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The Insider, Oct. 25

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City government

Shortly before we went to press, lawyer John Walker said he planned to file a lawsuit challenging Little Rock's system of electing three of its 10 city directors at large. The mayor is elected city wide. Walker contends this discriminates against black voters, whose influence is diminished by the tendency of at-large directors to come from the more prosperous, majority white neighborhoods. The city, which is about 42 percent black, has three black directors. Walker won a similar lawsuit against the city of Texarkana in the 1990s. Recent city elections, with some clear racial voting patterns, would be useful evidence in the new suit, Walker said.

Where's Roy

We left it out of this week's cover story, but rumors are rampant that former LRSD superintendent Roy Brooks is involved with the proposed e-STEM charter school hoping to locate in the Arkansas Gazette building. Brooks is still living in Little Rock — his wife, Brenda, is a teacher at Pine Forest Elementary in Maumelle — but the UCA professor behind the charter school, Michael Scoles, said he'd never met Brooks, let alone hired him to lead the school. We passed a question to Brooks through LRSD spokesman Joe Mittiga about his current activities, but he didn't call back.

Huckstering

Mike Huckabee has always had a tendency to exaggerate.

He was at it again last Sunday in a Republican debate in Florida. He remarked that signers of the Declaration of Independence were “brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen.”

PolitiFact.com, a fact-checking effort by the St. Petersburg Times, did the research. One of 56 signers was active clergy, a Presbyterian. Even allowing for three others who were former clergy, said PolitiFact, Huckabee's statement was “pants-on-fire wrong.”

Lottery developments

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's idea for a state lottery has been submitted for approval as to ballot title -- amended from the version rejected by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel -- and a firm will be hired to gather signatures.

We wondered what form this lottery might take after reading a New York Times article on how states were promoting different forms of lottery games and talking about lottery terminals — instant payoffs from machine payments — to increase revenues. Some forms of these games are more addictive than others, the Times article said.

Would an Arkansas lottery include scratch-off tickets, multiple drawings each week, lottery terminals, participation in the national Power Ball lottery? A spokesman for Halter said all those questions would be left to the legislature to decide. Feel better now?

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