Bill Clinton will headline an Oct. 14 fund-raiser for the Democratic Party of Arkansas at the new Palisades home of Mike and Beth Coulson. (Mike is the president of Coulson Oil.)
The reception costs $1,000 per ticket and dinner costs $10,000, but for that price you can bring a guest. Organizers hope to net $200,000.
Donors also will become members of the party’s Finance Council, an auxiliary that will be chaired by former presidential candidate Wesley Clark and his wife Gert, if they accept. Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen will be the honorary chairs.
The event is one of a series in October intended to put the party on solid financial footing. However, party officials say they still will wait to pay off a $150,000 line of credit until it comes due in April, and after the party collects primary filing fees, which were significantly raised last week.
Possibly hoping to buttress an image tarnished in recent months by the deaths of two tenants in a May 5 blaze and ongoing efforts to evict handicapped Cumberland Towers resident Betty Murray for bringing her concerns about malfunctioning fire alarms to the Arkansas Times, the Little Rock Housing Authority is launching a new advertising campaign. According to Housing director Shelly Ehenger, the campaign — to be handled by local agency Trivia Marketing and to cost under $20,000 — will employ billboards, brochures, print, bus and TV ads to reach those who might not know about low-income housing opportunities or that they qualify despite holding jobs. Ehenger said the campaign will include Spanish-language ads aimed at Little Rock’s growing Latino population.
Hall of famers
Betty Bumpers and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are to be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., during ceremonies Oct. 7-8. Bumpers is honored for working on peace and health issues. Clinton is cited for being elected to the Senate and for work on women’s, children’s and health issues. For more, see www.greatwomen.org.
Gov. Mike Huckabee, who endorsed Asa Hutchinson for governor this week, will follow in Hutchinson’s footsteps Friday night. Hutchinson guested on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show on HBO last week. The governor will be in the guest chair when the show airs at 10 p.m. this Friday.
Check your attic
Last Monday’s New York Times brought news of potential gold mines in Arkansas scrapbooks, particularly those kept around Heber Springs. The article reported interest — including competing New York gallery shows — in the work of Mike Disfarmer, a portrait photographer in Heber Springs who’s hot for his American Gothic-style photos of people who trooped through his studio from the 1920s until his death in 1959.
Original prints fetch $7,500 to $30,000. Scouts for New York galleries have been scouring the Arkansas countryside and the dealers have acquired some 3,400. One of many websites where the work can be seen is www.disfarmer.com.
Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) made a run at imposing a stronger ethics requirement on the legislature, but she fell short. Her bill got a 20-6 favorable vote in the Senate, but as amendment to an initated act, an ethics reform measusre of 1988, she need 24 votes.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
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.