Monday, December 13, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Authority or Else

Benton County loves law and order. Last January, Bella Vista Officer Coleman Brackney shot and killed James Ahern after Ahern's car crashed. Brackney had been chasing Ahern for speeding before he shot Ahern six times, but his account of the incident was contradicted by the dash cam. Eventually, Brackney pled guilty to a misdemeanor for killing Ahern and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Now another video is making the rounds and letting the public see how Benton County Deputy Sheriff Dana Winn interrogated and arrested local citizen John Lewis. Mr. Lewis recorded the incident at his home that involved Winn demanding respect and arresting Lewis for "obstructing government operations."

The ACLU doesn't much like what it saw on the video, and Benton County residents don't much like the ACLU. This must make them uncomfortable. They will be even more uncomfortable after Mr. Lewis and his attorney, Doug Norwood, win a lawsuit and collect big damages for the violation of Mr. Lewis's constitutional rights.

Good Suit Greed Again

There they go again. The unelected Northwest Arkansas Council of Corporations has another idea to make it easier for them to get you to pay for their projects, and they are going to get the legislature to give you the tax goose in January. Front Man Mike Malone says you will enjoy it.

Several years ago, the Corporate Council drafted and had the legislature pass a statute allowing Regional Mobility Authorities, then they got Benton and Washington County to form one, then they offered to let Front Man Mike Malone staff it for free and direct their business from inside the hen house. What they want first is a sales tax to pay $1.4 billion for the Bella Vista By-Pass and other pet projects.

What is slowing down this huge tax increase to fund their wish list is that each county must call for an election and each county must vote to increase your taxes. Under the Corporate Council's new scheme, they would get Front Man Mike Malone and the other corporate lobbyists to persuade the legislature to give them the power to get around those checks and balances. They want their captive Regional Mobility Authority to be able to call an election and do away with separate votes by each county.

This plan allows the Benton County interests to outvote the Washington County citizens and get us to pay for Benton County projects like the Bella Vista By-Pass, even if the majority of Washington County votes against it. It allows them to tax us to fund their Western Beltway, even if our local communities vote against it. It gives them a way around the opposition of certain local officials that are standing in their way.

There's not much you can do to stop this scam, but you should at least know what they're going to do to you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Waltons' Arts Center

The rich are different from you and me. They don't have to play by the rules, and they always get their way. If you believe that things are fair or that merit can ever beat money, you weren't paying attention at events in Fayetteville this week.

You will remember that the Walton Arts Center bought a survey that said they needed a 2,200 seat theater. Then they developed a very specific list of criteria that would determine the location of this new theater and asked for proposals. The University of Arkansas-City of Fayetteville proposal was far and away the best submitted among the 25 submitted. This week the WAC Facilities Committee and the WAC Board voted overwhelmingly to build the big theater in Bentonville at a site to be found later, those specific criteria be damned. City and University officials and local citizens were not even allowed to comment. Bullshit walked.

In fact, there was only one thing that determined the obsequious WAC Board's compliant decision -- what the billionaire Waltons wanted, where they wanted it, and how much money they might toss to transform the old Benton County Sale Barn into a palace for Broadway shows.

Here's what you can learn from this shameless charade and how you can start calling the shots about anything and everything in Northwest Arkansas, from playhouses to regional transportation infrastructure:

(1) Inherit billions of dollars;
(2) Invest a few million in an unaccountable private non-profit
(3) Hire a hand-picked over-paid flunky to run the organization
(4) Sponsor a slanted survey to feign interest in public opinion
(5) Fake the survey results and ignore the official criteria
(6) Make large campaign contributions to compliant politicians
(7) Spend your money however you want
(8) Be smug at the impotence of the unfunded opposition

This is the way things have always worked, and it would be naive to pretend otherwise. The unwashed should be thankful that the Waltons are spending money on the arts in Bentonville, a cultural wasteland that needs all the help it can get. I mean, they could have decided to build a bigger Christ of the Ozarks in Rogers to compete with the sacred projects of Gerald L. K. Smith.

Friday, November 26, 2010

To Serve and Protect

The Springdale City Council stepped up this week and protected the people from not being able to drink more alcohol before driving home. Declaring an "emergency to exist," they unanimously amended the City Code to allow bars to stay open three hours longer and serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks until 2:00 a.m., even on Sunday, because it was "necessary to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Springdale."

Was this ordinance necessary to prevent a dehydration pandemic with an epicenter in Springdale? Was the Council influenced by campaign contributions from Drunks Against Mad Mothers? Was it an effort to balance the city budget with increased DWI fines and ambulance charges? No, they said, it came to their attention that local barkeeps were at a competitive disadvantage in selling alcohol, having last call at 11:00 p.m., while Fayetteville dram sellers could continue purveying their potions until 2:00 a.m.

No doubt, this will make drinking in Springdale comparable to drinking in Fayetteville. This should be welcome news for all the drunks who don't like paid parking on Dickson Street. They can now punish Fayetteville merchants and find a Springdale dive more to their liking with free parking and far fewer people.

Fatty Hackers on South Thompson Avenue -- It's the New Dickson Street!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asshat of the Week

Timothy Adam, the same guy who harassed UA graduate student Banan al-Daraiseh at the Mullins Library last month because she was wearing a hijab, was issued a criminal trespass warning last week and banned from the campus library. On Monday night, he ignored the ban and returned to the scene of the crime. This time he was arrested and booked for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

In the earlier incident, Adam yelled at al-Daraiseh as she stood at the library entrance on October 8th, “There’s no place for you in America. There’s no place for Sharia. Go back to Sudan.” When she asked him whether she was bothering him, Adam shouted, “Yes you’re bothering me – the way you’re dressing is bothering me.” She declined to pursue harassment charges against Adam for the October outrage.

Trial is set for December 13th in Fayetteville District Court.

Opting Out at XNA

Today is National Opt Out Day, a movement to refuse the full body scans at some airports and request the foreplay of an Enhanced Pat Down with a Happy Ending. Where this happens to any considerable extent, it will cause even more delays, long lines, and angry passengers, which is the point. Americans tolerated the loss of travel flasks and nail clippers, but they finally have had enough of the rude bullies between the ticket counters and the gate.

Walmart's XNA Airport in Bentonville is not on the A-List to get the Nekkid Picture Machines, despite the constant Level Orange Terrorist Threats advised at the landing strip in a cow pasture. They will find other ways to make flying more inconvenient, but you can still request the fondling if you want a little Pat Down before boarding. You can also let the TSA know how it feels to be scrotum-scanned by using your X-Ray Specs to check out their unattended packages.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Elections as Cultural Dipsticks

There are a couple of municipal runoff elections that will tell us something about the mental faculties, meanness factors, and motivation levels of area residents. It will probably be after midnight before the Benton and Washington county election commissions report the light vote, but the results will be reflections of the civic culture of Springdale and Rogers. Greenland and Farmington each have council seats in play, but who really cares? Not the voters, apparently, as less than 60 people have voted early in Washington County.

