Ticked-off at tech talks | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ticked-off at tech talks

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

The Little Rock Technical Park Authority board of directors today had exchanges with a still-unsettled group of residents at its monthly meeting, at which the board voted to hire a consultant to advise them on the location of the proposed $50 million park.

At the conclusion of the meeting, University District Development Corp. board member Joe Busby, a longtime activist for the Oak Forest and Fair Park neighborhoods, asked the board to sign a “social contract” (on the jump) with the people whose property could be taken by eminent domain by the Authority. The contract asks the board to treat people uniformly and equitably in acquisition; ensure relocation assistance is provided to all displaced persons; ensure that no one is displaced without making sure that “decent, safe and sanitary” housing is available within their financial means; be open to the public and make financial disclosures; to encourage acquisition without coercion and to make public all factors that have gone into the process of site selection before taking any action to acquire properties. Board chair Mary Good said she thought it was an “extraordinarily nice piece of work” and that the board would consider it.

Afterward, State Sen. Joyce Elliott told a small group that she intends to amend the state's eminent domain legislation to require a people impact study and provide counsel for property owners. She noted that the Authority board will use tax dollars in their negotiations with land owners and that land owners should get some legal help from those dollars as well.

Elliott had earlier pressed the board on a point first raised by board member C.J. Duvall during the board’s consideration of hiring consultant Charlie Dilks. If more consultation was needed, he said, he thought it should include some demographics. “I think it’s important that we know who owns the property” in the three areas under consideration for the park location, Duvall said. “Are they speculators? From out of town? Individuals? … I’d like to understand how many children live there,” and what improvements people may have made to properties in the areas under consideration. Startlingly, his board colleague Good said she thought that information should be gathered after a site is selected, prompting Elliott to speak from the audience, saying the consultant’s report would not be complete without containing information on the impact the choice would have on residents.

Board member Dickson Flake, whose anxiety to spend public dollars wisely flares up when compensation for homes or requests for further study comes up, told Elliott it might not be possible to study the demographics of all the areas under consideration because of cost constraints. “I have great respect for public dollars,” Elliott told Flake, “but that doesn’t supersede what will happen to real people.” Elliott then asked Good what the point would be to do an impact study after the site has been selected, and Good, who often seems to be purposely dense in her response to questions, gave a lengthy (and non-responsive) explanation on the role of the civil engineers in narrowing down a site. Pressed on the point, however, Good then said if the impact on people was deemed to be too severe on the recommended site, the board could reject that choice and move to a second site and a second demographic study (apparently forgetting Flake’s desire to be a good “steward” of the tax dollars going into the project).

Told by Forest Hills resident Robert Webb that it was just that kind of back-filling that kills public trust in the board, Good admonished him, “You’re not listening carefully,” a response that made another member of the audience ask Good if she could be “more sensitive” to questioners. “Nobody talks to us like you,” Phyllis Johnson told the chair. “I’m just trying to give you the facts,” Good replied. “It’s how you say it,” the woman explained.

The board unanimously voted to hire Charlie Dilks of Dilks Consulting to make two trips to Little Rock to review the study being done by civil engineers Crafton Tull and give feedback to the board, limiting spending on the consulting to $10,000.

Crafton Tull will present preliminary findings at the board’s next meeting, set for May 16, tentatively at UALR’s Bailey Center.

Busby's proposed social contract to be signed by the Authority board which he offered to its members today:

Technology Park Authority Social Contract

The Technology Park Authority realizes that our actions will have a huge impact with individuals, families, property owners, neighborhoods, communities and our city. Our guiding principle is to improve our city through the development of a Technology Park for Little Rock. Therefore we the City of Little Rock Technology Park Authority, sets forth the following as our Social Contract to the city and its citizens.

To provide uniform, fair and equitable treatment of persons whose real property is acquired or who are displaced in connection with the Technology Park Authority.

To ensure relocation assistance is provided to all displaced persons to lessen the emotional and financial impact of displacement.

To ensure that no individual or family is displaced unless decent, safe, and sanitary housing is available within the displaced person's financial means.

To be open to the public in all matters concerning the Technology Park Authority; including the requirement of a Financial Disclosure by every Board Member.

To encourage and expedite acquisition by agreement and without coercion.

To publicly share the Technology Park Authority’s logic, criteria, considered factors, matrixes and any other decision making elements in the process of site selection, prior to any actions.

The Technology Park Authority adopts this Social Contract, as part of its bylaws, to be implemented by the Authority in all of its actions, and those by its employees, contractors and/or volunteers

Adopted _________________ this day of __________________, 2012.


_____________________________________ ______________________________________
Dr. Mary L. Good State Senator Bob Johnson

______________________________________ ______________________________________
Dr. Michael Douglas Jay Chesshir

______________________________________ ______________________________________
L. Dickson Flake Ed Drilling

______________________________________
C. J. Duvall

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Matt Damon to portray LR charlatan famed for goat testicle implants

    John Romulus Brinkley is one of Arkansas's greatest frauds, famed for his claim, fatal for some, that surgery to implant goat glands into testicles would restore virility. Thanks to the upcoming movie "Charlatan," we might get to see Matt Damon handling goat gonads, birthmoviesdeath.com reports.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • Alley parties returning downtown

    The Downtown Little Rock Partnership will host its first Alley Party of the fall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at 409 Main St., in the open lot between the Little Rock Technology Park and KATV. Arkansas Rice Depot and the tech park are sponsors; the Buh Jones band will perform and Stone’s Throw Brewing will serve craft beer and wine. Things will wrap up around 8:30 p.m. The Alley Parties are a project of the partnership to promote life downtown.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • For pop-up tacos, visit Viva Vegan

    Viva Vegan is now serving its tacos, nachos and Strawberry Cheezecake from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fridays from an order window at the in-the-works brick and mortar restaurant it will lease at 4601 W. 12th St., on the corner of 12th and Adams streets.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016
  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.

Most Viewed

  • Death reported of Robert Johnston, former legislator and homeless advocate

    In a cruel coincidence, a new development in the city's ongoing struggle with how to deal with the homeless came the day of news of the unexpected death of Robert Johnston,  a tireless advocate for the homeless in a long career of public service.
  • Legislature itches for more control over 'independent' agencies

    Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning on growing tension over the legislature's effort to exert more control over the state's constitutionally independent agencies. The immediae target is the Game and Fish Commission, but it's a sprawling dispute over balance of powers.
  • Who you gonna trust? Not GOP politicans on health care

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson keeps insisting that the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal will be great for Arkansas. Evidence keeps mounting that it will strike the state (meaning Arkansas human beings) a devasting blow.
  • Alternate homeless feeding plan falls apart

    A plan to establish a volunteer effort to feed homeless in the far southeastern corner of the city, well removed from downtown, has fallen apart as was inevitable.
  • Police shoot suspect in SW Little Rock

    TV news accounts this morning say a Little Rock police officer shot a criminal suspect near a church at 53rd and Geyer Springs around midnight last night when investigation what's been described as a potential rape.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation