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Registering a complaint

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The
Oklahoma City Council may not have expected the third degree or Spanish
Inquisition when it opened the floor to let citizens speak at its
regular Dec. 21 meeting.

But then again, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

After
a presentation over the proposed routes and hub location for Oklahoma
City’s planned streetcar system, several City Council members had
questions and comments on the issue. One of those who addressed the City
Council on the matter was Mark Gibbs, a board member on the MAPS 3
Modern Streetcar Subcommittee and secretary of the board for Urban
Neighbors, the downtown neighborhood association.

Gibbs, who has addressed the council in the past because of his role on the MAPS 3 subcommittee, speaks with a British accent.

The
accent was too much to bear for one member of the audience, Oklahoma
City resident and former candidate for county commissioner Fannie Bates,
who decided to first address the obvious British invasion when the time
came to allow citizens to address the council.

“Before
I say what I got up here to say, I’d like to say that I’m really tired
of coming to these meetings and seeing somebody with an English accent
or an Australian accent that knows nothing about our culture getting up
here and telling us what they think we ought to do,” Bates told the
council. “They don’t know anything about our history. They just sound
silly. I hope you don’t think that because someone has an English accent
that they know more than us Okies do.”

Bates
went on to say that it was not right to charge non-Greater Oklahoma
City Chamber members $75 to attend the annual State of the City event,
and that many Chamber businessmen who will attend the event don’t live
in Oklahoma City, but during the day run payday loan services, bars,
liquor stores and “arcades that teach our kids how to kill cops and
steal cars” before going home to Nichols Hills and Edmond at night.

“We’ve
got problems in Oklahoma City,” Bates said. “Real problems that these
people with an English accent don’t know anything about.”

Perhaps
Bates is right. The problems of British railways have been well
documented in Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot Sketch,” with people headed
toward pet shops in Bolton, and then inexplicably winding up in
Ipswitch.

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