Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Little Rock Power Grab Takes Shape

They came out in the open yesterday. There were the usual suspects, Dailey, Stodola, Kumpuris, and the typical swells who have become accustomed to calling the shots in local government, to the direct detriment of neighborhoods and frequently in opposition to public opinion.

Jim Dailey's last official act as mayor was to shield the despicable from public scrutiny and immediate dismissal. If nothing else, they do take care of each other.

The 2 Votes for Leadership campaign carefully and deliberately misstates the facts of what will happen if voters approve the twin proposals.

It is, at least theoretically, true that Little Rock needs stronger and more accountable government. The suggested changes will actually result in less accountability, not more.

Instead of making a direct change to a mayor-council form, the power brokers maintain iron-fisted control of Little Rock City Hall by keeping three two at-large seats on the board. They (correctly) state that most large and vibrant cities have a strong mayor, but they omit that those cities have NO at large council members. The successful municipalities have a mayor-council organization, and that is the very last thing the big shots want.

Again, the math. There are eleven members of the board; therefore, it requires a majority of six to get things done. Under the proposed arrangement, the "fix" is always in and the mayor has absolute power over the city manager and city attorney. Wealthy interests control the "at-large" positions because it takes so much money to run in a citywide race. The mayor runs from the entire city. That's four. Add at least two affluent districts (West Little Rock and Hillcrest) and you're there. The rest of us always lose the important votes.

If South Africa can get "one man, one vote," why not Little Rock?

Mark Stodola gets a 6 figure salary out of this proposed change, and we still have a high dollar city manager and city attorney.

Our former Mayor, Jim Dailey, is very wrong to suggest that passage of this measure is a good "interim" step. It is yet another convenient delay to keep the same people in total control.

VOTE NO TWICE ON AUGUST 14! (and in all early voting too) It's important.

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