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Inaccurate Sentinel Record Headline Story
From: Bob D - Hot Springs
Date: Feb. 13, 2015
Isn’t it interesting how
newspaper stories are seldom totally correct. Occasionally, they are
really incorrect. This can be due to poor/wrong sources or bad attempts
at putting their own “spin” on the story. I don’t know what category
today’s headline story falls into but it is ludicrous and really
incorrect. The headline is about the only correct thing about the story.
It actually appears that this newspaper allows their sources to be picked
for them. Apparently, by the city spin doctors. Remember last week when we
had a real story concerning how our city leaders covered up the fact that we
had tentative approval to take water from Lake Ouachita? Remember how the
local newspaper said it wasn’t a story? It appears that our releasing the
information forced them to send the attached “Lake Ouachita Corp approval”
to all the board during last weekend and today’s headline article is the
story with their “spin” on it.
Anyhow, read my comments for yourself and give me your feedback.
Click here to see the story
and my comments.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for forwarding some of the feedback opinions. It
should be noted that a subsequent article was published on Feb. 10, 2015
with the city manager complaining that the FOIA requests cost the city over
$2,000. Feedback to both are shown below.
On Feb 12, 2015, at 9:01 PM, Barbara (a
Hot Springs resident) wrote:
I am one of the POP
when I read the attack on you (again!) in the Sen. Record. Sent on the 10th
and others also asked to be allowed to reprint it. The following was
submitted today. Lets see if Sentinel Record prints it.
OF THE ARKANSAS
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: in part provides for extensive regulation but
the following two sections should be sufficient to clarify the requirement
for information requested by citizens.
Penalty for denial of information. Any person who negligently violates any
of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall
be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200) or thirty
(30) days in jail, or both, or a sentence of appropriate public service or
education, or both.
Examination and copying of public records. (a) Except as otherwise
specifically provided by this section or by laws specifically enacted to
provide otherwise, all public records shall be open to inspection and
copying by any citizen of the State of Arkansas during the regular business
hours of the custodian of the records.
Driggers. He has brought his source of information to the public and needs
access to the city responses from various agencies to be sure we all know
the facts, not just some of the facts that someone decides to share with the
residents of the area.
example is: why are the folks of Hot Springs so convinced that building a
water plant down at Lake De Gray is the answer to our problem?
How much of the plant construction and production, water allocated from Lake
De Gray, paid for by the people of Hot Springs, is to be shared with other
areas of Arkansas that are part of the water consortium ?
I do not know the answers, nor the questions to ask, but something is
missing in this picture of traveling to Lake De Gray for water when Quachita
is up-hill from Hot Springs.
was the three
million spent on repeated efforts to get water from the South end of Lake
Hamilton when the Health Department made clear this request would be refused
over ten (10) times.
What is the driving force to get the water from the East-Southeast side of
the town when the growth is on the West-Northwest side of town?
If it were not for facts disclosed by people that have used FOIA for their
validation of information, we would be unaware of information such as the
city budget still does not stipulate funds for the Police and Fire-fighters
Pension fund even though the debt is enormous and has been known about for
more of us need to have FIFO information to make informed decisions.
Feb 11, 2015, at 10:25 AM, Ted Burhenn wrote:
I remember that the City
Manager held a Town Hall Meeting about the Water Issue in which no questions
were allowed from the audience. Where the room was overfilled from the
standpoint of violating the occupancy code and many were turned away because
of lack of space. And that is called transparency. I do remember that DeGray
was selected because it was closer (which it is not) than
Ouachita and that the growth pattern was in
the direction of Highway 290 and 128 toward Jack Mountain. Also DeGray was
approved as a source of water to meet the needs of Garland County and Hot
Springs. This was after he refused water rights to Walmart off Airport Road.
Now it turns out that the DeGray water is
subject to being refused at times up to 30 days at a time. By an article in
the Sentinel Record this week, Ouachita can be used as a guaranteed source
of water and the operating cost are hundreds of thousands less per year.
But that is just a WAG (wild assumed guess) because the City Management has
made up it's mind not to research the issue. It also appears that the
Sentinel Record reported that the Highway Department (today's issue 2/11/15)
on Airport road is 37,000 per day.
Also if you look at the top of Trap
Mountain (off Amity Road) and aimed at the very area of the City Manager's
refused Walmart, they have cleared a ROW for new electrical power line aimed
toward Airport Road yet that is miles from the City Manager's assumed
projected growth area.
I looked up transparency, and my dictionary
must be out of date. No wonder the City Manager is upset about FOI's. Darn
ole Bob Driggers seeking the truth again, insisting REAL TRANSPARENCY in a
time that self serving by the City Manager appears to be working so well.
2/10/2015 6:25 PM, David Watkings wrote:
attached submission is a copy of the 2-10-15 newspaper article, We suppose
the Sentinel Record speaks for him, huh?)
On Tue 2/10/2015 6:25 PM, Ellen Varhalla (retired engineer) wrote:
Editor, Sentinel Record
I am writing in reference to the
article appearing in Sunday’s edition regarding taking water from Lake
Hamilton. The referenced FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) and
accompanying Environmental Assessment (EA)were apparently received by the
City on December 3, 2014, but were only made public as a result of the
persistence of Bob Driggers in making FOIA requests. Today’s paper has an
article complaining that these requests have cost the City more than $2,000.
Surely $2,000 is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the money the City has
spent trying to convince their water customers that their plan to pipe water
from Lake DeGray and build a treatment plant in Hot Spring County is the
only viable alternative for meeting the City’s future need for water. And
the money already spent on design and for possible future rights fo water
from Lake DeGray isI in the millions, with no definite approval in sight.
Currently at issue in this plan is the insistence by the U. S. Army Corps of
Engineers (Corps) that the water be taken from the “rereg” pool, which the
City and Crist Engineers deem unacceptable.
Based on the EA , it appears that
theCorps is moving forward rapidly to approve allocations from Lake
Ouachita. An 8.75 MGD allocation has been requested by Mid Arkansas Water
Association (MAWA) for Hot Springs and an additional 7.0 MGD has been
requested by the City. The proposed action is to reallocate 50,000 acre
feet of storage capacity of Lake Ouachita to water supply. Fifty thousand
acre feet per year calculates to approximately 45 million gallons per day.
The report states that this reallocation will meet the needs of the MAWA’s
27 water utilities through the year 2050.
As I stated in my letter to the
editor back in September, 2014, utilizing water from Lake Ouachita is
consistent with the City’s Resolution 7624 dated June 7, 2011, whereas the
Lake DeGray plan is not. At one of the meetings that I attended at the
library, Mr. Stewart Nolan of Crist Engineers indicated that it would “take
an act of Congress” to get approval for Lake Ouachita water. Isn’t it time
for Mr. Nolan to admit that he “misspoke” and advise the City to change
Engineer (Retired); JP District 8
Feb 10, 2015, at 10:34 AM, George Pritchett wrote:
a blatent attempt to discredit all who question or oppose city actions. The
city, when they ended the televised public comment section of the city board
meeting, eliminated an important method activist groups had to inform the
public of items that were detrimental to the public. The city said the
comments "spoil" things for some in the city. It would have been more
truthful if they would have said we don't want anything negative to city
bureaucrats, city board and board members, city actions, etc. from being
brought to the attention of the public. Activists have had to work much
harder since that time to provide the public with information.
city doesn't always tell the citizenry the truth or provide the full story
or all the details, etc. and some of us exercise our rights through the FOIA
to get information from the city to secure the information and provide it to
the citizens; something which the city and SR don't do.
city manager is wrong and his complaint about the cost is nonsense as the
public has the right to the information. The city could make it make easier
to get. As for the money he purports it costs he must understand it is their
job to provide the information according to the law and as for charging for
the information I am confident it would be unconstitutional for the city to
charge for information they are entitled to receive from their government. I
am confident our IT people could develop a means to search records to
provide the information or perhaps the records and emails could be made
accessible on the internet.
and again the activists in our community have exposed errors in the
information provided to the public, omissions by city bureaucrats and
sometimes plots that would injure many in our community if they were allowed
to be implemented.
the money FOIA requests are purported to cost, it is a pittance of the money
the city wastes entertaining others and attending various meetings in LR and
other places and trips to DC, etc. I suspect an accounting of many
individuals time would reveal many unnecessary actions by employees that are
costly to the taxpayers. Providing information to taxpayers is the
responsibility of government. As for the comment about a county resident or
non-citizen of the city it is nonsense, Driggers is a customer of the city's
public utility and a member of the community and has a right to question the
city and he is also the leader of the GGGG which has many members that
reside inside the city in addition to many that reside in the county.
Sour grapes by the city manager and city
board and a blatant attempt to discredit all who question city actions. I
will lend my name to the requests if the city believes it is necessary to
have an inside the city limit resident make the requests and I am confident
many others will do the same.
Sunday, February 8, 2015, JM wrote:
I think you have
done a magnificent job of deconstructing the Article. As I read the S-R
story I wondered who wrote it. Its adherence to facts seem to come directly
out of David's office and script.
think the story
should be refuted, in a letter to the Sentinel-Record, the HSD, the D-G, the
Herald and perhaps we could get KARK to do a story on it. I could write an
editorial on it. You could write and editorial on it. Silence is not an
On Sunday, February 8, 2015, George wrote:
You've covered it very well. I suggest you provide this to the Arkansas
Herald and Hot Springs Daily and have them publish it.
doubt that more than a few read the SR article or understand it; however, I
would suggest you send you comments to the SR giving them the opportunity to
print it in it's "entirety".
At this time it is pointless to make any comments about the city and water
beyond what you have provided. The city will do their best to discredit what
you have written, but this will be difficult for them. The city cannot hide
behind their comments about Lake DeGray being the best choice when in the
near future the full disclosure and approvals will be made official at all
levels in the hierarchy.
The reason the city won't back off until forced to do so is simply some
On Sunday, February 8, 2015,
101 seeks comment from both sides. Herw only the city's side is reported as
per the standard (mal)practices of the Sentinel-Rag.
On Sunday, February 8, 2015,
Fine analysis, as usual,
Bob. One term in next to last red letters is "JAKE" Mountain...try instead,
JACK Mountain. Nit-picky?? Where/to whom does one tender this analysis. BUY
a full page ad in the local paper?
On Sunday, February 8, 2015, Jack wrote:
(These are responses to Jan 28 article following)
Great piece and answers. I only would add two suggestions.
1 - I believe one of the greatest things that the article
left out is that the 50,000 acre feet of water IS OVER ONE YEAR. The
way the article repeatedly states it makes it seem like it's daily (1.8% of
the entire lake's water per day removed). The real number, the % is
theoretically then divided by 365 days so infinitesimally smaller and that
water is continuously being resupplied by the Ouachita River. Bob, do I
understand this correctly? If so, this must be made clear to the reader.
2 - As you just
recently taught me, the cost quoted was for the water to go to a new
treatment plant in south Garland county. But, it would be much cheaper if
it went to an upgraded water treatment plant near Lake Ouachita and also
there would be no cost for buying right of ways.
On Friday, February 6, 2015, Bob D. wrote:
This is to notify you that my
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to you dated January 20, 2014 was
not fully responded to by you or the city of Hot Springs. For example, as
you can see on the attachment, request item 1 simply received a “No
Response” notation in red located in the left margin. Please inform me how
this can be construed as anything other than “non-responsive” to my
request. You will also note that other items were marked “N/A” or were
Your email requesting that I provide
you with proof that I am an Arkansas citizen appears to have been made with
no basis in law. Nevertheless, I answered your request by providing you
with a copy of my Arkansas voter registration card, my 2013 Arkansas State
Tax filing, my most recent Garland County home and property tax receipt, and
stated that you had access to my city water and sewer bills back to 2002.
While you also improperly made your
personal feelings concerning FOIA known to your entire board, city staff,
employees, and others, this has no bearing on whether or not you are in
compliance with Arkansas’ FOIA requirements. Interestingly, most of your
comments relative to why you didn’t want to comply with state laws were made
on the same date (January 22, 2014) that the Arkansas Supreme Court (case
CV-14-272) upheld the ruling of lower courts including Circuit Court
(CV-2013-788-1) which found that the city violated the state’s FOIA laws.
Specifically, the court’s conclusion (CV 2013-788-IV) stated, “The Court
finds that the Defendants violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information
I do not consider non-responses to
legitimate FOIA requests as compliant with state law(s). Please consider
this as my second and final request for the data and/or information
originally requested pursuant to Arkansas FOIA requirements.
See more on this subject in the "Commentary" section of this website.
On Sunday, February 1, 2015, Diane wrote:
GOOD WORK, BOB. the cover up is
and was necessary to get the bond funding because there was no existing
project to justify increasing customer water fees to collateralize the new
bond. The DeGray scam is all about money, not about water, just as the So
Lake Hamilton scam was.
Let's see what the City Manager and
the Bond Dealer say, because both of them are liable...for selling a bond
based on false information. Congrats.
On Sunday, February 1, 2015, Jim wrote:
If this is what you say it is, and what it appears to be, then you need to
write it up and send it to the Democrat-Gazette. This is truly a BIG story.
On Sunday, February 1, 2015, RC wrote:
Well now it's apparent from his last
email why CM was crying like a school boy who got his milk money taken by
the bully. Good work.
On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, DS wrote:
GRRREAAAT RESPONSE TO DAVID. BOB! I
RETURNED FROM FLORIDA LAST NIGHT AND DIDN'T KNOW DAVID HAD SENT YOU THAT
RIDICULOUS LETTER. HE IS NOT YOUR INTELLECTUAL EQUAL.
WHAT IS THE NEXT MOVE ON THE GAME
BOARD...A TOWN HALL MAYBE?...
On Wednesday, January 28, 2015,
letter Bob in response to Mr. Watkin's bumbling expose.
Hot Springs Style
From: Bob D - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 28, 2015
Some of your older readers will recall the “Watergate’
scandal in the nation’s capital from the early 1970s and how withholding
facts brought down a US president. Those not aware of Watergate should do a
bit of research and note the similarities with what is happening in Hot
Springs today. A primary difference may be that the original Watergate
scandal was named after the hotel where the cover-up began while our current
potential scandal relates to the fiasco with Hot Springs water supply and
What appears to be a local cover-up
was discovered just a couple of days ago when the attached letter and
documents were found. What appears as an apparent intent from the Corp of
Engineers to approve reallocating water from Lake Ouachita so that
Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance (MAWA) and the city of Hot Springs can take
water from Lake Ouachita was not made public nor was the information
provided to the mayor or city board of directors. You be the judge of
whether or not this information was withheld because if we knew Hot Springs
could get water from Lake Ouachita, this would have a detrimental impact on
those who seem so determined to take our raw water from Lake DeGray.
Perhaps it should be pointed out
that raw water supply seems to be available from Lake Ouachita while no
water is available from Lake DeGray, none. The attached copies of
emails indicate that the Corp of Engineers will not allow the city to take
any water from Lake DeGray in spite of the $1 million plus paid to Central
Arkansas Water (CAW) for that water. Rather, the Corp appears to be
offering water only from the “re-reg” pool which is below the dam in Clark
County. This pool appears to not provide water consistently because it is
subject to periodic draw-downs leaving the city without a steady water
To make the situation even worse,
the city appears to have, once again, paid their consulting engineer
millions of dollars in fees. Most of us remember how the city paid Jacobs
Engineers approximately $2.8 million to design water facilities on South
Lake Hamilton even though they knew the Arkansas Health Department would not
approve that site. It certainly seems like our Watergate is Deja Vu all
Editor’s Note: The documents can be seen by clicking on the following:
Corp of Engineers
letter, draft environmental assessment.... Water Reallocation Study;
Emails referencing no water
available from DeGray main pool.
FOIA Fiasco stuff
From: SD - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 28, 2015
Mr. Driggers, I never said you did not live in Garland County. I know you
have property here, are here much of the time, and have a business in Texas,
or did. If Garland County is where you are registered to vote, then I was
incorrect and apologize for the misstatement. Sincerely,
Fiasco - Residence Reply
From: Bob D - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 28, 2015
Note – The reply shown below
was sent by certified mail to David Watkins Jan. 28, 2015.
David – Pursuant to your request shown below,
you will find attached
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
a copy of my 2013 Arkansas State Income Tax return, a copy of the receipt
for my Garland County property tax on my home and vehicles, and a copy of my
Arkansas voter registration. If you check the city records for my water and
sewer service, you will find that I have been a customer and ratepayer since
2002. Let me know if you need further proof that I am an Arkansas resident.
Fiasco - City Manager Needs "Error of His Ways" Pointed Out
From: George Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 26, 2015
think the purpose of FOIA
is transparency of government and considering Mr. Driggers likely purchases
water from Hot Springs Municipal Utilities he likely has standing to request
documents. Additionally he is concerned about future water rates and city
efforts to annex and bully county residents to allow corridor annexation of
city and county are either entwined or they aren't and the the city cannot
have it both ways. If the city stops providing the documents when requested
by Bob, we will create a list of people living in the city and have various
individuals make the requests. Surely our city attorney will intervene and
point out the error of his ways to the CM. As for the comment he has already
been given the documents; the response to that should be the city keeps
bringing up additional issues or actions and the need arises for other
purposes. Obviously the city could post all documents on lines from all
departments and city officials and then various individuals and the public
could find things using a search program if the city didn't do anything to
sabotage such action.
a private citizen I am frequently appalled at the length city bureaucrats
and elected officials will go to get their way. Citizens fought hard to get
the public comment televised portion of the meetings only to have the city
arbitrarily stop it when they didn't like some of the comments, then the
citizens sued and won and the city then appealed and the citizens won again
and the city now has to pay the attorney fees of the citizens. The city also
eliminated the public comment televised portion using legislation. The
strange part of the city's action that defies understanding is why would
they want to quiet citizens from speaking at public meeting after they
imposed time limits. It appears our city board can't stand criticism.
for the comments about citizens trying to derail the efforts of city
bureaucrats and elected city officials one can only offer the comments;
nonsense, hogwag, cow dung, chicken dung and similar. I don't know how many
normally watch the televised or streamed broadcasts, but I know many more
read the various internet newspapers and Facebook comments. The city needs
to think about the problems they keep ignoring instead of striving to stifle
free speech. Those trying to suppress free speech would better spend their
time working on the economic problems in our city pertaining to
infrastructure, Majestic rubble, city streets in dire need of repairs, cost
reduction programs in city government, reducing the crime rates, etc. Old
and then there is the little matter of the $40 million retirement fund debt
that the city says is a low priority and imply that the state or federal
government will assist us. The truth is the only way the city may solve the
problem is bankruptcy, but this would be after it was obvious our city
government cannot or will not discipline itself enough to even work on a
are good things going on in Hot Springs; however, most have nothing to do
with city government. We should all applaud the Region's bank project, the
new hotels on South Central and the project on Shady Grove near Carpenter
Dam Road and and other project done with private money. At the same time we
should all protest against any projects, downtown or anywhere else, that
require government grants and guarantees or similar to become economically
viable. While the city manager continues to talk about downtown development
of the Duggan Stewart project and the McCabe bathhouse project and the
Austin project it is important to understand these are yet unfunded. And all
should remember how many times our city officials told us the Majestic
renovation was a done deal. No folks, the projects the city so fondly
mentions are not funded yet, but they are all in the works.
hope all the projects get funded if private money can be found and I hope
none receive any grants or similar, public money should not be used. I
expect more and better from city government; less stifling of citizens
voices and better financial management.
population growth in the city in more than thirty years, yet the county has
grown immensely. I oppose the city encroaching on county business corridors
and hope Judge Davis and our Quorum Court and all county citizens rise up
against all attempts by the city to grow at the expense of county
prosperity. If the city can't afford to build new fire stations or take care
of the current infrastructure they shouldn't be able to annex county
who is the city manager kidding; it is a matter of public record where Mr.
