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Insiders Oct. 14

Room for rent

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Room for rent Want to throw a party for 70,000 of your closest friends? If you have a fat wallet (and you can keep the noise down), Reynolds Razorback Stadium might be the place for you. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request last week seeking information about negotiations between UA and the religious men’s evangelical organization Promise Keepers for a June rally, the Times was given some details on renting the state’s biggest stadium. In addition to caveats about smoking inside the stadium (verboten), noise (no more than 70 decibels Monday through Thursday nights, 80 decibels on weekend nights), and damage to the stadium, the UA’s "Facilities Use Policy" also forbids the rental of the stadium for use by "commercial sponsors when the intent of the use is fund-raising to enrich the sponsors." That doesn’t mean Promise Keepers won’t be collecting money, however. A representative rental contract for the stadium — in this case, the contract to host the 2003 Tyson/Wal-Mart High School All Star football game — listed the rental cost for the Arkansas Activities Association at a flat $10,000. No price has been quoted so far for the Promise Keepers event, but it will be substantially more, we’re told. The UA will receive a piece of the gate. It’s a man thing We wondered if the UA might be venturing into risky legal territory if the nominally public facility was open to men only. There is no ban on women, apparently, though womenfolk clearly aren’t welcome. The Promise Keepers’ website says this about women at its conferences: "Promise Keepers does not prohibit women from attending our conferences. However, since its inception in 1990, Promise Keepers has had a very specific call to men’s ministry." The website says, "We have discovered that men are more apt to hear and receive the full instruction of the teachings at our conferences when they are not inhibited by concern for a woman’s response." Expert witness Mary Ann Wright, an Arkansas native and retired Army colonel who resigned from the Foreign Service in protest of Bush administration policy in Iraq, will be in Little Rock this weekend for a free public speech, sponsored by the Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice. Hear her at 1 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 800 Scott St. Wright, who lives in Honolulu, was deputy chief of mission in Mongolia when she resigned last year. In September, she was among 50 former diplomats and retired military who said that George W. Bush had made America less safe by "an unnecessary war against a threat that did not exist." Clarification Brent Bumpers wanted us to clarify some points about his effort to raise money for radio advertising in behalf of John Kerry’s presidential campaign, revealed in last week’s Insider. "The effort is not exactly for an ‘independent media campaign,’" Bumpers says. "Our group is not running any ads. The money raised is to bolster the coffers of the state Democratic Party for their planned media campaign." Political consultant Sheila Bronfman and Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Ron Oliver joined him in organizing the effort.

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