by Max Brantley
* BID PREFERENCES: It does questionable benefit to the city to pay 3 percent more on city contracts to a company headquartered in the city if most or all of that company's employees go home to Bryant, Cabot, Sheridan and Lonoke every night. Thanks to Director Ken Richardson for cutting to the heart of the problem with bid-preference laws. They could wind up charging Little Rock taxpayers extra to encourage suburban flight. The city says it can't legally look at residency of a workforce. It COULD, however, of its own employees, but won't. See the uniformed employees who flee the city after work.
* PUNISHING THE VETERANS: Lest there be any doubt what the new conditional use zoning ordinance is about, City Attorney Tom Carpenter made it clear. It will include a grandfather clause to reach out and smite the VA's attempt to move to an adequate new facility at 10th and Main, from the inadequate quarters less than a mile away at 2nd and Ringo. This is Mayor Mark Stodola's effort to kill the vets center downtown (no, it's not only for homeless vets as the D-G keeps reporting). Thanks to Director Erma Hendrix for calling the city's hand on this power-mad power play by the mayor. When I get to work, I'll add some photos provided by a veteran outraged by the city's disrspect for vets services. He was appalled by a visit to the dump of a building on Confederate Blvd. where the mayor wants to push vets. The vet and friends, including the father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan, demonstrated the other day, riding an Army Jeep, at 10th and Main. That's the site of an abandoned building the VA would like to revitalize in the manner of a medical clinic — or like the alcohol rehab facility across the alley, which was allowed downtown without a peep. Why does LR goverment hate needy veterans so?