Driggers owns property. Proof of citizenship is absurd. There may be only on
person being attacked here and does anyone really think stifling that person
will stop the FOIA requests.
Editor’s Note: Lots of great points there George. We should reiterate
that FOIA is a LAW.
Fiasco - City Manager May Not Know What "Transparency" Means
From: Ted - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 26, 2015
am not sure what Mr. Watkins definition of transparency is but the town hall
meeting was not what I would call transparent. Stating that he had an
allotment from DeGray is not transparent, and indicating that it was a
constant source was an untruth. His projected growth area by Jack Mountain
and using Entergy to substantiate was misinformation at best. In fact not
sure that Garland County Growth pattern has anything to do with the new
Entergy line cut over Trap Mountain but more of a new supply to Oklahoma
grid. It is obvious as you attempt to turn into traffic on 70W during rush
hour that that area is growing. When Airport Road was two lane ten years
ago the traffic count was about 30 per minute. Now with five it is almost
impossible to count the traffic by hand.
think that transparency should include exactly where the water treatment
plant is to be located and the treated water will be used. If it is
intended to be out of county then it should definitely be under the
jurisdiction of the State Utilities Commission and in fact whereas they
already extend into the county the SUC should oversee the entire operation.
Such is the case with White Water in Kansas City and others. We in the
rural area are being abused as a revenue base without any representation.
The original agreement with the Federal Government was that the rural
and city residents would have the same rates. That was in reference to
sewer but should apply as well to the water. Also, I have paid additional
property taxes for water and sewer and several locations, some of which have
never been utilized. I belong to several improvement districts approved by
the City. To now deny those services should be and most likely is, theft by
deception unless they stop all improvements in and out of the city
until additional supply is in place yet they still are accepting new
water/sewer district in and out of the city limits.
Fiasco - Legal Stuff
From: Anonymous - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 25, 2015
has filed an Ark. State income tax return, Watkins’ request is easily met.
On the other hand, Mr. Watkins could be setting a trap for himself with this
line of objection to FOIA requests, in view of Bob's status as a County
property owner and resident and County taxpayer,
as well as a customer (ratepayer) of the City’s extraterritorial water
Watkins’ objection looks like a bluff; he is literally construing the word
“citizen” in ACA 25-19-105(a)(1) on a director’s prompting. Bob should
consult an attorney, considering the line of cases following
(294 Ark. 490) on the standing issue. To teach a lesson here, perhaps we
should let Mr Watkins dig himself in real deep (by
denying standing to make a FOIA request after having explained that he is a
property owner, County taxpayer, and City water ratepayer),
and then spring the trap
See also 25-19-104 and ACA 25-19-107(d)(1). Given the recent case
Board of Directors v. Pritchett et al.,
Watkins might not want his bluff called.
Fiasco - Residency Request
From: David Watkins - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 24, 2015
To: Bob Driggers
accordance with the FOIA, I am requesting that you submit proof that you are
a resident of the State of Arkansas before we process your request.
Editor’s Note: Please let us know if you know of anyone else the city
manager has ever made a similar request to. We suspect this could be a
discriminatory request and delay tactic to avoid compliance with state FOIA
Fiasco - Watkins Used Them Himself?
From: JG - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 23, 2015
Watkins has no problem with making numerous F.O.I.A.
himself when he thinks he needs to. Link Below.
Editor’s Note: Wow, good point.
Manager and Wife Paranoid?
From: Cliff - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 24, 2015
Look at my Facebook post. I am
throwing red meat at their paranoia with thus follow-up Comment:
Cliff: The local City Manager and
his wife, plus some of the Establishment City Directors, paranoidly think I
am the spider at the center of the web of a "vast left-wing conspiracy" to
"get" the City Manager and bring Hot Springs government to a halt.
In their delusion, I have mesmerized the Tea Party and converted them to my
left-wing insurrection to use Saul Alinsky tactics in a take-over.
They are partially right: I am capable of such. They are partially wrong: I
am doing no such thing at present.
Editor’s Note: Seems as though you are leaving the door open, huh?
Truth About “Why Lake DeGray?” is Finally Revealed
From: Bob D - Hot Springs
Date: Nov. 30, 2014
Our beautiful area is often called the
“Tri-Lakes Region” or the “Diamond Lakes Area,” while the city is called the
“Spa City,” and even the name “Hot Springs” refers to water. It is
understandable that Garland County residents wonder why the City of Hot
Springs directors would commit to take water from Lake DeGray on the far
side of an adjoining county when we are sitting in the middle of three lakes
and have springs all over town. Well, we finally have the answer.
Many have also wondered why the Hot Springs city
manager would try to convince us that Lake DeGray is closer than Lake
Ouachita or that the area southeast of town is our “growth corridor.” Why
would he tell us that we need to construct water treatment plants on Jack
Mountain outside of Garland County and develop water supplies in an area
that is clearly not a growth corridor? We finally have the answer.
The answer was
finally found in an email the city manager sent last Sunday (11/23/2014) to
the Sentinel Record, mayor, county judge, county water committee
members, the GGGG, and a couple of other interested parties. In reference
to the entire pipeline route totally in Hot Spring County, the city manager
states, “In reality, it is the CAW route to serve
its customers in Saline and Pulaski Counties.”
Wow, what a revelation.
Apparently, being a Sunday, he was in a remorseful yet veracious mood and
felt compelled to reveal this heretofore unadmitted fact. Whatever the
reason, it is refreshing to finally know that the proposed project in
Hot Spring County was located for the benefit of other counties and was NOT
designed with the water needs of Hot Springs or Garland County in mind.
Thank you, Mr. city
manager. Now let the public hear you in a debate about all the other
fabrications involved in the city’s proposed $100 million boondoggle.
Editor’s Note: We know that the above was sent to the Sentinel Record and
the Hot Springs Daily (online). It will be interesting to see if it is
printed. We also know that several presentations have been made
suggesting that the city of Hot Springs got the "short end" of the contract
with CAW (Central Arkansas Water) and benefited Saline and Pulaski County
rather than Garland County. It is good to have all sides agreeing to
this fact and we think it is important to have the recommended debate so the
public can be apprised of what both sides are saying the facts are. Thanks
for the attachment (below) of the city managers' email. The italicized
portions are responses by Bob D. The dark red is the comment referenced in
the letter above.
Date: November 23, 2014 at 12:23:02 PM CST
To: george pritchett
Cc: Don Thomason, Rick Davis, John, Bob D, Russ, Reggie, Barbara,
Ruth Carney, Matt, Peggy, Ray
Subject: Re: Water Commission
I appreciate the opportunity to present verifiable
facts to the recipients of your email.
1) I served as President of the Missouri-Arkansas River
Basin Association based in Kansas City. MO-ARK is a nonprofit lobbying
organization composed of barge operators, municipal water suppliers,
agricultural interests, contractors, and other interested parties that
promote Corps of Engineer projects in the Kansas City District. I have
lobbied and testified in Congress on Corps projects and understand Corps
issues and procedures.
Item 1 is simply Watkins bragging
about being president of a “lobbying organization” which may partially
explain his expertise in putting his own “spin” on items rather than
2) Lake Degray would not have been built without the
inclusion of water supply as a joint use in the project along with
hydroelectric generation and flood control. We have the legislative history
obtained from Congressional Research of the Degray project which presents
the chronological history of the authorization and appropriation of funds
for this project. Dr. Joe Nix of Arkadelphia and a board member of the
Ouachita River Water District Board is a friend and ally of the City of Hot
Springs and knows more about this subject than any person in the region.
Item 2 simply talks about non-relevant
history of DeGray and introduces Joe Nix who was the environmental activist
that worked to keep the Buffalo River from being dammed and to keep hog
farms out of the watershed. Nix has been associated with numerous
environmentalist groups including being the “Director of Programs” for the
Ross Foundation. Yes, Ross is the property owner on Jack Mountain in Hot
Spring County where Watkins plans to construct the new water treatment
plants. (A comprehensive bio for Joe Nix can be found at
3) The Ouachita River Water District in Arkadelphia was
allocated the original 152mgd for water supply since there were no other
municipal water users in the area in the 1960's. The ORWD partnered with
Little Rock and ultimately CAW (Little Rock and North Little Rock) to secure
a right of first refusal if other entities attempted to purchase storage in
the lake. CAW has paid ORWD since the early 90's for the interest on the
debt issued by the federal government to construct the project. The interest
rate is 2.34% based on the original construction cost. The amount that the
city paid will be credited against the interest that the Corps would have
charged if no payment had ever been made by CAW.
Item 3 is more non-relevant history
with the exception of not fully explaining how much money is equal to the
2.34% which, apparently, is a percentage of the cost to construct the dam
and purchase property the lake covers. However, Nix as chairman of the ORWD
recently made the following interesting comments (from
Nix, chairman of the Ouachita River Water District, represented director
Elaine Kneebone and the three-member group consisting of Nix, Kneebone and
Ross Whipple. “When DeGray was built a group had to be formed to give
assurances for the use of 152 million gallons of water a day,” Nix said of
the panel’s involvement in selling water rights. While 152 million gallons
sounds like a lot, Nix said it isn’t. “More than that evaporates off of
DeGray every summer day,” he said. Currently, the only user of DeGray water
is Kimzey Water District, which includes Bismarck and other communities
north of the lake. “There are other plans for other groups to take water
from DeGray,” Nix added. The Ouachita River Water District owns 6 million
daily gallons, and the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County owns 8.5
million daily gallons. “To put that in perspective, Arkadelphia uses about a
million” gallons each day, he said.
4) The City of Hot Springs has entered
into an agreement with CAW to pay the interest they paid on 20mgd of their
allocation which was remitted to the Corps over the past 25 years. We also
paid for a portion of the administration costs on a pro rata basis for CAW
and ORWD securing the right of first refusal over the preceding decades. In
return, the City agreed to partner with CAW in securing a joint footprint
for permitted intakes at Arlie Moore Park at Lake Degray as well as securing
ROW for a raw water transmission line until their route splits east of
Bismarck. This is the line on the map that Cliff Jackson has stated is the
City of Hot Springs efforts to see water to other counties.
In reality, it is the CAW route to serve its customers in Saline and
Item 4 does finally confirm some of
the information the GGGG discovered through FOIA (Freedom of Information
Act) inquiries to the city. These include the fact that the city paid over a
million dollars plus has contracted for additional regular payments to CAW
(Central Arkansas Water). The agreement between the city of Hot Springs and
CAW clearly shows that the city agrees to solely pay all costs for the water
intake site plus 18 miles of 80 foot wide right-of-way although Benton,
Bryant, Maumelle, Little Rock, North Little Rock, etc. will use the intake
and ROW in the future at NO cost to them. The city should provide anyone
interested with a copy of this very one-sided contract. As for the
allegation that Cliff Jackson believes the city wants to sell water to other
counties, this was not based on the location of the 42 inch waterline and
the location of the water treatment plants in Hot Spring County but, rather,
on a Crist Engineering and city map clearly indicating that the city’s
retail water service territory would be expanded into Hot Spring County
(All County JPs have been provided with a copy of this map).
5) Some members of the Little Rock BOD wanted CAW to
charge a premium or not sell at all to the City of Hot Springs. Fortunately,
they did not prevail in their views or we would have been eliminated from
ever securing water at Lake Degray.
Item 5 is correct because the Little
Rock city council did call CAW representatives on the carpet for selling
some of their future water to Hot Springs. However, after they read the
one-sided contract referenced above, they realized that they got the “deal
of a lifetime” so all objections were withdrawn (see Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette headline story).
6) The Corps sent a purchase agreement to the City of
Hot Springs and CAW last year to secure the storage rights in the main pool.
Both purchasers made changes that were accepted by the Corps. One sticking
point has been the inclusion of foregone benefits which are payments to the
Southwest Power Administration for the loss of diverted water used for power
generation. This expense is estimated to be $180,000 per year for Hot
Springs and $1,000,000 per year for CAW until the year 2042. The City of Hot
Springs and CAW disagree with this charge because we have seen no evidence
that Congress intended this charge to be imposed at Lake Degray when it was
authorized over 50 years ago. In addition, a foregone benefit charge should
not be imposed until water is actually diverted from Lake Degray. The
proposed agreement states payment should be made upon signature and
approval. We are trying to save our ratepayers this expense.
Item 6 describes additional costs that
the city has not previously disclosed but fails to explain other problems
between the city, CAW, and the Corp of Engineers. From emails between these
entities, it is obvious the city, Crist Engineers, and CAW do not want to
take water from what the Corp refers to as the “rereg” pool. This pool is
subject to being totally shut down every 5 years for up to 30 days but is
the only water supply available. Watkins has accused Vicksburg and Fort
Worth personnel of “dealing in bad faith” and has attempted to “go over
their heads” by contacting the Corp in Washington DC and Senator John
Boozman. So far, his efforts have failed. The city apparently does NOT
currently have a signed agreement for any water from DeGray. See
http://hotspringstalk.com/discussions.htm then scroll down to
7) Anyone who has dealt with Corp studies and
agreements knows that the review and approval process is long and
cumbersome. Approvals have to be routed through multiple Centers of
Excellence of the Corps and ultimately to HQ in Washington. We will
encounter issues at Lake Ouachita that will also be time consuming. This
requires patience and collaboration with all stakeholders. The bottom line
is this area needs to secure water rights for the next 100 years or more.
That is what we are doing.
Item 7 provides an excuse for the
process taking so long but does not explain how the Corp has asked questions
related to water from Lake Ouachita that the city and CAW appear not to be
interested in answering. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that the city
and Watkins are determined to use DeGray water, not Ouachita water. How
patient can the public be while the city spends $3.83 million of its money
just for DeGray engineering?
8) The city has a peak capacity crisis. We are
operating on a thin margin during hot summer days or in times of service
disruption caused by main breaks or fire suppression. In addition, we
operate as a stand alone system. We provide emergency backup to North
Garland. We are not interconnected with any other system. I have managed
three water utilities and have never been this vulnerable. A new plant will
not be operational until the summer of 2018, Thus, we have three summers to
go at a minimum before we have added capacity. The city staff will be
proposing tough measures to shave peak demand during the upcoming three
Item 8 again claims that we have a
water “crisis.” Watkins’ perceived “thin margin” acknowledges part of the
problem is solely due to a lack of proper planning by the city. That is the
fact that the city is not interconnected to other water systems in the
area. Other area systems have been contacted which not only seem agreeable
to interconnecting but complain that the city has never even discussed the
idea with them. We assume the “tough measures to shave peak demand”
reference a conservation plan which the city has never had. Add the
inordinate amount of water losses and it becomes clear that, if the city
does have a crisis, it is due to their poor planning and lack of proper
maintenance of its water system. The state health department has
consistently encouraged the city to increase its capacity at the existing
treatment plant (by 9 mgd). Assuming there is a “crisis,” there are
numerous more cost-effective solutions available to the city. It appears
obvious that Watkins, one city director, and the city engineers are the only
ones who believe there is a “crisis.”
I appreciate the opportunity to present the facts,
Hawthorn Violates Ethics Rules?
From: David Murphy - Hot Springs
Date: Oct 28, 2014
For what it may be worth, feel free to use this picture of
obvious violation, as Hawthorn has been reprimanded for this type of action
before by his boss, Sheriff Larry Sanders, and Judge Ralph Ohm. Sure seems
he thumbs his nose at reprimands for campaigning while on duty. Those of
his ilk and the good ole' boys feel this is standard operating procedure.
Consequently, once more will not disturb him, unless he receives time off
without pay?? Hawthorn recently ran a newspaper add depicting his lead in
the vote for the race for sheriff at 68%. Could this advertising be
blatantly false, and misleading in an attempt to dissuade Garland County
citizens from turning out to vote? Is he actually able to furnish
documentation showing these figures as valid? Would the election commission
sanction such egregious, misleading data, were this brought to their
attention? Rumors have abounded that his opponents, Rodney Neighbors and
Mike McCormick may file a formal complaint with the election commission. Oh,
and one more tidbit of interest may be summed up in asking where the 15
minute parking, loading zone signs may have gone, after his supporters were
told that loading zones were to be honored, regardless of day of the week!
Stand by, as one may be sure Hawthorn AND his beloved "STAFF" will again
BEND THE RULES OF PROCEDURE to favor the shenanigans being played by
Hawthorn and company!!
Editor’s Note: We must admit that "a picture is worth a thousand words."
Campaigning while in uniform or while on duty is not ethical and perhaps,
illegal. We were also asked to look into Hawthorn's record running
businesses. We discovered from the Arkansas Secretary of State website
that he was the "registered agent" for three businesses that the state shows
the current status as "REVOKED." The businesses were: Hawthorn
Auto Panels, Inc., Mobile Auto Maintenance, Inc., and Hero's Last Call.
We do not know if the revocations were for non-payment of taxes/fees or for
other causes. We were told by various sources that the Hawthorn Meat
Company went bankrupt but have not yet confirmed this information. To
us, the most disturbing action by Hawthorn was his telling voters that his
independent opponent was an "atheist." We confirmed this from voters
he spoke directly to. Disappointing.
See Candidate Updates Below
From: Observer - Hot Springs
Date: Oct. 24, 2014
Why have you people not posted anything
about the candidates? The voters should know about the true thoughts of the
candidates. Enclosed is a copy of a you-tube video on Karen Garcia who is
seeking a state-wide office and she is not telling people who she is. She is
one of the most liberal people in town and big-time Obama supporter. She
also supports Obama-care. The video link is
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGLWy9zq-PQ. There are other longer
videos showing her support for Obama-care. Please let the voters know this.
Time is running out.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for your input and interest. You are correct, we
have been deficient in giving facts about candidates so we will list a few
here now and more when we have an opportunity.
We Googled Karen Garcia, Arkansas, to find
Garcia endorsed Blanch Lincoln. Your video and this one pretty much says
everything we need to know about her.
Pat McCabe (candidate for mayor): Few
people know Pat's past about how little regard he has for women and his
history of disrespect for them. We previously posted information from the
federal lawsuit brought against him by his secretary for his sexual comments
and forcing her to help him run a "fantasy football" scheme during business
The professionalism Pat touts may be refuted by
the posts found below in the Dec. 21, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2010 posts. Or, if
you wish to scroll through Pat's comments from court exhibits, these may be
seen by clicking here. A
shortened PDF version can be seen by
clicking here. These
sort of tell everything one needs to know about his character.
