by Max Brantley
An update on the campaign to increase mayoral powers through a ballot initiative that will be before Little Rock voters at a special election Aug. 14.
A committee to back the measure will be announced Tuesday. The proposal would make the mayor's job full-time (with increased pay) and include veto power and authority over top city officials, such as the city manager and city attorney.
On the committee --- or at least at the press conference -- you might see such folks as Jim Lynch, Kevin Dedner, Sharon Priest, former Mayor Jim Dailey, businessman Gary Smith and other local mayors (several cities lobbied for the state law change that allows the blend of mayoral/city administration) such as Carl Redus of Pine Bluff, Tab Townsell of Conway and that guy from NLR.
Polling on the ballot questions produced a finding that a strong majority -- about 63 percent -- favor the change. Of course, polling showed a strong majority favored the last special election on a sales tax to pay for the county jail. Turnout at special elections is important, to put it mildly. (And Theodosius notes that the findings may have been influenced by the questions.)
The issue will be helped by broad support from a variety of groups with a track record in city elections -- the group that had been working on a new city government proposasl, Acorn, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. But there's some residual opposition, including on the part of some city board members.