MAPS threat lingers

Kenneth Jordan

Since Slane questioned the validity of the MAPS 3 election two weeks ago, OKC’s lead municipal counselor, Kenneth Jordan, delivered a letter Sept. 3 citing a 2011 state Supreme Court case, Thomas vs. Henry, that he claims validates the ballot language and election results.

In the letter to Oklahoma Gazette, Jordan said the city’s legal team used other case law, one dating as far back as 1943, to help guide the city’s decision to use the 2009 ballot language.

“The Court has remained consistent in its rulings on the single-subject test over the years, and we firmly believe that (the) ordinance and ballot title meet that test,” Jordan wrote.

In an interview with Oklahoma Gazette, Slane replied, “We’ve looked at the fact that they quoted a case that was decided after the election, but they didn’t have this legal precedent at the time (of the election). So what were they basing their decision on? We just want to know. They didn’t have a case on point in 2009 because it hadn’t been decided.

“I don’t want to get into politics.

I just want to know if it [MAPS 3] is legal or not.”

Although he’s taking more time to review previous legal challenges, Slane said he’s not “going by the wayside.”

On Monday, Slane told Oklahoma Gazette he has not decided if he will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the MAPS 3 vote.

Jim Couch

However,
City Manager Jim Couch said the 2011 case “further strengthens” the
city’s position that the ballot language did not violate the state
constitution: “The letter Kenny sent out on Tuesday is still valid on
Thursday.”

Slane also alleged the ballot language was “so vague that it violates the law in its vagueness.

“It doesn’t tell anything to the voter.

It doesn’t tell the voter what the money will be used for. … It’s amazing something so vague could be passed.”

Slane, who, in years past,
has advocated unpopular positions on Oklahoma’s rape law and invasion of
privacy by government drones, isn’t backing down despite largely
negative social media reactions toward the longtime OKC attorney.

Oklahoma Gazette reader
Stephanie Bice wrote, “Why do I get the feeling this has nothing to do
with MAPS 3 and everything to do with an upcoming election?” Another
reader, Allen Brown, wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with proposing a
package for approval, just like bond issues. Do we have to vote on each
street repair separately?” Still, Slane contends his purpose is noble
and aimed at protecting OKC’s taxpaying residents.

“There is so much money involved, and the public has no oversight,” he said.

City
officials established citizenled subcommittees and a MAPS 3 Oversight
Board that makes recommendations to the Oklahoma City Council.

The first of its kind
So
far, Slane said his legal review team has not found previous state
Supreme Court cases that focused on similar municipal ballot issues.

“If it goes that far, this will be a case of first impression,” he said. “This will be the first of its kind ever in Oklahoma.”

Slane
threatened to file a legal challenge with the Oklahoma Supreme Court if
city officials had not responded to his original letter from Aug. 29.
At the time, Slane said he would seek a restraining order preventing the
city from collecting MAPS 3 tax revenue or spending of that money on
the eight projects. The projects, valued at $777 million, include a
convention center, sidewalks, trails, senior wellness centers,
fairgrounds improvements, a modern streetcar system, Oklahoma River
Improvements and a 70-acre public park in downtown OKC. The MAPS 3
initiative was approved by 54 percent of voters.

Tim Farley

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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