Matt McGarry

Candidate for Ward 2

1. What is your position on requiring masks to be worn due to Covid-19 concerns?

“I fully support masking in public spaces.”

2. What are your views on policing in Norman, including the budget, FOP contract, and SRO program?

“I want to improve policing in Norman. This means thinking differently about training. The US provides police with far less training than other so-called “advanced” countries. In Germany, for example, police cadets must complete three years of coursework, including advanced coursework in sociology, history, and psychology, before they can become police officers. There is no real reason why we should not do the same.

As far as the budget is concerned, the police are like any other municipal agency. No agency merits a blank cheque. Budgets should be deliberated over with great care.”

3. What are your views on the militarization of police and acquisition and use of military-grade weapons by the police department?

“The police should not be a paramilitary organization.”

4. What should the city of Norman do to address the numerous racial justice issues that have come up in recent years?

“The city of Norman should carefully consult the Summary and Recommendations of the Inclusive Committee. There are many thoughtful and readily implementable recommendations in that report, including hiring a city equity officer.”

5. How should Norman address the needs of the homeless population?

“The city should work to make sure that poverty is not moralized and criminalized. That would be a good start. Beyond that, the city should work to expand shelters and create long-term housing that provide residents with a place to live, secure their positions, and have the stability needed to secure their lives. It is nearly impossible to break the cycle with a helping hand.”

6. What are your views on infrastructure and environmental justice issues in the city, including stormwater, public transportation, accessibility, and land use?

7. What do you think about the numerous Inclusive Community Subcommittee of the Human Rights Commission recommendations surrounding the homeless, a sanctuary city, updating Norman’s history of oppressed communities, etc.? Which of the recommendations from the Inclusive Community Subcommittee would you support?

“Broadly speaking, I support all of the initiatives outlined and explained in the Subcommittee report. I am especially supportive of hiring an equity officer, committing funds to improve the dissemination of public information for all citizens because a strong city is one whose population is informed, engaged, and participatory. I also strongly support developing the city’s transportation infrastructure, this includes restoring and developing more bus routes, but also creating new sidewalks, bike lanes, and especially paths for pedestrians and cyclists that connect our communities.”

8. More Oklahomans are facing housing and food insecurity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. How would you address this issue as a city council member?

“During the pandemic, for vulnerable families, there should be a moratorium      on rents. This would enable people to divert resources to other needs. The city should consider all ways to support and maintain food banks during this critical time. City Council should also, as a whole, advocate increased SNAP benefits.”

9. Do you support Unite Norman? Did you support any of their recall efforts? Why or why not?

“No, I do not support Unite Norman. Why? They are simply on the wrong side of history. Their platform turns on policies of exclusivity rather than inclusivity; their worldview is decidedly negative, one scarcity instead of abundance.

No, I did not support any of their recall efforts.”

10. What are your thoughts on the economic development of Norman, such as TIF, Norman Forward, and Norman central city and Porter Avenue areas?

“Norman needs to invest in Core Norman. This means reinvesting in Main Street, Campus Corner, Porter, the Lindsey Corridor, and other commercial areas, such as 12th street. Norman must stop the cannibalization of these areas.

Norman Forward has to be reconnected with the needs of a plurality of Normanites, not just the well healed and privileged few. Norman Forward, in particular, could be an incredible engine for making youth activities – competitive sports, arts, etc – accessible to all children regardless of income.”

11. What should the city do to be more inclusive of all residents in city governance and decision making?

“The city should work with nonprofits to provide child-care during meetings for those that need it. In addition, the city should provide captioning and interpreting services.”

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