City Board kills ordinance to end at-large directors | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

City Board kills ordinance to end at-large directors

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 9:33 PM

click to enlarge img_0037.jpg

As expected, the Little Rock City Board Tuesday night defeated Director Erma Hendrix's proposal to refer to voters an ordinance that would eliminate the three at-large city directors on the city board and go to a seven-member, ward-only board.

The ordinance was declared defeated on a voice vote. It was unclear from the telecast what handful said aye. (I read later in the Democrat-Gazette that only Ken Richardson voted for the ordinance. Hendrix didn't vote. The other eight were nays. The directors themselves didn't discuss the ordinance.)

Though the outcome was expected, many turned out to debate the question.

Business establishment speakers favored the current setup. They said having directors with a citywide vision was important. Some local activists also endorsed the concept, both black and white. Director Joan Adcock, an activist at-large director, got several compliments. At-large Directors Gene Fortson and Dean Kumpuris not so much.

Others, particularly black speakers, said the poor wards were overlooked by the at-large directors and their representatives frequently ignored.

The most persuasive argument to me: Several said if the at-large directors and their supporters are so sure their way is the best, what's to fear about a vote?

The fear on the establishment's part is a loss of control.

Still to come: Possibility of a petition campaign to put a change-of-government ordinance on the ballot. The business establishment can't stop that. But if it gets there, they'll spend big time to beat it.

The classic white business community fallback: Let's get a blue-ribbon committee to study this thing. Some supporters of the ordinance hit the crux of this: Though the issue divides on race in some respects, the real divide is economic — haves vs. have-nots.

Chris Burks, a lawyer and active Democrat, struck a third-way note. City government structure might need changing, but simply eliminating the at-large directors isn't enough. The ward structure might need work, but so does the structure of government, currently a blended semi-strong-mayor/city manager form.

For the record, here's the history City Attorney Tom Carpenter prepared on the evolution of city government.

Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Uber sued for again avoiding city rules

    The Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission Tuesday sued the parent of Uber Eats for beginning food delivery in Little Rock without obtaining the tax permit to sell prepared food as other food service delivery companies have done.
    • Mar 20, 2019
  • The freebie action today is daylight stuff

    The freebies are served in daylight today thanks to a coming sort spring break for the legislature.
    • Mar 20, 2019
  • Report: Feds holding immigrant children in secret locations, including in Arkansas

    Reveal, a website of the Center for Investigative Reporting, published an article this week saying the federal government through the Office of Refugee Resettlement is using secret shelters to hold unaccompanied minors, including in Fordyce, Arkansas.
    • Mar 20, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation