(OKLAHOMA CITY) Mar. 7, 2014 -- Bob Waldrop, local social justice activist and founder of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, was elected mayor of Oklahoma City in a landslide election yesterday evening.
"I am proud my fellow citizens have embraced my platform of 'Local Food, Energy and Economy,'" Mayor-elect Waldrop told Peak Oil Hausfrau today. "It shows that our city is ready to tackle the enormous challenges facing us and take responsibility for our future. When we are willing to work together, we can create great things as a community."
Opponents tried to paint Waldrop as a radical, calling him a "sad old Hobbit hippie," "permaculturist" and "local foodie fanatic." These attacks did not resonate with a population weary of years of recession and the lingering effects of the financial crash of 2009. Local groups banded together in a swell of grassroots support to knock on over 54,000 doors in a massive volunteer campaign.
First on Waldrop's agenda: Restoring granaries within city limits. Mayor-elect Waldrop explained, "This step will provide local food security in the face of another oil shock like the one of 2011. We will have grain and beans on hand to provide a two-week basic minimum diet for our most vulnerable citizens. But I encourage everyone to have three months of their own food storage if at all possible."
The oil crisis of 2011 laid the foundations for Mr. Waldrop's campaign of "Local Food, Energy and Economy". While not entirely unprepared due to the efforts of local group Transition Town OKC, Oklahoma City nonetheless endured great stress due to effects of the oil supply crisis. Without constant deliveries of food, grocery shelves were emptied within three days of the Ras Tanura refinery bombing in Saudi Arabia on June 14, 2011. Highways and roads became deserted and basic city services stopped. Luckily, the crisis lasted only two weeks before the federal government began rationing gasoline and released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ensure coal and food deliveries. Still, the economy was at a standstill and without regular paychecks, many people could not even afford to buy the food that was available.
Leading citizens, business and faith leaders from all walks and parties endorsed Waldrop, including many that had opposed Waldrop in the past.
"After the Crisis of '11, the Federation of Churches realized that we needed a city that would prepare for the future of oil depletion, not be stuck in the past of oil dependence. We decided to mobilize and make sure that the city had a plan. Our church was very excited to support Bob's campaign, which had a great, innovative focus on preparedness, resilience, and localization." said John Franks, minister, Faith and Hope Community Church.
Mayor-elect Waldrop will celebrate his election with a "Local Food Extravaganza," and invites all citizens to an open-air potluck festival downtown to be held directly after his inauguration. "We look forward to bringing all our citizens back into the democratic process," he remarked. "My administration will be one of inclusiveness and responsibility, and will offer a new vision for the future - one of energy efficiency, local food and economy, shared transport, and renewable energy. Our hope is that everyone will participate."