Regarding the Kyle Loveless Commentary “South Side a diamond in the rough” (April 7, 2010, Gazette):
I’ve lived in south Oklahoma City since 1977. Our reputation across the metro became apparent right away, and has remained so, if not worsened. Your proposals, suggestions are on the mark. A concerted effort is going to be necessary to establish the South Side as an equal with the rest of the areas of the metro.
Coincidentally, I read your article on the same day I read in The Oklahoman’s Business section about the opening of Half Price Books in the I-240/Penn area. For years, I have driven to Norman or north OKC to book browse ” as if people on the South Side don’t read!
I believe there is another issue that will continue to put a drag on south OKC’s economy, reputation, etc. In fact, two words used in your Commentary sum it up well: “hard-core conservative.” When we look across the rest of the metro, we see diverse communities, communities where out-of-state businesses see a potential to establish and build.
But from south OKC, it’s as if we have a shroud cast over our area: “outsiders not welcome” or “we don’t need your kind, thank you very much.” Names like Terrell, Reynolds and Russell are repeatedly seen on legislation that if/when argued and passed, portrays Oklahoma ” and south OKC because that’s where they originate ” in a negative, narrow, unreceptive light.
You mention the Federal Aviation Administration and aviation industry. Thousands of people, individuals and families relocate here from across the country to the FAA, either short-term or permanently. These families are from diverse cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Then they see efforts to legislatively promote the lawmakers’ values at the expense of their own and others.
What has this to do with south OKC? Sure, it’s an Oklahoma problem. But south OKC seems to have a disproportionately large representation of individuals who are proud, hard-core conservatives.
There is nothing wrong with having conservative values, holding on to them, even speaking out for them. But it is when we try to legislate them that we narrow our fields of opportunity for growth.
You ran for office recently. If you could take to the state level your ideas for south OKC ” thinking, looking, accepting outside the box ” then south OKC and Oklahoma would be attractive to businesses looking to enjoy our low cost of living without compromising the diversity that has made them successful elsewhere.
Thank you for your thoughtful Commentary.