Friday, November 27, 2009

Why should I support MAPS?

A good question was posed in a comment that I hadn't responded to until now. I saw the comment two days ago and thought it as a great subject to cover in a whole post, so that's why I waited till now to respond. In all honesty, I don't think the subject has been addressed: say you're a suburb person who's still undecided, a family man who has had trouble utilizing downtown fully (i.e., Bricktown isn't the most 'family friendly' place), who prefers to shop in Yukon and Quail Springs, how does MAPS benefit YOU -- why should YOU vote yes on Dec. 8th?

That is a good question.

While I can come up with a few creative ways to utilize MAPS, some that are probably semantics (like Steve alludes to the pay-to-park areas of Bricktown, when I've never paid for parking in Bricktown in my life), the best reason why such a person's MAPS support is needed is because of what it does for the overall city. Even if someone had might as well live in Edmond or Moore city limits, they should support MAPS for the impact that it has on the entire OKC metropolitan area.

Outlying areas of OKC stand to gain from MAPS in two ways: the quality of life amenities are available to anyone in Central Oklahoma, and the economic impact is enjoyed by everyone in Central Oklahoma. Even if you aren't going to NBA games, attending the symphony, or catching ball games at the Brick, chances are a lot of people in your community are. So the quality of life impact is still in your community, and there are people in your community who will still have the opportunity to take advantage of those things.

Furthermore, the entire metro area was suffering when OKC was a place "nobody would want to live in." Now that OKC is a desirable metro to live in, the entire Central Oklahoma region benefits from economic expansion. A lot of the economic expansion that's resulted from OKC's raised profile has occurred in the suburbs. While none of these projects are included in the $5 billion economic impact of the $360 million MAPS 1 package (which only includes private investment downtown directly linked to MAPS), they are still a result of economic development initiatives such as MAPS 1. Think of all of the major employers that are now up on Memorial Road, or think of all of the new private sector jobs down by Tinker, or new companies that have set up in Edmond or Norman.

Will MAPS 3 actually raise the bar for the metro-wide economy? Undoubtedly. The overall focus of MAPS is cumulative, and the projects support each other, so that pet project bickering doesn't defeat any one proposal. Some of the projects, the ones that citizens don't always see themselves using the most, are probably the ones that will actually benefit the economy the most. So in other words, if you're someone who just doesn't come downtown that much, there are still projects that resemble your tax dollars hard at work for you that are benefiting you without having to come downtown. The convention center is the #1 such item. The convention center will be bringing business people to OKC, having them spend dollars generated in another city here in this city, raise OKC's profile in the business world (which will have intangible value), and by having such a state-of-the-art corporate amenity in downtown, it will help us attract more corporations to more their HQs to Oklahoma. More importantly, it will provide resources to help grow Oklahoma-based companies.

Repudiating government
Steve brings up another excellent point: "But now in these tougher economic times where the federal government wants to take more such as forced health insurance with large tax increases- and I really can't do much about it because far left Dems are in charge - I feel this is something I can say no to. It's not "fair" but it's the environment MAPS3 is in."

I like to think of the different levels of government as being fairly separate, and while the federal government apparently can absolutely ignore the people in a state like Oklahoma, there are governments that can not. State, county, and city governments don't have the same aptitude for criticizing, ignoring, and offending Oklahoma values, because they actually answer to our values (and economic development has traditionally been a Republican priority here). MAPS 3 is Oklahoma City's response to the Stimulus, because the Stimulus did absolutely nothing for us. Maybe MAPS 3 can even be used as an example by the media to make the Stimulus look even worse, when it is enacted and actually fulfils every one of its promises: it will create direct jobs (thousands of construction jobs), it will create indirect jobs (economic expansion), it will improve quality of life, it will leave a lasting impact, it will unify a community much like the first MAPS did, and more.

All of these things it will do because the first MAPS did, all of these things the Stimulus will fall well short of and there's nothing we can do about that, unfortunately. All we can do is take charge of OKC's economy so that we are controlling our own future, so that we never sink to the level of the communities that actually are in the unfortunate predicament of relying on the federal government Stimulus (i.e., places like California and Michigan).


Steve said...

Wow! I really like and appreciate your respnse! You especially got me excited when you said it could make the Stimulus look even worse once MAPS3 is enacted! A chance to "embarrass" the Stimulus? If you know anyone involved with marketing for Yes on MAPS, put that in an ad.

But seriously, you've never paid to park there, ever?! I just did last night at the Thunder/Bucks game ($10 in the Zio's parking lot and I still ate at Zio's). I also do whenever I need to attend the convention center, a Redhawks game, or visit the downtown library.

OK Dude said...

You can park at Bass Pro for free and walk!

Steve said...

There have been times Bass Pro has been filled, as well as Toby Keiths! Plus with kids, walking can only be so far for the movie theater, baseball, or Falcones/Earls!

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

I typically park at Bass Pro. I've even parked over night there once when I stayed at the Hampton Inn because they charge $15 a night for parking. You can find spots behind Toby Keith's and behind the movie theater as well.

People like me typically whine a lot about how un-urban Lower Bricktown is, but in a way it's lucky for me that there's so much parking in random places over there.

If it's a busier night where they have a parking hustler in the lots over by the Centennial, I just stop by Sonic and get a drink so I have a receipt to show. You can show a receipt from any business south of Reno (Lower Bricktown retailers) and get to use any of those lots if they're checking.

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

As for "embarrassing the Stimulus" and when it comes to Federal govt in general, I just like to think that the Federal govt should butt out of local affairs. Economic development is a local affair, so the paper pushers in Washington DC who have no idea what the local needs are back home have no business directing funding anywhere for projects.

Think about it. If the Stimulus bill was going to do the job of MAPS for us, what would we end up with? Probably a lot of expensive projects that serve no real purpose that we'll never use. Just pure pork projects. But here it's not pork because the citizens have identified what the needs of the community are, and they're directly funding the projects and we're paying for them in cash before we ever even begin on them.

If the Federal govt got out of the special projects business (which Oklahoma has never gotten one of these special projects like a "Bridge to Nowhere" funded by Washington) and funding and implementation up to the cities and states, not only would the Federal govt not be going bankrupt, but we'd also be getting better projects in other states that people actually use unlike a Bridge to Nowhere or an Airport to Nowhere.