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Monday, March 10, 2014

The open line: Pulaski Tech tax vote; LR city politics; the union label; LRAFB growth

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Another week begins. Closing out:

click to enlarge PULASKI TECH: Seeks tax increase tomorrow.
  • PULASKI TECH: Seeks tax increase tomorrow.
* TOMORROW IS ELECTION DAY IN PULASKI COUNTY: Tuesday is special election day for a 1.9-mill property tax for Pulaski Tech. It would be the first property tax for the college and raise about $11 million a year to buttress its job-training and other programs. The tax means $38 a year on a $100,000 house. It would supplement state support that has fallen far short of sufficient for the college, which has experienced dramatic growth. The hope is that it will encourage jobs that will prove attractive to growing businesses. I'm checking out early to vote FOR it today. I've seen the positive role the college has played for people who struggle to balance school, jobs and families while improving their skills. Real help for real people.

* A CANDIDATE FOR CITY BOARD: Kenyon Lowe, 54, a member of the Little Rock Housing Authority board and a teacher at ITT Tech, sends early word that he'll be running for Little Rock Board of Directors in November. Filing doesn't begin until late summer. He'll run for Ward 1, currently held by Director Erma Hendrix. Lowe said Hendrix "hasn't done anything in 12 years."

* ASA! NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN: The GOP talking point of the day today was Mike Ross' support from organized labor. It's as old a ploy in Arkansas as John McClellan's cookie jar. Republicans hate unions and people who work for them. They have to be stupid, subhuman life forms to kowtow to the "liberal union bosses." Even school teachers, Asa Hutchinson, the Republican candidate, made clear. The Arkansas Education Association doesn't hold a single labor contract in Arkansas and its leadership is elected democratically from among 12,000 voluntary members, but they are liberal chumps. Just ask Asa. Any teacher stupid enough to join the AEA isn't fit to teach your kid. That's the implied GOP smear and Asa Hutchinson pulled it out to trash teachers after the AEA endorsement of Ross. Hypocrisy alert: Asa Hutchinson sought the AEA endorsement, then blasted the group after he didn't get it. He's also received a number of union contributions himself over the years, including $6,000 worth from airline pilots, marine offices and flight controllers, among others. These, I guess, are "good" unions — not nasty ass school teachers or the bedpan cleaners of the SEIU. Those people are too stupid to know a good candidate when they see one. Just ask Asa.

* AIR FORCE CONFIRMS 2015 BUDGET COULD GROW LRAFB: I reported here Friday the news that the preliminary 2015 Defense budget could mean the relocation of 10 C130J aircraft to Little Rock Air Force Base and a new wing to accommodate reservists who will fly the cargo planes. LRAFB issued a news release about the plans today:

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. – Significant changes would come to the Air Force Reserve at Little Rock AFB under the proposed Department of Defense budget request for fiscal 2015.

If enacted into law, the 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, a C-130 Air Force Reserve unit at the central Arkansas base, would convert to the 913th Airlift Group, and be equipped with 10 C-130 J-model aircraft. The unit would also be authorized to grow to more than 600 Reserve Airmen.

The proposed change in force structure at Little Rock AFB is just one part of an Air Force Reserve-wide shift as detailed in the Air Force portion of the fiscal 2015 President’s Budget Request (PBR).

“While we’re certainly excited about our future as part of a strengthened Team Little Rock, we understand that this proposed budget request is in the early stages of the political process,” said Col. Archie Frye, commander of the effected reserve unit. “We feel, though, that this is a reflection of our incredible skill set, the value-based nature of the Reserve, and our commitment to the global combat airlift mission.”

22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, was activated in March of 2011, and worked closely for two years with the active duty 314th Airlift Wing and the Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing as part of the Formal Training Unit mission at Little Rock AFB. The unit began a transition to combat airlift in October, 2013, and is currently integrating with the 19th Airlift Wing’s 50th Airlift Squadron as part of the Air Force’s Total Force Integration initiative.

If approved by Congress and signed into law by the President, most of the proposed force structure changes will occur in 2015 and 2016. The unit’s new designation would be a reactivation of the 913th, a Reserve unit of the 22nd Air Force that was deactivated in September, 2007 at its home station of Willow Grove, Penn.

The unit currently has seven legacy C-130 H-model aircraft. Air Force Reserve Command has not yet detailed the disposition of the legacy aircraft if the budget is enacted into law.

“These force structure changes are significant, but they ensure the Air Force Reserve remains an integrated, flexible and combat-ready force,” said Brig. Gen. William “Buck” Waldrop, director of plans, programs, requirements and assessments for the Air Force Reserve Command.

The Air Force Reserve is a cost effective, highly efficient and capable force that provides the Air Force about 20 percent of its capability at only about four percent of the total Air Force budget.

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