Local Government

Published on June 3rd, 2013 | by Newt Rayburn


City of Oxford, Mississippi Mayor Election is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 4, 2013: It’s Todd Wade vs. Pat Patterson

Your vote on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 will decide the next Mayor of Oxford. Parking on the Square, alcohol sales, managing future growth, and tourism were cited at the recent community forum as the major issues of the campaign. by Newt Rayburn

From The Local Voice #181: http://www.thelocalvoice.net/oxford/?p=6933


Oxford Mayor Election:

Todd Wade vs. George “Pat” Patterson


Todd Wade, Oxford, Mississippi

Todd Wade, Oxford, Mississippi Mayor Candidate on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Oxford, Miss (TLV) – All citizens of Oxford, Mississippi, who are registered to vote in the city limits will have chance to decide the next Mayor on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.  This year’s Mayoral election is quite different from four years ago, and you really couldn’t ask for two more different candidates.

Local athlete Todd Wade is originally from Greenwood, Mississippi. Wade was an all-SEC and second team All American football star at Ole Miss and went on to play nine years in the National Football League, starting with the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the second round in 2000. Wade also played for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

After his professional football career, Wade returned to Oxford and began a series of successful businesses and real estate investments here.

“After being away for nine years, I expected to see a city whose infrastructure had grown with its population,” Todd Wade said at the recent community forum. “But instead I found leadership who focused on petty issues rather than focusing on the bigger picture. Oxford needs and deserves a vision for its growth, with opportunities for all, not just on the Square, but all of the city limits. Often the qualities that make men good entrepreneurs, who call all the shots in their businesses, do not make good political leaders. And after all, that is what this is all about—leadership. They are not trained to listen or build consensus, and that’s why we haven’t we haven’t solved Oxford’s basic problems like traffic, sprawl, apartments, really with no end in sight.”

Wade went on to say, “The Mayor’s job is to represent Oxford in a positive manner, [with an] encouraging, positive attitude towards residents, locals, everyone. We have in place a strong Alderman system that has been handcuffed by, ‘That’s just the way Oxford is.’ That’s something I want to change, that attitude. My responsibility isn’t to dictate, but to lead and promote Oxford for its community development, economic development, and well being. I want to be a marketer for Oxford and advance Oxford forward.”

Outside of local political office, George “Pat” Patterson is most notably known as owner of University Sporting Goods. Patterson was Alderman of Ward 1 in Oxford for many years before being elected Mayor in 2009.

Recently Pat Patterson proclaimed, “I am a sixth generation Oxonian, a product of Oxford High School and Ole Miss. Four years ago when I first sought the office of Mayor, I promised common sense, local government with a focus on service, and I believe that promise has been fulfilled.”

“A fair question to ask is, ‘what has been accomplished?” said Patterson at the forum. “In the toughest economic times in almost 100 years, taxes were not raised, not one single dime.”

[Publisher’s Note: Oxford property taxes were raised on October 26, 2010, by a special referendum on a school bond.]

Patterson continued, “The city’s operating on the same 26.5 mils that it did in 2009, and not one single employee was laid off in the meantime. Baptist Health Care Corporation bought the old hospital for $60 million, and agreed to build a new $300 million regional referral hospital that will serve the health care needs for generations, as well as being an economic boon. Oxford’s portion of $30 million has been in trust for our community and hopefully close to $1 million in income can be generated for the Board of Alderman to use as they see fit.” 

George "Pat" Patterson, Oxford, Mississippi Mayor Candidate on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

George “Pat” Patterson, Oxford, Mississippi Mayor Candidate on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Patterson went on to mention recent utility upgrades, FNC park upgrades, expansion of the OUT bussing system, and future expansion of tennis courts in Oxford as evidence of his accomplishments.

“The finances of the City of Oxford couldn’t be in better shape,” commented Patterson. “We’ve done an excellent job of managing money. It’s one of my strengths. I admit to not being the most graceful person in the world, but I have gifts of budgeting and expenditures, and I feel like I put them to good use along with the Board of Aldermen.”



Todd Wade has been very vocal in pointing out that the current administration’s plan for dealing with parking issues is losing money at a very high rate. According to documents provided by Wade, the current parking system that was recently implemented by the Mayor and Board of Alderman has already lost $102,552.24 this year.

