Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Norman is a special place,which has been rated first in the state and 40th in the country of best places to live! I'm proud of that fact, and I believe that our community's unique balance between that of a larger, progressive city and a quiet University town is the key to our exceptional quality of life.

Public service on City Council though is not simply a matter of solving bigger issues for the larger community. First and foremost, it's about representing the interests of individual residents, like you, and working to resolve the many smaller, but equally important problems affecting your families, homes and neighborhoods.

Norman is a wonderful city because of diverse people and interests and points of view. If we wish to protect and enhance the character and values that make Norman such a great place to live, it's important that we work cooperatively together as a community of neighbors, and that our municipal government works for all of us.

I promise to continue to represent your interests, and keep working to ensure that City Hall acts in the best interest of all of the citizens of Norman and not just a select few. In order to do that I have changed this website to be interactive. I want to hear your ideas as well as to keep you informed. I will periodically send out updates on important issues to help keep you informed. Please sign up on the update page.

Sincerely, Tom

Latest News:

A letter We received about Lindsey

I wanted to share this letter it will speak for itself.

Dear Mr. Kovach and other Councilpersons—Thank you for your stance on this issue! The widening of West Lindsey Street and resolution of the associated drainage problems has been debated for years. ODOT, the FHWA, the City of Norman, the University, adjacent business interests and the citizens of Norman have had input on potential solutions for more than a decade. While the resulting design is certainly not perfect and does not meet with unanimous approval, it will solve the flooding problems, mitigate congestion and safety issue, is financially viable (by qualifying for a mix of federal, state, regional and local funding) and will beatify this section of Lindsey. Most importantly after all of the meetings and stakeholder input it was approved in a bond action by the voters of Norman!

My wife and I have lived at 1013 Joe Keeley Drive (one block south of Lindsey and Pickard) for the last 10 years and we were proud to be part of the process and vote for the project. It now seems that after the election and the start of design those who either chose not to partake in the process or lost the election want to have it re-visited and worse want to completely alter the design with no thought of federal, state and local processes or funding. I graduated from OU in 1970 with a degree in Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences and have more than 40 in transportation engineering. The thought of leaving Lindsey Street one lane each way and/or the use of roundabouts on this section is ludicrous to anyone with an understanding of this section of roadway and real traffic engineering knowledge.

First let’s look at the reason funding was available. It was to mitigate one of the most congested and unsafe sections of roads in Oklahoma and resolve flooding issue with a unique mix of funds and minimal right of way takes. If you don’t address all of these the funding goes away. Keeping one lane each direction kills the funding and the use of roundabouts require significant ROW takes even with just one lane each way and is completely undoable with two lane each direction.

In addition, if OU did not want Lindsey Street to be a primary entrance to the University, why did they along with the CON and the business leaders just recently fight to keep the Lindsey Street exit open with the I 35 expansion. They virtually forced ODOT and the FHWA to build a Single Point Urban Interchange at the Lindsey exit just like Main Street. Their argument at that time was that West Lindsey was a primary entrance to the University and it had significant congestion and safety issues (sound familiar?). After much coercion by OU and Norman, ODOT and the FHWA agreed to build a SPUI at a cost of $30+ million. Given the fact that the Interstate is where it is (and being expanded at a significant cost) and OU is where it is (and ever growing), West Lindsey Street is and will be a primary entrance to the University period. Therefore, let’s take advantage of approved funding and make it less congested, safer and more aesthetically pleasing while following the mandate of a bond election.

If I can help you defend this issue in any way please contact me and thanks again for your stance for the citizens of Norman.—Jim and Kathy Hunt

Jim Hunt, PE, CCM
Oklahoma District Director

ATKINS
75 years of design, engineering and project management excellence

350 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 1510, Norman, OK, 73072
Tel: +1 (405) 321 2480 l Fax: +1 (405) 321 2490 l Cell: +1 (405) 464 6564

T

Roundabouts rated: LOSE

City staff predicts the level of service, standard used nationwide to rate the delays at intersections where A is best and F is a failure, would be an E. Imagine a five minute delay on Berry and Lindsey. Despite this there is a strong push for roundabout on Lindsey and narrowing it to two lanes.

Promoting the bond election I promised to keep to our word on the description of the project for Lindsey. I do not feel we can change the widening project to a narrowing project and add roundabout without the approval of those that voted for it.

Please make your thoughts known on this newest proposal.

It matters if your government operates in an open and transparent manner. The reason is simple: you do not do certain things when people are watching that you might do if they are not. Picking one’s nose comes to mind as an example.

There are many laws that tell you what to do, sometimes when to do it and even where you can do things such as putting your polycart out at a certain time and place and when to remove it. These laws are there for the public good. They are inconvenient to individuals but it keeps the neighborhood looking nice and costs low.

Having a law that tells elected officials how to meet and when so that the public can be informed is at least as important and should be enforced. These stories should are about the failure to do so and the attempt to disguise that failure. Please take a moment to read them.

http://normantranscript.com/headlines/x168868680/City-memo-may-have-violated-open-meetings-law

http://normantranscript.com/headlines/x168868638/The-search-for-the-truth

Your vote should count

Voting overwhelmingly to support curbside recycling in 2007, the public passed a ballot, by nearly a 70 % margin, that “set a rate to provide required weekly curbside service”. Norman’s Charter was amended by a popular referendum to necessitate voter approval for city utility rate increases.
The initial five year contract for curbside recycling is nearly up and the new bids are in. Surprisingly the only two options provided were to maintain the same weekly services or to go to polycarts and add cardboard to the collected items and switching to bi-weekly service.
The polycart option addresses many current concerns such as having wheels and a lid, as well as taking cardboard, it still may be confusing to many people to go to every other week. Additionally, it specifically violates the ballot language that was approved by the public. I have asked that we simply add this to our scheduled May election and ask for permission to change the frequency. We could also correct the glaring mistake of not asking the public what they think. After all this would be a five year contract and the least we could do is have a public meeting before we proceed.

