Incumbent mayor takes issue with recent conflict of interest charge by opponent Todd Wade
Pat Patterson wants a second term as mayor of Oxford, and the 58-year-old Oxford native and graduate of Oxford High School and The University of Mississippi says he’s going all out to win the June 4 general election against independent Todd Wade.
“We’re going to call everybody and knock on every door,” Patterson said in a recent interview held before his overwhelming primary victory over Democratic opponent Jason Plunk. “I know we’ve had a successful four years, but we’ll let the people of Oxford be the ultimate judge.”
Patterson says he believes he’s accomplished some important goals during his current term, and that it’s important to remember where the city stood four years ago.
“In 2009, we were coming out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” he said. “We kept our heads down and were able to weather the storm. We didn’t raise taxes, nor did we lay off a single city employee.”
Among his accomplishments as mayor, Patterson said he’s pleased with the city’s purchase of Bell Utilities. The city has spent roughly 2.5 million dollars in improvements since purchasing the company in 2011, he said.
“Bell utilities owned nine water associations and 11 sewer plants just outside of Oxford that were in terrible condition,” Patterson said. “We purchased them and brought them under city control and upgraded them. It improved services for hundreds and hundreds of people.”
One thorny issue Mayor Patterson has on his plate is the city’s downtown parking situation. Some business owners feel that the two-hour parking limit on the Square –– loosely enforced until November of 2012 –– forces people to choose whether to eat or to shop.
Patterson, who favors a three-hour parking limit, said while no immediate fix is in sight, he and the board of aldermen are working toward a solution.
“It’s very much a work in progress,” he said. “We’ve got nine good people whose charge is to help us manage parking. This summer, we’ll add 110 new spaces to downtown parking inventory, behind Oxford University Club. That will be an immediate help.”
The mayor also takes issue with a recent flyer published by opponent Todd Wade, calling on Patterson to join him in a pledge to eliminate conflicts of interest from city hall.
“Since being elected mayor, I have owned or had interest in one piece of commercial property in Oxford (James Food Center), ten rental homes and previous holdings in mini storage units. All of these are public record, and I have owned them for years with no conflict of interest. This kind of accusation shows a lack of focus and understanding of the real issues surrounding this election,” the mayor said in a statement sent to HottyToddy.com.
Patterson, who also currently owns University Sporting Goods on the Oxford Square, credits his involvement in politics to a 35-year interest in the community. His experience in city government includes two terms on the board of aldermen before being elected mayor in 2009, and community service on the tourism council and the local chamber of commerce. He also served as an advisor to Ole Miss fraternity Phi Kappa Tau.
Patterson said he had faith in the choices made by the citizens of Oxford. “I believe I’m the most experienced and most qualified candidate hands down. But we’ll let the people of Oxford be the ultimate judge.” –– Jared Senseman, junior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
Email Jared Senseman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: A profile of independent mayoral candidate Todd Wade will appear in Friday’s edition of HottyToddy.com