Favorite

Mayoral power 

Since Little Rock voters expanded Mayor Mark Stodola's powers (a change still subject to a court challenge), he's illustrated the potential value of the move.

After a curious reticence on the subject, Stodola finally has spoken out on the question of expanding the BFI landfill in Southwest Little Rock. He is opposed.

This is important because, ultimately, the Little Rock Board of Directors must grant a zoning change to permit the expansion. Stodola hasn't said flatly that he'd veto such a rezoning, but presumably he would. So, if a zoning ordinance was to pass and Stodola vetoed it, it would take eight votes from the 10 directors to override the veto. Not going to happen.

It's hard to imagine even a bare majority approving this. Who ever heard of a landfill in the middle of a city? Who could be for expanding it except the garbage disposal company? BFI has been trying to buy neighborhood support with the bribe of a community park. It's also underwriting a public relations campaign to counter criticism. It's possible that the landfill isn't as big a nuisance and environmental hazard as neighbors contend. But a steady parade of rumbling garbage trucks is not a plus on a major artery that crosses the heart of a residential neighborhood.

“If foresight was available when this first started, you never put a landfill there,” Stodola told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “And I don't see any point in perpetuating it.”

With that out of the way, we have so much more to which the newly strengthened mayor can lend his vitality.

City Hall forges ahead with a push for data to support investments to speed traffic in and out of Riverdale, home to Alltel's headquarters. But early drafts of Metroplan's study of the situation reiterate earlier findings – traffic there isn't nearly as bad as assumed and much better than other places in town with truly terrible congestion. Here's a place for mayoral leadership. Say opening Rebsamen Park Road with a bridge over Jimerson Creek is a non-starter. Add that halfway measures, such as creating arterial routes with traffic signals through Hillcrest and Kingwood, are equally unpalatable. There's no reason to degrade stable Little Rock neighborhoods to help speed commuters home to Bryant. A leader would not only forcefully state those obvious points, but promote easier solutions. For example, human management, in 15- to 30-minute staggered start times, would likely end most congestion at peak hours around Riverdale, along with a few traffic light and turn-lane improvements on Cantrell.

Riverdale solved, we turn to water. Though Stodola has been a paid representative of governments in the Lake Maumelle watershed, he has professed little knowledge of circumstances that led to Central Arkansas Water's approval of a residential development overlooking the water supply. He should get up to speed. The mayor should become a robust voice for maximum protection of the water supply, including leading some of his former legal clients to adopt the proposed watershed management plan.

The water saved, Mayor Stodola might turn his attention to the Little Rock School District. He bears no direct responsibility for its operation, true. But we all must assume responsibility for the school district. Its failure could take the city down with it. Start flexing, Mr. Mayor.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Home again

    The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
  • Who needs courts?

    Not since the John Birch Society's "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court's school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge?
  • Bungling

    If the late, great Donald Westlake had written spy thrillers instead of crime capers, they'd read a lot like the opening weeks of the Trump administration.
  • UPDATE: Campus carry bill amended by Senate to require training

    The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
  • Director to resign from state court administrative office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp announced today the resignation of J.D. Gingerich, long-time director of the administrative office of the courts.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Home again

    The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Future is female

    • Good article. I think you are right about running a new type of candidate, with…

    • on February 17, 2017
  • Re: Bungling

    • When did liberals and so called progressives start hating on old Russia? In the the…

    • on February 17, 2017
  • Re: Bungling

    • Press conference? Is that what that was? I thought I'd had the misfortune of stumbling…

    • on February 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation