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Smart Talk Feb. 24

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Pre-emptive strike Former Democratic state chairman Ron Oliver has sent a fund-raising letter to Arkansas Democrats urging them to gird for attacks from Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller, who is expected to seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year. “With the New Year already underway, the countdown to Election Day 2006 has already begun — we are going to take back the Governor’s Mansion,” the letter says. “The next election will mark the first time in 28 years there is an open seat for governor. Already, names are being mentioned as potential candidates for the Republican nomination, but one name is consistently mentioned: Winthrop Rockefeller. “Last year at a Republican rally, Rockefeller said he believed that Democrats were motivated by hate. If he becomes the Republican nominee, this is the type of campaign we expect him to run — a campaign based on fear and divisive tactics. … Rockefeller will undoubtedly dump millions of dollars of his own money into his campaign. Our nominee for governor must have an organized and well-funded Party to help overcome this billionaire’s resources.” He’s rich, all right, but it’s hard to imagine the bland Rockefeller waging a really mean campaign. (His father didn’t, though vicious campaigns were run against him.) Oliver didn’t mention him, but there is another possible Republican contender and he’s got a proven track record of nastiness, in the Clinton impeachment and other affairs: Asa Hutchinson. Now there’s a foe whose style should worry the Dems. Get your government scorecard here When you contemplate some of the worthy politicians listed in the publication we’re talking about, you may want a cold beer, too. Or three. Students of the political process can once again look to the League of Women Voters of Arkansas to better understand state and local government. The League has released a new printing of “Government in Arkansas,” which has information on the state Constitution, the legislative and judicial branches, education, elections, political parties and interest groups. There are web links in the book, too, plus a new comparative section, “Arkansas in Context.” The book costs $15. Call 501-376-7760 or fax 501-975-4670 to get a copy. Too many well-paid chiefs? We posted this information on the Arkansas Blog last week, but it bears repeating. The Faculty Senate at the University of Arkansas did a study of changes in staffing and pay between the 2000-01 academic year and the current year at UA. The findings: PAY Average faculty salary +14.6 percent Average administrator salary +21 percent JOBS Type 2000-01 2004-05 Change Faculty 813 797 -1.97 percent Administration 585 754 +28.9 percent Student enrollment 15,346 17,269 +12.5 percent

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