“Over $100,000 of your taxpayer money has been wasted on Oxford’s Robo-Ticket Jeep in just the first four months of 2013,” said Wade. “Can you imagine if someone oversaw such a damaging program in the business world? Would your boss tolerate this? Of course not.”

“This is inexcusable,” exclaimed Wade, “And I commit to giving everything to repairing the damage that’s been done from day one. I have called on the Mayor for weeks to stop this terrible waste, but he simply refuses to respond.”

Todd Wade says there are three different ways Oxford could fund a parking garage. The first is a “Public-Private Partnership,” in which the city leases land to a company in a long-term contract to build and operate a parking garage.

“Oxford would lease the land to the company and create an abundance of revenue for the city which could be used to downsize government by lowering property taxes,” continued Wade. “All liability would be handed to the enterprise as they would incur all costs to build and operate and an agreement between parties marking any increase in fees only acceptable in line with the current consumer price index percentage at that time.”


Second, Wade proposed a “Revenue Bond” to help fund the garage. “Revenue bonds are municipal bonds distinguished by its guarantee of repayment solely by the revenues collecting in parking fees,” explained Wade after the forum. “Firms in Jackson or Memphis will gladly underwrite this bond as they know first-hand of Oxford’s parking woes.”

Todd Wade’s third proposal was a purchase using only the interest from Oxford’s trust fund.

“The City of Oxford is the benefactor of a trust fund established by its investment of the proceeds from the sale of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi,” explained Wade. “While the interest after taxes is below inflation, it is a sizeable sum that could be used annually to pay for the garage and its service. This could be serviced through a loan, long or short, depending how Oxford wanted to pay the service. While the interest rates are at record lows, this remains the last sensible option.”

Wade went on to say, “Although the Mayor has tried scare tactics to claim that he is the only one who would not ‘disassemble the trust fund,’ this is, in his words, ‘malarkey.’ Common sense investment utilizes interest while never touching principal. Thanks to the windfall from the hospital sale, for which the Mayor seems to claim personal credit, Oxford has this option at its disposal.”


Patterson, on the other hand, said that the parking commission he helped start has been tasked with tackling capacity and enforcement.

“Do we have all the answers?” quipped Patterson. “Heck fire no, we don’t. But we’ve got smart people working on it. Really smart people. And I’m proud they are working on it because I don’t want to make all the decisions…Especially about this. Ultimately, you have to build a garage…without raising taxes. And some of the ideas I heard down here [referring to Todd Wade], I’m sorry, are just not viable.”

“I think the Mayor and I disagree on this one,” Wade countered. “It is completely viable, but the longer we wait, the more expensive it will become. The notion that this can’t happen or people will reject the idea, is nonsense.”

“The idea of a Revenue Bond…where does the revenue come from?” shot back Patterson. “Who are you going to charge? You going to have free parking on the Square and charge for your garage? Who’s going to park in the garage? The idea of having a Revenue Bond to pay for a garage just shows the lack of understanding of finance and how it’s done.”

“People would gladly pay $5 to park in a garage when they can’t find anywhere else to park,” Wade countered again. “And yes, let me reiterate the $100,000 loss that we are all paying for this jeep to drive around. I would like to see that service cancelled immediately.”


Concerning growth, at the community forum Patterson said, “This has been an issue of the last three or four election cycles. Every one of us has sat up here and said, ‘Oxford is going to continue to grow.’ I’ve already heard that there is no plan in place, but let me tell you that’s just lack of knowledge of the facts.”

Patterson then held up a document, “This is the 2020 plan. It was instituted in 2000. After dozens of meetings, the people from Georgia Tech came in to help us.

This is our guide right now.” Patterson continued, “We plan every week. That’s what you pay us to do and that’s what we do.”

Todd Wade countered Patterson statements by producing pages from the 2020 plan. “This is from the 2020 plan and these black roads are supposed to be new roads. A majority of them have not been built. It’s 2013 and this was from 2000? No, these issues have not been addressed. We continue to kick the can around, but nobody is doing anything about it and that is alarming.”

“I know a lot of you have noticed that traffic has gotten a lot more congested in the last two years,” said Wade. “Wait two to three years from now, and we’re not going to be able to do enough.”


