by Max Brantley
Here's an open line for you. Some odds and ends:
* HAPPY 20TH: Preliminaries: James Carville and Rodney Slater among the first speakers at the Old Statehouse Clinton shindig. Chelsea provided a video tribute. Al Gore called in by phone. President Clinton will presumably be on in time, though at 4:50, after the 4 p.m. start, the crowd of 3,000 or so was still watching a video of the 1992 campaign. Twitter feeds say Bill and Hillary headed to the stage at 5 p.m., with speakers blaring "Fleetwood Mac." Dare I say it? Too many current leaders aren't thinking much about tomorrow. Twitter says Rahm Emanuel in town. Lots of other familiar names to be dining all over the place tonight
* STATE POLICE COMMISSIONER HAS SAY: We linked earlier a tough column by Steve Barnes on the State Police Commission's decision to overrule two different agency directors and reinstate Andrew Rhew, despite violating rules on siren and light use during a high-speed patrol run that ended in a fatal crash with another driver. Barnes said the commission should have egg on its face following Rhew's resignation following a DWI arrest. The Jonesboro Sun carries Barnes' column regularly. But the Saturday column came with an editor's note and a statement from Wallace Fowler, the wealthy Jonesboro businessman and State Police commissioner who led the effort for Rhew's reinstatement:
I take my appointment to the Arkansas State Police Commission very seriously.
I do not agree that the Commissioners have egg on their faces.
The Commission had a three or four hour very thorough hearing on this case. After all of the facts were presented it was voted to rehire Andrew Rhew.
The Commission cannot be responsible for what Andrew Rhew has or has not done since the hearing.
* WHERE'S THE TROLLEY? New local bloggers, Tim McKuin and Cary Tyson on Move Arkansas, want to turn the conversation on transit, biking, design and such things in a more progressive direction. In that vein, a blog post complains that the local trolley system was shut down in Little Rock for the weekend to accommodate free parking on the tracks for events related to the Clinton 20th anniversary celebration, including opening of a new foot bridge.
So here's the situation as I see it: we have tons of out-of-staters staying downtown (including a former President, the current Secretary of State, Chicago!, etc, etc.) to dedicate the newest piece of the growing active transportation network in Central Arkansas during the most perfect time of year for people to walk and be active, and what do we do? Shut down the main link between the downtown hotels and the Clinton Library... to make room for a few extra CARS! Call me cynical, but how in the world does that make any sense? Come on people. This was an ideal opportunity to showcase the usefulness of of a balanced transportation system that allows choice, and we turned it off for CARS. Oh well. Maybe next time.
* FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL NOTES: Huge crowds on a lovely day. The crowds overwhelmed the vendors. Lines were long everywhere. Most took it in stride, but some complained of waits of up to an hour for food and the inability to sell the food tickets used as currency back if you didn't want to fight the crowd. For a startup, I really liked the possibilities. When other vendors that were reluctant to leave established locations to participate hear about the hordes, they'll turn out next year. David Goins of Fox 16 took the picture below. Main Street hasn't seen crowds like this in a while.