If you live in Ward 2 of OKC, you should vote for Ed Shadid.
If you live in this part of our city, you have no doubt received a fair number of robo-calls, direct mail, and friendly front porch visits from the shadowy group backing Shadid’s opponent, banker and lobbyist Charlie Swinton. If you are among the lucky few who have missed out, the gist of their message is that Ed Shadid is scary left wing extremist who is going to wave a magic wand and turn Oklahoma City into the Berkely of the plains. The hardworking, HighLife drinking people of OKC will be replaced by crusty jugglers and eco-terrorists, petroleum and apple pie will be outlawed, and we’ll have to bike to the co-op every afternoon for our marijuana ration cards. I’ve met the man, and I can vouch that this is not an accurate picture of his position.
The mail I get from the Swinton camp says surprisingly little about Charlie Swinton. I hear he’s a pretty good guy, a yellow dog Democrat and a solid citizen. I don’t doubt that. I haven’t recieved a single piece of mail from his campaign per se. What I have an issue with, and what anyone who cares about this city should have an issue with, is the secretive front group “Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum”. No one has any idea who these people are, but they aren’t lacking for resources. What the volume and vitriol of the negative campaign against Dr. Shadid does tell me is that some very wealthy, very powerful people are scared as hell that this guy might win. That alone is enough to get my attention. I have thought for some time that the city council was a little too cozy and could probably use an outside voice or two. That we have a chance to elect an outsider who is not a reactionary tea party loon but a true progressive should be more than enough to seal the deal.
What this election is about, and what Dr. Shadid stands for, is accountability. The city council is not the House of Lords, and their role is not to rubber stamp the decisions of the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor. We need someone on the council who will be an honest advocate for the residents of our part of the city, our neighborhoods, our interests. If you would really like more sidewalks and bike lanes, vote for Ed Shadid. If you don’t think being pro-growth means being anti-tree, vote for Ed Shadid. If you think our police and firefighters deserve a fair shake from the boys at city hall, vote for Ed Shadid. If you want input into the decisions that directly affect our future- like the location of the new convention center and the extent and quality of the rail transit we’ve been promised- vote for Ed Shadid. If you hate cronyism and elitism, vote for Ed Shadid.
Perhaps the most important reason to vote for Dr. Ed Shadid is that it will announce, loud and clear, that there is a large progressive constituency in our city and that we aren’t going anywhere. This week a friend of mine in Tulsa wrote this on facebook:
“I spoke with a fellow progressive “young professional” this week about how hard we are trying to make Tulsa our home, and how we keep getting the message that we’re not wanted here. Every legislative session it feels like Oklahoma is trying to shake us off.”
I have gotten that feeling too, and I think we all have. It doesn’t have to be that way. The rapid growth and economic stability of this city offers us an opportunity to move this city forward and to the left. We can make a place for ourselves here. We can concentrate our political capital, fight the battles we can win, and build our base. We have a good head start, and the trend lines here are on our side, but we need to let it be known that we’re staying, we vote, and we want to be heard. Tomorrow, go be heard. Vote for Ed Shadid.
(c) Colin Newman All rights reserved.