Dec. 10-16, 2008
It was a GOOD week for …
REMEMBERING HISTORY. The Little Rock Nine were invited to be special guests at the inauguration of Barack Obama. Quite a pair of bookends for 1957 and 2009.
TERM LIMITS. When the Democrat-Gazette tallied the expense take for legislators this year, Sen. Jack Critcher of Batesville again led the list with more than $50,000. The good news is that he can't lead in 2009 because term limits retired him.
DOYLE WEBB. The former senator and Benton lawyer was chosen as new chair of the Arkansas Republican Party, despite a checkered ethical record on account of his handling of an elderly client's estate and despite his desire to be paid as chair, rather than doing it on a volunteer basis.
WIND. Gov. Mike Beebe hinted that yet another major producer of parts for wind power generation might be preparing to announce a plant in Arkansas.
BAILOUTS. The Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission agreed to give Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola $600,000 to help patch the city's budget. That's not what the hamburger tax is for, politics fans.
It was a BAD week for …
The UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS. D-G reporter Debra Hale-Shelton discovered still more financial irregularities at UCA — the underreporting of discretionary scholarships awarded by former President Lu Hardin. The new leadership also continued to stonewall FOI requests for recipients of those scholarships, which almost certainly include friends and relatives of the well-connected.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK MAYOR PAT HAYS. He dodged the press and the law in trying to cook up a scheme to take school tax money to build a hotel parking deck. (See Max Brantley's column.)
The LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT. The School Board, facing $10 million in needed budget cuts, is hung up on whether to lay people off or institute across-the-board pay cuts while preserving most jobs.