Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Apathy Biggest Enemy Facing Special Election / Says Poll

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Apathy Biggest Enemy Facing Special Election / Says Poll

Article excerpt

Voter apathy could be the biggest enemy facing the June 17 special election called by the Oklahoma City Council f or citizens to consider six questions dealing with issues such as police and fire protection, the upgrading of city streets and a 40,000-seat stadium, according to the results of a poll taken by a private promotional group working to ensure the ballot's approval.

To be considered June 17 are four general obligation bond issues dealing with increased police and fire protection as well as a 40,000-seat stadium; a proposed 1 cent sales tax hike and a 3 cent hotel otel room tax increase.

In addition to concerns about voter turnout, the poll, taken in March, determined that credibility among senior citizens regarding their proposed sales tax refund and a thorough knowledge of what city sales tax revenue will be used for, are also "keys" to the campaign's success, according to veteran promoter Mike Williams, probably best known for his work in gaining approval for liquor-by-the-drink and pari-mutual gambling.

Williams heads up the Six To Fix The City Committee, a six-member group that includes members of the Mayor's Advisory Council.

Through the use of private funds, phone banks and mass mailings, the committee is working to ensure the passage of the ballot.

Pollster Thomas Kielhorn, who worked previously with Williams on the pari-mutual gambling and liquor issues, was responsible for the lastest poll concerning the June 17 special election.

The results, after polling 625 registered voters in the Oklahoma City limits, will be used by the committee to target their campaign efforts toward "informing" the citizens about each question and what it will do for Oklahoma City's future.

"It's a matter of providing massive education in a very short time," Williams said in a prepared statement accompanying the results of the poll.

"It's frustrating to see that an overwhelming number of voters agree on what the problems are, then look at a package on the ballot that solves all those problems, only to realize the voters who want solutions to their problems don't yet understand that the six questions on the ballot are exactly what they've been asking for," Williams said.

The "top, specific priorities" expressed to Kielhorn in the poll dealt with streets, police, fire protection, parks and the general appearence of the city, according to Williams.

However the overriding factor of creating jobs surpassed all other interest areas, Williams said.

"Those top four priorities are dealt with specifically in question number one, the sales tax question," Williams said, "along with three other bond proposals that also reinforce solutions to problems in those areas. …

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