Michael Nash

Candidate for Ward 5

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

“I voted in favor of extending the mask mandate until March and will continue to support the extension until the spread is under control, and I do not believe it will be under control until everyone who would choose to receive the vaccine has received it.  Before that point, even if we went under another lockdown and got the daily case counts down to where they were in May, I would advocate strongly that we keep the mask mandate in place lest we commit ourselves as Sisyphus to a cycle of illusionary progress destined for defeat.

Furthermore, I believe strongly that masks are indeed a matter of freedom, but not in the same thoughtless rhetoric that has been echoed recently.  For the sake of argument, if we consider the mortality rate of COVID at 0.5% and ignoring other factors, that is a 200-sided dice roll.  When we don’t wear a mask, we are casting casting the dice for everyone around us, and everyone who is subsequently around them, and that is not OK.  Realistically, one could argue that there is no guarantee that we are infected.  Okay, so the rate of infection here, if I remember correctly, is around 44 out of 100,000 people, so 0.044% infection rate.  Pair that with the 0.5% mortality rate, and merely breathing a stranger’s air now comes with it a 0.00022% mortality rate.  If that seems trivial, that’s about 1 in 450,000.  I won’t speak to the irony of those who prefer to roll the dice being anti-mask while avoiding the vaccine for risk of its ill-effect…1 in 450,000 chance of death by breathing a stranger’s air vs 1 in a few million chance of needing an EpiPen.

I will commit to you my promise that I will approach this situation, and every situation, calmly and rationally.


0.044% rate of infection (44 out of 100,000)

0.5% mortality (1 out of 200)

Probability of both events occurring:




1 in 454,545″

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

“I believe the FOP contracts in the same manner as all contracts and agreements of budget allocation, once agreed upon, should be considered a resolved aspect of the budget and only readdressed under extenuating circumstances of obvious necessity.  This is not to be biased toward any particular contract or department, but because as soon as that contract is agreed upon, those departments begin planning the use of resources and committing to the following year’s plans.  Such last-minute changes can invalidate large amounts of effort in man-hours that were spent in the creation of those plans.  However, everyone should be understanding of the fact that sometimes such modifications are necessary, and there should not be childish tit for tat exchanges, even if it is perceived as an affront.

I am in support of the SRO program and its goal of providing positive role models to children and encouraging positive relationships between law enforcement and youth which should mature to positive relationships between law enforcement and adults. 

We will have law enforcement officers at our schools to provide security both for the children and the teachers.  This is unavoidable and there are no alternatives (and I will leave this statement here for the sake of time, space, and to encourage dialogue later).  The SRO program is a terrific application of what could otherwise translate into idle time for the officers.

But I am also aware of the controversy about the SRO program.  Whether or not the fears are fact or the stated objectives are realized, the objective I believe to be good, and before abolishing the program I contend that we enhance transparency of the program so that we can determine unequivocally whether the program is succeeding at its objectives, and that the feared consequences are absent.  If the fears are confirmed, then we should also have enough information to make a thorough assessment of whether the consequences can be separated from the program, and we can decide from there if there is potential to fix the program or if it should be concluded.

I am in full support of the Norman Police Department.  It is our law enforcement agency, and no matter what we do the Norman Police Department will serve Norman.  If there are issues within the department, then those issues need to be addressed directly.  If there are suspicions of issues within the department, then those suspicions need to be addressed directly with transparency.  There is no sense or benefit in preventing citizens from seeing data to evidence the good work by our law enforcement.  Such obstruction does great harm to the relationship between law enforcement and the public, thereby doing great harm to the agency’s ability to serve and protect. 

I believe the concerns about the Norman Police Department are inaccurate and unfounded.  However, as a scientist I am fully cognizant that my belief of the accuracy of these concerns is likely founded on far less than the concerns held by citizens; I am less committed to upholding my unfounded belief system than I am to the preservation of tranquility in the people, and as one may find compromise between arguing friends, I am committed to relieving the concerns of one friend while being respectful and sensitive to the other friend as I negotiate the actions necessary to relieve concerns in one without excessively encumbering the other.  The outcome will either be relief and confidence from the citizens or the identification of a problem and overall improvement with its resolution within the department.  There are no consequences transparency, but the lack thereof has great consequences in the guaranteed degradation of public trust and potential for problems that go unresolved.”

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

“I am firmly against “militarization” of the police and military-grade weaponry being in their arsenal.  When I see police departments with up-armored vehicles that are more impressive than the armored vehicles we had in Afghanistan, then I see an abuse of funding and a deviation from the fundamental tenets of a police force to serve and protect. 

