As predicted here, the City Board of Directors voted against an ordinance to require new police officer hires to be residents of Little Rock. The vote was 6 to 4, with Directors Erma Hendrix, who introduced the ordinance; Ken Richardson, Doris Wright and Kathy Webb voting for passage. Webb's vote kept the board from dividing along racial lines on the ordinance.
The City Board is set to vote tonight on an ordinance to require future police officers to reside in Little Rock. The ordinance was drafted at the request of Ward 1 Director Erma Hendrix. Directors Ken Richardson and Doris Wright, the board's other African American members, support the ordinance. Director Kathy Webb said today she is "leaning" toward supporting it, "but I am still not 100 percent decided."
The Little Rock City Board demonstrated last night some surprising sentiment in support of a residency requirement for Little Rock cops. That won't solve problems in a city too ready to blame schools (many of them excellent) for city problems linked more to race and economics.
Much unhappiness on the Downtown Little Rock Neighborhood Facebook page about Ward 1 City Director Erma Hendrix's stifling of a plan to restripe Chester Street to include a marked bicycle lane. It's part of the city's Complete Streets program to encourage use of right of way for all, including bicycles and walkers and runners, not just cars.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen writes that Little Rock is pandering to a storm trooper mentality by purchasing riot gear for police rather than focusing on better training of officers and more community policing in city unmarked by riots but also marked by questionable police actions in the deaths of black people.
Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who's now chair of the Little Rock Airport Commission, has added his support for the proposed Little Rock civil rights ordinance, on the City Board agenda Tuesday evening.
As I expected, Rep. Bob Ballinger, sponsor of several pieces of anti-gay legislation including Act 137 to limit legal protectios for gays by cities and counties, isn't impressed by Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter's opinion on a pending city civil rights ordinance.
At their weekly meeting tonight, the Little Rock Board of Directors discussed next week's vote on an ordinance that would protect LGBT city workers from discrimination and require contractors with the city to abide by non-discrimination rules that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Asked about a potential conflict with the state's Act 137, the recently passed law which forbids municipalities from extending protections to gays and lesbians, city attorney Tom Carpenter told the board he hadn't consider the state law because he believes a federal supremacy argument will prevail.
John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, made an unscheduled appearance before the Little Rock City Board this afternoon to talk about the tribe's recent purchase of 160 acres near the Little Rock Port and its application to make it trust land, and thus exempt from local government taxation and control.
Disheartening news on the equality front. A referendum is in the works to repeal Eureka Springs' ordinance protecting LGBT people and some Little Rock city directors have had discouraging things to say about an effort to pass such an ordinance in the capital city.
Arkansas Outside, a website devoted to outdoor sports, offers reporting on the Little Rock City Board's recent failure to adopt a "complete streets" ordinance. Progressive planning policy has rarely been a hallmark of Little Rock city leaders.
The Little Rock City Board last night heard from Ward 2 residents in favor and opposed to the resignation of City Director Kenneth Richardson because of a recent drunk driving arrest. I'd say such a call is at best premature. Also politically motivated.
The Little Rock City Board of Directors is scheduled to take up Tuesday night a request from the Junior League of Little Rock to change windows on its headquarters, the historic Woman's City Club building at 4th and Scott Streets.
Convenience store battles continue as West Little Rock neighborhoods marshal opposition to another giant proposed Murphy Oil gas station, this one at busy Taylor Loop Road and Highway 10. The hope is for a City
Board moratorium on such developments while the broader issue is studied.