Evening mailbag: Politics, colleges and war | Arkansas Blog

Evening mailbag: Politics, colleges and war


Some odds and ends rolled in during dinner.

* FRENCH HILL TO RUN FOR STATE HOUSE: Delta Trust banker French HIll has sent a letter announcing his plan to run for the state House of Representatives, the Heights-area seat held by term-limited Democrat John Edwards. Hill is a Republican. He has a bit of political experience — the George H.W. Bush White House. Democrat Jodie Mahony Jr. has announced for the seat (whom I forgot to mention originally.) Several other Democrats have talked about the race, but no announcements yet.

* PHILANDER SMITH MAKES THE LIST: Philander Smith College is happy today. It cracked the U.S. News and World Report list of 30 top historically black colleges, at 29. Its first time on the list.

* SPEAKING OF HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES: Channel 4 reports that employees have received a delayed paycheck at Arkansas Baptist College, but its computer system remains down. I"ve heard from a number of unhappy employees of the college since my brief report on a talk with President Fitz Hill. The precise nature of the school's position remains unclear, including whether problems run deeper than systems, given reports of tardy vendor payments and student questions about expected grant payments. Channel 4 says state and federal agencies are attempting to sort things out.

* EARLY VOTING LIGHT: Early voting began today for school board elections in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Total turnout: 24. This, despite robocalls last night from the Walton-funded lobby that hopes to fill Pulaski County with charter schools and, in time, either bust up the existing school districts or replace the school boards with members as anti-union as they are. Speaking of the Little Rock School Board race: This week's Times will note that Zone 6 incumbent Tommy Branch Jr. is a co-owner of a John Barrow house on Ludwig Street in which he claimed residency (though the water was never turned on while he owned it) and which is delinquent on 2011 property taxes. Property taxes are the primary source of local school financial support. Branch has two opponents, Florene Armstrong and Tara Shephard.

* WARHAWK TOM COTTON; 1 PERCENTER: The Club for Growth U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton had a receptive audience today for his push for a permanent war against "radical Islam." The right-wing American Enterprise Institute had him as featured speaker today. If you belive the rest of the Arkansas Republican delegation, he's among only 1 percent of Arkansans who favor war, sorry, military intervention in Syriva.

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