That said, I am familiar with the danger that humans can present, and there are legitimate situations where our law enforcement need to be well-armed.  The crucial distinction between a well-armed police force and a militarized police force is that a well-armed police force has equipment that is more or less available to citizens, while militarization introduces weapon systems and equipment that are illegal for citizens to possess.  An exception that has been made, for better or for worse, is in non-lethal equipment.  In any case, I will defer to the experts and give them the respect of confidence in their knowledge of the job.  This is not to imply I treat the word of experts as gospel, but I am open to and invite being educated on any matter.

To address the point directly: our local law enforcement officers who are tasked with preserving the peace, and to serve and protect the citizens of Norman, should not be equipped with weapon systems and equipment that is restricted to military use.  They should not be waging war on citizens.  If there is an infiltration of bad actors within our borders in significant quantity and who have armed themselves so greatly that it is a matter of destroying the enemy to reclaim our territory, then we call the Oklahoma National Guard.  That is their purpose.”

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

“I have always viewed Norman as a diverse and racially inclusive city.  There should be absolutely no tolerance for racism, bigotry, sexism, or any prejudice of any kind.  However, I am not thoroughly knowledgeable of the varieties of city-wide initiatives to address this issue, their measures of merits, or their success rates and I would defer to the expertise of others on the council or a commission formed exclusively for this purpose.  Likewise, the prominence of this issue varies greatly by ward, and of the issues that matter to the people of Ward 5, this is not one I commonly see come up.  I would not oppose an initiative spearheaded by another on the Council, and I am open to education and discussion of possible solutions, but am neither qualified nor is it appropriate for me to guide a city-wide initiative of this type at this time.

It should be understood that it is the responsibility of the Councilmember to institute solutions to problems identified by and on behalf of the constituents of the ward he or she represents. While the Councilmember may act on their own initiative to address matters of their sole and exclusive choosing, such an effort without inclusion of the people in the ward is a failure of representation on an independent agenda.”

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

“The western edges of Ward 5 have the most interaction with the homeless.  I am in support of funding if and only if there is a thoughtful proposal that adequately justifies the expense.  The education aspect seems like wishful thinking and a waste of the budget.  The city struggles to communicate matters of emergency to the residents of the city.  I do not know what the content of the ‘education’ would be, but assuming the ‘education’ is significantly valuable, I would perhaps be in favor of the education if cost were minimal and the communication trivial.  However, it will be difficult to convince me that the education effort could be done at a low enough price point.   And again, support from the ward would be needed and as of yet has not been observed.”

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


The stormwater propositions rightfully failed.  The way they were structured, residents, and rural residents especially, shouldered the bulk of the burden. 

First, large agricultural fields were going to be charged at a high tier on city utility fees.  The prop did not specify that people who receive sanitation services would not be charged this fee, which means rural residents with fields and bare ground to soak up water would be paying more while responsible for less of the problem compared to dense neighborhoods and commercial properties. 

Second, stormwater runoff recharges Lake Thunderbird which is the source of center city’s water.  This is a matter of municipal water supply, and most people in Ward 5 have private wells. The city needs to put stormwater charges in the water bill; charges should be proportionate to the contribution to the problem.

Anyone on an acreage should be charged proportionate to the paved area, and not at all if on a private well.

Public Transportation:

Roughly 200 residents in Ward 5 are over 84 and I would assume could need help with transportation.  There are about 1,700 in Ward 5 over 70.  That means that 1,500 in the next 15 years will be needing transportation; +100 folks per year could need assistance with transportation. The size of the ward makes an intricate transit system like that in center city an infeasible option. 

Furthermore, the residents of the ward do not presently wish to have such an intricate system as they do not wish to have buses disrupting the serenity of the rural setting.  Routes to Little Axe need to be optimized, and can serve as hub for transport between center city, as well as Shawnee.

However, I do not feel this matter is of higher priority than other issues in the ward, and I do not plan to advocate the allocation of funds to expand the present system without such direction by the community.”

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?

“Many of the recommendations are of marginal relevance to Ward 5.  Because of this, and my limited experience and knowledge of the subject matter-the issues being addressed and the merit of the recommended actions, my input is of limited value.”

“Recommendations” that are relevant or of interest to Ward 5 or otherwise supported:

• Make City Council meetings and City-sponsored events more inclusive by expanding and providing captioning/translation services in ASL and Spanish and by providing or subsidizing child-care support for City Council Meetings by partnering with local non-profits for services (e.g., Center for Children and Families).