The Ward 3 seat in Springdale, due to an archaic system of political control, is elected by voters citywide. Stagecoach Mogul Ray Dotson is making yet another bid for public office after having been rejected in the mayor's race in 2008, and he is opposed by Brad Burns, a real estate peddler once ranked by Arkansas Business as the 16th top producing residential agent in all of Springdale. Neither appear to be visionaries, so the choice for Springdale's powers that be are between former Alderman Dotson or former real estate guy, between gaudy flash and gray flannel.

In Rogers, Tea Party Kurt Maddox of Gravette, having lost in the GOP congressional primary, now wants to be mayor. Jim Bob Duggar, former Springdale legislator and recent Fayetteville parade marshall, has endorsed him. He was also endorsed in a mystery letter, and he sent a campaign mailer pretending that he was endorsed by current mayor Steve Womack, who denies it. The other candidate is Greg Hines, who once ran for County Judge, a Benton County employee who has served on the City Council for twelve years. He says he will keep up the Womack tradition. His opponents say he is a damned Democrat, or worse, a liberal. The results will provide some benchmark on the success of the Pod People in taking over Rogers and erasing the cranial hard drives of its original residents, a struggle that has been ongoing since Daisy manufacturing fled the unions of Michigan and landed in low-wage Rogers 52 years ago.

In neither race will Hispanic voters have much influence, nor will they until registration and turnout begin to reflect the size of the population.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Be Blunt

While progressive Eureka Springs voters were enacting a bow hunting ordinance for deer within the city limits, Berryville citizens reelected Mayor Tim McKinney by a vote of 585-483, smoking challenger Jason Williams. Mayor McKinney is a drug court graduate who was a resident of south Fayetteville for 15 days last year.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who Is Getting In Your Wallet?

No surprise here, but the monied interests are behind the proposed constitutional amendments to raise interest rates and generate fees for bond lawyers and counting houses. Proposed Amendments No. 2 and No. 3 will be like manna from the poor, should they fool the voters today, and it looks like that's about to happen.

Just so you know, here's the contribution report for one of the front groups trying to foist the amendments upon the borrowing and taxpaying class. Oil companies and big Little Rock law firms, and $15,000 from the state Chamber of Commerce. Locally, something calling itself the NWA Chamber of Commerce with a Post Office Box in Springdale kicked in $10,000 for the scheme. There were no reported contributions from local churches or social service workers.

The most enthusiastic donor was Car Mart of Bentonville. The corporation ponied up $100,000 for the amendments. They can recover that quickly by charging 17% interest on clunkers for hourly wage workers needing to cruise around Bella Vista on that new bypass that has sucked up all the transportation funding in the region.

Go ahead and vote for your own financial ruin. It is what they want you to do.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Graft or Greed?

I am always amazed at the gall of some public officials lining their own pockets with public tax dollars. Some double dip on the city payroll, and some double dip from the state with fake retirements. This is all legal because aldermen, JPs, and state legislators don't have the courage to rock the boat and stop the looting of the public fisc by petty grifters. All legal but no shame.

Washington County Circuit Clerk Bette Stamps (D) is paid a salary of more than $80,000, which should be adequate compensation for public service. However, state law allows (but does not require) collection of additional fees for job related duties during foreclosure sales. Stamps pocketed $104,458 in fees, kept them for her personal benefit. That's so wrong. Stamps is unopposed for reelection, so expect this shady practice to continue for another two years. The state legislature and the quorum court have done nothing to stop it, and the circuit judges turn a blind eye to the practices of their clerk.

Stamps should resign, but she won't. Stamps should pay back the money into the county general fund, but she won't. Stamps should stop taking the money and deposit future fees in the county general fund, but she won't. Stamps should be defeated in 2012, and she will.

Pat O'Brien (D), who is the County Clerk and Circuit Clerk in Pulaski County, does not take the fees from foreclosures. O'Brien is running for Secretary of State this year, and his opponent is the King of Self-Serving Expense Accounts, Republican State Rep. Mark Martin. Rep. Martin bilks the state for more travel expenses than any other state legislator in northwestern Arkansas, but he doesn't stop there. According to official documents, Martin has been paying $1,300 a month in taxpayer fund for an office in Benton County, which is miles away from his district and his home in Prairie Grove. He claims he is using it as a legislative office, because the location is much more convenient. For whom?

Let's dump those who seek undue enrichment. Find an honest opponent for Circuit Clerk Stamps and vote her out in two years. Stop Mark Martin on Tuesday, before he gets his hands into the larger till at the state capitol, and elect Pat O'Brien as Secretary of State.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Benton County Does It Better

Seldom would I speak well about anything behind the iron curtain of political reason, but the Benton County Election Commission has demonstrated that it has a far better understanding of the broader role of elections than does the Washington County Election Commission. Benton County Election Commission Chairman Bill Williams (D) didn't want to be bothered with informing the public or the media, saying that it would take too much time to give the public updated reports and that it would create an increased risk of error, but it's not like Benton County has any sterling record for accuracy. Those are the same excuses that the Washington County Commission offers for its policy of secrecy and keeping the information from the public until after most of them give up and go to bed around midnight.

Commissioners Bob Balfe (R) and E.J. Williams (D) stood up for the public interest and the people of Benton County. As Balfe explained, “It’s an efficiency and a timeliness issue. One of the foundations of our democracy is the right of the people to change their government. That’s something that has set us apart from the very beginning. We have to balance cost and efficiency with public confidence in the voting process. I think we should put in a process to have results coming out on an interim basis.”

The early voting total and overseas and absentee ballots totals will be reported as soon as possible after the polls close at 7:30 p.m. An updated report will be issued around 9:30 p.m., and a third update will be made around 11 p.m. Later, they will give the final uncertified vote totals as soon as they are complete, about the time that Washington County voters finally get some news about how their candidates fared on election day.

There is no reason why the Washington County Election Commission should shroud the process in secrecy. Local party officials should demand that their appointed members commit to keeping the public better informed about the results. Those are our votes, not the employees whose job it is to count and report them for us. Know what I mean, Chad?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Greed and Gratitude

Do you remember last year when all of Fayetteville was so excited to help local couple Jared and Sarah Greer win a free TCBY franchise? Then there was a big celebration on the Fayetteville Square when it was announced that they had won the national competition. Mayor Lioneld Jordan was there to brag on them, and Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce President Steve Clark proclaimed, “This is great news for our city and our citizens." Local television stations and boasted, "Jared and Sarah Greer win the TCBY for Fayetteville!" The Greers told everyone they would open the new store near the University of Arkansas campus.

