Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UPDATED OPEN LINE: School elections, deferral of great historic window debate at LR City Board

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM


Here's the open line and video news roundup. I hope to be back tonight with some election results and a report from the Little Rock City Board, but I have a conflict that might keep me away for a while. Contributions from other watchers welcome.

click to enlarge WINDOWS AT ISSUE: Replacements wanted at Woman's City Club.
  • WINDOWS AT ISSUE: Replacements wanted at Woman's City Club.
PS — The lobbying on the window replacement debate at Woman's City Club is raging fast and furious. Recusal requested of City Director Stacy Hurst, since she's a former Junior League member and supporter and it has applied for a contract waiver to do the work on its building. City Attorney Tom Carpenter says she doesn't have to recuse. Junior League president's family involvement in window replacement has been noted. She says deal was struck before she was president and at favorable terms. The Quapaw Quarter Association says the Junior League should honor the historic easement for which it got $20,000 and that tax credits are available for restoration work. The QQA says, too, that the original windows can be preserved at a reasonable cost and match energy efficiency of replacement windows.

And so on.

WINDOW UPDATE: The decision on the waiver for the Junior League was deferred three weeks on a 6-4 vote so that a mediator could be used to see if opposing side can reach an agreement. FOR MORE ON THIS DEBATE: GO TO THE JUMP:

SCHOOL UPDATE: As expected the vote for Jacksonville to separate from the Pulaski County School District was a runaway,  3,767 to 218.

In the Little Rock School District, both incumbents on the ballot were defeated.

ZONE 1

Incumbent Norma Jean Johnson 227
Joy C. Springer 483

ZONE 5

Incumbent Jody Carreiro 221
Jim Ross 379

Victories by Ross and Springer alter the current majority dynamic of the board significantly and particularly complicate matters for Superintendent Dexter Suggs. 

Re school votes: I note that 1,000 of those Jacksonville voters didn't cast a vote in favor of the property tax millage, compared with the vote on the Jacksonville school separation. It's meaningless. No increase was on the ballot and the millage continues, approved or not. But it's a measure of something when people want their schools separated but don't necessarily want to vote taxes to support them. Overall, however, the millage was approved, which is unusual in Pulaski County.

North Little Rock's two school board incumbents, Scott Teague and J.T. Zakrzewski, had tough races. Teague survived, is slightly ahead of Patrick Lander, 185-162; Zakrzewski lost to Sandi Campbell, 292-332.


A REPORT FROM CITY BOARD

A big crowd from both the Junior League and QQA was on hand, but procedural rules prevented any public discussion. Board members noted the high interest, as measured by e-mails. They want a mediator to help before the Oct. 6 City Board meeting.

Mayor Stodola, who's said he opposed the window replacement, noted that the easement gave the city ownership in the facade and he said he needed more information. Director Joan Adcock moved for the deferral.

Director Stacy Hurst discussed her sustaining membership in the Junior League and her work in acquiring the building. She urged deferral and asked city staff for information about historic rehabilitation tax credits, an idea mentioned by the Quapaw Quarter Association. She also asked for a window-by-window analysis of whether each should be replaced. She also mentioned the League buying back the easement from the city, a discussion stopped by the mayor until more information is available. The easement agreement allows a buyback but only with city approval and also with payment of 6 percent interest from the date of the grant.

The motion to simply defer failed on a 5-5 tie. Director Lance Hines then over to defer with a request for mediation. That passed 6-4. Ayes were Hendrix, Hurst, Hines, Wyrick, Adcock and Wright. Nays were Richard, Cazort, Kumpuris and Fortson. However, Philip Kaplan, attorney for the Junior League, said the organization had no intention of negotiating on the issue.

— Based on reporting by Tim McKuin, who is a member of the QQA and whose wife heads the Arkansas Historic Preservation Alliance, which would like to see the facade preserved.

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