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OKC Councilman causes controversy with stupid “Fried Foods” remark…

Oklahoma City Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell caused controversy this week after he cynically questioned in a city council meeting whether or not a new grocery project designed to alleviate a food desert on the Northeast side would sell fried food.

Here's a breakdown of what went down...

About halfway through this past week's Zoom council meeting, Chris Varga – manager of the city's Community Development division – briefed the council on a proposal to provide economic development funding for a concept called Restore Foods. Located in the food desert on N.E. 23rd, the concept would be one of those grocery store/cafes that provides residents with a close and convenient place to grab fresh produce, other perishables and hot meals.

When Varga finished speaking, Councilman Greenwell asked a question about what percentage of the floor space will be designated for groceries, and what portion will be for the cafe. After Varga answered, Greenwell remarked – "And no fried food, right?"

After his comment, Ward 7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice talked more about the concept, praised the young minds behind it, and stressed how the project was not only important for her ward, but other food deserts in our city. Her comments were then echoed by Ward 2 Councilman James Cooper.

After all that, Councilwoman Nice circled back to the fried food comment and asked:

"I am curious why fried food matters?"

Cooper then chimed in – "Yeah, I guess that was kind of my concern, too?"

At that point, and in a totally on-brand moment, Mayor Holt abruptly announced he was leaving the meeting, probably to go shine his basketball sneakers and practice selfie poses. Give the guy credit. He dodges controversy like the OKC streetcar dodges riders.

After the mayor left, Nice asked if Greenwell would directly answer his question.

He didn't. Instead, he appeared to be having a very strategic and well-timed senior moment and/or technical difficulties. We were then treated to about 45-seconds of awkwardness as the city council members, and city manager Craig Freeman, tried to get his attention, and debated if he could hear them.

At that point, wait... I totally forgot there's a video of this entire scene on YouTube and I just spent 300-words describing something as opposed to just writing "Check out the video" below...

Obviously, the "fried food" remark caught the eyes and ears of people on social media who get mad about that stuff, and deservedly so. I don't know where it lands on the "Is This Racist?" scale, but the comment was obviously tone-deaf and influenced by racial tropes and stereotypical beliefs that people on the east side of town – a predominantly Black-populated area of Oklahoma City – are all fat and only eat fried, unhealthy food, and don't know what's good for them.

The people who defend men and women like Greenwell during moments like these will probably say something like "He's just asking an honest question! What's racist about asking about fried food? Obesity is a problem right! This is woke political correctness gone amuck!"

For the indoctrinated that want to ignore history and cling to half-truths to defend a position, I can see where they're coming from, but I ask this – Do you really think Greenwell would have made the same comment if the proposed market was being built in Midtown? When Costco was hitting up OKC for public subsidies for its new location, do you think Greenwell was quizzing the developers about the details of their snack bar?

"What percentage of floor space will be designated to the snack bar? No fried food right? Also, tell me about the calorie content of these hot dogs?! We need healthy food options!"

Probably not.

After the controversy grew on social media, Greenwell issued this non-apologetic apology:


For what it's worth, I did some googling and I can't find one instance where Greenwell has ever mentioned anything about food deserts, or shared concerns about access to healthy or fresh food in the community. Now that we know he cares, I'm 100% sure it will be an issue he pushes for and advances while he serves on the City Council... right?

Ever the image-conscious opportunist, and feeling the heat from constituents for bailing in the moment, Mayor David Holt also released this statement:


I take back what I said about Holt earlier. Issuing a statement that he had to leave the city council meeting at a controversial moment to go prep for a cable news interview is now the most on-brand thing ever.

Anyway, I guess this wraps us this little controversy. If you hear any city council people saying stupid shit in meetings hit us up. Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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