That was then. The Greers announced on October 13 that their 1,800 square foot TCBY store with 15 employees would be located at the Promenade Pointe Shopping Center in Rogers. Jared Greer said, "We feel this is the best real estate space in Northwest Arkansas for our needs.”

Jared Greed has a Masters in Business Administration from the Walmart School of Business at the University of Arkansas. Sarah Greed has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Walton School. They certainly learned well and taught Fayetteville a lesson.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Liberal Per Quod

It is a stern reminder that Benton County is a strange and fearful place where reason and politics don't mix. Some woman named Stefani Buhajla, whom I have never heard of before this clarion warning, is raising the hue and cry, "Liberal Running for Mayor of Rogers." As unlikely as that is, Mrs. Buhajla's warning reveals much about what passes for political discourse in Benton County.

So, what is the evidence for this unlikely claim of a liberal sighting in Benton County? Or that Rogers Alderman Greg Hines is a liberal, other than admitting that he is a Methodist? One thing that seems to upset Mrs. Buhajla is that Greg Hines has actually been elected and served over 10 years on the Rogers City Council and 10 years in law enforcement, all the while avoiding being exposed as a liberal. Her damning data is "Mr. Hines has hired a political consulting firm called Markham Group to run his campaign. If you know anything about Markham Group you are now staring at your computer screen in disgust. Never heard of them? Check out their website at They are a left wing attack agency. A short trip to their website shows glowing support for Barack Obama and EEEEEEk!!!! Blanche Lincoln. FRIENDS!!! Do I have your attention???" Oh, he didn't hire Mrs. Buhajla as a consultant.

Mrs. Buhajla is a former intern for John Boozman who now claims to be a "political messaging strategist," whatever that is, but you might wish to think thrice before seeking her counsel. Her bona fides include lunch partner "with the legendary Laurie Masterson," an "event planner" for Americans for Prosperity, campaign manager for the wildly unsuccessful Mike Moore for Congress, political adviser to the also ran Randy Alexander for U.S. Senate, and other fringe candidate losers. She is now working to elect Tea Party Patriot Kurt Maddox of Gravette, who got beat in the Republican Congressional primary in May and moved to Rogers in July to run for Mayor. Maddox has also been endorsed by the Duggar brood of Springdale and some anti-abortion group, in addition to Mrs. Buhajla.

We'll see.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Chance for Blanche

Blanche Lincoln will be in Northwest Arkansas for her Farewell Tour before going to work peddling influence for a high-priced lobbying outfit on K Street. Rumors are that she might actually show up in a venue that allows her constituents to ask questions and get some explanation for her bizarre voting record.

If so, I want to ask her how it put Arkansas first to:

Sponsor the deficit-inducing reduction of the estate tax for billionaires,

Sponsor the climate killing resolution to strip the EPA of its already limited powers,

Vote against the DREAM Act,

Vote against Pell Grants and student loan reform

Vote against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Oppose the Public Option for citizens needing health care

Vote against majority rule when employees vote to have a union

Take millions in campaign cash from lobbyists and out of state corporate PACs

Support NAFTA and CAFTA to encourage the flight of American jobs

Continue to support unchecked the longest war in U.S. history

Vote for thousands of dollars in federal subsidies for John David Lindsey


This could be your last chance to ask, and if you Don't Ask, she Won't Tell.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cowbirds Polling Cowboys

It's not like we weren't warned by an astute blogger. The Springdale Advertising and Promotion Commission has handed over another $12,000 to its main client, Perry Webb and the Traveling Cowbirds. The latest proposal is to pay a Conway company to do a poll of why people don't go to their annual Rodeo of the Ozarks anymore. Attendance this year was down 20% from 2006, drawing only 19,000 people over four days, which is about what a single Razorback basketball game would see back when they had a good team and a coach worth a damn.

Perry Webb says half of the calls will be made to Springdale residents to find out why they don't like it enough to attend and half to out of towners to see what it would take to get them to come and spend $100. If I get a call, I'm going to ask for one of those taxpayer funded family vacations to exotic foreign destinations like they give Randy and the Traveling Mullikens and certain selected Cowbirds.

Other options might be to send a group of Cowbirds to Spain and take a page from the Pamplona playbook, offering The Running of the Chickens. Or the Running of the Nudes from the local talent. Or they could sponsor the Lame Chicken Games. Or have Rubber Chicken lectures on Jones TV to promote their city. Or bring back Festherfest. Or have a Choke the Chicken contest sponsored by the Springdale Country Club. Perry and the Cowbirds are without bounds in finding ways to spend taxpayer money and call it economic development.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The New Jerusalem in Benton County

Only in Arkansas, and only in Benton County. The Bella Vista City Council is meeting in special session on Friday to consider two important issues -- banning the construction of any mosque and ban the practice of Sharia law within the city limits.

The First Amendment has never been of much interest in Benton County, whether it is challenges to library books deemed dangerous or the right of association for employees wishing to bargain collectively. No doubt, banning all mosques will be supported overwhelmingly by the local residents and the pandering politicians, the constitution notwithstanding.

Now, making the practice of Sharia law unauthorized across the board is the real news. Who knew that the judges and lawyers up there were sneaking in Islamic legal principles to contend with the statutory code of Leviticus and the Ten Commandments. Best to nip that in the bud before the camel's nose gets on a slippery slope.

Bellavistian Kay Strickland sounded the jeremiad today, warning the embattled Christian majority that "America is being taken over from the inside out." She and co-crusader Bill Duncan will not sit by and lose the battle for the soul of Bella Vista. "I must do what I must do, I love America and I love Bella vista," she said.

You think this is a joke, like the politicians in Benton County. Nope. Well, yes, but it is true. To which we say, "مجنون باعتباره لون."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sex and Salvation in Fort Smith

In addition to having the second worst legislative delegation in Arkansas, Fort Smith also provides colorful examples of why its long regime of social, political, and cultural repression cannot stop the true spirit of its people, struggling to doff their chains and breathe free.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a Baptism celebration got a little out of hand when shots were fired and the disc jockey was pistol whipped. Fort Smith Police arrested and booked six young pilgrims on various charges including aggravated assault, curfew violations, marijuana possession and carrying a weapon. This one made CBS national news.

Then yesterday, we learned that Fort Smith Police arrested Darby Junior High School Principal Chris Rink and Darby Junior High Social Studies teacher Brian Rincon for solicitation to exchange their lunch money for sex with an undercover police officer in the 900 block of Rogers Avenue. Fail. Double Fail.

Thank goodness for the Bobby Hopper Tunnel, separating the Fort Smith flocks from the horny preachers and devout child molesters who regularly make the news in Benton County. It is ironic that both places will be voting this November to give everyone else a good dose of national and state candidates who embrace their peculiar family values.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Requium for SouthPass?

