Oklahoma County Democrats Host Panel; Campaign Supporters Of New Arena Say It Is A 'Nonpartisan' Proposal

the Oklahoma County Democratic Party hosted a panel answering questions from some of its party membership, ahead of the new arena vote on December 12.

Thursday, November 30th 2023, 10:52 pm

By: News 9, Matt McCabe


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With less than two weeks before the Dec. 12 special election to vote on a proposal for funding a new downtown arena in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma County Democratic Party hosted a panel answering questions from some of its party membership.

The event included JoBeth Hamon, who is the councilperson for Ward 6 and has been an outspoken critic of the new arena proposal and was one of two city council members to vote against approving the special election.

"When I think about it, it really to me comes down to a values question," Hamon said. "There needs to be a little homework done to back those numbers up."

Tyler Moore, the campaign manager for Keep OKC Big League, said support for the new arena is nonpartisan and has obtained endorsements from a wide-ranging list of community organizations and associations. He also gave credit to another resolution passed by the city council, which created language surrounding a "community benefits agreement" that might guide wage and labor protections for workers involved with the project if passed. "We're very happy that was passed in the city council and we'll start those discussions for the first time in city history," Moore said.

Tim O'Connor, who is the president of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, was also on the panel and spoke in support of the labor considerations being made by city leaders. "That'll take some work to get to that point," he said. "But it's in that agreement.

Lobbyist Nabilah Rawdah and economist Paul Shinn also participated on the panel. Both criticized economic projections about the expected benefit of a new arena.

The panelists also talked about the private contributions from the ownership group for the Oklahoma City Thunder, which has committed to giving $50 million to the $900 million project. Hamon, Rawdah, and Shinn said they would prefer a deal which included a larger financial commitment from the Thunder ownership group.

Mayor David Holt has previously said the proposal comes with an agreement to keep the Thunder in Oklahoma City through at least 2050. He has also emphasized the capability of a new arena to attract other large events, such as more notable concert headliners. Holt is the co-chair of the Keep OKC Big League campaign.

Related Articles:

Who Can Vote In The Arena Election: Ward Map Available

Proposal For New OKC Arena Endorsed By Minority Chambers Of Commerce

Your Vote Counts: State Question 832 and OKC Arena Vote

Deadline For Voter Registration Approaching For Oklahoma City Arena Proposal

Oklahoma City Chamber Discusses Arena Impact Ahead of Vote For New Facility

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