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'Duh' moments in the news 

The painfully obvious commanded attention as this week began.

POLITICS: Bill Halter was outraised almost 20-1 in the quarter by Democratic gubernatorial primary opponent Mike Ross, but said the $800,000 he has on hand is sufficient to get the job done. That $800,000 is inflated by a $640,000 loan from Halter himself. His campaign of "ideas" hasn't taken hold among Arkansas campaign contributors (voters). He can't win the primary. Duh.

• DEADLY FORCE: Deon Williams, 26, was killed by Little Rock police when he allegedly picked up a gun and looked at an officer chasing him. It was the second police shooting in a week and the third fatal police shooting this year. Williams would be alive today if he hadn't run after a traffic stop. Though a parolee, he might not have even been arrested, despite reported possession of a pistol and drugs, because police were wrong to stop him because they thought he was driving a stolen car. It wasn't stolen, but belonged to the mother of his child. Running from a cop isn't probable cause for arrest, but isn't well-advised. Little Rock police have demonstrably limber trigger fingers. Duh.

• ARKANSAS'S IMAGE: Republicans, counting on deeply ingrained Arkansas prejudice, couldn't wait to scorn and ridicule Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Grant Tennille for saying it would be a boon to Arkansas to show a progressive spirit and repeal law that discriminates against gay people. 1957 proved that advocating discrimination isn't a recipe for economic development. Duh. The duhs extend in this case to more than sexual equality. If you ran Google or similar, would you want a state where a rising political majority not only proudly discriminates against gay people, it wants to remove all access to abortion (rape, incest, medical condition, early stage of pregnancy notwithstanding), opposes strict environmental regulation, wants more guns and Christian prayer in public life, opposes teaching of evolution, favors elimination of capital gains taxes on billionaires and favors reduction of government health and nutrition support?

THAT LITTLE ROCK TECHNOLOGY PARK: The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce orchestrated a field trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., and St. Louis to show examples of successful research parks. We should be thankful. Years after taxpayers gave the city more than $20 million to dump into the control of the chamber for this project, the godfathers have finally decided — duh! — that perhaps a decision on exactly what the research park will be should precede a headlong rush to tear down a neighborhood and build a spec office building.

Many more duh moments are needed. The godfathers seemed uninterested in key differences between what they saw in other states and what's happening here. The new push seems to be that the tech park should provide additional lab space for UAMS and UALR. Really? City taxpayers are to become the chief funding source for STATE institutions? Did either of the other cities do that? (Hint: No.) How much money and rent will the universities bring to the project? Both are strapped.

Then there's private money. Not a single dollar of private money has emerged in support of the Little Rock tech park. It has been critical in successful developments elsewhere.

Then there's state and federal money. Critical elsewhere, but absent here. I'm sure Republican legislators are just wishing someone would ask.

Little Rock's field trippers also heard encouragement to put a park in an urban neighborhood with mixed uses, exciting to workers. But Dickson Flake, the old-school businessman who created this chamber pipe dream, remains fixed on the notion that straight-line proximity to a university campus is the path to success. Some things never change. Duh.

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Speaking of...

  • L'Oreal announces solar project with company headed by Bill Halter

    September 20, 2016
    News releases this morning announce some major investments in use of solar power by L'Oreal, the cosmetics maker, with a company headed by Bill Halter, the former lieutenant governor. /more/
  • 'Comfortable' with interest in Tech Park leases, board chair says

    August 10, 2016
    Interest in leasing space in the Little Rock Technology Park under construction in the 400 block of Main Street is a "comfortable amount" for this stage in the project, Authority board chair Kevin Zaffaroni said today at the board's monthly meeting. He declined to say how many floors of the first building to open, at 417 Main St., that comfortable amount might include, since no leases are final. /more/
  • Another yes for the Wide Misery. UPDATE: Make that two ayes

    April 27, 2016
    The Little Rock Technology Park board today endorsed the Arkansas Highway Department's split-diamond C/D design for Interstate 30 contingent on a change in the design of Capitol. /more/
  • Stephens maintains rights to Metrocentre asset

    April 21, 2016
    Now that the Stephens properties on Main Street and Fifth have been sold to The Little Rock Technology Park, what is Stephens' share in the Metrocentre Improvement District assets, I wondered as I wrote yesterday's item on the potential sale of  Henry Moore's "Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge." /more/
  • Tech Park chair Mary Good to step down

    February 11, 2016
    Dr. Mary Good, who has been the chair of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board since its formation as a nonprofit in 2011, informed UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson in a letter Jan. 20 that she will step down March 15, it was announced at Wednesday's tech park board meeting. She said she would stay longer, if needed, until her replacement is named. /more/
  • Tech park to buy first property on Friday

    February 3, 2016
    The Little Rock Technology Park plans to close Friday on its first purchases of real estate: 5 Main Place at Fifth and Main streets, the Annex Building at 417 Main, the Mays Building at 415 Main St., the parking lot between the Mays Building and the KATV-Ch. 7 building (referred to as the Center Theater lot, because that is where the theater stood before Stephens interests had it demolished), the parking lot on the west side of Main between Fourth and Fifth, the old Stephens Inc. offices on Fifth Street, and the Keith parking at Scott and Fifth Street. /more/
  • Political hands join in public affairs firm

    January 6, 2016
    Some familiar names have joined forces in a new  "strategic communications"  firm, Aarch Communications. /more/
  • Tech park construction start estimate: March 8

    December 9, 2015
    Chad Young, an architect with Wittenberg Deloney and Davidson, presented the firm's preliminary drawings for the first phase of the Little Rock Tech Park construction: renovation of 42,000 square feet in buildings at 415 and 417 Main St. The presentation included a timeline that should a construction start date of March 8. /more/
  • Tech park agrees to terms of $17.5 million from consortium

    November 16, 2015
    The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board this afternoon signed off, with one nay vote, on the terms of two loans totaling $17.5 million offered by a consortium of Little Rock banks led by Centennial Bank. The authority board also agreed to extend the deadline for Richard Mays to accept its offer of $845,000 for his building at 415 Main St. to noon Friday. The deadline had been noon today. /more/
  • Polling reported in Democratic Senate primary; includes Bill Halter

    November 7, 2015
    A friend reports an interesting automated poll Thursday night, relating to one announced and perhaps another potential Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. /more/
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