Concerning Oxford’s alcohol issues, Todd Wade said of extending bar hours, “I would like some consistency. And I know ABC in Jackson would. Whether it’s 12:30 or 1:00, just keep it at that and don’t change it. Thursday, Friday, or Saturday are no different than Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.”

Wade continued, “I don’t see how the way our country was built, or founded on, how you differentiate which days of the week you decide to have the government tell you what to do. It’s a property rights issue.”

On the other hand, Patterson said, “Let me be absolutely clear to you and make no doubt about it. I am opposed to extended bar hours. Ask yourself, What does it serve the character of this community to leave a bar open past 1 am? Now you ask yourself in silence.”

“With that said,” Patterson continued, “it may be possible to quit serving at midnight and allow people to consume what they have and
leave in stages. I’m not sure that’s a bad idea and I’m not sure I would oppose it.”

Concerning Sunday Sales, Patterson said, “I would love to preserve some sliver of the character of our Square that I grew up with. We are close enough to a Beale Street or a Bourbon Street reputation now. It’s just not what I grew up with and I’m Presbyterian.”


On May 7, as reported first by TheLocalVoice. net, Todd Wade pledged that if elected Mayor he will not participate in any real estate development transactions in the City of Oxford. He went on to challenge Pat Patterson to make the same pledge.


“It is well known that Oxford’s current Mayor has a vast portfolio of student housing and business property,” Wade said. “It is important to Oxford to remove any question of whether our Mayor is using his public office for personal gain.”

Patterson gave no response to this local press, but a few days later the Mississippi Business Journal quoted Patterson as saying: “What pieces of property is he referring to? I only have one. It’s complete B.S.”

Todd Wade responded by producing a lengthy list from the Mississippi Secretary of State of properties and businesses that Mayor Patterson either owned, was a partner of, or claimed as income while running the office of Mayor over the last four years. Patterson’s holdings include University Sporting Goods Inc., HJC LLC, Oxford University Bank, 3 Men and a Truck LLC, Broke Properties Inc., James Food Center LLC, and Garfield Properties LLC, as well as ownership of at least 17 different pieces of real estate in Oxford.


A few days later, Mayor Patterson was quoted in a story by Errol Casten published in Tupelo’s Daily Journal: “I founded Oxford-University Bank. About a year into the mayor’s job, it just got too uncomfortable: On Tuesday I’m looking at (someone’s) bank statement, and on Wednesday he’s in City Hall about an issue.”

The Local Voice wanted to have a conversation with Mayor Patterson on many issues, including the controversy surrounding Patterson’s business and real estate holdings. Unfortunately, it must be noted here that Pat Patterson did not respond to any of the questions or emails that TLV sent him. Patterson’s Campaign Manager David McDowell did respond on May 21 to our request for a response to the pledge controversy: 

The following is from Pat: “I released this statement on May 9th; though my opponent continues to spread false rumors, I stand by the previous statement: Since being elected Mayor, I have owned or had interest in one piece of commercial property in Oxford (James Food Center), 10 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.”

It must be noted that no statement was provided to The Local Voice on May 9 as stated. This message from Patterson’s campaign was from May 21. When I asked for a clarification of the “false rumors” claim, neither the Mayor nor his campaign manager responded.

“I think Oxford has gotten its answer from our current mayor, and it’s disappointing,” commented Todd Wade. “I heard the concerns at front door after front door, and I don’t think they are ‘malarkey’ or ‘B.S.’ The concerns are valid.”

Wade then reiterated his pledge, “If elected, I will eliminate all conflicts of interest, real or perceived, and I will work diligently to make City Hall much more transparent, open, and be a dedicated servant of you, the people. With regard to business interests, I will eliminate any of your concerns in that regard. I restate my commitment that, if elected, I will not purchase any real estate or enter into any new business interests in Oxford while in office.”

Local elections for the City of Oxford will take place on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 from 7 am to 7 pm at the Oxford Conference Center on Sisk Avenue. All citizens who are registered to vote in the city limits of Oxford may cast a ballot for Mayor.

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in March of 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt Rayburn's alter ego—Neuter Cooter—lead the Mississippi band THE COOTERS to Rocknoll Glory across the USA from 1993-2018. Newt is a family man who also is a publisher, photographer, writer, musician, landlord, and Civil War enthusiast.

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