Fred Hawthorn (candidate for sheriff):
We have always thought that Fred was a good man and were shocked to learn
that he has resorted to calling his opponent and atheist which is obviously
untrue. Apparently, he and his supporters are even spreading untrue
rumors saying his opponent plans to run for state representative in two
years and is only using the sheriff's job as a stepping stone (see Matt
McKee's Facebook page). We also hear that Fred intimidated and
threatened some of his former supporters. Until these incidents, we
only wondered why he ran for sheriff last time as a Democrat and now is
running as a Republican. Of course we also wondered why he thinks he
is qualified to take over the top spot if it took him 25 years to rise to
the rank of corporal. He is clearly not qualified, lacks leadership
experience, and has no knowledge of administering a multi-million dollar
budget. Hey Fred, apologize for all the untruths and
go back to just being a nice guy.
DECEPTION ALERT! (part 2)
From: Cliff - Hot Springs
Date: Sep 30, 2014
Note: This letter was also sent to the Sentinel Record
as a "Letter to the Editor" but was not published.
"Oh, what a tangled
web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Secrets sworn at the Court hearing NOT in newspaper story: Hot Springs,
secretly with Little Rock, plans a 42-inch pipeline almost 20 miles via an
80-foot-wide right-of-way (approximate width of hwy 270 four-lane) from
DeGray to 750-foot-high Jack Mountain, where not one but two water plants
will be built in another county.
City and County citizens will pay for $100 million project, but in backroom
deals water users pay ALL the costs of a joint DeGray intake site and "joint
easement" costs, likely millions, at City’s "sole costs and expense.”
Little Rock has equal ownership and, worse, veto authority over intake site
and precise route.
Hot Springs doesn’t want out of this contract, this Fale’s Folly? Nor out of
its engineering contracts, over $4 million already being approved? No! They
do not! They circle the wagons, dig in deeper! Rather than letting the
people have a voice via our ballot initiative, a possible legal “out”, their
“high rise,” expensive, Little Rock lawyers argue our ballot measure
"impairs contracts.” Really? The City has the right to terminate and should
get their money back.
All this despite one stubborn, concealed fact: Hot Springs has NO contract
for ANY DeGray water. Let’s say that again: City has NO contract with Corps
for DeGray water! None! Nada! Nien! Zero gallons! No contract! AND the
Corps---bowing its back--- asserts a tiny, insignificant thing it
ridiculously calls "Federal law." The audacity of Congress to override Hot
Springs' future grandiose water plans! All the way back in 1960’s when
DeGray was built.
Commonsense thing to do would be: Insure that you can GET water before
spending taxpayers' monies to build pipeline and facilities, right? Well,
they did not. That’s not how City Managers mis-manage. Now, all the Corps
will give Hot Springs is water from a lake that “at least every 5 years” is
drawn down for needed repairs for up to 30 days. And the intake facility is
left sucking air. As are the water users of Hot Springs.
"Safe, dependable, alternative water source?” Nope! Now, holding an empty
bag, well, a pig-in-a-poke, Hot Springs is secretly trying to get Congress
via Senator Boozman to override the Corps. While the Corps has already
signaled likely approval for the much larger, closer, and more reliable Lake
Ouachita and will soon conclude its required study.
Government! This is almost enough to shake my liberal faith! Maybe I will
embrace anarchism? IF I were an enemy of Hot Springs and not a friend of its
people, I (and the County) would simply stand aside and let this train-wreck
Actually, I might have no choice, depending on what the Courts rule. C'est
sera, sera, non? After all, the important thing is to fight the good fight.
And to accept whatever happens. Like paying through the nose for Hot
Springs' mistakes---and its deception!
Editor’s Note: Thanks for the insight Cliff. We actually sat on this
information thinking the city may figure a way to talk the Corp of Engineers
into relenting but after our city manager insulted them by accusing them of
"bad faith" dealing and attempting to go over their heads to the Corp's
Washington chief and then Senator Boozman, we can't really blame the Corp
for not compromising. The bottom line is truly that Hot Springs may
well have wasted millions again with absolutely nothing to show for it.
From: Cliff - Hot Springs
Date: July 30, 2014
Note: This letter was also sent to the Sentinel Record
as a "Letter to the Editor" but was not published.
Now that the City’s crass denial of water
to Wal-Mart for a super-center out Highway 70 West and a neighborhood market
down Highway 7 South is front-page news, I see a tsunamic upsurge in angry
feelings against the City.
People are smart enough to recognize when
they are being played and manipulated. This is not about lack of water at
all. Rather, it is about promoting the City’s DeGray Water boondoggle and,
simultaneously, forcing Wal-Mart and other businesses to build in the City
where County residents may have the pleasure of shopping and paying City
It’s all about MONEY!
Isn’t it always where the City is concerned? Isn’t it always that the
bullying City divides, never unifies? Always attacks County residents, never
acts in our interests, never seeks to bring us together, thinks only of its
David Watkins did not learn his propaganda
lesson well from Goebbels. This little shenanigan of asinine arrogance and
chutzpah is gonna blow sky high in the City's face, leading to visceral
disgust in the County and a throw-the-scoundrels-out consensus in the City.
If you think the City has gone too far and
is mis-treating its own taxpayers and County residents alike, I have two
suggestions for you: (1) IF no one is doing so (and even if you are a County
resident), try to recruit one good candidate for each open City position
(this year and in the future). Then make all current officials take a stand
on and try to justify the City's bumbling on the water, annexation,
downtown, and other issues;
(2) Join the citizen effort to stop the
DeGray Water Project by signing the initiated petition to put the matter to
City voters in the November general election. You can sign a petition and
pick up one of your own to circulate each day at tables outside the
Courthouse and public library.
Finally, I repeat what I said at a recent
public meeting: The City needs an attitude adjustment. ONLY brute force via
mobilized citizenry anger can bring this about.
Absent such a public humiliation and rebuke
leading to a change of attitude, the City is doomed.
Sadly, the City may very well take a
divided County down with it.
Folks, our community stands at a
crossroads. The water issue, if properly utilized, can be a POWERFUL lever
for attitude adjustment and comprehensive change.
Our issue is just. The cause is hot. The City has bungled big-time. Take
advantage of the unforced error to effect substantive change. The time to
strike and force a new and unified direction for both the City and County is
Editor’s Note: We certainly agree with your predictions and solutions.
Hopefully, so will the citizens of Hot Springs.
Authority Executive Director Finally Fired
From: Homie - Hot Springs
Date: May 2, 2014
Todays newspaper headline (except
for murders in town) say that the Hot Springs housing director Barbara Baer
was finally fired. It is about time. She has used her position for her own
personal gain for years and has said to hell with what the law says.
Unfortunately the board chairman (and board?) appear to still defend her
actions and fired her "without cause". Didn't you are the good government
people tell the board are the public what she did months ago? Between you
and HUD and the federal raid could not they come up with a cause or two? Can
you expand on any of this?
Editor’s Note: See the June
11, 2013 post below for a letter directly from the former HS Housing
Authority board chair. He does not mince words nor do we in our comments.
Yes, the executive director, photo above, and the entire current board
should have been fired long ago. We can now share with you the list of
concerns presented by the Garland Good Government Group to the HSHA at a
board meeting. Of course, the board met with the director and she gave
answers to each item sufficient for the board to cease any further inquiry.
We are thankful that the federal Office of Inspector General thought the
items bore further investigation. In fact, this investigation is,
apparently, continuing. Click here to
see the concerns originally presented by the GGGG.
Click here for the Hot Springs Daily article.
I Had a Dream
From: RD - Hot Springs
Date: Mar. 20, 2014
You know, I seldom ever dream but a couple
of nights ago, I had a real doozey. I don’t think it would rate as a
nightmare although there were several thoroughbred racehorses in the dream.
In fact, I remember being in charge of a horserace track and casino. After
a while, I discovered that my track and casino had a monopoly for the entire
But things were not all rosy, some
out-of-towners were trying to move in and allow the state to have more than
just my one casino. To make it worse, those dadburn religious folks were
saying my place was contributing to crime and taking money that was needed
for poor little kids. I realized that I had to take action so I dreamed up
First, I managed to get on the board of all
the local influential groups. These included the local chamber, a hospital,
something called Dudes for the Future, the local Rotary club, and some city
committees. I also financed some dudes I could trust and got them elected
to the city board. For some strange reason, I began calling these folks my
“Groupies.” Okay, nobody would now dare try to hinder my planned growth and
A vision drifted through showing a hotel
across the street from my track with scaffolds that was renovating and would
likely house many of my customers. I mused to myself, “Wouldn’t it be
better if I owned that hotel so we could make the money instead of those
jerks?” A couple of conversations later and some of my Groupie buddies
assured me they would stop that hotel renovation by pulling the interim
I then drifted into wondering if there were
other ideas which could help my growth plan. Oh, how about we shut down the
whole other end of town so people will spend their money only on my end of
town. Wow, what an idea. After a few contacts with my Groupies, we devised a
plan that would cost the owners of that end of town so much that they would
have to shut down or sell to me for pennies on the dollar.
Yeah, I still remember those pesky downtown
owners complaining that they should be part of any planning for their
future. To appease these yo-yos, my Groupies appointed two of the downtown
owners to our game plan committee. One of them was a racehorse owner friend
and the other owed us big-time for keeping his biggest out-of-town
competitor from coming to town.
Once I realized all was well, I drifted off into a deep peaceful sleep.
Next morning, I woke up happy and refreshed but later felt a bit bewildered
after reading several components of my weird dream in the local newspaper.
Strange things do seem to happen in this town. I just hope I don’t have any
more dreams that unbelievable.
Editor’s Note: We may have had a similar dream. No wait, a colleague
is telling me it was a similar conversation.
Annexation Battle Isn't Over
From: George Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: Jan. 30, 2014
The battle isn't over, only delayed. We must
continue to adamantly oppose any "corridor annexation" to facilitate a
"money grab" by the city.
City manager Watkins comment "we’re
worried about retailers setting up shop on the outskirts and draining city
revenue to the point we can’t support our own fire departments,” Watkins
Reality is the retailers that have chosen to
locate in county areas near the outskirts of the city are the ones that
should be concerned. His comment that these businesses drain revenue from
the city to the point the city cannot support it's fire departments (why the
plural fire departments?) is comical considering the city has been saying
they need more fire stations for more than five years and many of the
businesses in the areas proposed for annexation didn't exist until recently.
More absurd is the fact the city hasn't done anything to fund new facilities
for the fire department, if they truly believe they are needed, aren't they
ignoring public safety needs and isn't public safety their most important
Round 1 may be over, but the fight isn't.
Editor’s Note: Beginning with the downtown bottleneck, many of us realize
the city could care less about the safety and welfare of it's citizens.
City Board Members Have 'Abysmal'
From: JM - Hot Springs
Date: Dec. 21, 2013
We often hear that Hot Springs needs board members with business
experience. Fale and McCabe both have business experience but they were
both failures. Both have abysmal records at St. Josephs (Mercy) Hospital
and Fale continued his horrible record at the state hospital in Little Rock.
Some of the story of his record at Little Rock can be accessed at
The reports follow.
Hospital Interim CEO resigns following a report which questioned his
Fale resigned Wednesday after receiving the report from Compass
Clinic Consulting. The report criticized Fale's plans.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) 1/12/2012 - The interim chief executive officer of
the Arkansas State Hospital has resigned after a consultant's report
questioned his leadership.
resigned Wednesday after receiving the report from Compass Clinic
Consulting. The report criticized Fale's plans to make the hospital a
"psychiatric facility of choice," rather than focusing on getting the
hospital back into compliance with federal standards needed to maintain its
for the Department of Human Services, which oversees the hospital, says Fale
decided to resign because he didn't want to be a barrier to progress.
the hospital's newly hired chief operating officer, will serve as interim
status as a Medicaid provider has been in jeopardy since federal monitors
identified dangerous conditions and improper policies dating back to 2010.
Posted by Arkansas Times’ Max Brantley on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 6:31
PM: Randall Fale, interim administrator of the perennially troubled State
Hospital barely six months (and several weeks of that on a vacation to
Germany) is already out.
Read the following and ask yourself if there are connections between
Oaklawn’s CEO and Fale.
Editor’s Note: This is sort
of old news (see our posts of Aug. 9, Oct. 22, and Nov. 4, 2012) but it
certainly is relevant and confirms those and other previous posts. Our
previous posts are worth visiting if you would like to check other sources
explaining the kind of business experience Mr. Fale brings to an
organization and how many millions he lost for the hospitals he ran.
Thank you for reminding us.
City Budget and FOI Lawsuit
From: DS - Hot Springs
Date: Dec. 18, 2013
City Director Pat McCabe was
on the 1420 AM radio talk show this morning bragging about the good job the
board was doing with the budget and why they were appealing the citys FOI
lawsuit loss. He said the $99 million budget was typical for cities with
utilities and can’t be compared to Little Rock budget of $150 million cause
they don’t include utilities. How about comparing how Hot Springs and Little
Rock handle budget shortfalls. For example, Little Rock cut their budget by
$2 million back in August while all McCabe and city manager David Watkins
can talk about is increasing taxes. McCabe also said the city was appealing
the lawsuit loss because they needed clarification on what the loss meant.
For heaven’s sake, if the city attorney can't find out what the loss meant,
what good does it do to appeal to a court that has never heard of the case?
Editor’s Note: We feel the
board and the public are both being deceived by the city attorney (see our
comments on the other post on this date below). As to raising taxes, that
has historically been the mantra of this city for way too long. Never cut
services, always raise taxes. Also, why can’t Hot Springs separate the
budget as does Little Rock so that we can see accurate comparisons?
Rock Little Rock Little Rock Little
Rock Little Rock
fund Street fund Enterprise Fleet Service
Bottom line is that
Little Rock’s budget equates to about $1,000 per citizen while Hot Springs’
is approaching $3,000.
See Ted Burhenn post of Jan. 14, 2008. Perhaps we have some services we
don’t really need or perhaps we could cut some of those 90 employees who
cost the city over $100,000 per year each, huh?
City Attorney Not Clear What Lawsuit
Wed., Dec. 18, 2013
The Sentinel-Record headline
today says “City to file FOIA appeal.” The article gives several quotes from
Pat McCabe who says he is confused. This seems to be a common state for poor
Pat and Ms. Jones. The meat of the article is the quote from city attorney
Brian Albright who says “the appeal would be to seek clarification …” and
the unanimous board vote to appeal.
Albright has got the city
board convinced they need “clarification” so they know what they can or
can’t do. He doesn’t have me or my friends convinced he even knows how to do
lawyering. Most people at least know that appeals ask for reversal of
findings due to improper things happening, new evidence, or disagreement
with how the judge or court applied the law. In short – appeals do not ask
for “clarification.” If Albright or anyone else needs clarification they ask
the person who confused them. For example – if you don’t understand what
Dick said, you ask Dick to “clarify” it. You don’t go and ask Tom.
Methinks Albright is just
pissed because he lost the FOIA lawsuit. Can you get me a copy of what is
filed so we will know if he really is dumb enough to file a appeal just for
clarification or is he really asking for reversal and not being honest with
his board or the public? Please send it to __________ but don’t list my name
or address because I do some work for the city.
Editor’s Note: We will send
a copy of the city’s appeal as soon as we obtain one. We will also post it
on this site. We do agree that you are likely very perceptive as to the
city attorney’s motives. Most people, such as you, are still on the
proverbial “turnip truck” but it is painfully obvious that our city board of
directors have “fallen off.”
Public Housing Foolishness
From: Dennis Bosch - Hot Springs
Date: June 11, 2013
of the Hot Springs Housing Authority (HSHA) is to consider offering
Executive Director (hereafter ED) Barbara Baer, a five-year contract with
increased benefits at its June 2013 meeting. Once signed, the proposed
contract could cost the HSHA a half-million dollars to cancel. The proposed
contract also makes no sense in light of the cutbacks at the HUD regional,
which has already resulted in staff and salary reductions at Metropolitan
Housing in Little Rock.
the HSHA has had a reduction in HUD subsidies for Housing Authority
residents both in supporting the 365 units owned by the HSHA and the Section
Eight program. The potential for any increases in the HUD subsidy is
virtually zero. My research into similar contracts (while Board Chair)
revealed that less than half of Housing Authorities gave contracts to
Executive Directors and virtually none were as lucrative as what the ED is
demanding in the contract she wrote and proposed to the board.
this bit of fiscal nonsense, the HSHA approved a ten percent monthly rent
reduction to local Section Eight landlords who own over 600 private
residential units. Although this action will have a major impact on the
landlords, the item was quietly placed by the ED as a “consent agenda” item
and approved by the Board as though it were a routine “housekeeping” item
(Resolution 2843, dated April 16, 2013). I doubt other Board members even
noticed it considering the vast amount of data they often receive during or
shortly before meetings. The 89-page April board package was sent to
Commissioners on the Friday before the Tuesday Board meeting followed by
additional handouts during the meeting.
action followed shortly after another financial fiasco when the ED began
imposing $450 bedbug charges on extremely poor tenants. The ED insisted she
had tried to obtain HUD approval for the $450 charge but this is
questionable and certainly not an excuse to begin such exorbitant and
questionable charges to tenants who, in most cases, had nothing to do with
creating the problem. Her defense was that it was okay to impose the fee
unless forced to do otherwise. This pathetic excuse is consistent with
previous actions of performing questionable actions until challenged.
Following the HUD Region VI spokesman’s statements that the HSHA was in
violation of PIH-2012-17 which forbids such fees, the ED promptly began
avoiding calls from the press.
I doubt a public notice will be
published on the upcoming HSHA meeting although it is required by law since
few notices have been published in the past. I suggest interested
landlords and citizens attend the June board meeting now scheduled for
Monday, June 17 at 4pm in the HSHA Executive Directors office at 1010
Illinois Street - Hot Springs, AR.
Dennis L Bosch - Former Chairman and
Commissioner - Hot Springs Housing Authority
Editors note: Wow! We have heard allegations of major problems
from tenants, current and former employees of the HSHA but we certainly
admire the fact that the former chairman is also willing to call attention
to some of these. We do think the public is entitled to know how their
tax money is being spent and that the HSHA should be much more transparent
and accountable for their actions. There are numerous additional
concerns, not mentioned in your letter, that should be investigated
including possible illegal activities associated with the recent handling of
a quarter-million dollar roofing contract. The problems associated with the
HSHA Executive Director you and several others have brought to light deserve
an investigation at the highest possible levels. It has to be
embarrassing for those state and local officials responsible for oversight
of this agency to have allowed the apparent problems to escalate to this
point. We do know that recent television and print media have reported
the HSHA's bedbug problem
(click here to see) but are glad that you are informing the public of
the HSHA's direct violation of HUD's PIH-2012-17 that clearly states in
section VI, "A PHA may not charge a tenant to cover the cost of bedbug
treatment; such costs should be covered by the PHA." The document may
be viewed in it's entirety by
clicking here or at http://portal.hud.gov/huddoc/12-17pihn.doc. We
also were made aware of other allegations involving your ED that didn't show up
in the local press. For example, some of the ED's recent arrest photos can be found at various
locations such as Saline County jail and
bustedmugshots.com. Click here to
see the latter.
What the Heck is a CUP, Anyhow?
