Eagle-eyed travelers who thought they saw a familiar face at the Little Rock National Airport baggage screening checkpoint were right: that is Mike Huckabee's long-time press spokesman and brother-in-law Jim Harris riffling through your underwear and checking your shoes for bombs.
TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz confirms that Harris started at the airport as a Transportation Security officer on March 16. Harris, a former newspaperman, served as Huckabee's spokesperson from July 1996 until March 2006, when he moved on to a job in bioterrorism response with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. He left ADEM in January 2007, less than two weeks after Huckabee stepped down as governor. He worked for a time, at a rate of $50,000 annually, for the Huckabee presidential campaign.
Harris has taken a pay cut since his days at the right hand of Huck. While with the governor's office, Harris reportedly earned $76,239 per year. Koshetz said that a Transportation Security Officer starts at “D-Band” on the salary scale, earning between $24,432 and $36,648 per year.
A change of jobs apparently hasn't mellowed his feelings about us. Reached for comment at his home in Bryant, Harris said that he doesn't speak to the Arkansas Times.
Big Dam Brother
While the Big Dam Bridge has so far been a blissfully surveillance-free corner of our over-surveilled world, that soon won't be the case. Citing incidents of vandalism and “improper activities” on the bridge and car break-ins in the attached parking lots, Pulaski County Road and Bridge is taking bids now for a series of bridge surveillance cameras.
Barbara Richard, director of Road and Bridge, said the plan is to install four cameras: one for each of the parking lots at the north and south foot of the bridge; one near the lock to discourage people from throwing things onto boats passing below, and another in the middle of the bridge. The video feeds will be monitored in the Corps of Engineers lock office.
Richard said that while she doesn't know yet how much the project will cost, the plan is to pay for the cameras and their installation with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. She said the decision to install cameras was made to avoid having to close the bridge to foot traffic at night. If all goes to plan, that should have the cameras up and watching by mid-summer.