And speaking of lobbying; money talks against clean water | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 16, 2011

And speaking of lobbying; money talks against clean water

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Kathy Wells of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods reports on a new development in the campaign to beat a land use ordinance to protect the Lake Maumelle watershed. I wonder if the spending on this will turn up in any lobbyist's report anywhere:

Not 48 hours after the Coalition amendments to protect our drinking water were attached to the proposed regs under consideration by the Pulaski Co. Quorum Court, opponents began phoning citizens and urging them to tell their JP to vote No on this Maumelle Watershed Zoning Code.

Wells is touting a Coalition compromise that grandfathers existing land uses and reduces allowable residential development until pollution controls are judged to be working. The coalition has a petition campaign underway.

UPDATE: Have an e-mail from a reader who claims to have received a phone call from a live caller about the coming Quorum Court action. The caller identified himself as representing Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-funded anti-tax, anti-environmental-regulation group that has been active on the anti-land-use-ordinance side of the debate. I've asked AFP about this. And about the caller's script that said that if this measure passes people in Pulaski County will be required to remodel their houses. Yes, that's what the caller is reported to have said. BUT NOTE THIS ... the caller ID number on the call came from a number that, when you dial, gives a recorded message that says it is the number of the House Leadership PAC, another name for the House Republican Caucus. The voice on the message machine sounds a lot like Republican Rep. David Sanders of Little Rock, who opposes the clean water ordinance now pending before the Quorum Court. (Sanders said that might be his voice on the machine, because he was once an officer in the caucus, but he knows nothing about the phone bank.)

UPDATE II: Americans for Prosperity has not responded to my questions about specific calls, but it did send a news release pertaining to some kind of technical screwup in its calling campaign. Perhaps it's a roundabout way to explain how a call, according to caller ID, came from a House Republican Caucus phone-number, which would suggest some co-ordination between AFP and political candidates, something AFP has always stoutly denied. Feel free to translate:

We have been notified of an error with a vendor’s server when recently reaching out to people in Pulaski County.

The following is a statement from said vendor:

“Campaign Now!, LLC was contracted to run phone calls for the Arkansas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Campaign Now, LLC uses a caller ID number for Americans for Prosperity at the phone number (503) 511-5000. This phone number was hosted on a Campaign Now, LLC server that handles inbound phone calls for households that want to be placed on the Do-Not-Call list for Americans for Prosperity. However, a technical error occurred within the last 48 hours that shut down the server that hosts the AFP-AR caller ID phone number which was (503) 511-5000.

“The Campaign Now, LLC outbound dialer could not verify the (503) 511-5000 phone number when that server failed. The outbound dialer then automatically reverted to use a caller ID number for another Arkansas client of Campaign Now, LLC. The caller ID could have been incorrect for the last 8 hours of outbound calls for Americans for Prosperity.

“Campaign Now, LLC admits this is a major technical error that will be corrected and that it was not done maliciously. We apologize to all of our clients involved in the matter and to any household that may have received a call and feels misled by the error in caller ID phone number.

“Contact Campaign Now! at (414) 465-8475 or by email:”

Even though this error was technical in nature, AFP-Arkansas has chosen to no longer retain Campaign Now, LLC as a vendor.

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