Mark Martin and Jill Dabbs: Your tax dollars at 'work' | Arkansas Blog

Mark Martin and Jill Dabbs: Your tax dollars at 'work'

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The line is open. Stray thoughts:

* BONKERS OVER BURRITOS: Chipotle opened an outlet in LR today. You'd have thought Jesus had checked into the Capital Hotel from the huge lines and the Twitter/Facebook frenzy that attended the arrival of the umpty-umpth installment of a McDonald's owned fast food joint, years after it had reached such garden spots as Bakersfield, Calif., where I first encountered it. Chipotle is fine. Don't get me wrong. But Samantha's Taqueria No. 2 is way better, even if you do have to eat in your car on the lot of a discount carpet store on Geyer Springs Road.

* WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE: Michele Bachmann wished Elvis Presley a happy birthday today on the anniversary of his death.

REPUBLICAN DABBS: More ethics trouble.
  • REPUBLICAN DABBS: More ethics trouble.
* REPUBLICAN JILL DABBS BACK IN HOT WATER: Our Insider column this week will bring news of a public hearing Friday at which Bryant Mayor Jill 'Republican' Dabbs will contest an Ethics Commission finding that she violated state ethical rules by giving herself a pay raise when she took office. She didn't bother with City Council approval. The Saline prosecutor, a Republican, has already said the action was "wrong," but didn't prosecute.

The Ethics case could get her a fine. Dabbs refused an offer to settle the violation for a warning. She'd earlier been found to have violated ethics rules by spending campaign money on a self-serving lawsuit. She doesn't admit error readily. But she's building quite a record as a public official who believes rules, laws and ethical conduct (remember when she insisted on special treatment for her kid's swim team at the city pool?) are for other people, not her.

UPDATE: I've learned Republican Dabbs also faces scrutiny for more campaign finance reporting miscues and will discuss those in a closed session with the Ethics Commission Friday. It concerns failure to report a loan to her campaign and reimbursement of the loan and shortcomings in reporting on a fish fry held to raise money for campaign expenses.

BLOWS $3,000: Mark Martin
  • BLOWS $3,000: Mark Martin
* MARK MARTIN WASTES MORE OF YOUR MONEY: Secretary of State Mark Martin has blown more than $3,000 of your tax dollars to get a Little Rock law firm to give him some advice — about a page of typed instructions — on following the state Freedom of Information Act.

He made a hash of the FOI in the early going, but all he ever needed to do was do for free what the Friday firm has done for him — read the law. The attorney general has a free pamphlet that would have told Martin all he needed to know about law compliance. It includes no advice on destroying stuff you don't want nosy reporters to see, by the way, or dreaming up confiscatory charges to discourage FOI requests. More on this is in the Insider, too.

In the meanwhile, here's an image of what the state got in return for its roughly $3,100 in legal help for Mark Martin.

UPDATE: I'm advised by a member of the Friday firm that while the document shown here is the only printed byproduct of the legal advice provided, that there other counsel was given to members of Martin's staff, including Alice Stewart, when she handled press matters. They were in need of advice, based on some decisions they made.

* GOOD NEWS AT ACXIOM: In tough times, Acxiom employees got a nice surprise today. A companywide e-mail from new CEO Scott Howe informed them that the company would reinstate the second half of pay cuts to U.S. employees. It will be effective Sept. 1 and reflected in Sept. 15 checks.

* MURDER MISTRIAL: 40/29 reports a mistrial was declared today in Fayetteville in the trial of Raymond Douglas, accused of killing his mother-in-law Goldie Thornberry. The mistrial was declared because his ex-wife mentioned Douglas' criminal record during her testimony.

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