Economic Development Commission: Geography matters


Reforms to the Economic Development Commission will likely be before the Tulsa City Council for a final vote this Thursday night. There was some controversy this last week over the composition of the Commission, particularly about the requirement to have at least one member of the EDC from each City Council district. Mayor LaFortune and several members of the current EDC objected to that provision, and at their urging, Councilor Chris Medlock, who is sponsoring the proposal, dropped it, which brought strong and understandable opposition from northside Councilors Jack Henderson and Roscoe Turner. (Whirled coverage here and here.)

I can understand wanting to bring together the best business minds in the City, wherever they happen to live. But the EDC will be developing a strategy for economic development for the City, and it's important that we don't neglect those parts of the city that are most in need of economic growth.

There are ways to ensure representation for all parts of Tulsa, while providing the Mayor with more flexibility in naming members of the EDC. One idea would be to designate broad areas, areas that have often been overlooked, from which at least one member must be chosen -- for example, at least one each from west of the river, north of I-244 (maybe at least two, as it's a larger area), and east of US 169.

Another approach would be to require at least one or two members to live in an area federally designated as underprivileged, designated for urban renewal, or designated as enterprise zones. These are areas where a lot of city, state, and federal funds are targeted for economic improvement, and we ought to make sure the people who live there are represented as economic development plans are drawn up.

I'm confident there's a compromise that can be reached that will ensure that all parts of the city are represented, so that these important reforms can move forward, and so that our own city government will again be in charge of our own city's economic development strategy.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 25, 2004 7:34 AM.

Who's buying all these big new homes? was the previous entry in this blog.

The Naked Club (for Growth), part 2 1/2 is the next entry in this blog.

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