Fierce battle for state office | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fierce battle for state office

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Has there ever been such a pitched battle for land commissioner? Monty Davenport's campaign lobs another grenade at L.J. Bryant over his easy and expensive talk of upgrades to the state office that oversees sales of tax-delinquent lands. The Democratic primary runoff is June 8.

DAVENPORT NEWS RELEASE

LITTLE ROCK – According to LJ Bryant’s quotes in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette1,2. Sunday and today, he is proposing to spend $1.3 million on aerial mapping.  The budget for the Land Commissioner’s office currently stands at $3.3 million.  If Bryant had his way, he would increase the cost of operations in this office by almost 50%.
 
But LJ’s irresponsibility doesn’t stop here.  The Arkansas Geographic Information Office—an office Monty Davenport has supported in the State Legislature and whose research he stands behind—has been working for more than a year to develop a comprehensive plan to apply GIS technology to improve the quality of government services, including helping with property assessment3.
 
The AGIO plan calls for a much more comprehensive approach, citing aerial mapping as just one of the components needed to effectively market tax delinquent property.  Imaging alone will not get the job done.  In fact, according to Shelby Johnson with the AGIO,  “aerial imaging doesn’t show individual tax parcels”.  Identifying tax parcels is the most essential element the Land Commissioner’s office would use in tax delinquent property transactions.  Unfortunately, LJ doesn’t seem to understand this—singling out imaging as the only component of his incomplete plan and calling the other components, like tax-parcel-mapping “peripheral” to the aerial imaging. 
 
 
 LJ did not cite the Geographic Information Office’s (AGIO) research when spouting off about aerial imaging, nor did he accurately portray the details from their report, so it seems that he wants to spend $1.3 million dollars from the Land Commissioner’s budget to conduct his own, inferior aerial mapping; thereby duplicating the efforts of the AGIO who have been researching this issue for over a year and who have developed a much more comprehensive and accurate plan.
 
This would be a waste of taxpayer money, plain and simple. Bryant’s $1.3 million dollar “idea” boils down to a half-cooked plan by an inexperienced candidate looking to create hay in this campaign. 
 
“If, by chance, LJ is suggesting that the Land Commissioner’s use the GIS technology from the AGIO, he is misrepresenting the substance of their recommendations at best and attempting to use their hard work and research without proper recognition at worst,” said Davenport.  “State government must live within its means just like Arkansas families and we cannot afford to throw our hard-earned tax dollars after poorly-thought out whims.”
 
But what else can we expect from a 23 year-old who has had his real estate license since January…of this year.  Bryant’s on record as saying that he’s been too busy running for office to actually use that license to conduct ANY real estate business. 
 
 “I’ve been licensed since 1971 and have completed thousands of real estate transactions.  I didn’t get my real estate license just to run for public office.”, Daveport said, “I’ve served Arkansas for three terms as a State Representative and I ALWAYS found time to tend to my real estate business and farm in Marion County”.

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