by Max Brantley
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I'm loose in NWA today. So posting could be erratic. Some morning loose ends:
* OBAMA ON THE DAILY SHOW: Worth a look. Good questions on debate, Libya.
* TECH PARK TANGO: I was remiss not to pass along news that the Fair Park neighborhood association had indicated that it might after all be open to having their neighborhood condemned for the Little Rock Technology Park if they got federal reimbursement rates for purchase and relocation. I was underwhelmed by this news when it was mentioned at a recent Tech Authority meeting for a number of reasons: 1) The neighborhood association doesn't represent all residents. Plaintiffs are lined up to sue to challenge condemnation of their property for use by private businesses. 2) the city can't afford federal government reimbursement levels with the $22 million it has set aside; 3) The resolution covers two Fair Park neighborhoods that are not the primary targets of Tech Park Board members Mary Good and Dickson Flake, who've long lusted after the Forest Hills neighborhood along I-630. It also covers a neighborhood including the politically significant Arkansas Methodist Children's Home property, which opposes losing the land. 4) A number of city officials, from the mayor to the unreliable Joan Adcock, insist the neighborhood is dead as a site. If they go wobbly after the election on neighborhood protection, they are going to look both dishonest and stupid. Still, it ain't over until it's over. And that's why legal work continues in the event a double-cross goes forward. I continue to hear that strong support for the residential neighborhood site continues from at least two Tech Park board members.
UPDATE: Here's a copy of the letter and a comment from one involved:
I do want to stress that the neighborhood “…is opposed to the Little Rock Technology Park Authority selecting the two sites in our neighborhood identified in the original site selection map.”
We did say that if the Tech Park adopted into their bylaws the HUD relocation standards the neighborhood “…will consider withdrawing our opposition and supporting site selection within our neighborhood.”
Will Consider are the key words, there would have to be a huge shift in how the Tech Park board operates and acts. The level of trust that they would have to build with the neighborhood is a task that we believe that they will never reach. You and I both know that Dickson and Jay will never adopt the HUD standards.
* LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL UPDATE: I posted a drawing last night of the new Arcade Building in the River Market neighborhood, a library/Moses Tucker project that is going to include theater space. An e-mail this morning from the Little Rock Film Festival follows a report yesterday by Leslie Newell Peacock on Rock Candy on the LRFF's role in the new theater. The email says the building is going to be the "flagship" facility for the festival and promises the 325-seat theater will be a state-of-the-art venue for year-round film programs. Here's lookin' at you, kid.
* A MAN'S LIFE IN THE BALANCE: Mara Leveritt continues her reporting on the dispute over legal representation for Death Row inmate Tim Howard, whose effort to add a private lawyer to his legal team prompted the federal public defender's office to drop its representation.
* FORT SMITH NEWSPAPER ENDORSE DEMOCRAT PENNARTZ: The Fort Smith newspaper happens to be owned by a state finance chairman for Mitt Romney. So, it's worth a smalll note that the Times-Record has endorsed state Rep. Tracy Pennartz of Fort Smith over the law-enforcement dodging law violator, Sen. Bruce "Fireball" Holland. The newspaper delves not into Holland's sketchy record but Pennartz solid record as a productive and capable lawmaker. There might be little need for that in the reimagined Koch/ALEC Automaton Legislature, but the sentment is nice all the same.
The tale of the upcoming legislature, as always, will be written in dollars and cents. Pennartz has demonstrated her understanding of the budget. But she also demonstrates a sense of responsibility to her constituents and a commitment to bettering western Arkansas. Folks on this side of the state often complain our voices are not heard in Little Rock. We believe putting Rep. Pennartz in the Senate will continue to turn up our volume.
Please vote for Tracy Pennartz on Nov. 6.
* MITT ROMNEY AND THE WORKING MAN: Coercion will be the order of the day in a Mitt Romney White House. His rude, bullying and contemptuous treatment of President Obama and moderator Candy Crowley was evidence enough. The AFL-CIO's Rich Trumka comments, too, on Romney/business campaign tactics:
Though we did not need another example of how Mitt Romney isn’t on the side of working people, we got it. In These Times reported recently that Mitt Romney asked the members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) to “make it very clear to [their] employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.” This amounts to calling for employers to bully working people in their workplace.
Apparently, Mitt Romney doesn’t believe in workplace democracy. And as more and more reports of employer coercion of workers’ political rights emerge, it is clear that Romney’s disdain for workplace rights is not unique. In fact, the employer communications to workers that we are seeing include both direct and implicit threats and scare tactics to make employees fear for their jobs if President Obama wins. These are the same tactics that employers use against workers trying to organize a union. The Supreme Court has long recognized that even what appears on its face to be mere persuasion becomes inherently coercive when it’s an employer urging its employees to take particular actions.
* POLICE CHASE: Heckuva chase of a shooting suspect in Pulaski County last night. From the sheriff's office:
At about 1630 hours today, the Sheriff's Office responded to 2109 Batesville Pike Road in reference to a shooting. The victim, Tony Kiehl, was shot in the upper chest and arm. The suspect, Gabriel Jaquez, was armed with a shotgun and left the scene in a red Honda Civic. The Civic was later determined to have been stolen from a residence on Antler Way.
Responding Deputies observed the Civic leaving the area and attempted to make a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated. The Arkansas State Police were requested to assist in the pursuit. As the pursuit traveled through North Little Rock and into the county on HWY 70, the State Police vehicle terminated the pursuit by performing a PIT maneuver on the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle spun into a chain link fence and then traveled into an adjacent used car lot (business) where it came to rest after striking a parked vehicle.
The suspect, Gabriel Jaquez, was taken into custody at that point. A shotgun was recovered from the vehicle. Jaquez was transported by MEMS to Springhill Baptist in North Little Rock. Kiehl was transported by MEMS to UAMS in Little Rock. The exact charges for Jaquez are pending at this point pending the completion of the investigation.
UPDATE FROM LT. CARL MINDEN
The victim and suspect did know each other. The motive is still under investigation. Both the victim and the suspect remain hospitalized as of this e-mail. I have no further information regarding their condition.