Tuesday topics | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday topics

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 4:39 PM

The line is open. Some final stuff:

* THE AMAZING MR. BEEBE: Stateline.org does another of those articles about how Arkansas's budgeting scheme prevents financial disaster. It also includes a glowing tribute to Gov. Mike Beebe's firm hand, cautious leadership and his enormous tax cut. Republicans want to improve this how?

* THE LAW AND DIMMY ALTES: You heard it here first (two statutes are cited in this post and there's a third), but others are noting that state law makes Rep. Denny Altes' threatening remarks about the state's unemployment benefits agency a possible ethics violaton, or worse. I've been sent three separate statutes that might apply to a legislator throwing his weight around on an unemployment claim against his son's business. Does anybody care?

* WHITHER THE LOTTERY? Lottery Commission Chairman Dianne Lamberth says she wants a national search for a lottery executive to succeed Ernie P. Other commissioners aren't married to that idea so much as to a strong manager, from within the state or without. Could be interesting.

* ANOTHER RESEARCH PARK DOUBTER: How about this? Rex Nelson, in his typically kinder, gentler fashion, shares my skepticism about the research park that's part of the $38 million economic slush fund to be financed by a half-billion in new city sales taxes. Rex was for the taxes, but recounts the many failures of cities around the country in developing new high-tech industry through office parks. He said a better investment would be to link up with dreams of building something around the major research institutions between Little Rock and Pine Bluff, a biotech corridor decades in the making (which also tells you something about the idea that if you group things together prosperity is sure to follow). And then he makes one of my favorite points about city investment, in the course of a number of many good observations:

But it’s high time the folks at City Hall realize that in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, you attract young, smart, creative people by having a high quality of place. Frankly, that has a lot more to do with quality schools, parks, trails, restaurants, bars, wifi connections, sports facilities and cultural amenities than it does with research parks.

Talented people who are new to a city can quickly sense if it’s going to be the right place to live. It either has that creative vibe or it doesn’t. It also needs to be clean and efficient.

Don't tell it to the chamber and its City Hall enablers. To them, it's all about bribe money for corporations and trickle-down. And convincing outsiders that our schools aren't worth saving. Tens of thousands of graduates differ with the chamber's view that the schools are a waste of money.

* CROWD SOURCING: Elwood reports today from NWA on Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's FOI roadshow and appearance before a group of senior Democrats. Yes, there are many Democrats in NWA. Read on:

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel was in Fayetteville today at UA Law School with his FOI Roadshow. He also was the scheduled speaker at Senior Democrats of Washington County monthly luncheon.

During his enthusiastic talk to Senior Democrats an audience member ask McDaniel if he would be running for the U.S. Senate in the future. His response, " I have no interest in running for the U.S. Senate. I do not want to go to Washington." He went on to elaborate how he looks forward to serving in Arkansas.

When questioned about the state furnished auto policy and possible violations McDanielfsaid that his CPA and the IRS both told him that he was in full compliance with existing rules. Additionally he remarked that he took a big reduction to pay to be the attorney general. McDaniel reminded the questioner that previously he had a very lucrative law practice and didn't run because he needed the money. He said that he loves the job o and serving Arkansas' needs.

McDaniel covered many accomplishments of his office during his terms as attorney general. McDaniel elaborated at length on his office's role in closing down pay-day lending in Arkansas to loud audience applause.

Kenneth Aden, Democratic candidate for Congress, Third District, briefly addressed Sr Democrats. He remarked that is unacceptable that returning veterans often cannot find jobs. After attending college and then serving his country in Iraq he was only able to find a minimum wage job in Russellville. He said he intends to put people's needs first and politics second. Aden reported that Congressman Steve Womack's disapproval ratings are now at 56% in a recent poll. Kenneth said that he would strongly support Medicare and Social Security and fight all efforts to reduce any of it for the elderly.

— Larry Woodall

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