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David Perry announces candidacy for Norman Ward 2 seat

Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report
David Perry is running for Norman Ward 2 seat.
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NORMAN, Okla. –David Perry, a longtime Norman resident, is running for Norman city council. Elections are slated for February 13, 2018.

The Ward 2 City Council seat is currently occupied by Councilmember Aleisha Karjala, who announced her intent to run for State Senate District 16 in 2018.

Perry, 57, is a father to one son and small business owner. He is also a former teacher. Perry has been involved for a long time in local politics and issues through various organizations such as the Norman’s Environmental Control Advisory Board.

“When my son was born I immediately felt that I need to be involved politically,” he confided.

After years of supporting other candidates in their bids for city council, he felt it was the right time for him to enter the race. 

Increasing democracy

Management of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is a priority for Perry. He recently filed an initiative petition with the City of Norman to amend the City Charter that would send any TIF proposals more than $5 million to Norman residents for a vote. Additionally, the petition calls for TIF proposals over $25 million  to require a majority of 60 percent of the votes for approval. 

“We have similar structures in bond money, the more you ask the more majority you need,” Perry said during an interview with Red Dirt Report. “If we are going to do these things it should be a vote of the people and not a vote of five councilmembers.”

Perry cited the proposed development plan for the northern portion of University North Park that includes an arena, expo center and office space that carries a $90 million public price tag. 

“Personally, I don’t think it is a good idea. But if you can get a majority of people to vote for it, the project should be accepted,” he said, believing it will force the city government to be more transparent about future projects. 

The petition requires 2,500 signatures before next March in order to be put on the ballot. Perry is confident Norman residents will get this on the ballot saying, "Tax Increment Financing should be used to revitalize depressed areas, not to subsidize development of prime real estate at public expense. I think it will be a popular idea.”

“It is not a matter of trust but a matter of democracy,” Perry argued.

New revenue streams 

Another project that Perry would focus on is the implementation of a municipal Wi-Fi connection that will provide free internet to every Norman resident, similar to the wireless service Ponca City offers its residents. 

Perry researched what implementing service would entail. According to him, the city of Norman could exploit fiber lines that connect all of the existing traffic cameras that sit on top of traffic lights; the city would only need to add Wi-Fi antennas to provide basic internet connectivity to every house.

“That is an asset that Norman has,” he added, saying it will help to reduce internet access disparity, a problem that Norman Public Schools has tried to combat by providing tablets and laptops to most of the students.

“The possibilities are only what we will limit ourselves to,” Perry said.

Additionally, he believes municipal internet could provide a new source of revenue through a small fee that could be implemented for residents wanting faster internet speeds. 

“The city needs a source of revenue beyond sales tax,” he said.

Other issues facing Norman residents 

Instead of agreeing to a franchise agreement with OG&E, Perry would like to have seen the city take over the utility grid, much like the city of Edmond has done. 

“It is too late now for us to take over the utility grid,” Perry said. “Where we are right now with broadband is the same that where we were 50 years ago with electricity.”

Concerning the previously failed stormwater utility fee proposition, Perry believes there was a mistrust of the Normanites toward the city government due to a poor communication.

Perry believes a low monthly fee and clear explanation of the stormwater utility fee process could be the right solution to push Normanites to vote for the proposition.

“This is something for the common good of everybody and the community,” he commented.

In response to why people should vote for him, he said, “I care about Norman deeply. I have ideas that are different than most people, as far as how we should go forward as a city and how we should run the city. And I am a man of action.”

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Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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