“I can support child-care support during city council meetings, in particular.”

• Build relationships and collaborate with OU international student organizations (e.g., street fairs, music festivals, and food festivals) to increase citywide inclusivity.

“This sounds like a phone call or an email.  I can get behind this.”

• Build relationships between youth and the City by placing School Resource Officers in all middle schools and elementary schools, partnering with Police, Fire, and other City agencies to promote after school programs, and strengthening the Norman Youth Council ensuring criteria for participation includes all students, making it more accessible to students from all backgrounds.

“I am in full support.”

“Recommendations” that have minimal relevance in Ward 5 or otherwise would be opposed:

• Establish an ongoing Inclusivity Advisory Committee to expand Council reach

“I am not sold on this committee yet.  I would need to have a more in-depth discussion about the purpose, benefit, example uses, etc.  The description in the summary and recommendations does not contain any selling points compelling enough to be worth the effort, maintenance, or modification to the charter.”

• Hire a City Equity Officer

“This item is likely the critical link in the chain that could convince me to support other items in the list — a position dedicated to conducting the research that should be the basis of budgetary decisions.”

• Commit funding to improve public relations and information access for all residents, especially those of underrepresented groups, outlining opportunities available within the City of Norman (e.g., available social services, ward information, meetings, events, volunteer opportunities).

“Not without a proposed plan.  We should not continue to throw money at problems with surprise when all we get is a hole in our budget.”

• Promote high-quality, affordable, accessible child care with after-hours availability to support parents throughout the community. Partner with local non-profits, religious organizations, and the like to increase options and keep costs minimal. Provide CDBG grants to nonprofits to assist in subsidizing the cost. Support a community-parent co-op.

“I can see this as being a very beneficial thing to parts of the city, and can understand its support.  Those part of the city will surely be reflected in the support by the respective Councilmembers.  I represent the people of Ward 5.  I have not received any support from my constituents for this idea and, unless that changes, will not support the allocation of funding for it.”

• Become a Sanctuary City.

“I will not endorse our abandonment of the role of law in our citizenship process any sooner than I would condemn the role of law in due process.  We should not pick and choose what aspects of the law we want to uphold.”

• Sundown town and Land Run

“I have reservations about the recommendations regarding our public parks, spaces, and facilities with regards to Sundown Town and the Land Run.  I open for education on these topics.”

From the Recommendations Summary:

Sundown town and Land Run updates to our public spaces:

– Expand current park space in the same spirit as Tulsa’s “Gathering Place” and update existing sites.

Update/rename public spaces connected to the Land Run to include signage outlining the history of the:

  land theft,


  genocide, and

  broken treaties related to Sovereign Nations.

– Erect public markers in parks and public facilities so all may understand the nature of these events:

· African-American residents in Norman were unlawfully and racially cleansed

· Later periods witnessed

 – mob violence,

 – terror,

 – threats,

 – the freezing out of services such as restaurants and motels, and

 – real-estate practices that resulted in the refusal of sale of real-estate and homes to African-Americans.

· In the 1920’s, Norman had more than 100 influential men sponsoring KKK calls for no African Americans: residing, working, entertaining, or simply being in Norman after dark

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

“I would defer to the councilmembers where this issue is most prominent.  I have not received any calls, emails, text messages or letters from constituents concerned about housing or food insecurity directly.  I have had constituents concerned about local businesses (by extension this could be argued to be food insecurity and housing indirectly), and have supported the allocation of funding for a program to assist small business in Norman.”

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.  I support its members, their concerns, I admire their compassion for the town and fixing what they see to be broken so that we may all be safer.  But when the leadership of Unite Norman attacked my pregnant wife over an old selfie with Bernie Sanders, that crossed a line.”

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

“It is important that we make Norman a desirable place to establish a business.  I am not in favor of the TIF.  The Norman Forward projects can be useful.  The aquatics center could be a decent project as long as it keeps the elements that make it attractive enough to bring people from other cities to spend money here, but Moore should pay for part of it.”

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

“Neither we on the Council nor the city itself prohibits anyone from participation.  The problem of participation is not that we exclude any group or individual from the process, it is that they either don’t know about the process or don’t feel empowered to affect it.  This is a problem of education, not of insufficient funding.  Kids need to be taught how municipal government works, preferably in schools.  If they are familiar with the process, then they will participate in the process if they so desire.”

Link to Michael Nash’s campaign website

Link to Michael Nash’s campaign Facebook page