|RDR photo file|
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: September 19, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Taking note of the “momentum” that Oklahoma City has been experiencing under the MAPS program, the World Bank and the Financial Times invited Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett to the “World Bank Forum” in Singapore on Sept. 6, 2011.
Little was released to the media about Cornett’s three-day trip. And a visit to Cornett’s Facebook page did not warrant any information about his going to a city half-way around the world to tout his city’s accomplishments in recent years.
A tip was sent to Red Dirt Report this past weekend about Cornett’s visit, the tip noting an Indonesian news site which mentioned Cornett was attending the forum, along with Mayor Huan Qifan of Congqing, China, Jakarta, Indonesia Gov. Fauzi Bowo and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.
The World Bank is “an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs. While its official policy is the reduction of poverty, it has been heavily criticized for certain policies seen as detrimental to emerging nations.
Cornett was at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington and was unavailable for comment, but his spokesman, Steve Hill, told Red Dirt Report that Cornett agreed to go to the World Bank Forum in Singapore to what was considered “a summit on innovative public-private solutions” for cities.
According to the Straits Times, a newspaper in Singapore which covered the World Bank forum, they quoted World Bank President Zoellick as saying, “We need to unlock private-sector interest in infrastructure and bring more investors to the table.” Added Zoellick: “We need an integrated approach to support practical solutions for jump-starting the public-private partnership market. Our new (Singapore) hub can help meet those needs.”
“Basically, he gave a speech, sharing with them the success that Oklahoma City has had with the MAPS program,” Hill said, adding, “And that we do things on a cash basis.”
Asked about whether Cornett had a copy of his speech or any other information – he did not travel to Singapore with his staff – Hill said “I don’t think there’s a printed version … when it comes to MAPS he knows it so well he talks off the cuff.”
Asked if Hill knew of any specific conversations Cornett may have had with Zoellick or any of the other international figures said to have attended the forum, Hill said Cornett was simply pleased to get his information “out to the investment bankers” who were on hand.
Said Hill: “Typically when he goes to those things he touts Oklahoma City” and what has been achieved via the MAPS programs.
Hill said he would talk to Cornett and see if Red Dirt Report could interview the mayor and find out more about what he learned in Singapore.
EDIT UPDATE* 9/19/11 7:02 p.m. - Hill did emphasize that Cornett's trip did not cost the taxpayers anything. Was covered by the sponsors of the forum.
EDIT UPDATE** 9/20/11 9:38 a.m. This Financial Times link highlights Cornett's bio and notes his position as placing second in the City Mayor's Foundation "World Mayor Award."
Copyright 2011 West Marie Media