by Max Brantley
Odds and ends around Arkansas this morning:
* THE BRYANT FOLLIES: Bryant Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs called in TV stations — not all print media that I can tell — and held forth for about an hour Monday about how she's a victim of obstructionist council members. She's made mistakes, she concedes, but has quickly corrected them. She also revealed that she has a plan to buy a fleet of Tahoes for the cops even though the Council shot down her plan to raise the alcohol tax to pay for them. Petitions to recall the mayor circulate regardless.
* LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIP TWEAKING: Legislators are talking about changing lottery scholarship rules. Idea include encouraging lower scoring high school grads to try community colleges first and to have scholarship awards be graduated, with lowest amounts to freshmen. I'd guess these rule changes would add to the built-in favoritism for rewards to middle class and higher kids.
* DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT VETERANS? Today's THV had a good followup on the VA proposal to move an expanded day service center for vets to a former car dealership at Tenth and Main. More details on the important services planned for people that politicians like to honor when they're overseas. Mayor Mark Stodola and U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin haven't been so welcoming to them here at home. They've taken up some neighbors' complaints about the center. which serves homeless vets with a broad range of services. I received a comment last night from someone who once worked in the neighborhood of the existing center, at 2nd and Ringo:
We never had any trouble from them. Listen, I am a hardass about this "homeless" stuff. Most of them are mean and dangerous. But those vet people operated that center like professionals. I remember one couple who had a little daughter. They lived in their compact car. They would drive to the vet center to do laundry and get meals.
The mayor is hot-boxing the VA to force them to give up on the Main Street location and Congressman Griffin is harrumphing about it, too. I don't believe the mayor's suggestion that the city's long-promised day center for the homeless has the space to accommodate the VA's expansive services. I continue to believe that center, out near Granite Mountain, is in a terrible, remote location, particularly for this project.