.
Most of the concerns about Norman Forward were about how the promise would be kept.
The record of the City ignoring citizens boards and commissions is fresh and extensive. One example is the citizen committee seated to review the Norman City Charter which met for a year to review previous citizen committees concerns and suggestions. The vast majority of the recommendations they made where approved unanimously by the City Council to be sent to the people for a vote. That was in 2014 and we are still waiting for that election despite multiple votes since then.
That is why the citizen’s committee for Norman Forward should be more than just a backward looking body to judge if the money was spent as promised. It should be a recommendatory body that weighs in before the money is expended and we need to make sure the citizens committee representing us proactively is heeded by the City. As I said before, the organizational chart of the City puts the people in charge of the Council and the Council in charge of the City Manager. Our voices must be heard.
This is the greatest investment in Norman the public has made since the Public Safety Sales Tax, over $200,000,000. Let’s all make sure our brokers will live up to the potential this has for our quality of life in Norman. The next few years will determine if our coming together will be our great success or wasted opportunity.