by Max Brantley
Sorry I missed the Little Rock Board of Directors last night at which the leadership of new Mayor Mark Stodola was credited with correcting the board's bad idea of doing an in-house review of the Advertising and Promotion Commission and its Convention and Visitors Bureau. City Hall has been an integral part of the generally invisible process by which A&P's revenue has been harnessed in part to aid the downtown redevelopment movement. The laudable goals now stand endangered by the, at best, sloppy accounting and spending practices uncovered in an examination by the Democrat-Gazette. And the newspaper has not yet gotten deeply yet into a much larger issue, the avoidance of bids on the agency's marketing contract.
The change of tune was amply evidenced by Director Dean Kumpuris' suggestion that someone from a couple of fierce A&P critics -- independent restaurant operators and the Curran Hall preservation group -- be named to the independent review committee. Here'a another idea: Bruce Bennett, who resigned from the A&P Commission in frustration after an inability to 1) examine financial records over a period of months and 2) the resistance of other commissioners to a suggestion that they resign to give the agency a fresh start. Bennett's wife, Kim, a lawyer with an interest iin the agency, also is a possibility.