From: Ted - Hot Springs
Date: May 26, 2013
With all the legal threats being
thrown around, I thought I’d look up Conditional Use Permits. This was my
“A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (CUP) allows a city
or county to consider special uses which may be essential or desirable to a
particular community, but which are not allowed as a matter of right within
a zoning district, through a public hearing process. A conditional use
permit can provide flexibility within a zoning ordinance. Another
traditional purpose of the conditional use permit is to enable a
municipality to control certain uses which could have detrimental effects on
the community (Neighborhood Action Group v. County of Calaveras (1984)
156 Cal.App.3d 1176).
Consideration of a CUP is a discretionary
act. A CUP application tendered by a project proponent is considered at a
public hearing and, if approved, is generally subject to a number of
pertinent conditions of approval. Depending on local ordinance requirements,
hearings are typically held by a board of zoning, the planning commission,
or a zoning administrator. The owners of property near the site are sent
advance notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
Examples of common uses allowed with a
conditional use permit can be found in any city or county zoning ordinance.
For example, a zoning ordinance might list uses which may be permitted
within single-family residential districts with a conditional use permit.
These uses include churches, public or private schools, public building or
utility structures, parking lots, temporary subdivision sales offices, and
community care and health care facilities. Some zoning ordinance lists
various uses permitted with a use permit issued by either a planning
director or planning commission. These uses include temporary amusement
attractions, the placement of a building or structure on a lot or parcel
which has been moved from another lot or parcel, public buildings and
facilities, parking or access located off-site from the site being served,
private recreation centers, and planned developments. Each city or county
may include in their zoning ordinance a wide variety of uses which they will
permit with a conditional use permit.”
Remind me again why we HAVE TO GRANT a CUP
to a staff of underfinanced, unskilled, unqualified group of admitted Drug
Addicts just because they are considered a medical disability? We do not
have to grant that to any organization including a church. Nowhere does it
protect “handicap” or “disabled” from meeting conditions set forth by
Sign Me “If we are going to do this, make
sure it is for the right reasons and not just financial gain”
Editors note: As a former city director
recently told us, the city board has become the only hope for city residents
to be protected from unscrupulous developers or business people. Sort
of makes one question if they want to be a city resident, doesn't it?
Tear Down Historic Downtown? Oh My!
From: George Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: May 23, 2013
Demolish the Majestic and let's move on. Maybe they can collaborate with
the city and save some money with the wrecking ball company and debris
haulers to take the Majestic and old hospital building down at the same
time. Or maybe they can implode them on the same day and see what else
falls down in the downtown area (these incidental demolitions could be
viewed as "bonus" redevelopment. These actions may be define downtown
redevelopment in HS. I am certain a lot of people will go downtown to see
the implosions and redevelopment to take place (further demonstrating the
need for more free parking downtown. It could be a big day in the city;
vendors, T-shirts, breathing masks with logos given away to be used while
the dust settles from the implosion, free car wash certificates promoting
downtown businesses and redevelopment, etc. as the possibilities are
endless. Oh, I almost forgot, CVB should be able to get in on the act by
promoting the activities and sharing the history of the locations and it
could be a bigger event than the Worlds Shortest Parade. It could be the
beginning of a new era in HS, maybe it could be called the "Implosion Era"
promising more to come down in downtown.
The time has come to take some town down! Just
watch, the SR will be able to sell the activities as downtown redevelopment
and the CoC and Fifty for the Future and some suits can have a ceremony to
tie a ribbon in front of the facilities before they are taken down. Good
publicity, moving forward and with a little luck there will be a parking lot
on the Majestic site and the school has plans for their property. Maybe in
the photo op sessions the participants can have their backs turned to the
camera to demonstrate moving forward. And best of all if Ark of Arkansas
uses the Majestic property as a parking lot they can collect some legitimate
revenue rather than government "free money".
Editors note: It is amazing how many people don't realize that the
Majestic already has a usable multi-story parking deck. Could that not
be utilized by the city to alleviate the downtown parking problem?
When Did the Truth Go Out of Style?
From: Z - Hot Springs
Date: May 13, 2013
After reading your comments yesterday, It hit me like a ton of bricks. Nobody
gives a damn about the truth anymore. Remembering the mess about how many
attended the St. Pat's parade and how much criticism the GGGG group got for
counting them, I realized this was the same crap Hillary Clinton was saying
- What Difference Does It Make? I think most people and her believe its
okay. Whoa for a minute. It makes a hell of a lot of difference Hillary.
What hit me like a ton of bricks was that we don't care about the truth
anymore. Your comments of yesterday about their being no truth in the
advertising for the Against Going Backwards group, was right on. When the
hell did we stop caring what the truth is? When did the truth go out of
style and why? It seems we expect people to lie to us and most seem to think
that is ok.
Editors note: We're guessing you are of the older generation who was
taught by parents to always tell the truth and that there are consequences
for bearing false witness. In spite of your colorful language, you
likely were even taught those 10 commandments which include, "Honor your
father and your mother..." and "You shall not bear false witness..."
Unfortunately, your points relative to truth not mattering anymore are valid
for the entire country but ponder these questions, "Is it even worse in Hot
Springs or in a certain collection of local good ol' boys?" If so,
It's The Big One Elizabeth!
From: Bob D - Hot Springs
Date: May 12, 2013
The following "letter to the editor" was sent to the Hot Springs Sentinel
Record on May 9, 2013. Ever think the local newspaper may refuse to
print certain letters? Ever think the newspaper may even "censor" the
public like the Hot Springs city board of directors does? As of this
afternoon, the following letter was not published. Since we shouldn't
be holding our breath waiting, it is shown below. Oh, if it does show
up, check for substantial editing.
IT’S THE BIG ONE ELIZABETH!
I fully intended to stand aside during the upcoming
election and trust the citizens of Hot Springs to obtain their own facts
before voting for or against changing the current form of city government.
I managed to ignore former mayors and politicos inaccurately bragging and
even ignored the city public relations director’s letter to the editor which
touted the city’s prosperity and growth although I wondered how she could
think we were prosperous when we have debt and obligations the city cannot
pay. The growth comments are even more puzzling when the census bureau shows
Hot Springs consistently losing population since 2000. Perhaps she was
referring to the budget growth in recent years from $22 million to over $90
million or the employee growth from 225 to 600 or to the city vehicle growth
to almost 500 which city employees routinely drive to restaurants, shopping,
Unfortunately, Sunday’s local newspaper was so full of
inaccuracies and distortions that I can be silent no longer. My blood
pressure rose while reading the newspaper’s unsigned editorial stating, “The
local electorate must realize that in the mayor/alderman form of government,
public service is subordinate to individual agendas and acting in accordance
with what is fair and best for all….”
The primary fact is that the proposed change would give
us 12 representatives instead of 6 meaning twice the accountability due to
each representative answering to half as many constituents. Yes, we can keep
the current city manager although we may want to change his title to city
The editorial headline and next to last sentence
states, “Don’t let anyone else decide the city’s future for you” but the
next sentence says, “…. Vote against going back to the not so good ole days
and ways.” Wow, what a contradiction! Tell us not to let anyone else decide
for us and then tell us how to vote. Reread the editorial on page 8B and ask
yourself, is this unbiased journalism or what?
My blood pressure exceeded safe limits while reading
the letter to the editor from our former city manager, Mr. Myers. Kent, we
all know the true facts as to how professional your administration was. We
still remember how we taxpayers footed the bill while you and city directors
played in Las Vegas, Washington DC, Orlando (Disneyworld), Reno, New
Orleans, and multiple trips to Hanamaki, Japan. We still remember how you
and your board ignored the citizens and used a board vote to put us even
further in debt by voting to build a sparkling new city hall so directors
could preserve their names on the cornerstone. Fortunately, our citizens
petitioned for and voted 3 to 1 to rescind the board action which had given
the taxpayers no voice or vote. Yes, we even remember the downtown
special-interest bottleneck and building a multi-million dollar parking deck
and then closing the street that led to it.
As Fred Sanford used to say, “This is the big one
Elizabeth.” That “big one” can’t be far away if I have to keep hearing about
the “growth and progress” of Hot Springs due to the current form of
The facts are simply the facts. For example, out of
some 500 incorporated cities and towns in Arkansas, there currently are only
3 cities besides Hot Springs that still use the City Manager form of
government. These are Arkadelphia which lost 2% of its population from 2000
to 2011, Hope which lost 5%, Texarkana grew but likely due to being exempt
from Arkansas state income taxes and most residents working on the Texas
side. Then there is Hot Springs which continues to lose population (1.4%).
Where is the “growth” being touted in commercials as though it was a fact?
Want the truth? The following table shows US Census population growth and
declines for Arkansas cities from 2000 to 2011. The only large “growth”
numbers are for cities that don’t use the City Manager form of government.
That’s a fact.
Hot Springs Village
No. Little Rock
Personally, I don’t care which form of government we
have but citizens are entitled to vote based on facts rather than
intentionally misrepresented rhetoric from self-serving individuals. Before
you vote, ask yourself why people become so paranoid they feel they must
exaggerate or embellish the truth. Oh, next commercial or ranting you incur,
ask yourself, as I did, “WHAT growth and prosperity?”
Editors note: You forgot to mention the previous city board which still
retains a couple of members, firing every member of the Planning Commission,
the BZA (Board of Zoning Adjustments), and the Historical Commission.
You actually could have listed dozens of missteps taken by previous boards
but we do understand your primary point. We have the best candidates
money can buy. Could it be due to the pitifully apathetic electorate,
Hot Springs Needs More Taxes - Not Less
From: George Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: May 11, 2013
I'm thinking about talking to Jean Wallace
about proposing a sales tax that would fund parks and recreation. Perhaps
it could be called the Parks and Recreation Bureau (PRB). Probably 1/8 to
1/4 cents sales tax in the city on all sales to fund the entire PRB
operation. The money currently budgeted for parks and recreation would be
reduced to zero and the money could then be used to fund other general fund
requirements. I am confident the CoC and Fifty for the Future will support
the idea and the amount would grow as retail sales grow. This tax would not
have a sunset.
And I should probably talk to the fire and
police chiefs so at the same time we hold the special election for PRB we
can ask for 1/8 to 1/4 cents to purchase new city police and fire emergency
communications system. This would have a sunset clause to end when the
system is paid for. And with the same group we should probably place on the
ballot at the same time an issue for 1/8 to 1/4 cents to fund paying down
the old police and fireman retirements fund and this should have a sunset
clause. And at the same time we should put 1/4 to 1/2 cent permanent tax to
fund street maintenance and repairs with a percentage to be used for capital
improvements. And another 1/8 to 1/2 cent to be used for establishing a
reserve fund/capital fund.
All of this adds up to only 1 and 3/4 cents and
it would only bring our city sales tax rate up to 3% and everyone knows it
will only be a few pennies at the grocery store of car repair shop or dry
goods or restaurant. No one will miss money as it is only a modest amount.
Of course all of these would take our maximum city sales tax rate up to near
15%. With the CoC and Fifty for the Future financing the campaigns they
should pass with relative ease as the apathy votes, those that oppose the
increases, but don't go to the polls to cast their ballots (an expression of
their thoughts) and subsequently aren't counted.
OR, JUST MAYBE THE VOTERS WILL APPROVE THOSE
WITH SUNSETS THAT FILL REAL NEEDS AND SEND A MESSAGE TO CITY GOVERNMENT WE
DON'T WANT CERTAIN THINGS OR WON'T SUPPORT CERTAIN THINGS.
I wonder if the CoC and Fifty for the Future
might think these increases would diminish growth, discourage business
development, etc. Real money solutions placed altogether on a single
ballot, solutions to the problems in HS delivered to us by the current city
manager form of government and all forms of government before as we know
before the city manager form of government the problems were just kicked
down the road by corrupt government and all we have experienced since the
new form of government has been progress and integrity and unbridled success
(strange isn't it that any problems exist at all after more than twenty-six
years of city manager form of government).
Oh, let's forget all my suggestions and
comments here, we all know all is well in HS and were are progressing,
moving forward, the good ole boy influences are non-existent, the streets
are outstanding, crime statistics are so low we can barely measure crime in
the city and everyone is prospering. Solutions, so simple and fleeting, but
this has been fun.
Editors note: Hey George, what's a few more pennies to the highest
taxed town in Arkansas matter anyhow?
TEA Party Incorrectly Painted as Being for Changing Government Form
From: Jack Sternberg MD - Hot Springs
Date: May 8, 2013
the Editor (Sentinel Record):
Gary Grogan is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Opinion – The Tea Party is backing and behind the effort to “seize control
of the city government” by returning to the Mayor/Alderman form of
Fact - Clay Herman and Jock MacGregor, members of the Tea Party, have
publicly endorsed the change.
Fact – Dan Lewin, a member of the Tea Party has written the Sentinel Record
opposing the change.
Fact – I, Jack Sternberg, a member of the Tea Party, while running for City
Director, opposed the return to the Mayoral/Alderman system and still do and
have, along with Randy Fale, City Director 6th, just sent a
letter endorsing our position that we remain with the present form of city
Fact – Neither the Tea Party or the Republican Party has taken an official
position endorsing either form of government. Both parties have allowed
representatives of each position to speak at our meetings, thereby allowing
each member to make up their own mind about the issue.
Fact - No information or vote exists concerning what position the majority
of Tea Party members are taking towards this issue. My opinion is that most
are against the change, but I can’t factually back that up.
Mr. Grogan, you, as a free American, may continue in your distorted and
erroneous opinions, but the facts don’t bear out your claims.
Editors note: It just comes natural for some people to blame the Tea
Party or the GGGG for anything that is not popular with the
good ol' boys agenda. Why don't we see if we can get the IRS or
somebody to audit these groups? Hey, we know your letter was sent to
the Sentinel Record. Why wasn't it published? That question
Government and Directors Need to be Changed
From: JB - Hot Springs
Date: April 23, 2013
Hey it was pointed out to me that there are other reasons to change city
government. We haven't mentioned those constant trips to Japan, Las Vegas,
New Orleans, Disneyworld, Washington DC and other vacations for board
members. You didn't mention the Baptist Hotel boondoggle or the bottleneck
or the city buying property from their friends.
Editors note: True, there are several other fiascos that were improper
and possibly, illegal. However, a lot of those can be attributed
directly to the quality of board members we had even though a larger number
of board members would increase the odds of having at least one reasonable
voice. We are still missing the most recent and important improper
action by city board members. That is the fact that the current board
has placed restrictions on the public commentary section of board meetings.
This is censorship and violates the first amendment. Stay tuned on
Misstatements Concerning Upcoming Election on City Government
From: JB - Hot Springs
Date: April 22, 2013
The Senile Record had a letter to the editor today from former mayor Helen
Selig telling us to vote against changing the form of city government. We
had not decided how to vote or if we would vote until her letter. We
will now vote to change the form because if she likes what we have she
probably benefits from it. She and her husband lead what you call the 'good
ole boys' and have benefited from our town for years. She says, "The city of
Hot Springs (government?) is complex, very large and a vitally important
business." She also says, "Because this (form of government?) has been a
success, our city has improved significantly for you and for all of us."
Well it sure did improve for her but for us, we have seen an unresponsive
government taking care of its friends and relatives while ignoring its
citizens. This form of government has our raised taxes, raised and is still
raising our utility rates, increased the employees from 170 to over 600
during the time she discusses, increased the budget from $22 million to over
$90 million, provided almost 500 vehicles so city employees will have
personal transportation. They put our city in debt but won't reduce the size
of unneeded departments or employees. If Helen thinks the city has become a
success, she is the one living in "horse and buggy" days. Haven't most
Arkansas cities and towns moved from the city manager form instead of what
Editors note: Before answering your question, we should point out that
the city also wasted millions of our tax dollars developing a plan for a
water treatment plant that the city knew could not be constructed. They also
voted to build a new multi-million dollar city hall without letting the
citizens have a voice or a vote. They built a multi-million dollar
parking deck and closed the street (Bath Street) to it. We could add
several other huge missteps during our current form of government.
Actually, several former mayors had a part in mismanaging our city. Now to
answer your question. Yes, numerous cities in Arkansas have changed
from the city manager form of government. In fact, other
than Hot Springs, only 3 cities continue to use the city manager form.
Those are Arkadelphia, Hope, and Texarkana. If, as you and the former
mayor mentioned, our city is too large, too complex, and too important to
change, why did Little Rock change a couple of years ago. Also, why do
cities such as Fayetteville, Rogers, Bentonville, Pine Bluff, North Little
Rock, West Memphis, Conway, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, and every other city in
the state except for the three listed, no longer use city mangers? We
are among the group that thinks Hot Springs finally has a good city manager
and, because of this, we should point out that other forms of government can
still use a "city administrator" or even a "city manager." Most cities
still have a person other than the mayor that runs most day-to-day city
functions. Don't be misled that our city manager would be fired or
that either type governance costs more or less than the other.
Primarily, the difference is more aldermen meaning they would be more
accountable to their constituents. What a concept!
Yes, we apparently have had a change of heart since
the post below.
Why is Hot Springs Talk Not Talking About Elections?
From: Pat - Hot Springs
Date: April 16, 2013
Why has your website not had anything on the election? I did not see anything
on the college election or on the city government form which is coming up
next month. Do you not have a position or are you people just getting lazy?
Editors note: Thanks for your concern. We typically do not take
positions unless there are facts that need to be promoted that aren't being
stated. For example, the anti-college group were spouting untruths as
though they were facts while the pro-college group were failing to tell us
there was no sunset on the tax. Yep, it would have gone on forever
even after the buildings were built. The untruths of one side sort of
balanced out the omissions of facts from the other side so we just shut up.
The form of city government seems to be pretty well balanced also. So
why should we get involved?
Smells New Taxes and Another Special Election
From: Dr. Jack Sternberg - Hot Springs
Date: March 26, 2013
I left this comment on the Sentinel Record webpage concerning the new sports
smell a new tax of millage or something more for the people of Hot Springs
to come up with to fund this project. And it probably will take another
"special election" to get it passed. Or maybe, just maybe, the "Hamburger
tax" money already collected for the A&P commission and in the bank could be
used instead. I can hope, can't I?
You are one-hundred percent correct on the "special
election" but only about eighty percent on the tax requirements. This
is the same game the A&P played to get their tax encumbered by a $1.2
million bond for the Mid America Science Museum. Again, no tax is
necessary because they have some $15 - $17 million in the bank which means
they could pay cash for 4 or 5 sports arenas. Regardless of what they
tell you, $15 million is not necessary for a few ball fields. Their
real purpose is simply to "ENCUMBER" the "Hamburger tax" so the public
cannot petition for a change in the 3 percent we pay for prepared foods in
restaurants, grocery stores, etc. To learn how the A&P pulled this
scam off previously, check postings below. Especially April 1 and 11,
2008 and most of the other April 2008 posts. Other good posts are
April 24 and Feb 6, 2012; Feb 26, 2009; June 6 and 17 of 2008. Several
others can be found in the "Archives" section of this website. Heck,
just hit "Control F" to find "museum" and there are tons of posts.
New City Directors Declare War on Public Comments at City Board Meetings
From: George Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date February 20, 2013
should be interesting the comments around town on the actions of the city
board; specifically the elimination of television coverage of the public
comment period after the meeting at Director (Comrade) Fale's urging and the
action again by Director (Comrade) Fale's motion to place the Harps Food
Development on hold.
