The elements are unkind to the Oklahoma City unhoused in winter, but not nearly as unkind as City Councillor and Vice Mayor Mark Stonecipher.
The long and short of it is that he sought to make encampments illegal and greatly broaden what constitutes the crime of trespassing in the city. In other words, if getting them out of sight means putting them behind bars, then so be it.
Stonecipher represents Ward 8, which stretches north from Lake Hefner to as far as NW 206th Street and from west near the Canadian County line east to Edmond city limits. In other words, the part of the city that has to contend with homelessness issues least, so really, he’s just doubly an asshole to propose these ordinances.
Fortunately, the good people of Oklahoma City — whose hearts aren’t as cold as the temperatures ahead — turned out en masse to oppose them and the city council voted unanimously to strike his cruel proposals.
"Today was a great exchange of ideas. We are all working hard on resolving the homeless issue in Oklahoma City, but at this time we need to keep discussing these issues among council and staff," Stoneheart … errr … Stonecipher wrote in an email to The Oklahoman following the city council meeting.
“A great exchange of ideas” is characterizing suggestions so repugnant that the city council chamber had an overflow section, but at least this one was universally rejected, unlike the 2015 panhandling ordinance that was unanimously approved and ending up putting city taxpayers on the hook for more than $1 million in legal fees when it was struck down.
Good thing OKC didn’t need a million bucks for things like, say, helping house the homeless or get them back on their feet, which is to say nothing of all the volunteer dollars worth of possessions that would have ended up in a landfill.