If you read the Arkansas Blog, you already know this. But for our print-only readers:
The nuanced political observer recognized a fairly important statement at last week’s Gillett Coon Supper, an annual gathering that always draws a big crowd of politicos.
Gillett is U.S. Rep. Marion Berry’s hometown, and he plays host and godfather. He told the crowd that Attorney General Mike Beebe would be “the next governor of Arkansas.”
Yes, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross was there, sitting right next to Beebe. But we don’t think that’s a problem. Ross just got a plum seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The guessing is that post reduces the likelihood of his making a race for governor in 2006.
Berry’s words, from a man who’d been known to grumble about Beebe in years past, are significant. Politicians don’t often make public endorsements — especially ones that could impact their own party’s primary.
De-wayne done gone
Dewayne Graham, the investigative reporter and former congressional candidate, is no longer with Fox 16. The station won’t talk, but references to Graham have been excised from the station’s website.
Conway residents are organizing in opposition to a $35 million apartment complex proposed for land currently occupied by the Cadron Valley Country Club. They want to prevent developers Hal Crafton, Rush Harding and Jim Lindsey from rezoning the property to allow multifamily dwellings.
The Knob Hill Property Association, consisting of residents who live next to the club, formally voted to oppose the rezoning, and a Little Rock law firm, Catlett and Stodola, has been hired to assist with a petition drive. Don Melton, the former State Police director, is acting as an official spokesman for the residents, and six other neighboring property associations are calling special meetings to discuss the issue.
The Conway Planning Commission will consider the rezoning request Jan. 18.
The next generation
When we saw coverage of David Huckabee’s wedding at the Governor’s Mansion, we noticed that his sister, Sarah, was identified as being a resident of Washington, D.C. Turns out that after graduating from Ouachita Baptist University last spring, she landed a job as the executive assistant to the Undersecretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Her brother, John Mark, also has a federal job in the nation’s capital. He is the director of constituent correspondence for U.S. Rep. John Boozman, who represents Arkansas’s 3rd congressional district.
David is making his home with bride Lauren in Little Rock, where he is director of non-traditional revenue for Clear Channel Communications.
Keep on running
Gov. Mike Huckabee will be featured in the April issue of Runner’s World (out in late March) for his weight loss and his training for the Little Rock Marathon, which will enjoy the national exposure, too. No cover for the guv, alas, an editor said.
Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
The Observer will be moving soon. Not out of The Observatory, thank God, as we're sure it will take the wagon from the 20 Mule Team Borax box to get us away from there after 14 years of accumulation, plus a team of seasoned Aussie wildlife wranglers to herd our pair of surly wildcats into a crate. No, just out of the office we've been in at the Fortress of Employment for going on five years, which is bad enough. We're moving to the other side of the building here in a few months.