I've circulated my writings (see post below) to
more than one hundred people in city and county government, newspaper, GGGG,
etc. It would be fun to be the fly on the wall during the discussions. Of
course, I don't expect any changes, but it is good that someone calls out
those responsible for such deplorable actions (and likely illegal).
Director Comrade Fale?
move led by Director Randy Fale, after my comments in a previous meeting
asking the City Board to not support the NPCC ballot issue proposing a 300%
NPCC millage increase, the Public Comment period was eliminated from the
broadcast. Obviously Director Fale was very convincing and others agreed
with him to turn off the cameras to eliminate any negative comments or
things he disagreed with. I was told he commented to others that my
comments were going to ruin it for the college; if this is true I thank him
for elevating my status and thinking I have so much power over the public.
Apparently Hot Springs AR is located inside of some Communist country and I
missed when we were all relocated. Maybe the titles of City Board members
should be changed to "Director Comrade Fale", etc.; however, this would be
unfair to those on the board that do believe in freedom of speech as
protected by the constitution of our great country. Perhaps those agreeing
with Comrade Fale, oops that is Director Fale, will identify themselves to
the public since they hold elected positions.
good though, I will be forced by the City Board's action to sign up to speak
about every item on the agenda for three minutes and offer my comments to
not support the NPCC ballot issue (or other matters) during the last thirty
seconds of my three minutes. What is the point of a public comment period
if it is not televised along with the rest of the meeting? Please ask
Comrade, oops (sorry) Director Fale. Anybody care to join me?
It is fine to disagree, but criminal to silence
Your point is well taken, George. Irrespective of all the mumbo-jumbo
circulating relative to a "bully pulpit" or the public not speaking to "city
related" issues, your comments and all of those we have heard during the
city board's "public comment session" were certainly related to city
business. Historically, the city board has frequently taken positions
for or against issues such as the upcoming NPCC tax election. Your
comments requesting them not to do so this time was most appropriate.
Citizen Favors Changing the Form of Our City Government
From: George Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: February 23, 2013
Accolades to Clay Herrmann for his efforts. With all due respect to Mayor
Carney I think an election should be held.
Here is one example why, less than eight weeks
into 2013 and after three new City Directors taking office the new City
Board voted 5-2 to stop economic and residential development in Hot Springs
Garland County Arkansas by tabling the ordinance that would have provided
water and waste water/sewer to the proposed Harps Food Market near Amity
Road and Highway 7 South (the store is much needed and would provide an
economic boost to the area). With the services available at the location
and the city's exclusive right (and responsibility) to provide them in the
areas the action was absurd and most likely illegal. The action was like a
warning shot across the bow of an enemy ship to warn them to not proceed and
this action warned commercial and residential developers that until answers
about our future water supplies are answered and waste water/sewer treatment
capacities determined the City Board will not be approving additional
connections to services. This was after the most important fact was stated
by City Engineer Gary Carnahan the impact of the new store would have the
same impact as adding service to five or six single family residences. Does
anyone really believe adding six new residences services would possibly
cripple the existing infrastructure! With past City Boards and Garland
County Quorum Courts providing hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer
money for economic development the action this past week most likely stifled
commercial and residential development for sometime into the future.
in a country where people like Clay Herrmann can make a difference. Mr.
Herrmann's major concern is the ETJ and everyone should be equally
concerned. The ETJ should be abolished entirely, even giving the city one
mile is too much. Thanks you Clay Herrmann for your hard work
There are many other reasons why an election
should be held on this issue. Perhaps most importantly is what our system
of city government and past City Boards have delivered to us. The
information is out there as to the retirement debt, low reserves (2013
budget was balanced by reducing reserves), nearly flat revenues, virtually
no capital budgets, virtually no money for capital needs in the general fund
areas such as fire and police equipment and a new communication system,
water supply questions, crumbling infrastructure, etc. City Boards always
find money for things they want like a security system and now a new phone
system (these must be much more important than emergency communications for
the fire and police department). A responsible group would create a "want
list" throughout the year and put these kind of items into the budget for
the next fiscal period for action. The problem with actions such as the
security system and a new phone system is they are not truly emergencies.
City Boards break promises to the public about bonuses and raises violating
public trust, again plan these items and put them into the budget for the
next fiscal period. A novel idea for our current City Board would to be to
reduce significantly the "Quality of Life" areas and put more money into
Public Safety and street paving and maintenance. I am certain others could
add to the list. An opposition the Mayor has to the election is the fact the
City Manager and City Attorney have "costly exit packages" and I offer that
these were the result of actions determined by the City Board. While our
City Manager is a recent addition and exit packages are often a part of
hiring negotiations it is difficult to determine why one was quickly put
together for the City Attorney since he had been serving without one for
some time and has very close ties to the community and would most likely
stay her in private practice if he were terminated. I don't know if a
change in the form of government would make a difference or not, but am an
avid believer that citizens should be allowed to choose.
Editors note: Also read the following post from Mr. Herrmann.
Reasons to Change the Form of Our City Government?
From: Clay Herrmann
Date: February 22, 2013
Copy of letter to
the Sentinel Record
Thank you for your inquiry. How do I feel? I suppose I feel
the sense of satisfaction one experiences when there has been a difficult
effort exerted overcoming obstacles to reach a goal. I am grateful for the
work by numerous canvassers and grateful for the hundreds of registered
voters of Hot Springs who were willing to put their names down in order to
help bring the question of the form of government in Hot Springs to a vote.
As far as "campaign platform" whether the voters of Hot
Springs choose to retain the city manager form or return to the original
aldermanic form, I hope there will be broad and vigorous debate about pros
and cons of each, which process can only result in a more informed
electorate and better more accountable government, whichever form it takes.
Also I hope for a very much increased awareness on the part of both city and
"Extra Territorial Jurisdiction" residents about the subject of respecting
property rights, that will result in full rescission of the city's claim to
a right to govern outside the city limits.
It would seem fully appropriate and good for the city to
immediately commit to using 100% of state and federal turn-back road money
for actually resurfacing Hot Springs roads, rather than "disappearing it"
into the budget and using only 20% for it's intended purpose.
Please refer to the attached info sheet which was used in
petition canvassing for additional details.
Editors note: Clay Herrman led the effort to obtain enough city voter
signatures on a petition to allow the citizens of Hot Springs to chose their
form of government. It appears that the "driving force" for the
successful petition drive was due to the city imposing unwanted planning and
zoning within the 5 mile extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) without the
vote, consent, or any representation from county residents. Hot
Springs is one of only four (4) cities that retain this form of government
(Hot Springs, Arkadelphia, Hope, and Texarkana).
Click here to read an article about Fayetteville, Maumelle, Benton,
Malvern, Camden, and Newport ceasing city manager form of government.
Note that the article was published before Little Rock changed its form of
government. The election will likely be held in May.
Guard Dogs Have Been Watching Too Much TV
From: JK - Hot Springs
Date: January 16, 2013
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Thought your readers
may enjoy seeing my well trained guard dogs. I am very proud of them
but sometimes a little afraid to go home.
Inadequate Storm Response by City / County Officials
From: Karen - Hot Springs
Date: January 29, 2013
Okay, count me
in to pay my dues and join the GGGG! I've got a few things to say to our
PAID city and county officials about this "storm response". You need to sit
down and talk to the people who brought the food, blankets, and pillows, and
talked to city officials (Burroughs, in my opinion should be FIRED right
after that Joy Sanders is!). I spoke to Joy Sanders, asking her for food,
and she asks, "What do expect me to do!". "I have no authority (about
getting people to safety)", Wanted me to drive all 28 of them that I had
right then over to the Salvation Army, because they had a meal. and other
stuff. We had people on oxygen, families of 6, old people in their 90's. Her
response was, "well, volunteers are picking them up", BULLSHIT, Others were
trying to GET PEOPLE to go get them. That's not a plan! Mayor Carney and
Pastor Ken DID EXACTLY what the "paid officials" should have done CHRISTMAS
NIGHT. You need to talk to our volunteers and what we did all through this.
WE KNOW exactly what was being said by Burroughs. Apparently the convention
center offered to open the night of the storm, CHRISTMAS NIGHT and
"someone" said NO! Who ordered that? A friend tried to get the
police to get her grand kids and son and she was told NO. The pastor and
mayor stepped up personally, then Faith point. Then the Salvation Army
FINALLY brought ONE meal.( Thursday at 3pm). You need to talk to all of us
together and then you need to just let them have it! They aren't going to
spin this. Judge Davis said go get the people, and who ever is at dispatch
told the radio station to stop telling people to call the police/sheriff.
Something is screwed up BAD. The Salvation Army only agreed to ONE MEAL, ONE
TIME (told that to my face by the head of the Salvation Army) as he was
loading the groceries my husband and I bought for the people of the "Warming
Center". This is the most screwed up response to a disaster I've ever seen
and Burroughs was like, "what do you want us to do, cut down trees or drive
people around". HUMAN LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EMPTYING THE DUMPSTER'S IN
THE COUNTY! How many hundreds of city cars, trucks, etc do the people of
this town/county OWN. People should have been brought to the shelters and
the "coordinator" for emergencies should have made DAMN SURE we had food to
feed them! Hell, we had showers, beds and we got baby beds, diapers, from
the nursery at church, food, blankets, pillows from an auction house, (and
Myers Supply brought cases of toilet paper). Where the HELL was the Red
Cross Christmas night. OR WED. Wed is the latest there should have been an
emergency plan in place. People were in tears at the Nazarene church, saying
they thought they were going to die until they found out about us. The human
suffering was completely IGNORED by "paid" city officials, maybe county too,
I don't know who this Joy Sanders lady is or if she is a paid employee. It's
time to nail them to the wall!
Editors note: We verified that you are correct on most of what you
stated. Apparently, there is no workable plan in place for a situation
like we had on Christmas and the days following. It appears that our
local Red Cross wanted to help but were replaced by their Little Rock
organization. We did speak to the County Judge and got the distinct
impression that he was going to work to correct the city/county lack of
planning. Thank you and your volunteers for what you did. You,
quite possibly, saved lives. We know it would have been much worse
without good people like you. Just an afterthought - ever wonder why
doesn't Entergy kick in to help those displaced due to their poor facilities
maintenance and slow response to restoration of power?
Why no Comments on the Election?
Date: November 27, 2012
Do you not care what happened at the Hot
Springs city board election? You have said nothing since all the good
old boy candidates got elected. Most of the coffee table talk is about how
none of the people we thought would get elected made it. Can you tell us
what happened? Sign me as anonymous because I work for the city and they
don't like us to get involved.
Editors note: Unfortunately, we cannot tell you exactly what happened
except for the fact that most of the electorate didn't bother to get
informed coupled with good ol' boy funding.
The October 22 post below from Latte1 did an admirable job of describing the
support one candidate had. The good ol' boys provided over $30,000 to
his campaign and that was just the initial early financial report. We
won't have the final totals until the end of the year. Come back here
next year to see those final totals. Apparently, many voters still
don't know who the good ol' boys are. Check out the August 19 post
below for a listing of most of them.
Update: Check out the Jan 2013
commentary by James McAfferty for an "In-Depth
Analysis" of the national election.
Lets Give Our New City Directors a Chance
Date: November 7, 2012
Okay, most citizens of the Hot
Springs area are not very happy with the outcome of all the political races,
especially at the national level. Hopefully, the more conservative
US House of Representative and
the Arkansas State Legislature can keep the "bleeding heart liberals"
from turning our Federal and State government into total socialist
regimes. Our biggest immediate challenge is right here in river
city. We already know that the "good ol' boys" got their
candidate, Randal Fale, elected. However, we were rather impressed
with how he personally conducted his campaign. We also do not know
with absolute certainty, that the
other two elected city directors are part of the good ol' boy network
although we know the new officials will face pressure from them.
At this point, we should not only congratulate our new directors but
also give them a sincere opportunity to properly represent their constituents.
This simply means being honest and transparent in their actions and always
doing what is in the city's best interest rather than catering to
special or interests. That being said, let us not forget that we,
as concerned citizens, must continue to present the facts whenever our
officials fail to do so.
Editors note: We rather expected such comments from you and we do
agree that all new candidates deserve an opportunity to do what is right.
Hey, we still believe in hope and change. That actually now means we
hope that Obama will change. Good luck on that one.
Fale's Slogan May Not Reflect His True Job Experience?
Date: November 4, 2012
Could not help but come back and
reread your Oct. 22 piece about Fale after reading his ad on every page
of the Sentinel Record today with his new catch phrase "Lets make sure
our city is run like a business." I reread the Oct 22 piece
because I was almost sure he had failed miserably at running St.
Joseph's Hospital and the Arkansas State Hospital. He and director
McCabe both were about to be fired when they found new employment -
weren't they? From the links on your web site it is obvious we don't
want Fale running our city. His new catch phrase should be "Let me put
our city further in debt like I did at my last two jobs." By the way - a
friend of mine had their name posted along with what you call the "good
old boys" on Fale's ad today but swears that Fale did not have
permission to use it.
Editors note: We are not terribly surprised to hear all those "city
leaders" didn't give permission because we have received a virtual flood of
complaints that his people have been taking down his opponent's signs and
putting his signs up in areas where they do not have permission from the
land owners. To us, it also speaks volumes when you list your own wife
and kid as city leaders.
Why the Silence on Steve Smith, Suzanne Davidson?
Date: November 1, 2012
Why are you guys not saying anything
about the big buffoon Steve Smith and the horrible job he did as city
director going all over the world on our tax money? And why are you not
talking about how the good old boy group is backing him and Suzanne
Davidson? Shouldn't you say something about Davidson being a newcomer
Editors note: Because, even though you are likely correct that the good
ol' boy network is backing Davidson, we think they are supporting Becca
Clark in district 3. We do know that good ol' gal Keheley has changed
her support to Clark. We think that even the good ol' boys don't want
Smith back in. Perhaps you have forgotten how he was an unreliable
embarrassment to them. Check the financial records after the election
to see who supports who. Oh, in case you see thousands of dollars in
$5 and $10 donations during the last few days like happened in director
Daniel's last race, stop and ask yourself where that money really came from.
Could one of the possibilities be Oaklawn? Hey Eric, just asking.
It does appear that Davidson and Clark are both "newcomers" but the primary
complaint we hear is that Becca Clark's business is actually in Little Rock
and she spends very little time here. We are somewhat surprised that
their opponents are not making an issue of these facts. Could be they
don't have the virtually unlimited cash contributions from nebulous sources,
huh? Update (11/5/12): We just discovered that it is now
apparent that director Keheley talked all three candidates into entering the
race for her seat. Good but sneaky move Cynthia. How could you
What's the Deal With the Good Ol' Boy's Candidate?
- Hot Springs
Date: October 22, 2012
What is up with Randy Fale running
for city board? I thought after his trouble with the Sister at St. Joe
that we would never see him in Hot Springs anymore. The Sentinel Record
piece today has him saying he can
bring expertise to the board and he gives expertise examples of budget
management and fiscal conservancy. He finishes his comments to the
newspaper by saying we may need yet another bond issue. Doesn't our town
already have enough debt? Isn't that the biggest problem we already
have? I did a google search and found out Randy not only put St. Joe
hospital in debt but also did a sorry job at the State Hospital for
psychiatric care. In fact the link to read about how poor a job he did
there is at
It says he was allowed to resign after a consulting company hired by the
state was very critical of the job Randy did. Fox News (www.fox16.com
use keyword Fale in the search box)
and the Arkansas Democrat reported on 1/12/2012 that Fale resigned after being criticized.
The stories also
say the Arkansas Department of Human Services said Fale resigned
because he didn't want to be a barrier to progress. Well heck we
don't want him to be a barrier to progress in Hot Springs either so why
would we vote for a guy who admits to being a barrier to progress?
Sorry the previous email was sent
before we found Randys numbers on how bad he got St. Joes in debt.
www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-195754264.html shows in 2007 how the
hospital lost over $1.7 million after they had been earning over $7
million annually before he went to work for them.
www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-111115853.html shows 2003 while
www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-111115853.html shows over $7 million profit
in 2004 and
www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-153701041.html shows over $5.4 million
profit in 2006 before Fale ran the hospital. Arkansas Business
www.arkansasbusiness.com/news/print_editions/ab_Hospitals_LIST_p1_07.pdf also shows the $1.7 million
loss Fale had in 2007. Arkansas Business shows Fale was paying himself a
salary of $428,103 in 2007. After Fale left St. Joe you can see the
hospital which is now called Mercy Hospital recovered and now has a
profit of $2,758,000 in 2012
I ask again why would we think of letting Randy run our town if we know
Editors note: Thanks for the info. We also did a search to see who
he had supported politically to determine if he is a true "conservative" as
he claims. We discovered he was a major contributor to Blanche
Lincoln. The Huffington Post reports that he gave $1,250 to help her
campaign. We are almost certain that Blanche Lincoln was not a
conservative. Wow! Who knew he made that kind of salary? We were
certainly surprised to see the statistics for Saint Joseph's Hospital.
Typically, hospitals make lots and lots of money. Perhaps, this
candidate was part of the reason our hospital was forced to sell, huh?
We also found an additional relative post you can view by
clicking here. The
Compass Report that apparently caused the separation of the CEO from the
Arkansas State Hospital can be seen by
here. We have had reports that some of your links don't work and
we even had to cut and paste your URLs to make them open the proper
Also see related post below titled "Good Ol' Boys Have Selected Their Candidate"
August 19, 2012).
How High's the Water Momma?
- Hot Springs
Date: August 26, 2012
Today's Sentinel Record headline
titled, "City looks at new flood warning siren system "seems somehow
inconsistent with our city's current financial woes.
It has been reported that the city
cannot pay for it's present commitments so why are we even thinking
about new expenditures such as a flood warning system? We once had a
flood warning system but it washed away because it was poorly designed
and poorly maintained. We also had tornado warning sirens that no longer
operate because the city did not properly maintain them. I seem to
recall that the city already has a weather warning system called code
blue or some similar name. My concern is that cost for the proposed new
flood warning system will not end at $80,000 or the expanded system for
a quarter of a million dollars but will require even more employees to
monitor it and sound the sirens, etc. Given the city's history - I
certainly doubt that the new systems would ever receive any maintenance
Editors note: The "Code Blue" system you reference is actually
called "Code Red" and is, questionably, a weather warning system. We
observed the initial demonstration of the system and noted that the company
spent over 20 minutes putting in data to notify citizens that a tornado
spotted in Mountain Pine was headed for Hot Springs. It does not take
an intellectual to realize that particular tornado was probably through Hot
Springs and headed for Benton before "Code Red" let us know it was coming.
In our view, the system also has numerous other shortcomings. We will
be asking the city for information about how much we are paying for this
system and if the purported benefits have proven worthwhile. One final
note. If it rains a lot, how many people in town won't know that
downtown may have flooded even without spending $80,000 to $250,000 of the
taxpayer's money plus the additional costs you mentioned? Even without
the expensive system, won't the city and police still barricade the area?
How high does the water have to get before someone notices? The alarm
system is nothing new. Check the "Archives" section of our website and
scroll down to the January 3, 2007 posting. There are other references
that predate that posting.
