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Oklahoma City civic life for Monday, Jan. 20, 2020

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt responds to text messages as he works in the conference room in the Mayor's office at Oklahoma City Hall in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.[Photo by Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt responds to text messages as he works in the conference room in the Mayor's office at Oklahoma City Hall in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.[Photo by Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

They said it

"There’s no wasted time in my day."

— Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, commenting on his social media profile and his selection to appear on a social media panel at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 88th Winter Meeting this week in Washington, D.C. Holt said his approach is somewhat unique among mayors in that he does his own posts and uses social media for two-way communication. The time he spends on social media is "less than people think," he said. The agenda for Wednesday's panel says Holt will discuss "When You Share The Title 'Mayor' and 'Social Media Manager'." The panel includes the mayor of San Jose, California, and representatives of Facebook and Twitter.

Parks tax, vetted

Oklahoma City voters will decide March 3 whether to increase the sales tax by one-eighth of a cent for parks programming and improvements. Here are answers to some questions about the proposal.

Q Did the city council dream this up?

A No. This is a citizen-led initiative. Advocates needed more than 6,499 signatures to qualify for the ballot; they submitted 7,977.

Q Why vote in March?

A There are presidential primaries and a Sunday liquor sales question on the ballot that day, so Oklahoma City's share of the bill to conduct the election will be less than the $177,435 it paid for the standalone MAPS 4 election. The estimate is $89,000.

Q Speaking of MAPS 4, that election was just last month.

A Initiative organizers would like to have been on that ballot but had to start over after a false start on signature gathering.

Q What does the measure do?

A Levies a one-eighth cent sales tax. Revenue would be dedicated to neighborhood parks and go to outdoor activities such as athletic leagues and exercise classes; park improvements such as baseball field backstops, soccer goals and restrooms, and operational expenses with the exception of mowing the grass, an item sponsor Ed Shadid said costs about as much as the tax would raise on an annual basis.

Q How much would it raise?

A $1.1 million to $1.2 million per month.

Q How much is the parks budget now?

A The Parks and Recreation Department's 2019-20 budget is $35.3 million.

Q What's to keep the city council from cutting the parks budget by an amount equal to the amount raised by the initiative?

A Council members and the mayor have a track record of following the voters' will.

Q And?

A Doing otherwise could have repercussions at the polls. Initiative backers will be watching.

Q Ed Shadid sponsored this?

A Yes. Qualifying the initiative is the former Ward 2 councilman's first "win" in his new, self-chosen role as citizen legislator.

Q Didn't he do a poll?

A Shadid commissioned a poll back in April that showed 69.5% percent of respondents strongly or somewhat supportive of a one-eighth cent sales tax for parks.

Census has parade role

Mayor David Holt planned to walk with a group of business, civic and community leaders in Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday parade to kick off "Be Counted OKC." The campaign is promoting a message that Oklahoma City will benefit if all residents complete the 2020 Census starting March 12.

Present/absent

Mayor David Holt and the eight city council members attended the Jan. 7 meeting.

Calendar

The city council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave. Meetings are open to the public.

• Monday: The annual Martin Luther King Jr. observances and parade; city offices are closed for the holiday.

• Feb. 26: Mayor David Holt's second State of the City address will be delivered at a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

Staff writer William Crum Twitter: @williamcrum wcrum@oklahoman.com

William Crum

OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman. Read more ›

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