Dangers of Conservative States Becoming Liberal to Improve their ‘Culture’

https://i2.wp.com/www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T006-S001-10-great-cities-for-starting-a-business/images/OKC.jpg

Various conservative cities throughout the Plains, the South, and the American West are, one by one, transforming themselves into liberal enclaves by courting outsiders from both within and without the US to bring their vibrancy and diversity to their plain, boring, unsophisticated streets.

In doing so, the relatively large populations of these cities among lesser-populated rural areas are rapidly transforming these red states into solidly Left-wing territory.

It has happened to Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia, and the process is well along in North Carolina, Texas, and Arizona. But no conservative state is excepted from this process, not even the seemingly unassailable conservative bastion of Oklahoma.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Oklahoma City, and it definitely remains a conservative place in general. The friendly people there are very proud of the growth and renovation of their city, but they don’t seem to realize the social cost it will likely bring in the long run.

Certainly cities should try to beautify themselves and attract business, but they should also uphold and maintain their local traditional culture. Too many Okies might succumb to the misconception that they are mere bumpkins who must transform themselves into artsy sophisticates.  But they will largely fail to impress the folks “back East” and instead will cause the take-over of their city and state by outsiders.

via NewGeography via City-Journal.org

In 1991, Oklahoma City lost out to Indianapolis in the competition for a United Airlines maintenance base. Mayor Ron Norick wanted to know why. He was certain that Oklahoma City had put the most compelling financial deal on the table for United. The company answered that its decision had nothing to do with the subsidy package. Rather, United simply couldn’t imagine its employees living in a place as bleak as Oklahoma City. “The quality of life had sunk so low we couldn’t buy someone’s attention,” as current mayor Mick Cornett puts it. “No matter how many incentive dollars we put in place, corporate America wasn’t interested in us.”

Back then, the Oklahoma City economy offered little beyond the oil and gas industries, and the collapse of crude prices in the 1980s had hit the region hard. In response, area leaders created the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), a series of efforts to improve Oklahoma City’s dowdy downtown. Funded by a temporary percentage-point increase in the local sales tax, MAPS was controversial but passed a public vote with a slim majority. The thought was, Cornett says, “If no one from the outside ever notices, at least we’ll have a better city for us.”

The city struggled to build the projects, which ran late and over budget. But the deadly 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building created a new impetus to make the MAPS a reality. MAPS-financed improvements included renovations of the Civic Center Music Hall, the convention center, and the state fairgrounds. The city also built a new main library, a canal to help redevelop an old warehouse district, and a series of dams on its river to create recreational areas.

A unique aspect of MAPS is its pay-as-you-go financing structure (the city didn’t issue bonds). “This particular funding mechanism is debt-free,” Cornett stresses. The program also includes a citizens’ oversight committee, and the money from the special sales tax is kept separate from the city’s general fund, reducing the potential for political mischief.

Oklahoma City’s political culture is partly responsible for its conservative approach to financing MAPS. Like Norick before him, Cornett is a Republican. In fact, the city has had only Republican mayors since 1987. Yet governance in Oklahoma City isn’t particularly party-driven. The city technically has nonpartisan elections, and, Cornett says, “There isn’t much partisanship in our city hall or in general.” This may be part of the bombing’s legacy: it has produced a durable governing consensus that combines a willingness to invest in public capital improvements with a cash-in-advance financing approach.

This rejection of Tea Party–style attitudes toward government has led some to brand Oklahoma City’s leaders as “tax and spend Republicans.” But Cornett is unapologetic. “You wouldn’t necessarily think a string of Republican mayors would be pushing penny-on-the-dollar sales taxes, but we have.” And voters like what they see. After the original $350 million MAPS program, 61 percent of voters approved a $700 million second round directed toward building and renovating schools. And in 2009, voters approved MAPS-3, a ten-year, $777 million program to build trails, parks, and sidewalks in a city that mostly doesn’t have any. MAPS-3 passed with only 54 percent of the vote, though, and Cornett admits that it was “in some ways a tougher sales pitch.” The first two MAPS were born out of “desperation,” as he put it, but the third wasn’t as clear-cut. “We had to justify capital expenditures based on a city that we thought could be created—not one that we had to build but that we wanted to build.”

Read more at City-Journal.org

Advertisements
Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. The desire for money will always destroy culture. Governments should cultivate their own people, economy and culture; they should not bring in new ones.

    ‘and the process is well along in North Carolina’
    Tell me about it! You have to search for the South in NC anymore, usually far off a major artery. I hate it.

    Like

    Reply
    • The modern ease of human transportation from one place to another is like a giant stirring spoon that eliminates all distinctions from among a cup of ingredient peoples. It is a form of genocide, the more disturbing the greater the mixture. Even if this stirring only occurred within our country, it would still destroy local cultures and distinctions.

      A sad situation, seemingly inevitable. Would it be so terrible for states to place restrictions on internal relocations, to have visas to live in another state of the US? Very, very few Americans would support such restrictions, however. So what, if anything, can be done?

      If we live long enough, we will see our nations wither away.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: