University North Park & Its Misvision

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A lot has happened since my last posting. The screen of my Surface Pro 3 cracked (my fault), so I’ve been using a 10 year old Dell that’s still going.

You might have seen me at City Council or met me in the street, and I’ve been on both. I’ve been providing some Facebook ‘Live’ streaming of what’s happening and I hope some of it is informative.

I think that the Council and, the other stars, in Gov’t are responding well to it too. A lot of the Millennial Generation market segment is leaving Norman, but I’m trying to keep the people who don’t have time, or are inundated w/ responsibilities other than those that are Civic, informed.

Few think of a city, aka ‘municipality’, as a corporation, but it is.

In Norman’s case, the Council acts as the Board of Directors, and the City Manager acts as the Chief Operating Officer (COO)-like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook.

The major issue that’s coming up for discussion is the proposal to continue developing University North Park (UNP) to appeal to younger professionals by creating an Arena-anchored mixed-use design along I-35 between Robinson St. & Tecumseh.

It’s an ambitious but achievable project goal, however there are inherent flaws in the design and the philosophical approach to the advocacy for it’s approval.

It’s the position of Citizen Solutions that we should vote to end the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) incentives, allow the excess capital to be transferred back to the General Fund (which will be running a deficit in FY 2019, and instead use the capital to leverage the capacity of Norman’s community to create a community that attracts residents & visitors, not by the spectacle of Basketball Games & Concerts, but by the intense emphasis on increasing our cooperative efficiency & moral approach to cultivating living spaces that are ‘complete’.

That ‘completeness’ arises from people’s direct enhancement of their home-yard-space to maximize its ability to grow as much fruit as possible, as much green life as possible, as many different herbs as possible, as many vegetables as possible, and to capture as much energy from the Sun as possible.

If we do this, then the Millennial Generation (of which I am a part), will be willing to put roots down here in Norman; not b/c it’s a ‘fun’ place, but b/c it’s a more moral place; it’ll be a more ethical, humane, cultivated place. In the end, that’s what makes us a stronger community; utilizing our skills, whatever they may be, to connect & transcend divisions. Whether someone is a professor, woodsman, pastor, or parent, Norman has the recipe of ‘rural & sub-urban’, that can bring about the balance that we need. We need it politically, personally, professionally, and poetically.

You might think it ‘impossible’, for us to reallocate the capital to incentivize our citizens to change the way they define a ‘pretty yard’ or a ‘nice home’ from conformist, to efficiencist, but I think we can engage, awaken, and educate people to the ways in which each one of us, every single one of us, from the youngest to the eldest, can use our energy to reduce the pressure on the City, reduce the Oil we waste, enhance our productivity, help local contractors gain new skills, & connect inter-generationally in a healthy way that anticipates the macro-trend changes that we can all agree are coming.

There’s a finite amount of Fossil Fuels, and our city, aka our Corporation, needs to be diversifying its revenue sources. We need to remove restrictions on Finance Directors to diversify the investment portfolio of the City only through AAA Securities (e.g. US Gov’t Treasury Bills, Mortgage-backed Bonds, Certificates of Deposit, etc.).

The government of these United States has a ‘Strategic Petroleum Reserve’. Why doesn’t the City of Norman?

The City of Norman is currently funded, primarily, w/ Sales Tax collections. Some goes to the State, some stays w/ us. Meanwhile, the public school system is funded via Real Estate Taxes, and receives NO Sales Tax revenues. Tell me that’s not a psychotic approach? There needs to be some ratio for both in order for both to recognize the relevance of shared-interests. That needs to change at the State level. I’m not totally certain, but I’m confident Oklahoma is one of the few remaining states that requires the separation of school system funding and city funding.

Imagine a world in which, each neighborhood had roofers & contractors building green houses, and installing solar water heaters? Where landscapers no longer mow people’s yards, but plant fruit trees & cultivate their gardens for them. Imagine an oil-rich state like Oklahoma, reversing course, and shocking the world by implementing a value-creation strategy that, instead of making Consumers dependent, empowers them to live more ethical & connected lives.

Those types of investments provide returns that include the bottom line utility bills & transcend the divisiveness that pervades our politics & culture.

I think we can move towards our #BestSelves, and in doing so build a ‘Best-Self Culture’, but Citizen Solutions needs people’s commitment & support. If you can only show-up for a Tuesday-5:30 study session w/ the City Council, or if you have money/capital to contribute, we need, and appreciate you.

Thanks for reading. This is an important issue for the future of our community and we need to make the right choice. Too much of our dollars have been misallocated or exported to places that won’t re-invest them in our communities; thus, we have to invest in ourselves.

Affectionately,
Evan A.

#BestSelves
#MoreMoralNorman
#InvestInOurselves

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