Good Ol' Boys Have Selected Their Candidate
- Hot Springs
Date: August 19, 2012
Well - thought you may want to know
the Good Old Boys have selected their candidate. He is Randy Fale
(pronounced Folly). He was the guy who ran St. Josephs hospital for a
while. I'm not going to say much but everyone should really check into
this guy to see what kind of character he is. It may be telling when you
look at who supports him. Enclosed is a letter sent me by John Selig
(head good old boy) and a bunch of the other Good Old Boys who are
trying to get him elected. They include Mike Bush (former mayor), Helen
Selig (former mayor), Tom Daniel (city director and A&P director), Tom
French (head of 50 for the future), Eric Jackson (GM of Oaklawn Casino
and Racetrack), Jim McAdams ('nuff said), Chris Polychron (realtor
who sold city property for their new city hall), Sam Stathakis (Bush
campaign manager and civil service commission director), Anthony Taylor
and Mark Fleiechner (CBID 2 directors who contributed to recent downtown
fiasco), and a bunch of others who are on the letter enclosed.
Editors note: Thanks for the letter. It is shown above. We
didn't realize that most of the Good ol' Boys live in District 6. This
must be 90% of them. We could only think of a couple of others.
Did the Deputy City Manager Waste the Public's Money? Really?
We watched the city bored meeting
last night and heard one of your members speak about a new 30 million
dollar bond issue for a water plant. He said the deputy city manager had
wasted between 2 and 3 million dollars of our money on a plant he knew
couldn't be built and told about some other wasted money for some jobs
he was in charge of. He complained that the guy should have been fired
but was promoted. Can you prove the things he said and can you comment
more on what he said? We will be waiting to read your answer on your
Editors note: The person you heard speak is with the Garland Good
Government Group (GGGG). We also heard the comments and noted that his
primary point was concern that the city plans to issue $28 - $30 million in
revenue bonds without allowing the public to vote. Sort of sounds like
the $15 million city hall revenue bond issue the good ol' boys voted in
without allowing the public a voice or a vote, doesn't it? This is
rather well documented in the "Archives" section of our website beginning on
October 12, 2007 with numerous posts and comments preceding that date.
Concern was also expressed that the city plans to use the same city
administrator who wasted some $3 million to oversee the spending of that
money. As to the "wasting" of some $3.2 million for a plant he knew
couldn't be constructed, see the "Archives" postings for March 8 and 9 of
2011 plus July 21, 29 of 2010. Several posts predate these including
December 9, 2009. Many of these posts are authored by the former city
engineer. Additionally, the "Commentary" section provides more insight
(e.g., July 11, 2011; December 25, 2009; August 3, 16, and 28, 2009; June
14, 2009). There is plenty of documentation of wasted money. For
example, click here to view the
June 9, 2009 letter where the Arkansas Department of Health recommended the
city stop "expending the city's resources." Click
here for a couple of other letters.
There actually are several more.
Very Upset Citizen
- Hot Springs
The following is an email letter sent
to the Hot Springs Board and Mayor
Good morning, ---------------------
I wanted to ask you about the article on Page 1 about the
zoning amendment. I understand this change is based on compliance with Title
8 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968... a while back, I'd say! Under the 3rd
paragraph on the page (2a) it sounds like the people can acquire land
anywhere and are exempt from the regulations and compliance issues of OTHER
(as in majority of residences), proposed structures in a zoning area. Is
What specific changes will this bring to our established
communities? Since boards "may not require additional studies or procedural
steps to unnecessarily delay decision making when considering development
that may be occupied by members of a protected class". Is this the exact
situation that went on with "Safe Haven", although under this system, the
neighborhood would not have a say ,and the people organizing the commercial
(most likely!) enterprise or government subsidized accommodation would be
exempt from requirements others in the same area must meet?
What greater protected class is there than the persons that
have invested earned income into a residential area as opposed to those
living on grants, Federally supported programs or Half Way housing
programs covering a variety of issues ??? I ask most sincerely as I wonder
when the final chapter for Hot Springs residential areas will be written. I
have NEVER lived in a place where one has to watch the paper daily to see if
their residential life and home-style is about to be restructured by some
group that usually cannot even buy the property let alone run the program
proposed to be brought to the community. Thanks for your attention to this
The following is a response to the
mayor's email reply referring the writer to the city's website
I will look at the agenda and see the proposed changes. I
react to any changes from what was "a neighborhood" when I bought property
here and have been defending the "land use" (since 2003) with numerous
challenges with the Planning Commission over existing language, let alone
changes that would be far more lenient.
Severely impaired alcoholics and drug addicts are an
"accepted" classification for Federal Disability, and as such, these folks
are eligible for all of the benefits under a protected class of Disabled
persons. This would be one of the major disruptions to any
neighborhood since these people are "fully funded", pleased with their
lifestyle, and not too concerned about what the others in the community feel
about their purchasing a group home in a residential community. This is just
one example....Thank you for your reply.
Editors note: Wow! We didn't realize that alcoholics and
drug addicts are considered "disabled Americans" and qualify to receive our
tax money and the numerous benefits as are other "disabled" people.
Today is National Honesty Day
From: Bob D
- Hot Springs
Date: April 30, 2012
Since today is National Honesty Day, I could not help but note the irony
in yesterday's Sentinel Record editorial which chided the Garland
Good Government Group (GGGG) for demanding honesty from our public
officials. The only thing that would have made it more ironic would
have been for the editorial to be published a day later, on National
Honesty Day. I would recommend that anyone interested in ethical, open,
accountable, and honest government attend some of the GGGG meetings. I
would also recommend that people read what the founder of National
Honesty Day has to say about how dishonest our society has become.
Dishonesty has become so commonplace and routine that we almost don't
expect to hear the truth anymore. You turn on the television and are
bombarded by advertisements that stretch the truth or outright lie. We
know that every advertiser cannot be the best but we have become
accustomed to them all making that claim. We expect most salespeople to
not be completely honest. For example, does anyone believe the gas
mileage claims of car salesmen? Our politicians constantly make claims
we know are untrue and then follow-up with promises we know they won't
keep. Just when, can you tell me, did dishonesty become in vogue? Not
so long ago, we referred to such people as "snake-oil salesmen."
I am quite concerned about the impact such constant dishonesty is having
on our youth. Several indicators already show that cheating on tests
and homework assignments is more prevalent than ever. I am concerned
that if we allow our youth to follow the trends they see society
accepting, we will quickly become a totally "dishonest" society. Aside
from the apparent generalities, we now have way too many specific cases
right here in River City. For the CEO of our A&P Commission to continue
to embellish parade attendance figures, tourism numbers, and city
visitors without being questioned is simply not acceptable. He is a
public servant to which we pay over $180,000 (plus lavish benefits) per
year of our hard-earned tax dollars. For that much money, we deserve a
person with high morals who is ethical, credible, and honest. Taxpayers
deserve nothing less than correct and honest numbers so that he and his
city department can be accountable for what he and his people actually
accomplish, not what he estimates. If he cannot be completely
forthcoming with reports required by the city and totally honest with
his figures, he should be fired.
It is always anticipated that who fear him or benefit from his actions
will criticize anyone who dares to find and report the truth. What is
disturbing is that the local media thinks he can do no wrong even to the
point of defending him when they know he is completely wrong. The front
page headline story on Saturday, April 29 was devoted almost exclusively
to misleading quotes from the A&P CEO. His defense of violating the law
and reporting requirements would have been laughable had it not been so
serious. To provide such weak defenses and even passing the buck to a
retiree which may not have really retired was ludicrous. Yes, on this
National Honesty Day, I am sad to report that even our local newspaper
has again defended dishonesty by their satirical editorial chastising
the GGGG for obtaining true and honest facts so that untrue or dishonest
reports could be corrected.
Thankfully, honesty still matters in a few places although not Hot
Springs. Just ask John Edwards or Bobby Petrino.
Editors note: Could it be that the local media is simply afraid of
losing those millions of taxpayer advertising dollars? To see the full
comments of M. Hirsh Goldberg, the founder of National Honesty Day
We understand the above was also sent to the Sentinel Record as an editorial
or letter to the editor. However, we strongly recommend you not hold
your breath waiting for them to publish it.
A&P Athletic Field Construction Costs Questioned
- Hot Springs
Date: April 24, 2012
Steve Arrison was on the Dick Antone
radio show this morning talking about how much it would cost for a new
sports park or athletic fields and we can do it for no new taxes. That
sounds pretty good but how can it cost 10 to 15 million dollars - his
numbers - just for some fields? I heard he had said the property would
cost about 1 million dollars. OK - my math says he needs 9 to 14 million
dollars more to put up lights, concession stands, fences and some
bleachers. It sounds way way to high. I know of 5 story buildings that
only cost 2 million dollars. Course he has trouble with numbers - your
last stories and commentary pointed that out. His saying this 10 to 15
million dollars won't cost taxpayers any money seems to prove the A & P
are collecting to much money and need a place to spend it. I know you
think he wants to build and spend money so taxpayers won't reduce the A
& P tax. I would like to see proof if that is true.
Editors note: We have previous posts and comments relative to your
concerns (e.g., See March 8 and 9 below). If you really need proof for
something so obvious, research the real reasons for the Mid-America Science
Museum bond issue of a few years back. Remember that the A&P had
decided to sell the museum for pennies on the dollar to the college?
Then, remember how they reversed themselves and became quite concerned with
the museum? Do you not believe that was because they needed to
encumber the A&P tax and prevent citizens from petitioning for a vote?
They went so far as to try and convince us the HVAC equipment was 40 years
old and could fail at any moment when most of it was only six or seven years
old. How about $150,000 of your tax money for a new hot-air balloon
shortly after we had already purchased one? You shouldn't need much
more proof the A&P is collecting too much in taxes when they spend so
freely. Yes, your observations concerning the cost for ball-fields
being enormously inflated seem correct.
Reader Agrees With Commentary and Letter to Editor
- Hot Springs
Date: April 18, 2012
I read a letter to the editor in the paper
that seemed like I had read before. After going to your web I saw I had
read it. It is exactly the same as the commentary piece from your
commentary section. I wanted to comment about how accurate the letter
is. Do you know that Steve Arrison of the A & P Commission is very
sensitive about being criticized but he is the one doing most of the
criticizing of the Good Government Group and
the mayor. I also read a piece in Arkansas Business about Arrison about
him regretting that he has
no college degree of any kind. I always took it for granted he had a
degree in something about tourism or advertising or marketing. How did he
get such a high paying job if he is not qualified because I know he only worked
for his dad in some hotels and at a pizza joint. The piece in the
Arkansas Business story reported that info as well. I think he knows he
gave wrong info out but he did it to make hisself look good and he is
getting lots of tourists to come here. I don't think we can trust any
numbers he gives anybody any more. He said we had over 200,000 tourists
here in March and gives numbers in the millions of how many tourists
visit Hot Springs every year. He tries to make it sound like he got them
all to come here. Can we get a study of how many he really got here? It
maybe fun to see that he didn't get hardly any to come to town.
Editors note: Your observation is well taken. We should have
pointed out that the commentary was also submitted as a "letter to the
editor" sent to the Sentinel Record. We don't think the author
expected the newspaper to actually publish it since there were some negative
comments about the newspaper contained in the letter. We were
surprised to learn that the A&P CEO does not have a college degree.
However, we did find the Arkansas Business article you referenced
which verified your statements. We do know a young lady who does have a
degree in tourism who told us the local A&P would not even give her an
interview. Perhaps this explains why. No, we do not expect to do
any further studies but do expect those people who spend our tax dollars to
be more honest in the future.
Has Newspaper Always Slanted the News?
- Hot Springs
Date: April 10, 2012
We read todays paper - Sentinel
Record - where the editor blasted the Good Government Group and called
them Goodnicks. We also read a posters
comments about when a news story is not really a news story. We agreed
with the thoughts about there not being a story because the study count
was not ready to be released yet. We have lived here for almost one
year and were wondering if the paper has always been so one sided. And
if they have - do you know why? There were another two letters on the
same page one which seems childish and called the GGG Righteous Brothers
and Sisters and called them aliens. We do wonder if the GGG has a plot
going as was said in the letter or why do you think they did do the
Editors note: We only have our theories why the local paper slants
their news but we do know most of the Garland Good Government Group (GGGG)
well and know that they quoted their mission statement in the press release
as the reason for commissioning an attendance study of the Saint Patrick's
Day parade. The final part of their mission statement says, "To
acquire and provide access to information so the public can make informed
choices." This seems to be a reasonable attempt at getting to the
facts and then reporting those facts to the public. Since you
mentioned the name-calling, check out the Arkansas Times blog.
The Times editor called the GGGG an "Umbrella organization for the Jihadists."
Somehow, we don't think the name-calling will have any effect on the GGGG.
By the way, if you haven't seen the GGGG attendance study, it can be seen in
it's entirety by
See related comments on the "Commentary" page.
When is a News Story Not a News Story?
- Hot Springs
Date: April 6, 2012
When is a news story not a news
story? How about when it is fabricated based on speculation, mis-quotes,
and information provided as "off-the-record?" The headline story
on today's Sentinel Record was a story based solely on a notice
of a press release which is scheduled for 1:30 PM today. In other
words, the story has not yet been released. The newspaper reporter
did call a couple of Garland Good Government Group (GGGG) members who
both stated that the particulars of an attendance study for the St.
Pat's Day parade would be released later and that they could only speak
to their specific knowledge "off-the-record."
Unfortunately, the reporter put
together a story anyhow and even went so far as to get the A&P guru to
provide comments on facts and figures which hadn't yet been released.
It is painfully obvious that neither the reporter or the A&P are
interested in seeing the report before working hard to discredit it.
Is it only in Hot Springs that this type reporting and discrediting
happens? Most readers of the newspaper and listeners to the local
talk radio show are so accustomed to this type behavior that they have
become complacent when reading such stories.
Just so your readers know the facts,
the actual numbers and the entire report will be provided to you at or
after today's press conference. We hope the newspaper will allow
"equal time" and "equal space" once they have the actual study but it is
doubtful. Obviously, we are disappointed but not surprised.
Stay tuned and hopefully, you will publish the entire study so that your
readers can make up their own minds what it says. Otherwise, you
will also have to make up your minds before reading it (like Arrison and
his minions). Your statement on your website about how far the
good old boys will go to keep us from knowing the truth is very very
accurate and they just keep proving it for you.
Editors note: We most certainly, will publish the full report when
it is provided to us. We look forward to it and promise not to make up
a story about what it might say until we get it.
UPDATE: Okay, we have the study.
here to see it.
No "Follow-Up" Reporting
- Hot Springs
Date: March 26, 2012
I know by the awards the Sentinel Record has received, that
there must be a true Investigative reporter that works on staff ! I can not
tell you how irritating it is to consistently read partial stories an have
to imagine an outcome, or hope one lives long enough to read the "rest of
Two examples I will mention are current enough to still be on
the "front burner" and should be addressed. One has to do with a dispatcher
from the HSV police dept that attended a party with others from the
department, the general manager of the Village and friends, then left with a
boyfriend only to be found murdered at a later date. Details were
non-existent in the paper although, if one kept their ear close to the
ground, information was available.
The second example I will give is the coverage given to the
undisputed fact that the "Agents with the U.S.Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco and
Explosives seized a reported 7.5 tons of display fireworks from a storage
site at 817 Lakeshore Drive after a search warrant was executed".
As is often the case, there never was a follow up article and
no conclusion ever appeared to either of the stories mentioned. Since both
incidents had to do with persons holding positions of trust with the
citizens of the Garland County community, in one case the salary of the
employee was earned through the tax dollars of the citizens, I would
conclude the citizens have a right to expect someone is capable of writing a
conclusion to these stories and it should not require folks to file FOIA to
get the second part of information originally covered in a paper.
Any answers available? Please do make answers available to
Editors note: We also have been waiting with bated breath for a
follow-up story as to what happened. We know that your letter was also
sent to the Sentinel Record. Don't hold your breath for your
letter to be published. UPDATE: We just discovered that the
newspaper editor did respond to the above letter although that's not quite
the same as letting the public know, is it?
CBID II Has a Leadership Problem?
- Hot Springs
Date: March 14, 2012
Your blog seems to always be
commenting on what is in the newspaper so I want to see if you have
comments on today's newspaper editorial concerning the CBID2. I am a
downtown merchant so please, sign me as Doc or something but here is the
situation in a nutshell.
The CBID2 board has been taken over
by people who are not working in the best interests of all the
merchants. The concept is good and it worked reasonably well for a long
time. I say reasonably because some of our board have been city board
members and did not do a good job representing the merchants.
Unfortunately the current board of Ken Wheatley, Susan Tucker, Mark
Fleischner, and Anthony Taylor is even worse. I do not intend to
criticize all the board because Chairman Wheatley should not be blamed
at all. The biggest problem is Taylor and Tucker with Fleischner going
right along with them on all their strange schemes coupled with large
costs to the merchants. It is hard to get rid of board members when they
are so power hungry but not so hard to get rid of the organization,
CBID2. Now you know what we are doing and why we are doing it. So, do
you think we have a better option or do you know about the situation?
Editors note: We are aware of some of the "whys" of dissolving the
group and some of the "hows" relative to required number of signatures of
property owners, etc. However, we are, obviously, not as informed as
you relative to actions of your board. It makes sense to us that you
would dissolve rather than be assessed exorbitant charges. We do,
however, tend to believe that you need some kind of group to represent that
area to keep it neat and a viable place to shop. We would like to see
a group that would also stay open later and have more "entertainment"
related establishments. We keep hearing, "We don't want to be like
Branson" and perhaps, that is why we have almost no entertainment. Our
position has always been, "What the heck is wrong with being like Branson?"
Look at the money tourists spent in that town. One day of Branson's
revenues would likely eclipse what Hot Springs does in a month. Oh, we
almost forgot: Please get rid of the "bottleneck" so traffic can flow and
public safety vehicles can get around.
Governor and Arrison Conspiring Together?
- Hot Springs
Date: March 9, 2012
Todays newspaper headline quotes
Governor Beebe saying - Work together to build community. Do you
wonder how come that sounds just like the words from Stevie Arrison in
yesterdays newspaper? I sent you an email last night about Stevie but
ignored his Rotary club comments when he said - I'm really concerned
right now about our community. We've got to get going, get on the
same page and work together. Did you notice the exact same message
here? Stevie and the liberal politicians in Little Rock and the good old
boys in Hot Springs are tight. Stevies only real experience and
training in tourism was working for his dad running a motel in Pine
Bluff. Now there is a real tourist town for you. His goals are whatever
Oaklawn wants them to be. Why else do you think millions of our tax
dollars go to advertise Oaklawn and provide free cops for them while
they pay almost no tax? Do you know that City Director Tom Daniels,
Stevie Arrison and a couple of others plan to recall the mayor? That is
what they are talking about when they say we are not on the same page
and are not working together. They think that the mayor may expose what
they are really up to when they try to tie up the A&P taxes so citizens
can't vote to reduce their taxes and uncontrolled spending. She did
expose his ridiculous number of tourists at that parade. We already have
19 parks and good ballfields at Kimerly Park if only our city would
learn the meaning of maintenance. Stevie is only looking for a way to
protect his turf by keeping his self appointed board in control. The new
$15,000,000 ballfield is just to protect his 3% tax and his ridiculous
salary, benefits and unlimited expense account by tying up the A&P tax
so it can't be voted on. I think one of you people once told Stevie Hot
Springs would have just as many tourists without him.
