SHOW TIME: TV posturing scheduled today by City Board.
The Little Rock City Board
will have a special meeting at 3 p.m. today at City Hall to talk about a recent spate of violent crimes.
As we noted previously, there's no need to attend. This is strictly for show. The public will not be allowed to speak. City leaders have added some public comment time to the regular Tuesday meeting, however, reportedly an hour in advance of the 6 p.m. meeting, though this hasn't been widely publicized. I presume they'll activate the on-line video
for this afternoon's meeting.
The meeting is already drawing a skeptical response from Arkansas Stop the Violence
, a grassroots group.
A news release said the group is "very upset."
... we have been to the Little Rock City Board numerous of times and they have turned a deaf ear to us. We tried to make contact with City Manager Bruce Moore on February 7 when Fox 16 started the victory over violence campaign. To this day City Manager Bruce Moore hasn't responded back to us. Since all of the violence is out of control they want to call a special board meeting. Ms. Shirley Jackson and others have lost their lives, know they want to react. That is why we wanted to address the city board, we wanted to be proactive instead of reactive, the only city director members who has worked with us consistently is City Director Erma Hendrix in Ward 1 and City Director Ken Richardson in Ward 2.
The group concludes that the sudden response to crime is an indication of a "racial divide" among city directors. One of the acts of violence last week was the killing of one teen and wounding of another by a man they allegedly tried to rob in an apartment building across the street from Park Plaza. Said Stop the Violence.
"Since one of the shootings was north of 630 and west of University, we feel that white board members feel that this is a sense of urgency."
Yes, urgency for this City Board is a killing north of the racial dividing line in Little Rock. It is also shipping $300,000 to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce,
which led the successful effort for state takeover of the Little Rock School District
and abolition of its majority black school board. It is the group (along with the chamber-controlled city Board), saying voters May 9 should approved $600 million-plus in additional taxing authority without giving a moment's concern to lack of elected representation or the damage being done persistently to the school district's future by its boss, Education Commissioner Johnny Key.
It is a group that has offered no resistance to the charter school proliferation that is producing an ever more concentrated population of deprived students in the remaindered school district. It is the group that believes moving freeway traffic quicker to the suburbs (including police cars driven by dozens of Little Rock cops afraid to live in the city or use its schools) is a top civic priority. It is a group that lobbies for punishing working conditions in the name of economic development.
Perhaps that money could be used more urgently to hire more cops.
Stop the Violence, meanwhile, has an idea not likely to get much traction at City Hall. It's holding a news conference at 1:30 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church. The group is meeting then with state Reps. Warwick Sabin
and Fred Allen
of Little Rock to talk about ways to get illegal guns off the streets
. State law prohibits local ordinances related to guns. The state legislature has so little interest in gun safety that it killed a bill in the recent legislative session to deny gun ownership to people convicted of beating up their spouses.