It has been six long years since the City ignored the City Plan 2025 and was snookered into an another deal with developers on which the the citizens look like suckers, some of the same developers who were gifted with a $3.7 million TIF deal for a luxury hotel that morphed into a barren parking lot and who would be major campaign contributors to Dan Coody's reelection campaign. With only a City Council resolution authorizing him to negotiate, on September 7, 2004, former Mayor Dan Coody immediately signed a contract with SouthPass Development that had already been prepared and signed by John Nock. When the Council balked in November 2008, City Attorney Kit Williams told them that they had no choice but to approve the development and everything that Coody had promised. Subsequently, Coody waived some of the requirements for the developers, and the City went ahead to build infrastructure that was supposed to be a cost-share project with the developers.

All of the Planned Zoning District and permits for SouthPass were to expire on November 6, 2009, if the Phase One construction was not met. It wasn't. Neither did the developers deliver the required deeds for a 200-acre regional park and 10-acres with water tanks nor the $1 million for park development as required by the contract. All the City has gotten out of this deal has been a toxic landfill, hundreds of thousands of expense for new infrastructure, untold hours of staff time, and a well deserved repution for being a fool.

Thanks to documents released in response to a recent FOIA request, we now know even more. Two days before the permits expired, the developers requested a one-year extension until November 6, 2010. In response to the letter, the City asked for specific reasons for extending the PZD phasing deadlines and subsequent information regarding the timing of the release of the deeds required of the PZD conditions of approval. Since that time, the City has, on numerous occasions, deferred to the developers, property owners, bank representatives and/or attorneys representing the bank to allow additional time in order to negotiate the release of the deeds. It has become increasingly apparent that the lines of communication between the City and the development/ownership group have not been productive, as the City established four deadline commitments that have been extended or missed since these discussions began in November, 10 months ago.

On August 19, 2010, City Planning Director Jeremy Pate told the developers “that unless the deeds are delivered to the City of Fayetteville unencumbered, free and clear of any lien or mortgage and acceptable to the City of Fayetteville before Friday, August 27, at 12:00 pm local Fayetteville time, the request to extend the PZD approval for one year will be denied, to be effective on the same date and time.” That date has come and gone.

City Attorney Kit Williams got involved with a series of memos between John Nock and himself. It appears that the City is sitting on two sets of deeds -- one from the SouthPass developers and one from Chambers Bank pending a deed from SouthPass in lieu of foreclosure. Williams extended the deadline yet again until September 9, because he says Nock says he is trying to get other financing to save his project and cough up the additional $1 million required by the contract. If that doesn't happen, Williams says he will file the deeds from Chambers Bank, but the agreement between Williams and J. R. Meeks of Chambers Bank specifically exempting the bank from "assuming any obligations of SouthPass under any previous agreements and between the City and SouthPass." That is, the City should not count on the promised cost-share expenses and the $1 million it was supposed to get under the contract with SouthPass.

Maybe this will all be over next week, or maybe Williams will cut a new deal granting yet another extension to keep this albatross hanging around our necks for another six years. I think, as Kenny Rogers told me, you need to know when to fold'em and when to walk away. Let's cut our losses and be done with this whole mess.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

J. B. Hunt Gives $5 Million to Children's Hospital

I was pleased to read this week that J.B. Hunt, the trucking firm in Lowell, announced a $5 million gift to Arkansas Children's Hospital toward construction of a new wing. “The hospital does such a wonderful job and plays an important role in the lives of J.B. Hunt employees and their families. We are pleased to be a part of helping expand their world-class facilities and making their services available to a larger number of people across all of Arkansas.”

That is admirable and deserves recognition and thanks, especially considering that neighboring corporations give money to less worthy endeavors. The owners of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which has a major operation located in Lowell and holds a monopoly position in this region, is known for pouring money into "charter schools" that undermine the desegregation efforts of the Little Rock School District.

I have no doubt which one is really concerned about children.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

God and Mayor at Springdale

Springdale's Mayor Doug Sprouse pontificated on his position as mayor and told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last week, "I have no doubt that I’m doing what God wants me to do." Such certainty of Divine purpose is widespread among the boastful politicians in Benton County, but Springdale is more like the land of Uz where it is rare to find a man so "righteous in his own eyes."

Sprouse said he is very aware of Springdale’s image — "that it’s rundown and dirty, backward and provincial, industrial and overrun by illegal aliens." I have heard many such things. Miserable comforters are ye all, but “we can’t let others define the truth for us,” he said.
I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? I am as one mocked of his neighbour."

This month, Chickenopolis was the only city in Northwest Arkansas to show yet another drop in sales tax revenue. Earlier this year, Standard & Poor's Rating Service downgraded the city's 2006 improvement bonds. So far this year, there have been 138 home foreclosures slated for auction in the city, compared with 102 in Rogers and 58 in Fayetteville. Despite these cold hard facts, Sprouse has ignored those realities, has kept a happy face, and has tried his best to improve the reputation of Springdale, which is "not that bad." He brought his own Weed Eater to a downtown cleanup event, and he sang the national anthem during the opening of the Marshallese Consulate. As the owner of Sprouse Upholstery, Inc. and a longtime Chamber member, he has continued to hand over taxpayer dollars and leave economic development and world travel to the Springdale Cowbirds. Sprouse even endorsed Republican Mark Darr for Lieutenant Governor against Senator Shane Broadway.

Mayor Sprouse said if it’s in God’s plan, he’ll seek re-election in 2012.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Preacher and the Prostitute

News finally appears in the local print media on the third day that Rev. Joshua Wisdom, 37, one of the pastors at The Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, was among nine people arrested Wednesday for sexual solicitation during a sting operation aimed at customers of local escortitutes, according to Bentonville Police Chief James Allen.

We are told that everything happens for a reason according to God’s plan, but are we to believe that He planned an online sting operation to nab one of the Pompous Pharisees looking for illicit nookie? There must be another explanation for this sad event, and there is. Rev. Wisdom should get the Benton County taxpayers to hire Asa Hutchinson for $600 an hour to write a brief that goes something like this:

May it please the Court, the Pompous Pharisee desired him that he would eat with him. And Rev. Wisdom went into Ronnie’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that rev. Wisdom sat at meat in the Church of Ronnie at Pinnacle Hills , brought a tube of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when Ronnie’s loyal lieutenants saw it, Andy Wilson, the executive leader of ministry and operations at First Baptist Church of Springdale and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, spake “This man, if he were a better youth minister, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. We are shocked at this news; however, we are looking to the Lord who provides us strength in the midst of a crisis, and we are demanding his immediate resignation.”

