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Tuesday topics

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The line is open. Final words:

DOUBLE DUTY: Jason Willett is both a state election commissioner and consultant to people seeking election.
  • DOUBLE DUTY: Jason Willett is both a state election commissioner and consultant to people seeking election.
* ELECTION AROMA: Jason Tolbert today continues to raise questions about the heavy borrowing and spending Hudson Hallum did to win a special election House race from Crittenden County. He doesn't really connect any dots, but it's worth noting Hallum paid Jason Willett $10,000 Oct. 21 for political consulting for his regular election contest this year. Willett is a member of the state Board of Election Commissioners. Willett raised objections last year — when he wasn't working for Hallum— to sending election monitors for the special general election Hallum won after complaints of absentee ballot fraud were raised in the Democratic primary that Hallum carried by 8 votes. Some Crittenden County election officials were subpoenaed to testify before a federal Grand Jury in Little Rock today about election procedures there. Does a political consultant need to be on the state Board? No rule prohibits it currently, though county election commissioners may not be involved in races in the counties they oversee. Appearances do count, don't they? Willett is a Democratic Party designee on the board. His term has expired but he continues to serve until he's reappointed or someone else is appointed. Hallum told Tolbert, as he told me Saturday, that he knows nothing about the Grand Jury and hasn't been contacted by any investigators. The Grand Jury, we're told, heard from the county clerk, an election commissioner and others about absentee ballot procedures.

* SUGGESTED AGENDA ITEM FOR THE CONSERVATIVE CAUCUS — SEX EDUCATION : If this is such a conservative state, as people like Sen. Jason Rapert bray all the time, how do you explain the runaway extramarital screwing. Study says Arkansas leads the U.S. in teen pregnancies. Maybe birth control pill and condom availability aren't such bad ideas. The abstinence education model preferred here seems mostly to be delivering not abstinence, but babies.

* REALITY GATORS: Too bad a reality TV camera wasn't standing by. A traffic stop in Delight last week led to arrests of Arkies in possession of illegal alligators, the Game and Fish Commission said. Details here. Among the allegations, a Hope man sold two young alligators to another man for $40 and some methamphetamine.

* FOR NLR SCHOOLS: Bubba Lloyd, a North Little Rock politico who may yet make another run for mayor, says he supports the proposed North Little Rock school tax increase because school officials have done a good job of saying how the money would be spent and because it is badly needed. Hmmm.

* PISS ON THE FOI LAW: The spanking new Central Arkansas Technology Park Authority is going to meet tomorrow and one agenda item is to hire a civil engineer to plan for the first building — and presumably plan which neighborhood will be condemned for land. Members are reviewing expressions of interest from engineeers singly, so as to not meet together on the subject. We have made requests for copies of the documents that have been submitted and have, as yet, received not a peep in response. This is typical of Mark Stodola-style city government accountability. When it comes to an organization whose administration is STILL being handled by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and subsidized, as the Chamber is, by tax dollars, it's about what you'd expect.

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