One reason we've been behind on blogging duties was a long visit with Bill Walker. Yes the former senator is running for Little Rock mayor, though an official announcement won't come until the end of the month.
He expects -- hopes -- for a three-way race with Mark Stodola and Barbara Graves. The entry of Jesse Mason would not be so welcome, because then Walker and Mason likely would split the generally monolithic black vote. Black voters could contribute 30 percent or more of the vote in a race in which a plurality, and a minimum of 40 percent of the vote, is required to win.
Walker has an interesting "quality of life" theme that you'll be hearing about -- inadequate parks, loss of the Travelers, deterioration of the fairgrounds -- among a host of other ideas. Sounds like he's willing to divest his interest in the airport catering business if that's an issue, which it will be. He's also awaiting a state attorney general's opinion on whether he can continue to hold a paid position on the state Parole Board and serve as mayor. Finally, he'll be pushing aggressively for adoption of Vision Little Rock suggestions to enhance the office of mayor with more pay and staff and appointment power, plus refer to voters the question of a mayoral veto over City Board actions. We happen to think these are half-measures. We'd prefer a change to mayor-council government, though these changes might be a start.
Lots to talk about.
UPDATE: A reliable source says Jesse Mason is telling friends that he's definitely in the race. We couldn't reach him just now. If so, Chenal Valley will have at least two neighborhood candidates from which to choose, both black men. Who says we aren't making progress racially?