And Rev. Wisdom answering said unto him, Andy, I have somewhat to say unto thee. There were certain banks which had five debtors: John Nock, John David Lindsey, Brandon Barber, Hank Broyles, and Collins Haynes. And when they had foolishly spent the borrowed money and had nothing to pay, they either defaulted on loans or declared bankruptcy and were forgiven their debts. Tell me therefore, which of them will love the federal bankruptcy code the most? Which of them made off with more money than this troubled working girl? Who is the greater sinner?

And Wisdom turned to the woman, and said unto Andy, “Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

And Rev. Wisdom said unto the undercover cop pretending to be prostitute, “Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” However, Rev. Wisdom was not forgiven. The Church of Ronnie at Pinnacle Hills and First Baptist Church of Springdale didn’t buy his story about wanting to love the sinner while hating the sin, and they demanded his resignation, effective immediately. Bentonville Police Chief James Allen didn’t bite either, charging Rev. Wisdom with Sexual Solicitation, a Class B Misdemeanor. None of the morally bankrupt developers were charged with any crime for welching on their debts to the banks, but they might have been unable to read the notes they signed for multiple millions. Verily, this is a fundamental case of religious liberty, just as much as that self-ordained tree-sitting minister down in Fayetteville professing that selling mushrooms to undercover cops was a sacrament.

That should be enough for Rev. Wisdom to get off in Benton County.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Airport 2010

Mel Bakersfeld: Joe, this is Mel. There's no more time. Stop all engines and get out. Repeat. Stop all engines.
Joe Patroni: I can't hear a thing. There's too much noise. Hold on. We're GOIN FOR BROKE!
Ray Boudreaux: Huh? Oh. Gee Whiz. Not me!

Once again, Ray Boudreaux, husband of City Council member Brenda Thiel and director of the Fayetteville Executive Jetport, is submitting an unbalanced budget. For next year, Boudreaux is projecting a $30,000 drop in revenue from this year, and he will ask Alderman Thiel and her colleagues to approve a budget deficit of $68,700. He says he expects the Council to approve his deficit budget without any questions or problems.

Director Boudreaux is on the payroll at about $90,000, accounting for more than 12% of the entire budget and 131% of the entire deficit. He is supposed to find high-rolling tenants to rent hanger space at the Jetport, but the facility continues to lose tenants to surrounding cities.

Bob Nickle, head of the Fayetteville Airport Board, says, “All we’ve got to do is get a tenant that can pay us a reasonable amount of money ... that really takes care of a whole bunch of this.” Bob didn't say who had failed to "get a tenant" and caused the deficit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Dog Days of Blogging

Bloggers and those who leave comments seldom have anything nice to say about anyone or anything, but that's okay. No one wants to be thought the political equivalent of a sports writer and get accused of being a homer or sucking up to power, so complaining becomes an art form with criticism and sarcasm flow freely upon public institutions and public figures. Sometimes it appears to be jaundiced cynicism, and sometimes it appears deserved commentary meant to correct the errors and improve things for the polis.

There are signs that bloggers and their readers might not really care, much less be up to the real responsibility of government and public affairs. Take, for example, the two best news sources in Northwest Arkansas -- the Fayetteville Flyer and Ozarks Unbound. Both have recently provided information about openings on Fayetteville city boards and commissions, including those on Environmental Concerns and on Tree and Landscape. How many reader comments on the Flyer? None. How many reader comments on OU? Zip. What about the upcoming races for City Council? Ozarks Unbound has an informative article with zero comments, tied with nada on the Fayetteville Flyer article.

Does the dearth of reader response reflect a lack of interest in public service, or is actually getting involved not worth the time to comment? An article on chicken wings drew 23 comments on the Flyer, so that gives you some idea about their readers' relative hierarchy of interests. But it is not just the wired kids who seem disinterested in political involvement. The only contested race for county office this fall in Benton and Washington Counties is a race for Washington County Assessor, where seeking a sinecure is far more central than implementing ideology of government. Meh.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Predator Is on the Prowl

After sucking up every available federal dollar for the stillborn Bella Vista By-Pass and the Walmart HQ Driveway to I-540, the Northwest Arkansas Council is back again stealing crumbs from the poor. Mike Malone is the front man for this unelected group of rich corporate executives that has captured the Northwest Arkansas Regional Mobility Authority. This public body would have been an excellent vehicle to apply for light rail and mass transit funding; that is, until Malone and the Economic Ephors so generously offered to staff the organization and turn it into a convenient receptacle for their own pet projects.

The Advocates for Public Transit, an advisory board to Ozark Regional Transit, has decided to seek a 2011 election date for a 1/4 cent sales tax to support the undernourished public transit system serving Washington and Benton Counties. Then the board said it wanted the transit system to work with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Mobility Authority and the Northwest Arkansas Council on a sales tax election, which was all the opening that Malone and the Millionaires needed. Get the Vaseline, because they are coming back for more.

Malone and the captive Regional Mobility Authority want to raise the sales tax to get even more money for the Bella Vista By-Pass so that a certain retailer and the truckers will not have to pay up for a toll road. They want you to pay a sales tax for their bypass. Malone said he and the group might consider including something for the transit system -- if their tax passed and there was anything left.

To scare the Advocates for Mass Transit, they brought in an advertising slick to tell them how hard it would be to pass a sales tax without the backing of the Millionaires Club. One Randy Mullikin, owner of the Mullikin Agency and frequent world traveler courtesy of Springdale taxpayers funneled through the Springdale Chamber of Cowbirds, told the public transit supporters that it would require an advertising campaign costing exactly $158,900 to win an election.

Randy didn't mention how much of that might go into his pocket for creative, production, and commissions, but it would be more than any of my friends or I make in a year. He also didn't tell them what a bullshitter he was, because that's more than twice what Asa Hutchinson charged David Bisbee to prove he was illiterate, more than twice what Marilyn Edwards spent to get elected County Judge in 2008. He just made sure that the beggars would run to Malone for his "help" and that he would get his cut from the campaign.

Ozark Regional Transit will lose $750,000 in federal funding for operating expenses after this census report, and the paltry 1/4 cent sales tax could solve that problem and allow significant expansion of services. They deserve it, but there is not a chance of it passing if the greed of Mr. Malone and the Northwest Arkansas Council overwhelms the need of those who depend on public transportation for their livelihood and their lives.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Walton Arts Center Expansion

Yesterday was the deadline for proposals related to the expansion plans for the Walton Arts Center. Here's the weak proposal from the Bentonville-Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, and here's the even more insulting one from the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce. Then there is the poor one from the Springdale Chamber of Commerce that brags about the availability of billboards, but at least they tried, unlike the smug drivel submitted by Bentonville and Rogers. There were also numerous suggestions from people wanting to sell their real estate.

