TGIF | Arkansas Blog




Don't know why, but it seems like it was a long week. Readers, take over. Closing out:

* WEST MEMPHIS THREE PANEL: The video of our program last night with the Clinton School of Public Service is now viewable on its website.

* CAPITOL SKULDUGGERY: I'm getting further information that the likelihood of a vote against John Burkhalter's proposed office building across from the Capitol contributed to a delay in consideration last night at the Capitol Zoning District Commission. City Director Erma Hendrix's flip-flop to a Burkhalter supporter is a likely indication of the enormous lobbying pressure being brought to bear behind the scenes. Most interesting is the huge pressure being applied on Secretary of State Mark Martin, who appointed Capitol historian David Ware to serve as his designee on the commission at Thursday's meeting. By some accounts, Martin's designee could be the swing vote on this issue on the nine-member commission. Some other factors at work in the delay Thursday, including Ware's likely inclination to be a strong protector of the Capitol from sight-line incursions: Mark Martin is an engineer by training. He's equipped to evaluate representations on what lifting the three-story height restriction on two blocks in the neighborhood could do to sight lines. (Answer: Lots.) Also, Burkhalter, and many of his allies, were not in the Martin camp in the 2010 election. Something like this could make a political big shot like Burkhalter, a pal of Gov. Mike Beebe and member of the Highway Commission, into a born-again Republican campaign contributor. Except that it wouldn't look very seemly. Meanwhile, though Martin as yet hasn't declared publicly on the issue, the chairman of the Republican Party, Doyle Webb, has. He opposes the project. It takes five votes to pass the measure and only seven members were present Thursday. Thanks to the city of Little Rock's last-minute lobbying for a delay for Burkhalter, he has another month to turn the screws.

* CITY SALES TAX: Thanks to Pat Lynch for leading me to advertising for the city sales tax increase.

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