by Max Brantley
It is to splutter to read City Director Joan Adcock's words in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning. She wants the city of Little Rock to break its solemn promise 17 years ago not to invest city money in widening and improving Chenal Parkway. (I should have said MORE money into the parkway. Kathy Wells recalls the city put $10 million into an early four-lane project in response to a threat that developers would create an incorporated city on Little Rock's western border. And then they extorted extrication from the Little Rock School District as well as being annexed into the city's good services without having to pay any impact fees for the privilege.)
Adcock long ago made it clear that, though her home is in Southwest Little Rock, she's wholly owned by the major business interests (think Chenal developer Deltic Timber and their taxpayer-subsidized lobbyists at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce). Her obeisance to them is required by the city's crazy system of electing three directors, including Adcock, at large so that they and the upper crust neighborhoods hold the balance of power in city government.
Mayor Mark Stodola has already overthrown his past kind words about impact fees to join the fiction that growth pays for itself. That he argued this during the recent half-billion-dollar sales tax campaign was beyond laughable, given that much of the money went to complete necessary infrastructure for growth areas that had never produced the promised tax bonanza necessary fire stations, increased police service, ever-expanding road work, sewer needs and all the rest.
Mark it down today. It is not a question of if, but when, city taxpayers will be asked to subsidize millions of dollars in Chenal improvements to hasten sprawl to the west for commuters heading to lots purchased from Deltic Timber and friends. Thank Joan Adcock when you get the bill. She'll still be around. Her service to her keepers guarantees she'll have their support for re-election as long as she needs it.
Oh, don't just blame Adcock. Blame the mayor, the city manager and every city director who votes to break the city's promise to taxpayers, particularly Lance Hines, who's shilling for his keepers in the Deltic Ward.
OH AND ONE MORE THING: When the City Board votes to break this promise, think for a moment how much the promises they made in THIS sales tax campaign mean. Zip.