I think recycling is too important to Norman not to ask the public what they prefer.

Here We Go Again!

It seems we just finished the state and national elections and here we are talking about the Spring elections for Norman City Council. Yet these elections in many ways will have a greater effect on you and your family than those state and national offices ever will.

We as a community will in the near future be facing questions of water supply, waste water treatment, and water quality. The answers to which will have ramifications for decades to come.

Additionally there issues such growth, retail retention, high density developments, smart lighting, parks and the list goes on. These issues, and many others, concern your quality of life here in Norman.

So I urge you to make the time to stay informed, get involved and speak out on the issues that will be shape our City for many years to come.

Bullying Prevention

The Norman City Council passed a Bullying Prevention Proclamation last Tuesday night. The Norman Police Department is working closely with the Norman Public Schools, parent groups and churches to come together as a community-wide effort to prevent bullying. This is not just about the targets of bullying but those who bully too. We need to address the causes of this behavior and the reactions to it as well.

Crossroads has an anti-bullying program that will help both targets and perpetrators. Every child deserves to grow up and learn in a safe environment. Bullying has caused everything from poor school performance to suicides . Those who are bullied can sometimes be the one to exploded,  as studies show 75% of school shooters were bullied.

Some people have expressed concern for Freedom of Speech, with regards to anti-bulling programs and laws. I suspect those folks have not read or understood the definition of bullying. We all have a fundamental right to express our views but we also have a responsibly to do so in a respectful and non- harassing manner. Simply put, your rights end where my nose begins.

Most of us have witnessed or seen the effects of bullying on children. We cannot remain silent about the things that matter, to paraphrase the Reverend Dr. King. The efforts by groups from many walks of life, over the next few months will be to protect all children in our community.Just as importantly, to focus on helping rather than punishing the perpetrators and the targets.

OPEN CARRY FORUM SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 29

On November 1, 2012, the amended Oklahoma Self Defense Act (SDA) takes effect, which will permit citizens licensed under the SDA to carry authorized firearms in plain view. By adopting this measure, Oklahoma joins 24 other states with similar laws. The open carry law, however, also establishes limits for those choosing to carry a firearm in full view.

Oklahoma Statute 21:1272 defines where the open carry of a firearm is PROHIBITED. The locations include:

• Government buildings (except parking lots)

• Public or executive meetings of school boards, elected or government appointed boards, commissions and committees (except parking lots)

• Facilities used to house or process prisoners

• Secondary and elementary schools including parking lots, unless the person is only dropping off or picking up a child

• Sporting events, including professional events, except parking lots

• Any location where para-mutual wagering is permitted

• Any other place prohibited or restricted by law. For example, businesses where the primary source of income is derived from serving alcohol.

The same statute also defines where open carry is AUTHORIZED. The locations include:

• Public places with a permit unless otherwise prohibited

• Public access parking lots adjacent to any property where weapons may or may not be prohibited

• State, county or municipal parks and recreation areas

• Fairgrounds, but some areas upon or within a fairground or park may be restricted. For example, locations serving primarily alcohol or where para-mutual gambling is permitted

• College or technical school property when authorized by the institution

The Norman Police Department is committed to preserving the peace and safety of our citizens. With that goal in mind, we have developed a training plan for our officers and dispatchers on how to address public concerns about the new law. Additionally, we will conduct a public forum on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 6:30 P.M. in the Norman City Council chambers to answer any questions about the law and to outline the department’s responses to open carry-related calls for service.

It is the Norman Police Department’s intent to respect the legal rights of all citizens, including those who carry firearms in accordance with the Self Defense Act, while informing the public on responses they can expect from police.

2060 Strategic Water Supply Plan Public Meeting #2

A public meeting will be held Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at City Council Chambers, 201 W. Gray, Norman, Oklahoma. This meeting will be the second in a series of public meetings to provide the public with information about the making of its 2060 Strategic Water Supply Plan (SWSP) and gather public input regarding key aspects of the plan.

The City of Norman is updating its plans for supplying long term water solutions to its customers. The SWSP builds on previous planning efforts discussing water demands, supply options, and infrastructure as well as significant new developments in water supply regulations, new technology and availability of water. Regulatory changes on drinking water quality affecting our local groundwater supplies, new limits on the amount of groundwater and Lake Thunderbird water Norman will be allowed to use, and evolving opportunities to increase water conservation and reuse in the community will also be discussed.

The City is evaluating a wide range of potential water supply sources and identifying those that will best meet the community’s short and long-term needs. The long-term water supply “portfolio” for Norman will likely include a combination of existing sources and new sources. Sources that pass the initial screening criteria will be combined into portfolios for further evaluation in the second phase of the project.

Public input is being sought through meetings that will be held at key milestones throughout the development of the SWSP. An Ad Hoc committee has been appointed by City Council to help guide this planning process and enhance feedback and communications. The October 17th public meeting will include a presentation on the goals and drivers for water supply planning in Norman, a description of the local and regional supply sources under consideration, a relative comparison of the supply options and a supply option screening to reduce the number of options to those most viable for further analysis. Meeting participants will have an opportunity to review supply options, and to provide feedback on the evaluation criteria and the relative importance of planning drivers. The third public meeting will review the supply option portfolios and set the screening process for the portfolios.

Adkins Park

There will be a meeting of the Parks board to decide how to use the the released funds from the Charter Election last year. The first project was Monroe Park, which is almost complete but there are other parks that will get some much needed renovation. Please give your input on the plans.