Editors note: What we actually said was that we would have "almost" as
many tourists without him. Note that your email sent last evening
is posted below. We have, indeed, heard rumblings of a recall of
our mayor and how the good 'ol boys plan to " take back" what they
consider to be "their town." From our viewpoint, we would love to
see them attempt such action. Their biggest problem is that such
action would be difficult to accomplish without exposing the leaders of
the effort. You must realize that these folks work best when they
scheme behind closed doors and let other groups do their dirty work for
Secondarily, they know that we will expose their schemes and their
version of what "building our community" really means. Finally,
thanks to the rise of numerous civic and conservative minded groups,
irrespective of whose numbers they use, there are now more people
opposed to them than support them. Bottom line is that they
realize they would only expose themselves and suffer a major defeat.
Please also note the February 1, 2012 posting (listed quite a distance
below) which further elaborates on the A&P plan to protect their 3% tax
from the citizens voters of Hot Springs.
Sun Belt Tournament a Blessing or a Bust?
- Hot Springs
Date: March 8, 2012
Todays newspaper headlines bragged
about the basketball tournament at Summit arena. It said - Sun Belt
Conference 'works' in Hot Springs. Another headline says - Visit
Hot Springs chief highlights local events. Well I think Stevie
Arrison is exaggerating again. We went to one basketball game and saw
the finals on ESPN. We were shocked at the crowd sizes. In fact we
expected the arena to be at least half full. There were only a handful
of fans sitting behind each of the teams benches and maybe a dozen
others wandering around the arena. It was obvious that the handful of
fans were friends and relatives of the players. I think more people
showed up at the high school tournament than were at the college
conference. Stevie has chosen the Sun Belt and let the high school
tournament go. How can he think this is a good thing to do?
Editors note: Although we do not agree with the premise, we surmise that
the school of thought is "out-of-state" tourists rent more hotel rooms than
Arkansas tourists and "locals" who travel back home after each game.
In today's economy, there is a lot to be said in bringing Arkansas residents
to town. Their numbers should be larger because they don't have to
spend as much time or money as do residents of Tennessee, Kentucky, or Texas
getting to Hot Springs and back. Also, consider the fact that it is
easier for Arkansans to attend a game and be back on the job the next day.
Arkansans and locals still spend lots of money in Hot Springs stores and
restaurants. Irrespective of how they color it, attendance at the
Sun-Belt tournament had to be a disappointment. We tuned in to ESPN
and quickly realized what appeared to be a "sea of blue" crowd was only blue
seat backs. There were probably less than 100 red-shirted Western
Kentucky fans and less than 100 green-shirted ("Mean Green") North Texas
fans. Someone commented those 200 probably would be 25 thousand fans
if we use Mr. Arrison's count. He did estimate last year's (smaller)
tournament booked 4,000 hotel room nights, correct? Using the 200
person finals crowd, with each room housing a family of 2 people, that means
100 hotel rooms per night if they all stayed in hotels. At this rate,
4,000 hotel room nights would mean the tournament lasted 40 days. A 40
day tournament? Hey, we're "just saying."
"What's the Deal" with Director Daniel's Fireworks and City Attorney
- Hot Springs
Date: March 7, 2012
What is the deal with Tom Daniel and his
federal and state raid seizing 7.5 tons of his fireworks? The
Sentinel Record reported the raid but haven't reported anything since.
Do we know if charges were filed? Do we know if the feds and the state
agencies apologized. What the heck? Is our paper not interested in
informing the readers? Surely something has happened. Can you find out?
Also what is the deal with Bryan Albright the
goateed city attorney? Somebody who works for the city said he had moved
from his mansion in Lotus Valley to an apartment or condo out by Garvan
Gardens. They also said his wife is being sued for not paying her credit
card debts. Is this true? Imagine we are not paying him well enough. He
does make well over $100,000 with us taxpayers furnishing him a nice
office, three secretaries and an assistant city attorney. We pay for his
nice benefits, retirement, vehicle and several other luxuries we don't
get - right?
Editors note: We also have not heard anything about the Daniel's Spa
Fireworks federal/state raid and subsequent seizure. Irrespective of
what Director Daniel told the newspaper, we find it difficult to believe
that no charges were pending or that storing that large quantity of
explosives in a residential neighborhood is not prohibited by some federal
or state law. With respect to the city attorney, we did confirm that
he has moved and that Westly W. Albright is being sued. The case is
filed as CV 2012-109-III in the Circuit Court of Garland County, Civil
Division and dated February 3, 2012. The plaintiff, Bank of America,
seeks the amount of $5,242.66, court costs, attorney fees, and interest (pre
and post judgment) at the maximum rate allowed by law. If anyone knows
the disposition of the fireworks seizure, we would appreciate hearing from
you. To date, our efforts have been unsuccessful.
Past Time for HS Village Chief to Retire
- Hot Springs
Date: February 23, 2012
So one brave
soul named Dale Anderson, who worked for the Hot Spring Village Police
Department, has offered his formal resignation in the form of a public
letter printed in the Village Voice. In it he states that there is a
hostile work environment within a “culture of arrogance” that has led to
members of Laroy Cornett’s police and fire departments (because Laroy is
“chief of chiefs” you know) feeling they have a gag order imposed on them.
Mr. Anderson states his resignation is offered due to the way Dawna Natzke’s
investigation was mishandled by that department and the ensuing atmosphere
that drove fear into the ranks if they were to state their concerns.
Laroy has now
countered. He says they got right on the Dawna Natzke case…blah blah blah.
This senile old shit doesn’t realize we were following this case all along,
I guess. No you didn’t, Laroy. Sit down and eat your tapioca. You didn’t
get right on anything. Laroy claims they immediately asked for help from
other agencies, including Garland County Sheriff’s Office. Jiminy
Christmas…you know in the world of blogging there rarely is a time you can
call someone an outright liar, but Cornett’s banging on that door just
begging to be let in.
your hearing aid up and listen. Garland County has already PUBLICLY stated
you turned down their offers for assistance in the early CRITICAL days of
the investigation into Dawna’s disappearance. Laroy…the Forestry Division
has already stated you and your 2 sidekicks turned down their offers to
secure and search the CRITICAL first crime scene – that’s Dawna’s car, you
know….the one you left unsecured and just sitting out in the rain and public
arena for about 4 days??? Laroy, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH has already stated, as
well as Dawna’s sister, that you turned TES down when they offered during
those CRITICAL early days to assist in finding Dawna’s body.
Who the hell
do you think you’re talking to?
on…they did a thorough job on Dawna’s case he says. As soon as they finally
got around to determining they had a missing person (which took several
phone calls from Dawna’s friends and family members and about 36 hours or
so) they issued a BOLO. Let’s be clear about something…they issued a BOLO
and then they went home for Christmas holiday.
Mr. Anderson appears to not be the only member of your rank and file who is
discontent. The Hinky has had INSIDE SOURCES for weeks and weeks now. You
and your top 2 nidgets kept this case behind closed doors. You, nor either
one of the two buffoons who serve you, ever EVER EVER held one briefing with
your police officers, you never gave one update to your police officers.
You intentionally left those officers clueless. Your officers couldn’t
possibly have assisted in this investigation because they had NO INFORMATION
to go with and requests for information WERE DENIED. Hell, they didn’t even
feel safe showing up for the volunteer search that ultimately led to the
discovery of Dawna’s body because, according to the sources, you had caused
such fear within the ranks that it would be seen as a traitorous act they
feared getting fired for if they did show up!
then…you told those same officers who you would not even update on the case
when they asked you for information, those same officers that you actively
rejected from being a part of looking for their own coworker and friend, YOU
told them you wanted them showing up in full force at Dawna’s funeral in
their dress uniforms and showing solidarity. Do you know how disgusting that
request from you felt to them? Do you realize that if it were not for the
fact that people would have taken them not showing up at the funeral as
disrespectful to Dawna they would have not followed your orders? Do you
realize what a pathetic little power-mongering incompetent boob you are
viewed as? APPARENTLY NOT!
to the case have informed the Hinky that Garland County has had to ‘START
ALL OVER’ on the investigation and case building in the murder of Dawna
Natzke because the HSVPD botched it so bad virtually nothing from their
original case can be used.
Kudos to Mr.
needs to stop re-writing history, needs to stop making false statements and
needs to resign immediately. His two Barney Fifes need to go with him. New
leadership needs to be installed so that the fine officers of the HSVPD can
actually do their jobs. And I’m not sure there shouldn’t be some criminal
charges against Laroy Cornett for the way this murder was mishandled from
Editors note: Everything you say rings true. We had the same
concerns and doubts you did. It certainly appears the chief not only
doesn't listen to television and radio reports and doesn't read the
newspaper, he appears to think that no one else does either. What a
Newspaper Says We Had Tourists Visiting the Indians
- Hot Springs
Date: February 23, 2012
The unsigned editorial in the
Sentinel Record today indicates that the tourism was the economic engine
of the Quapaw Indians who occupied Hot Springs prior to ceding the land
to the United States by treaty on August 24, 1818. The Sentinel
Record writer appears to believe that the Spanish and French who may
have never visited the location prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803
somehow maintained a tourism industry here that rose to the level of an
economic engine. The Dunbar Hunter expedition in 1804 is the first
documented visit to Hot Springs. A man named Prudhomme became the first
settler of Hot Springs in 1807 more than a decade before the treaty
making it an official US territory. The editorial writer must believe he
paid the Quapaw Indians a 3% hamburger tax on the meals he prepared
himself while waiting around for future settlers.
I've heard a lot about Indian Casinos.
I just didn't realize they were in operation hundreds of years ago.
Quoting from the editorial:
Hot Springs area legislators might
have differing views on any number of issues, but we're glad to see
their solidarity in opposing state budget cuts to tourism dollars.
Like it or not - and some local denizens do disagree - tourism is the
economic engine for the resort city
and has been for hundreds of years.
Editors note: Wow! We never realized those facts either. Do
you suppose the A&P advertised for tourists with smoke signals? Is it
possible that the newspaper is learning how to play with numbers similar to
the way Mr. Arrison does?
City Engineer Says We Need Water From DeGray
- Hot Springs
Date: February 22, 2012
I read in todays paper where Steve
Mallett wants us to get our water from Degray Lake. I think that would
be very expensive for such a project. Some of your guys had a lot to say
about Malletts last hair brained idea and I guess you have something to
say again. Is this true? Do you have any ideal how much it would cost
Editors note: You know it Buddy. Mallett had a huge hand in wasting
between 2 and 3 million dollars of the public's money and still has the
nerve to propose pumping water through hills and valleys for 19 miles.
Although he spent millions studying and designing a plant and location he
knew would not be approved, he overlooked putting operating costs in the
scope of work. We do have the plans that Jacobs Engineering provided
and nowhere was there even a mention of costs to pump water daily from the
plant site to the city. He likely has also overlooked the costs of
pumping the 8.5 mgd (million gallons per day) up dozens of hills over 19
miles plus the 408 feet msl elevation which is some 175 feet lower
than the Hot Springs storage elevation. Just a side note - Ouachita's
water level is about 608 feet msl. Pumping 8.5 million gallons per day
involves moving 70,975,000 pounds up and down those hills for 19 miles.
Even if the pumps run full time, approximately 6,000 gallons per minute must
be moved. At this flow rate, just overcoming a single 200 foot head
(or elevation) would require 303 horsepower. One horsepower is 746
watts but when motor efficiencies are considered, 1 kilowatt per hp is
typically used. This means 303kWh per hour will be consumed equalling
7,272 kWh per day or 218,160 kWh per month. At $0.10 per kWh, the
monthly bill equates to $21,816. If we conservatively assume only a
half dozen such elevation differences in the 19 miles, the monthly bill
would amount to $130,896. This means an additional $4.22 every month
for each of the 31,000 water customers just to pump the raw water to town.
The pipe will cost over $100 per foot so that is another $10 million plus.
The rights-of-way will likely cost another 8-10 million. The treatment
plant another $20 million Oh, don't forget the $5 million or so to once
again pay some engineering friends of the city engineer to design it all.
Paying off $45 million in bonds would also be added to our water bills and
multiplied on the sewer bills. So what if your water and sewer bill
doubles, it's not their money so what do they care, huh, huh?
P.S. We just did some rough numbers here. We do have a water
engineer doing more precise calculations.
Thanks for Preserving Our Neighborhoods
- Hot Springs
Date: February 8, 2012
I watched the BOD meeting
last night. Once again, we owe you a big "thank you" from the citizens
for leading the effort to PRESERVE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS and prevent the
takeover by the numerous people seeking to have federal and state funds
poured into projects. Why is it that these projects are never in the
areas where these folks live? How easy can it be for this family as they
reside in the county and do not have restrictions that would limit the
very thing they claim they want to do.
This was the poorest
conceived and least thought through project that has ever come
before the BOD in the period of time that I have been listening to
If this family thinks that
providing housing, with no intervention or program to an abusive
population, free to go to the liquor store down the street, with limited
residential supervision constitutes a "recovery program" they have
another thought coming. This is way short of what I think of when
"alternative sentencing" is a component of the court process.
I thank you and I know many
others so very proud and appreciative to have you always in "the
Editors note: The city director you sent your letter to made at good
point at the board meeting. She basically said that many older
neighborhoods do not have deed covenants or "bill of assurances" and,
therefore, have only the city board to protect them from unwanted
neighbors or developments. We thought that was a very insightful
Prosecutor Not Doing His Job?
Straight" - Hot Springs
the paper (Feb 4, 2012)
is another fine example of the fantastic job our
Prosecutor Oliver is doing.
reconnects with estranged wife. (Wife has been seeing victim)
ex-boyfriend of which they (husband and wife) have had problems with in
the past. (Husband may or may not be living at the house)
Confrontation outside home in front yard.
shoots boy-friend wounds boy-friend superficially.
Neighbor hears gunshot looks over and sees husband standing over
boy-friend yelling at him. (must not be dead)
Neighbor sees husband shoot boy-friend with a fatal wound in BACK.
(remember no mention of boy-friend having any sort of weapon)
arrested for Capital murder. (Let’s face it boy-friend was not a threat
lying bleeding face down on the ground)
released on $5000 bond. (expect a higher bond for DWI offences without
reduced to Second Degree Murder (that means an act at the spur of the
moment. Remember there was time for the neighbor to get up and look out
and witness the second fatal shot with the victim was laying face down?
further reduced to Manslaughter. ( Manslaughter is an accidental
killing of a human due to carelessness on the part of the suspect like
hitting a pedestrian in the crosswalk)
pleads guilty. (I WOULD HOPE SO)
sentenced to 3 years in jail. (most likely will serve 2 then released on
parole. (Hmmmm, what is the qualification to be elected prosecutor?)
the above and considering nothing changes except a larger jail, what are
we gaining? This story has been replayed several times during the last
few years in Garland County. Only the characters are changed to protect
the guilty. Moral of the story if you want to kill someone, Hot
Springs/Garland County is the place to be. On the other hand—not too
good of a place for victims.
Editors note: We've heard way too many of these type stories in the past
few years. Perhaps, it is time for someone to step forward and run
for the prosecutors position. However, we have heard even more
stories about how no one dares to run (even you admit you are "scared
straight"). We understand most local attorneys like being able to
get their clients off with minor charges.
Arrison Trying to Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes Yet Again
From: John - Hot
Todays Sentinel Record had
another artical about Steve Arrison wanting to spend 14 million dollars
for a sports complex. He says we are way behind several cities like
Paragould, Camden, and Mountain Home. Somebody needs to tell Steve
Arrison those aren't cities. Those are towns and we don't need to
compete with them. He says it will support itself and bring lots more
people to town. Well if we use his crowd estimates, remember the 37,000
he said were at the half block long St. Paddys parade, those thousands
will really be a couple of hundred. We have friends in Paragould and
they say maybe 50 people show up for games in their town. We believe
Steve Arrison is only using this as an excuse to get the A&P obligated
so we can never vote on the 3% sales tax he collects from us. Did not he
try this once or twice before?
Editors note: Yes John. He has successfully "pulled the wool over
our eyes" at least once before. You may remember the Mid-America
Science Museum that the A&P decided to get rid of and even proposed
accepting a small fraction of what it was worth from the community
college. Thankfully, a group of citizens opposed Mr. Arrison's
recommendation and formed their own committee to "save the museum."
Once Mr. Arrison realized that the museum could be used as justification
to "encumber" the 3 percent tax collected for the A&P, he quickly
recanted and proposed replacing the 40 year old heating, cooling, and
alarm system. This meant that no vote could be taken to reduce or
remove the excessive tax so long as the tax was obligated (encumbered)
for a bond issue. Thus, the $1.2 million bond sale for a new HVAC
and alarm system was approved by the city's voters. The problem
was that the advertised "emergency" which touted the 40 year old system
as, "could fail at any time" was a total fabrication. In fact the
cooling chiller and cooling tower were manufactured in 2002 which meant
they were only 5 years old and were relatively efficient. If
anything, the alarm system was actually too sensitive. Even the
purported antiquated fluorescent lighting turned out to be comprised of
modern energy-efficient T-5 and T-8 tubes with electronic ballasts.
Yep, we have photos and videos to prove the public was misled. We
would surmise that Mr. Arrison is concerned that the remaining few years
on a relatively small encumbrance (less than $1 million) is not
sufficient to guarantee that the public won't be able to take his
excessive tax to a vote. Our opinion is, unless the A&P is ready
and willing to take over the maintenance and operation of the Hot
Springs Parks and Recreation Department, Mr. Arrison should stay totally
out of such outrageous proposals. You are correct in your
assessment of his ability to use numbers. His estimate of 37,000
people for the last Saint Patricks Day parade was ridiculous but not as
ridiculous as his chances of once again "pulling the wool" over the
(Feb. 5, 2012): Check out Chuck Lilly's "letter to the editor" in
today's Sentinel Record. He points out that $14 million is
way too much for such a complex. Assuming the land can be bought
for around $1 million, Mr. Arrison could likely build seating exceeding
War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock for the remaining $13 million.
Steve has proven that he has a problem with numbers. It is nice to
see that Chuck has a good handle on what the A&P and Mr. Arrison are up
Going Up While Personal Income Goes Down
From: Barbara -
I just got the word that the election the National Park
Community College was planning to squeeze in as a "SPECIAL ELECTION" has
been cancelled for some technicality. I wondered if you might recall, at
the time the legislature passed the freeze on property tax for disabled
and those over 65 , was there any mention of excluding real elderly for
millage exemption? Also, whom would one contact to see if this could be
put through the legislature so the very elderly do not have this to
contend with? When I think of all of the years it has been years since
they have had the ability to increase their savings (by earning interest
or having earnings enough to last 35 or more years) with the
expectation of them being able to pay as though they have not paid their
whole life for these never ending school "wants". I feel so sorry for
them being put into a position to lose their homes over school
taxes..................it is unconscionable!
