An edge for Wyrick at county judge's forum last night | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

An edge for Wyrick at county judge's forum last night

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 4:48 AM

LET THERE BE LIGHT: The lighting on the Big Dam Bridge is in need of repair. Candidates for county judge were careful in expressing their thoughts on spending the money.
  • LET THERE BE LIGHT: The lighting on the Big Dam Bridge is in need of repair. Candidates for county judge were careful in expressing their thoughts on spending the money.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported
(subscription) this morning on a League of Women Voters forum for candidates for county judge and I'd have to give Republican Phil Wyrick the edge in answers reported there.

Wyrick, Democrat Barry Hyde and Libertarian Glen Schwarz are competing to succeed the retiring County Judge Buddy Villines.

The major topic was the county jail, the county's biggest responsibility. Wyrick said flatly that he would not support privatization of the jail. Hyde said the issue deserves a review, though it might not prove an option in the end. It doesn't deserve even a review. A private for-profit operator makes its money by shorting services already provided. The state went down that path briefly and calamitously.

Wyrick, but not Hyde, correctly sees problems in a proposed interlocal agreement that adds an unfair burden to the city of Little Rock in paying for jail inmates, particularly since the jail often can't hold some of the minor criminals who plague the city with car burglaries and the like. Hyde thinks there's an unfair burden on the county in jail financing. But the county is beneficiary of a countywide sales tax that couldn't have passed without strong support in Little Rock to begin with. The county should shoulder a big portion of the cost with that revenue.

Wyrick and Hyde both seemed to attempt to dodge straight answers on paying to replace decorative lights on the Big Dam Bridge, an enormously popular bike/hike attraction that is a monument to Villines' tenure. Wyrick said the high cost of maintenance should be considered when the county sets its priorities for spending. But he also said he had "no problem" with replacing the lights. Hyde noted, without giving a direct yes/no answer, that road and bridge money can only be spent on road and bridges, not transferred to the general fund.

Ongoing maintenance of existing infrastructure is part of the cost of doing business. The Big Dam Bridge — among other riverfront developments — is a big visitor lure. There's no shame in continuing maintenance, even for illumination, of significant structures. We replace the lighting on the state Capitol. Any candidate would do well to laud the attraction Villines has built on the river with this and another pedestrian bridge and connecting paths and parks. They should vow to preserve them.

Laugh at the comparison if you want, but Paris reaps millions in tourism spending by people who ride buses around at night to view illuminated structures. Aesthetics are part of what makes a city attractive, along with sound infrastructure, solid public services and a jail big enough to keep criminals off the streets.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • More criticism of Little Rock police no-knock drug raids

    Radley Balko of the Washington Post has written at length about the legal issues underlying whether Little Rock police have been acting constitutionally in no-knock drug raids (never mind that they have often come up empty-handed, relied on a liar and disproportionately busted black people.)
    • Oct 20, 2018
  • Judicial election watchdog blasts ads targeting Justice Courtney Goodson

    A volunteer group established to police campaigns for judicial elections is blasting a Republican group's advertising aimed at supporting David Sterling's attempt to unseat Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson.
    • Oct 20, 2018
  • Clarke Tucker to French Hill: Where is the decency?

    Speaking of campaign advertising: Clarke Tucker, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, has issued his toughest TV yet against Republican incumbent Rep. French Hill.
    • Oct 20, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017
  • LR Police Chief Buckner in running for Charleston, S.C. job

    KATV reports that Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner is one of five finalists for the job of police chief in Charleston, S.C., and will be visit Charleston next week as part of the process.
    • Feb 2, 2018
  • Hospitality, restaurant groups oppose bathroom bill

    Add the restaurant and hospitality association to those opposed to Sen. Linda Collins-Smith's bill to keep transgender people out of public restrooms that match their gender identity.
    • Mar 16, 2017


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation