Smart Talk, May 8 

Speaking of Argenta


Scott Miller's Argenta News website frequently breaks news that prompts the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's North Little Rock reporter to catch up. That happened last week, when Miller complained that public parking spaces on Willow Street along the east side of Dickey-Stephens Park had been taken for valet parking for Valentine's restaurant in the baseball stadium and for $5 parking for others.

The D-G followup suggested that the parking — blocked off with cones and a warning sign — was the work of an unidentified man on a bicycle who had just dreamed up the scheme unbeknownst to the Travelers. However, multiple fans tell us that valet parkers wearing shirts from Valentine's have been enforcing the no-free-parking rule since last year. The Democrat-Gazette article also excused the action by saying that curbside spaces on the west side of Willow belong to the baseball park, though the article lacked any authority for the assertion. In any case, the excuse doesn't explain the appropriation of public spaces on the east side of Willow, shown in the photo taken by Miller when he tried unsuccessfully to park for free last week. Sic 'em, Dogtown Wire (see below).


Beebe: New approach on appointments


Gov. Mike Beebe is making some small changes in the application form people fill out to seek positions on state boards and commissions.

Key difference: Gone will be a question picked up from the form developed by Mike Huckabee's administration: “Do you feel that you can work with Gov. Beebe if appointed?”

In the Huckabee years, many potential appointees took this question as something of a loyalty oath and complained about it. The Huckabee administration never would divulge whether anyone received an appointment after answering in the negative.

A spokesman for Beebe said the question just didn't seem necessary. It certainly isn't designed to elicit honest responses. Remaining are questions about whether an applicant's record could cause someone to attack the appointment or be “embarrassing to you, the state or the administration.”


Watchdog corps grows


North Little Rock is getting a new newspaper of a sort, a digital version.

Dogtownwire.net will go live soon with news and community information tailored strictly to North Little Rock.

D.J. Smith will be the “digital journalist” editing the new website and he's busy lining up other contributors. Smith, a former reporter for The Times of North Little Rock, was enlisted for the venture by Scott Miller, an engineer in North Little Rock who's already been dabbling in on-line news and information with his argentanews.com site, which focuses mostly on the historic downtown Argenta neighborhood.

Dogtown, you ask? Some in North Little Rock don't like the nickname once given the city, but it's meant to depict the scrappy nature of the enterprise and an affection for the city. Promised are some historical reports on how the root of the name actually reflects positively on the city.


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