More Welfare for the Rich at City Hall

Pity those poor rich people. We should all feel so sorry for them. They are so deprived. They need a nice luxury hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. After all, rich people are important and must be treated nicely. So let’s just hand a blank check to a developer and start running up the renovation bill for the old Skirvin hotel and lie to the people from the very beginning about how much this is going to cost.

The city’s “share” of the Skirvin renovation costs are now reported by the Daily Oklahoman to be $22 million, which is only $6 million less than the full cost of the project was reported to be when this mess got started in 2001. The developer is claiming “increased construction costs”.

Once it gets opened — if it ever gets opened — I bet the owners will be back before the city council asking for an operating subsidy. After all, why should the not-poor people who will stay there pay the full bill for their extravagance when Uncle Sugar at City Hall has such deep pockets?

If renovating the Skirvin was actually a market-based proposition, the market would have provided the financing. The unwillingness of the marketplace to provide 100% of the money for this boondoggle is a VERY LOUD HINT that this deal will never pay its own bills, much less make a profit. If there was actual money to be made, banks would have lined up to cover the costs. But they didn’t, because unlike Uncle Sugar at City Hall, they don’t have the deep pockets of local government on their payrolls, and the projects they fund have to show that they can make at least enough money to pay back the loans.

We have heard, ad nauseum, how beautiful and significant the Skirvin is. We are told, endlessly, about how we have to save this “historical treasure”. Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda.

We hear very little, of course, about how the incompetent planning commisars of Oklahoma City destroyed downtown Oklahoma City.

The city council has never confessed and repented for the institutional racism that drove the City to destroy the Deep Deuce area just next to downtown with a due process riot.

They tell us how wonderful the medical research corporations are over by NE 13th and Kelley, but nobody ever talks about the neighborhoods they destroyed and are planning to destroy in the future.


And the City has gone along with the State’s plan to destroy the rail yards at Union Station for the sake of a ten lane mega-million dollar highway that could have easily gone elsewhere.

But that’s Oklahoma City for you. Give mega-buck welfare to the rich, and cut bus service for the poor to pay for it. Make sure the golf courses have everything they need, but close pools in poor neighborhoods to pay for it. Lavish millions on a hotel for the rich, and destroy heritage transportation infrastructure that could serve the entire metropolitan area. Subsidize upscale development in the suburbs, and cut services to the inner city areas to pay for it.

Now they are thinking about gerrymandering the city’s election districts to utterly destroy any voice that folks in the inner city have in city govenment.

Behold the power of wickedness and evil in government.

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