The joint proposal from the City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas is awesome. Totally awesome. It presents a thoughtful and detailed narrative instead of the glib representations from the other applicants. It addresses each issue and provides both specific plans and helpful designs. It includes funding mechanisms for parking decks and theaters. It throws in bigtime concerts in Bud Walton Arena and Razorback Stadium. No other proposal can touch it, and the others should slink away in shame. However, if you want to hear the opinions of local residents who don't like anything about the current Walton Arts Center or the joint proposal for expansion in Fayetteville, drop by to read the comments on the Fayetteville Flyer, here and here.

Will the Fayetteville-University proposal be accepted, or will the Walton Arts Center Board decide to build the huge theater expansion project in what one local leader dubbed "a big field in a dry county"? We will soon know. We will know soon whether Peter Lane and the WAC Board were seriously seeking strong proposals or running a charade as cover for decisions already made elsewhere. We will know whether it is called the Walton Arts Center because it honored the role of Helen and Sam Walton among the founding forces of the Fayetteville institution, or whether it is called that because the Walton Family Foundation can wield its checkbook and demand that it be built in Benton County.

Either way, the Fayetteville-University proposal smokes them all on merit. Congratulations to Mayor Jordan and Chancellor Gearhart on an excellent proposal.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

"We hope the council votes against something the chamber wants soon — just to show they still can."

- Editorial,
Northwest Arkansas Times, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Plush Perks for Politicians and Public Employees

These are tough times for local government, because they are tough times for the economy. People without jobs cannot buy products and services, and the over-reliance on sales tax revenues to fund local government is generating less revenue than in past years. Much has been done to reduce expenses and attempt to maintain services, and most elected officials and public employees have been willing to continue with frozen salaries and reduced overtime pay. However, a few bad apples continue to draw deep from the public purse for their own convenience and act as if they are entitled to special treatment from the lowly taxpayers.

Some of our state's highrollers have been pinched lately when it became known that they were driving high-dollar vehicles for personal business at taxpayer expense. Some have since given up their state car, and others have started paying income tax on the benefit. House Speaker Robbie Wills told everyone to kiss his ass, that he was keeping the Tahoe and not paying back anything. In addition to state elected officials, more than 400 state employees have been paying taxes on the use of a state-owned vehicle to commute to and from work, get groceries, take the kids to school, and hundreds of other personal uses at taxpayer expense. How many state employees have personal vehicles provided by the taxpayers is unknown, but a lawsuit filed last week seeks to put an end to this practice.

The local media have shown little interest and devoted almost no effort to check on how many county and city officials and employees are getting these personal vehicles at taxpayer expense. It was reported last year that Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards and her chief flunky, Dan Short, got brand new Dodge Durango SUVs as a $50,000 gift from county taxpayers. How many other county officials and county employees have personal use of county vehicles, and do they pay income tax on this freebie?

Neither Mayor Jordan nor Don Marr get city vehicles for personal use. One of Jordan's first moves was to decline the $500 a month car allowance that the former mayor got from taxpayers. None of the other elected officials -- City Clerk, City Attorney, or City Council -- have cars provided by the taxpayers. The question that remains unanswered is how many passenger vehicles does the city own, and how many of these are assigned to employees for their personal use? Let's have some answers. Let's have some open government disclosure about who the taxpayers are buying cars for and which employees are paying income tax on this luxury service in hard times. Do you think Ray Boudreaux has a car at the executive jetport that he used for courting the Councilwoman? Parking these little perks would be better than furloughing employees so the big shots can continue to cruise in style.

What about the other cities and counties? What do Steve Womack and David Bisbee drive? What about school district employees? What about the University of Arkansas and its holding company, the Athletic Department? How many administrators are getting the free ride whiles faculty and staff salaries are frozen for two years? Is David Gearhart's rig as nice as Jeff Long's or whoever is supposed to be the basketball coach? It's not like they couldn't afford to buy a car with those inflated salaries.

I don't get paid enough to ask these questions, which would require the effort of making a few phone calls and the patience to endure the everlasting run-around, and I have given up waiting on the Northwest Arkansas Times to act like a real newspaper. The Fayetteville Flyer and Ozarks Unbound have a clear field if they want it.

Gall and Greed of the Greasy

Disgraced Republican Benton County Judge David Bisbee is once again trying to slop at the public trough and throw some taxpayer funds to defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson. You'll recall that Bisbee was charged with feathering his own nest by rejecting a low bid for county work and hiring his own firm. An all-Republican Benton County jury acquitted him of three charges after he and his lawyer put on a defense claiming that Bisbee couldn't read or write, so he was ignorant of the ethics law that he voted for in the legislature and later ignored. The jury was hung on whether he was guilty of using his public office to advance the economic interest of Gary Wierman, his longtime associate at Valley Homes.

Now comes Bisbee asking the judge to order taxpayers to pay his lawyer fees! His main man, Asa Hutchinson, filed a sworn statement that his normal fee was $660 an hour, which is not bad for a man who voted against raising the minimum wage for common folks. Hutchinson says he gave Bisbee a cut rate of only $400 an hour for himself and $200 an hour for his son. The Arkansas Public Defender Commission pays private attorneys $90-$110 an hour when they are appointed to represent people facing the death penalty, but the Hutchinson defense team was billing at $775 an hour for misdemeanors. The bill came to $73,044.85, and Dave and Asa think that you should pay them.

If David Bisbee really thought that all defendants deserved equal justice in Benton County, he would have presented a county budget with funds to pay $400 an hour to the lawyers of all defendants who were acquitted or had charges dropped. It could be called the Doug Norwood Retirement Fund or something, but Bisbee didn't recommend a nickel for anyone else's legal fees. He just wants special treatment for himself, and he wants taxpayers to come up with $73,044.85 so he can pay his pal Asa for the illiteracy defense.

If Asa Hutchinson really thought that all defendants deserved to have their legal fees paid if they were not convicted or charged, he would have introduced an appropriation bill in Congress to pay millions to the lawyers who defended the Clintons during the six-year Whitewater witch hunt conducted by Kenneth Starr and the unsuccessful impeachment trial led my none other than Asa Hutchinson. But, he didn't. He just wants special treatment for himself, and he wants taxpayers to come up with $73,044.85 to pay him for the Bisbee illiteracy defense.

These Benton County Republicans are against spending public funds for an HIV Clinic, wastewater treatment, public health care, or unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs. They have no problem with spending your tax dollars to line their own pockets at $400 an hour or to pay their personal bills of more than $73,000. Shame has left the building. The local Teabaggers don't seem to have any problem with this, so maybe the relatively sane few in Benton County shouldn't either.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Boozman, Wall Street, and Main Street

Congressman John Boozman (R-Rogers) voted two years ago for using taxpayer money to bailout of the Big Banks that had made foolish decisions and lost billions of dollars. Boozman supported this George Bush scheme to help Wall Street CEOs keep their bonuses and estates in the Hamptons. He didn't raise taxes to cover the cost, he just loaded it on the national debt for our grandchildren to pay. Now he says the nation shouldn't extend unemployment benefits to 16,000 Arkansas citizens who lost their jobs and can't find work, because that would increase the deficit he created for the bank bailout.

