Favorite

Political notebook 

I can't offer much by way of sustained thought this week. Instead, a notes roundup spanning the political spectrum from top to bottom:

• I supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination on account of brains, tenacity, toughness and long years of association. I'm happy to vote for Barack Obama instead. She would have carried Arkansas against John McCain. I don't think Obama will. Should she be on the ticket, that might help in Arkansas, but I don't expect to see her as running mate despite her warm concession and pledge to work for Obama's election. Obama ran a smart primary race. I presume he'll bring the same smarts to the general election. I hope so. Older women who normally lean heavily toward the Democratic candidate will be problematic in this race for a variety of reasons.  That bloc is the most compelling argument for a place for Clinton on the ticket. But you knew all that.

• Closer to home: Phil Wyrick, the Republican candidate for county judge against incumbent Democrat Buddy Villines, paid me a visit last week. He knows my biases well enough, but he makes the case that this is the year to vote for a Republican. Do I want change or more of the same, to coin a phrase.

Wyrick offered one very solid reason to seriously consider his candidacy. Unlike Villines, Wyrick acknowledges that the only way to assure protection of Lake Maumelle in the long term are land use regulations governing the watershed. Since Central Arkansas Water has volunteered to pay the cost of a county administrative agency to oversee this, Wyrick told me flatly that he supports the idea. He's careful not to use the word “zoning,” but he's smart enough to know that the course he favors amounts to de facto zoning. Villines favors a nearly unenforceable approach to watershed protection, through covenants in individual developments. Why he won't stand for clean water against the handful of rural dwellers and developers who oppose strong watershed protection is beyond me. Wyrick also points the finger at Villines for the years of neglect of the County Jail and failure of county government to get the jail or county financial affairs in order. He doesn't yet have specific proposals on this, but the subjects bear watching as the campaign progresses. Wyrick also promised that, if elected, he'd stick to county business — public safety, roads, operating the courthouse — and not waste time as some Republicans have over the years with diversionary nonsense like resolutions on gay marriage. Promising start for Wyrick's campaign.

• Another caller this week was Jim McKenzie, director of Metroplan. He's encouraging publicity about a coming public survey of the metro area on traffic bottlenecks. It should produce an interesting list beyond the obvious big freeway choke points. Better still, it might contribute to the discussion about changing the culture to cope with higher gas prices. Maybe the solution to bottlenecks isn't one more freeway widening project. Maybe it is better arterial streets. Maybe it is better mass transportation and encouragement of bicycle and pedestrian travel. Maybe it is greater population density. It's about time that somebody realizes that spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get people to Benton and Bryant faster only encourages more people to drive to Benton and Bryant. This causes more problems, it doesn't solve any except, temporarily, slower commutes.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Caution: government at work

    I have several government targets this week.
    • Oct 19, 2017
  • Pork barrel III

    Mike Wilson, the Jacksonville lawyer and former state representative, for the third time last week won a victory for the Arkansas Constitution and taxpayers and set back pork barreling.
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Fishy lawmaking

    Last week, the legislature decided not to press a fight that could have further upended a balance of power in Arkansas already tilted too far in favor of the legislative branch.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • The casting couch

    Long ago and far away, I had an academic superior who enjoyed sexually humiliating younger men. There was unwanted touching — always in social situations — but mainly it was about making suggestive remarks, hinting that being a "hunk" was how I'd got hired.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The casting couch

    • sigh............ I would argue that the idea of 'freedom from fear' is part of the…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: Caution: government at work

    • As to the AR Chamber of Commerce-DO NOT FORGET it supports passage of SJR8, which…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: The casting couch

    • Freedom from fear is a human right.

    • on October 19, 2017
 

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