On June 30, Boozman again stood up for the Wall Street bankers, fighting all additional financial regulation of shady banking practices and trying to kill any consumer protection measures when he voted against the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law today. Under this legislation, about 650 former customers of Arkansas National Bank Financial at Rogers will receive checks from the FDIC, retroactively covering the loss of their personal savings up to $250,000 due to poor management decisions by ANB officers and board members that led to huge losses and closing of the bank.

Boozman opposed protection for the life savings of small depositors in Arkansas, but he was all for bailing out the Wall Street bankers. Why is that? Take a look at his campaign contributors for the last ten years, and you'll see who he represents. Unless you coughed up big bucks, it is not you. If there's another explanation, I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tim is Waiting for You in the Cyber Crib

Dear Sheriff Fife,

Time and again, you have convinced us that your presence in office will continue to interfere with workplace harmony and public dignity. One way to eliminate a public disruption/distraction problem is to replace the person or persons who have caused the problem. One way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization is to elect people who will be able to do a better job or will be able to do the same job without making our county look like a bunch of repressed hillbillies living in 17th century Salem. These are political decisions. We will have other choices for the Sheriff’s position in two years. We have decided to replace you with an employee who will not ignore the harassment complaints of female employees, fire female employees for non-workplace activities, and generally make our top county law enforcement officer look like the love child of Barney Fife and the Church Lady. We are choosing to elect a person who we believe will better our ability to get our legitimate government work done -- in a manner that is both effective and efficient -- without any more harmful national publicity like you brought to our county last year when a female defendant was locked in a closet and forgotten for four days

PS. Get off the computer. Stop checking and rechecking Jessi's pictures.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rogers Among the Chosen Few

Rogers has been named to the CNN.Money Top Ten Best Small Towns, just behind Fishers, Indiana, and Ames, Iowa. They say that being located next door to Walmartville gives it a relatively cosmopolitan feel. The article, however, warns, "Not all is picture perfect: Rogers does contain some rundown areas. Though Wal-Mart has had layoffs in recent years, the jobless rate here remains low."

Rogers is the only Arkansas town in the Top 100 this year. For the last two years, Bloomberg Businessweek has named Springdale as the best small town in which to raise your kids. Local real estate agent Judy Luna says that will teach the snobs in Fayetteville.

Nothing yet posted on the Rogers Blog, but keep checking.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What Boozman Did to Us Last Week

It undermines one's faith in the republic when a Congressman openly ignores his constituents to blindly follow John Boner down the economic rabbit hole. Last week, Congressman John Boozman (R-Walmart Puppet) did just that on two major bills in the House. His disregard for both the welfare and wishes of Northwest Arkansas voters cannot be dismissed as ignorance. It has come to be a harmful mixture of hubris and malice that leads him to flip off even those who voted for him.

Exhibit A. In 2008, John Boozman voted for billions on Bush's bailout of the huge Wall Street Ponzi Banks that plunged the nation's economy into crisis. On Wednesday, he voted against any additional federal regulations of those same financial bandits. The bill, which passed over his opposition, created a federal consumer protection agency, allows oversight of the speculative commodities market, gives stockholders an advisory role on those sweet executive compensation packages, and providing greater transparency of financial shenanigans. Funding comes from ending the Troubled Assets Relief Program bank bailout corporate welfare program that Boozman supports.

Exhibit B. On Thursday, Boozman voted against H.R. 4899, a supplemental appropriation bill that will provide $13 billion in mandatory funding for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, $162 million for the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster, $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to help save 140,000 education jobs for the next school year, funding for Pell Grants, summer youth jobs, border security, innovative technology energy loans, and emergency food assistance. It is funded by $23.5 billion in offsets, including $11.7 billion in rescissions from other programs that no longer require the funding.

Boozman believes his own polls showing him with a landslide 30% lead over Blanche Lincoln and knows that voters don't care enough to check his horrendous voting record. However, when you have an opportunity, ask our local Congressional nominees Steve Womack (R-Rogers) and David Whitaker (D-Fayetteville) how they would have voted on these two bills. I'd like to know if we will continue to have a 3rd District representative who votes repeatedly against our interests, or if we might get our country back from the bankers and boners who have owned the bozo.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"When the going gets weird . . ."

Tomorrow they are having the Fifth Annual Paranormal Explorations Transformation Conference 2010 in Benton County. It is certainly a target-rich environment and an excellent choice for such a gathering. Paranormal Mayor Womack should be the Keynote Speaker and take full credit for hosting this signature event in his city.

This is the place to be if you want to explore UFOs, Nostradamus, Birthers, Republicans, and Tabaash Salaam Mahyam, channeled from Sumeria in 5,000 BC. Nothing unusual, really.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ignorance of the law IS an Excuse

They used to tell us that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but, like many other things, Benton County has stood that maxim on its head. County Judge David Bisbee, who ignored a low bid and did county work with his own construction company, said he had not read the ethics law he was charged with violating -- even though he voted for it as a State Senator. That at least seems like more scienter than most common criminals are assumed have.

This is the same David Bisbee who as a legislator blamed Governor Jim Guy Tucker for grade inflation and social promotion of unqualified students in the public schools. “The parents think their schools are doing a good job until their kid gets ready to go to college and then they say, ‘Well, I guess little Johnny or little Suzy doesn’t test very well,’” Bisbee said. “Every parent out there believes their kid doesn’t test very well. We know that’s not true.” Bisbee didn't do well on his credibility test, either.

Bisbee claimed under oath he can neither read nor write, which explains much about his tenure as Chairman of the Legislative Joint Budget Committee, but since when is that an excuse for breaking the law, especially in Benton County. This is the home of English Only Everything with no quarter for those who cannot read nor speak it. Okay, I admit it, they do cut some slack for the Teabaggers on spelling.

Bisbee's defense is even better than the Twinkie Defense, and former Congressman, Impeachment Manager, and Homeland Security Drug Czar Asa Hutchinson presented it to the Benton County jury with a straight face. I had a flashback to the defense crafted by Charles King, attorney for Pro-Bowl former UA football player Gary Anderson, who had no problem with reading a playbook but apparently had enough difficulty reading his $1.375 million contract with the Tampa Bay Bandits that he was able to get out of it and sign a better one with the San Diego Chargers. So much for that UA education.

Vicki Ronald, director of the Literary Council of Benton County, says there are an estimated 30,000 functionally illiterate adults in Benton County, based on state’s percentage of illiteracy. I'd say that sounds a little high, considering that the voter turnout for the Republican Primary was only about 23,000.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Election Time

We earlier presented our endorsements in the Republican Primary races for U.S. Senate and Third District Congress. Today we offer up a glimpse of what our ballot will look like tomorrow when we waltz into the polling place and vote in the Democratic Primary and the so-called Non-Partisan Judicial Election. How you vote is your own business. And no matter what they say, you can still bitch if you don't vote, but it just feels more righteous if you did.











FOR ORDINANCE ON CITY PARKS. This proposed ordinance will not raise the current Parks Hotel, Motel and Restaurant tax nor have any effect other than to establish a special city fund in which Parks HMR revenue could be used for the development, construction and maintenance of city parks.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fayetteville's State Representative Race

The only local Democratic Primary race in town is that between Greg Leding and Bill Ramsey to replace State Representative Lindsley Smith and represent Fayetteville's House District 92, which includes Dickson Street and the University of Arkansas. You can check out the candidate websites linked above to see how they are presenting themselves, and the League of Women Voters conducted interviews that are available online.

Here is the Northwest Arkansas Times overview of the race. I kept hoping that the Fayetteville Flyer would run those cool personal and political interviews like they did for the mayor's race in 2008, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Anyway, you'll have to look a bit further to see what the public thinks of them. Birds of a Feather Analytics are sometimes helpful in getting beyond the images created by the ad agencies.

Using the convenient Ballot Bucks website created by the folks at Ozarks Unbound and snooping around the online media outlets, here are the candidate composites that emerge for the two candidates. You can make your own choice about which one you think will represent your interests and our community in the state legislature.


Northwest Arkansas Times
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Arkansas Oil Marketers Association PAC
Arkansas Bankers Association PAC
Southwestern Electric Power Company PAC
Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce PAC
Don Tyson
Dr. Bobby New
Jim Lindsey


Arkansas Education Association
Arkansas Sierra Club
Northwest Arkansas Labor Council

Representative Lindsley Smith
Senator Sue Madison
Representative Monty Davenport
Susana O'Daniel
Dr. Hershey Garner
Karon Reese

Monday, May 3, 2010

Endorsements in Republican Primaries

There are lots of people running for the Republican nomination for federal office, but there are few quality candidates from which to choose. It is almost by default that we offer these as the best of the lot.

John Boozman for U.S. Senate. He is more sane than Jim Holt or Gilbert Baker, one of whom might make a run-off with Boozman. We know that Boozman votes and talks the right wing party line, but he seldom goes beyond those marching orders to make up stuff to get attention. He is a tool of Walmart and the monied interests, and he cares not for the average voter in Arkansas. In other words, a typical Republican.

Cecile Bledsoe for Congress
, 3rd District. Again, all of the Republican candidates swallow the party line and can be counted to vote as the Whip tells them. Bledsoe would be better than Steve Womack or Gunner DeLay, because she is a nice person and generally unoffensive. Womack or DeLay would be sure to embarrass us with their loose lips as well as their voting records, so we go for the safer alternative.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bad Day in Benton County

The front page today has two stories from Benton County, related to position on the page and on the political spectrum. Benton County Judge David Bisbee was charged with five counts of ethics violations related to three separate incidents. Bisbee offered no comment, but it looks like he was just following the Republican Party line of running government like a business -- his own or maybe Enron. Lots of self-dealing, corner-cutting, and ethics-winking by the developer-politician. The Prosecuting Attorney is preparing a petition to remove Bisbee from office; Bisbee says he ain't going nowhere and is running for re-election in that little one-party fiefdom.

Just down the road, Pinnacle Point Properties, LLC, already way behind on paying $700,00 in local property taxes, has filed for bankruptcy. Lined up to take another hit to their capital accounts are Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock ($34.9 million) and Chambers Bank of Danville ($6.65 million). Chambers Bank is also sucking air in the John Lindsey bankruptcy deal. Bill Schwyhart is the man behind the curtain here. Last year, he was slapped with a $27 million foreclosure suit by Bank of America on other properties, and was involved in litigation, and the year before that he was sued by widow Johnelle Hunt, a former partner in a $30 million air charter deal.

In 2008, Schwyhart invested $13,900 in the campaign coffers of Mike Huckabee, John Boozman, Jim Inhofe, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and the Republican Party of Arkansas. Back in 2004, he dumped $18,300 on Bush-Cheney, John Boozman, Ernest Istook, Kit Bond, and Marvin Parks. Less than 5% of his generosity went to Democrats, and that was a single wasted contribution to Dick Gephardt.

John Boozman should consider hiring Bisbee and Schwyhart as campaign consultants and economic advisors. He owes them something for their past support.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Astroturf Politics from Another Planet

There is a bunch of wingnuts calling themselves Secure Arkansas and claiming to be "a grassroots organization" dedicated to making damn sure that no Mexicans get anything but a raw deal in Arkansas. The Third District coordinators are Jack and Jan Lea in Rogers. Dawn Harpell of Bella Vista, Kevin Connor of Rogers, and Joyce Loftis of Bentonville are the Benton County cell coordinators, and the Washington County klavern is headed up by Teabaggers Christine Keller and Jim Laubler. The Madison County bunker is staffed by Linda Vandiver, owner of the Faubus Motel that hoisted the Confederate Battle Flag after Obama's victory.

If you ever had any notion that this gaggle was mainstream, let their own Tea Party Straw Poll of over 1,000 people who attended their rallies this week clear your mind. In the Governor's race, they voted 94% for Jim Keet to Mike Beebe's 6%. In the Lt. Governor's race, Democrat Shane Broadway also got 6%. I would be willing to wager the farm that both Beebe and Broadway waltz into office with clear majorities among the more sane voters in the general election. Their little poll also had Republican Mark Martin of Prairie Grove thumping Democrat Pat O'Brien by 95% to 3%. For Land Commissioner, Republican John Thurston, whom I've never heard of before, getting 98% and Democrat Monty Davenport getting less that 1%. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel was given a 95% disapproval rating.

The Third District Congressional race is another example of the disconnect with reality. Among those running in the Republican Primary, the Secure Teabaggers favored Bernie Skoch and Mike Moore tied at 23% each, while Rogers Mayor and Mexican Hunter Steve Womack had only 3%. In the Fourth District, Mike Ross was favored by 4%. No Democratic cendidate in the Second District broke 1%. It was about the same story in the First District with Republican Rick Crawford picked by 81% to 17% for Republican Princella Smith.

The ranking of United States Senate candidates was the only surprise, with Bailout John Boozman leading with 27%, just ahead of Jim Holt at 23%. None of the Democrats broke the 1% barrier.

I can think of nothing clever to say that would be any funnier than the raw numbers in this poll.