Editors note: We really don't know how certain parties including age
groups could be excluded. This argument has been brought up and tested
in courts before by those who continue to pay school tax but have no kids in
school. Our primary concern at present is the sheer number of taxes
that are being proposed or soon will be. These include a public safety
tax being proposed by the fire chief, increasing water and other costs by
the city, new taxes for schools, a new road (gasoline or diesel) tax, and
likely even a tax to fix our city streets which are now being totally
Chamber of Commerce Taxing Us and Calling It Economic Development
From: Just Sayin -
Date: January 19,
We've been keeping up with all the
money the chamber or Mr. Byerly has been asking for and getting from both
the city and county for years but he won't account for how he uses it. What
he is doing cannot be legal to keep the infomation from the public. It is
public money is it not? It appears that the city of Little Rock has the same
problem with its chamber of commerce. Today we read in the Arkansas Times
that just came out an article titled "The Chamber of Commerce Tax" that
sounds like Hot Springs and it seems both cities are getting ripped off. The
link to the article is:
Editors note: Thanks for the info. The article is well written and
does certainly, apply to what is happening with our chamber people here in
river city. Our readers can also
click here to access the article you reference.
Construction in Rural Garland County
Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: January 9,
In reference to the letter by Bill
Bowman, “Tale of woe in county”, I can assure everyone that Garland County
Judge Rick Davis and the entire Quorum Court are concerned about home
construction and all construction in rural Garland County. While there are
citizens that want the county involved in the permitting, inspection,
certificate of occupancy business, etc. there are at least an equal number
(and my experience indicates a far greater number) that want to be left
alone preferring to be responsible for themselves as opposed to depending on
the umbrella of government. Historically people living in rural areas have
preferred to live in unincorporated areas with less governmental
interference, preferring to be responsible for their decisions and actions.
Mr. Bowman and all others
constructing or purchasing property in unincorporated areas should always
take advantage of the many resources available to them to insure that what
they are purchasing is as presented or that during the construction process
work is done in accordance with federal and state code requirements. There
are many resources available to aid individuals in assuring all work
performed complies with federal and state code requirements; some of the
resources are home inspection companies, licensed tradesman (plumbers,
electricians, construction engineers, civil engineers, structural engineers,
architects, etc.). Another good idea is to have an attorney look over
contracts, guarantees, warranties, etc. to be certain they offer the
purchaser the protection they are seeking.
Entering into a home purchase
contract or home construction or remodeling contract is only part of the
process and can be “akin to giving the keys to the hen house to a fox” if
licensed and certified service providers aren’t selected and qualified
oversight of the project employed. People that desire the oversight of
government should restrict their property purchases to incorporated areas
that offer permitting, planning departments, municipal fire protections,
Editors note: Thank you Justice Pritchett - some good stuff in your
Commission Members Must Support Regulations, Not Personal Feelings
- Hot Springs
Date: December 27, 2011
On December 8th, a Planning Commission meeting was held in
Hot Springs . The meeting was well attended as there were several topics
covered that evening. I have recently read 2 letters in the paper, written
by different people, Marianne and George Lindholm and Deliphia Faye Villars,
and they have given their synopsis of the meeting, none of which addressed
what the hearings were about, but apparently what these folks wished was
covered because of their feelings toward a topic being reviewed.
Each of the authors has failed to research the origins of the
Planning Commission, the procedures for regulations to be accepted as the
standard for the various zoning regulations, and the collective benefit the
population and investors have in fully understanding the legal expectations
for residing in certain areas. I
fully support the Planning Commission supporting the existing regulations
and requiring that future housing to be in compliance with all of the
standards for the specific type of zoning . The only thing I would find
fault with is the Commissioner that said he would vote with "how he
felt" even though he was advised of the regulations that were not being met.
He certainly did not fulfill his obligation to represent the existing
standards for our city.
All most people want is a fair and equal opportunity to
present their petition. That can not be achieved if there is no support of
regulations, even within the Planning Commission hearing board members. To agree with the established rules is not to negate the need
or the desire to establish a shelter area.
is important to be clear in sending letters to the paper not to fail in
covering the actual intent of the hearing. When the writer skews the reality
to reflect only their position, and forgets that the regulations were not
created to defeat their intentions, their intentions were to change or
ignore the regulations to comply with a groups wishes....here is the origin
of the problem under discussion.
A city resident, but not a resident of the Whittington
Editors note: We understand that the above letter was sent to the local
newspaper but, apparently, was never published. It is amazing, is it
not, how many letters from the same people (who use the newspaper for their
own personal fight with others) continue to be published when letters such
as this do not?
Revenue Problems At Hot Springs?
- Hot Springs
Date: December 26, 2011
“Hot Springs budgetary problems can only be solved if those in
charge will take the necessary actions; reductions in all General Fund
services and reducing to minimums the Quality of Life items and or
eliminating some or all Outside Agency funding.”
“ Realistically the Hot Springs General Fund
doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a major spending problem. Make the
cuts and give attention to the infrastructure and then move forward with
raises if the money is there. Employee raises should not take precedence
over infrastructure and public safety; however, public safety personnel
reductions must be made to bring properly aligned expenses and revenues.”
Editors note: The above two quotations are excerpts from a long commentary
which is published on the "Commentary" page. We simply felt these were so
appropriate that we wanted to also post them here.
Chamber Trying to Embarrass Hot Springs Directors?
- Hot Springs
Date: December 15, 2011
The city director's goals look
honorable and I wish them success in achieving them. However this is being
done at budget time and looks more like a ploy to get public funds and
embarrass leaders who do not fall for it.
When giving grants to non profits (the chamber organizations) that have been
in business for many years, givers should look at their track record. Theirs
has not been one of accountability as they promise it will be in the future.
City directors must decide whether to give money to this political
organization or pave the city streets. I suspect they will give the
political organization the money because I believe that was part of the
promised payback for the millions in non jail tax included in the recent
election that the chamber funded.
Editors note: Well said Mr. Observer. When any organization refuses
to report how taxpayer money is used, it is past time to totally quit
funding that organization.
Planning Commissioners Violating City Regulations?
- Hot Springs
Date: December 12, 2011
Last evening I attended the Planning Commission meeting and I
was amazed at the lack of cohesive effort displayed by the members of the
Planning Commission toward existing regulations for Conditional Use Permits,
changes in the zoning of property, all within a residential neighborhood.
will not even address the issue which turned from what the existing
regulations are into a trashing of people as heartless for trying to
maintain their neighborhood as a residential setting. One
of the Planning Commission members went so far as to say he had not read the
Park Avenue/Whittington plan , previously voted on and approved by the City
Board of Directors, but regardless of being told the proposed facility did
not fit or comply with the current regulated plan, he was going to vote for
He was not alone. When a City Director held up a printed copy
of the final plan, I did not see one member of the Planning Commission that
indicated familiarity with this document when asked by the Director how many
had read it?
What is going on in this city? To hear the discussion of this
issue, number one of "New Business" for what was destined to be a very long
night, this was a eye-opener and I think we have a group of Planning
Commission members not fulfilling their purpose for sitting on the Board
when they vote according to how they feel about an issue , even when told
the vote was in violation of requirements for the district.
Are we operating as two different cities in that this
violation of Board of Directors passed regulation can be disregarded by a
Planning Commission that is to be recommending and following the codes and
zoning criteria?? If there is continued destruction of our neighborhoods,
say good-bye to new residents because NOBODY is going to invest their money
into transitional locations where commercial, temporary, part time, or full
time businesses are changing the single family designation to accommodate
special projects, regardless of how worthy they are.
Editors note: Too many boards and commissions forget that they exist
solely to enforce laws and regulations. Unfortunately, many of our
board members who were doing this were fired and replaced by "good-ol-boy"
City Has No Money But Gives Pay Raises Anyhow and Pay For Not Working
- Hot Springs
Date: September 6, 2011
The following letter was sent
to all Hot Springs city directors, the mayor, city manager, and city
attorney on 9/5/11.
2011 MIDYEAR BUDGET - DECISION MATRIX
(Concurrence from 8/8/11 Work Session)
The criteria discussed before the public
at last years budget session was to do a midyear budget review and
determine if revenues exceeded expectations and if they did, to discuss
salary increases or bonuses. However, REVENUES clearly did not exceed
WHY THEN IS
THIS STILL ON THE TABLE? WHY DOES THE CITY MANAGER KEEP BADGERING TO GIVE
RAISES OR BONUSES WHEN THE CRITERIA WAS CLEARLY NOT MET. HOT SPRINGS
EMPLOYEES ARE NEAR THE TOP IN COMPENSATION IN GARLAND COUNTY AND IN
ARKANSAS. EVERYONE PERHAPS DESERVES A RAISE, BUT THE TAXPAYERS ARE NOT
GETTING RAISES AND THOSE ON FIXED INCOMES AREN'T GETTING RAISES AND
BONUSES AND THESE GROUPS PAY THE TAXES TO PAY THE HOT SPRINGS CITY
EMPLOYEES. JUST IN CASE YOU VOTING TO MOVE THESE THING FORWARD HAVE BEEN
OUT OF THE COUNTRY OR IN A COMA, THESE ARE DIFFICULT ECONOMIC TIMES AND
NOT AN ACCEPTABLE TIME TO GIVE RAISES OR BONUSES!!
IN TODAY'S ECONOMY, KEEPING YOUR JOB IS A HUGE MAJOR LEAGUE BONUS!
TO PAY PAUL" is unacceptable.
There are many higher priorities than employee raises that need to be
addressed if there is money to "move around, take, divert, etc.
On-Call Policy (ALL FUNDS $64,800 ANNUALLY)
- The private sector normally pays people that are called out to work for
a minimal time period, but not for "standing by" in case they may be
called. Hot Springs has higher priority needs. Do not adopt a policy
that pays people for not working.
What are you all thinking?
Editors note: Good points George. It seems that the city is not
interested in abiding by its own criteria. Likely, that is just the
city administration. Uh-oh, we were just told that the board approved
all the pay raises including pay for just "standing by". Wonder where
that money is coming from. The rank-and-file haven't had raises in a
long time but those department heads just got some HUGE pay increases.
What were they thinking? Oh, as a side note, we are proud to be among
the first to report that the city manager is retiring. Unfortunately,
this won't happen until June 2012.
Local Judges Not Standing Up and Doing Their Duty?
- Hot Springs
Date: August 16, 2011
we learned that Judge Rogers (from Stuttgart) will be appointed to hear a
case I have an interest in. We have a county and city panel of judges but
seem unable to have our judges hear cases that are legitimate court
issues. I ask anyone capable of providing an answer to please explain to
me how and why are the judges of Hot Springs / Garland County allowed to
collect a full salary when they recuse themselves at every
I cannot see where
asking them to rule in a matter of law creates a "conflict" for them! If
we all live by the same law, why does a reminder by the court of a
violation of law create such a quandary for the local judges that they
cannot make that ruling? If unable to do the job they were appointed /
elected to do, we need replacement staff that will render a legal opinion
in this community.
Editors note: Your point is well taken, Barbara. We are so
accustomed to judges automatically recusing themselves when one of the
parties is a local politician that we haven't questioned it. After
thinking about it, it does seem a simple matter of backbone. We have
gotten to the point of expecting judges not to take on city directors
because our directors have a way of being vindictive. Perhaps someone
will write in with a better answer.
- Hot Springs
Date: July 15, 2011
you thought Cloud and Kizer are prize-winning letter writing idiots,
consider the Sentinel Record contribution of July 11 by another
local scholar, Ron Swanson, Jr. who recommends - to bring prosperity back
to Obamaland: “I encourage everyone. . to get involved in your
government. I want you to write your representative with this simple
Tax corporations until they bring the jobs home.
It’s that simple.” There you have it, folks.
Cloud recently said that his letters are intended to increase citizens’
interest in current events and sell more of Melinda’s newspapers. I have
an idea to move that along: your Blog could announce a “prize” for the
silliest letter of the month – call it “the Crackpot Cup.” It would be
announced and analyzed on the blog. It would involve blog readers
collecting the gems by our local scholars, and submitting the silliest of
them as entries in the contest with a short statement of why their
submittal should win the prize for the month. Entries would be limited
to S-R letters to start, but might be expanded to include the Dem-Gaz. A
small committee would do the judging, with the person submitting the
“winning entry” getting mention for “discerning readership.” There could
even be an “Annual Award” picked from the 12 monthly winners. This
program would obviously draw National media attention, thereby getting the
blessing of the local “tourism lobby” for attracting tourists to Hot
Springs. Possibilities abound. What do you think?
Editors note: We love your idea so much that we are gearing up to do
just that. Pease note that, with your help, we are also providing a
$100 prize to whoever submits the "dumbest" of the "Crackpot" letters (and
editorials) regularly published in the Sentinel Record. Your submittal
has merit due to your keen observation that it takes a total crackpot to
recommend the government "tax corporations until they bring the jobs home."
Apparently he has no clue as to how many corporations our government has
forced to move jobs overseas due to the increasing U.S. tax burden, red
tape, and regulations. Of course, union demands have added to the fact
that U.S. corporations are no longer competitive but most of the blame is
attributable to Swanson's solution. He has to be the current
front-runner for our new
Click here to see our rules, regulations, and how
Upset Reader Takes Issue With HotSpringsTalk.com
- Hot Springs
Date: July 11, 2011
read your reply to what you call my being 'upset'
with City Directors Cynthia Kehealey and Karen Garcia. You read more into
my email than I put in it. Yes - I am upset with the childish pranks by
them but there is nothing more to it. You said there must be more to it
but there is not. I met the mayor once
when she was campaigning but am not trying to defend her.
I just think Kehealey and Garcia are not smart and will still call them
stupid. I was talking to friends who agree their idiotic pranks are
because the are jealous b*****s. Don't tell me what I think or that I and
my friends don't have a right to personal opinions just like your editor
Editors note: Oops, we obviously touched a nerve (see post and response
immediately below). We apologize for our comments referencing anything
other than what you actually stated. We do agree those two directors
took some actions that were "childish" but, based on experiences you can
read on this website, we believe that both directors you are calling names
have higher morals and more integrity than their "good ol' boy"
counterparts, Daniel, McCabe, and Jones. Sorry. We'll try and do
better in the future.
Reader Slightly Upset With Specific Directors
- Hot Springs
Date: July 9, 2011
with City Director idiots Cynthia Kehealey and Karen Garcia? They keep coming
up with stupid resolutions to try and make the mayor look bad and then
drop them. We watched Tuesday to see if they followed thru but they
didn't. First it was Kehealey's idiotic resolution to take control of the
meeting away from the mayor by having the board members at large vote to
allow her to extend a speaker's time to speak. They never ever tried any
stupid ideas like that when Bush was mayor. He would have told them to
shut up. Now we have the airhead Garcia telling us we need to tell
everbody the mayor or board speaks to online to make sure they say it is
their personal opinion and not the board's. McCabe usually makes no sense
but he said he didn't think he should have to put a 'footnote' on
everything he said. He made a lot of sense that time. Why the hell does
Garcia think she has the right to tell the board they can't express
personal opinions where-ever and when-ever they please without her trying
to put a muzzel on them? Who the hell thinks anyone of them are voicing
the opinions of the rest of the board when any of them speak? Not me and
not anyone I know of. Kehealey and Garcia's opinions are so far out that
no-one would think anyone else came up with them anyhow. Those b*****s
should keep their mouths shut so we all can't see how jealous they are
that some other female instead of them is getting some attention.
Editors note: Okay, but how do you really feel about those two
directors? We get the feeling they have done something beyond the two
issues you reference. Can you, perhaps, tell us why you resorted to
name calling? By the way, you should not quit watching them. We
don't think either idea is dead yet. Come to a meeting and state your
opinions. Otherwise, you may see even more equally unwarranted
Good Ole Boys/Girls Strike Again
- Hot Springs
Date: June 18, 2011
I recently learned
that a couple of positions were opened for "hire" within the City, one of
those being the Deputy City Clerk position. In
the job description/requirement for employment it stated in detail
the requirements. I assume interviews were held and the qualified were
weeded out to go through the next step in the hiring process. Unbeknownst
to many candidates, the job duties changed; spreading out the
responsibilities of this office to other departments changing the
requirements totally (all done via email sent to City Department Heads).
I cannot attest to the whole truth because I was not privy to these emails
directly, but I have heard that the person for the job was already picked
prior to interviews beginning and the ones who went through the interviews
were only interviewed for show. Of two of those interviewed one was a
former county clerk and one a former deputy City Clerk. The person hired
was an "office manager" for the Parks and Recreation Department (another
dying city department). Is this the best for our City? To bring in
another UNQUALIFIED person to work in our City? Does this new Deputy City
Clerk have any legal background? Business background? Detailed record
keeping? Does she know the difference between a resolution and an
ordinance? What were her qualifications besides keeping the candy bowl
full? I read in the Sentinel Record today how they hired the new engineer
based on his qualifications and work experience. Imagine my surprise when
I read that they actually hired a position based on experience and
qualifications...or was it just something they felt they needed to say
upon reflection of hiring a deputy with no experience whatsoever. If they
were going to hire within the city for the deputy clerk's position why did
they not post "Inside City Only?" Did the requirements for the position
deter other more qualified city employees from applying? Isn't it the
Human Resource Department's fudiciary duties to insure the best and most
qualified person is selected for the position? Also, to insure that all
city personnel are competiting at a fair and equal level, not just promote
those whom you are friendly and social with. Should it not be the City
Manager's responsibility to insure that Human Resources is hiring the best
qualified for the position and not doing personal favors for moral
boosting experiments. Does the City Manager and Human Resources have the
best interest of all city employees when the city employees were
mandated/forced to take three furlough days all while the Human Resource
Department Head received a huge pay raise?
Editors note: Of course they don't. They have learned to be
self-serving just like other of the good ol' boys. Think analytically
about the qualification concern. Wouldn't it be dangerous to hire
well-qualified individuals who are smart enough to discover that those who
hired you are clueless as to how to do their own jobs? Would you say
our city manager, deputy city manager, et al are qualified to manage a $90
million budget or have they continuously demonstrated the only thing they
are good at is literally "wasting" millions of dollars of the public's
money? Will Hot Springs have to go into bankruptcy before our board
wises up enough to fire those who continue to hire unqualified employees?
Stop Arrison From Destroying Good People's Reputations
- Hot Springs
Date: June 7, 2011
not be more right about Arrison being highly overated when it comes to who
is responsible for the visitors to Hot Springs. Me and my family have come
to Hot Springs once or twice every year for about 30 years. Arrison wasn't
here when we started coming and we never came because of him or his group.
I am now spending most of this summer with my sister and we travel around
the town every day. We enjoy meeting people and always talk to other
visitors and tourists. Believe me nobody we have talked to says Arrison
had anything to do with them coming to town. Most come because of the
national park, the baths, the lakes and just the beauty of your town. I
won't sign this because my relative works for Arrison. The relative also
knows Arrison is overated and according to them overpaid. What is worst is
how everybody lets him by with making up things about the mayor or how
many people come to his events or how nobody would come to Hot Springs if
it wasn't for him. He really is a bad person. You need to call his hand
and stop him destroying good peoples reputations. We loved your picture of
him as king, it fits him to a tee. Hard to believe you found a crown big
enough for his swelled head.
Editors note: We are trying to "call his hand" but about all we can
do is call attention to his antics. If you have any recommendations
(that are legal) please let us know.
Editorial on GOBs and GOGs (good old boys and good old girls)
Date: June 5, 2011
for signing the writing you put forth in today's paper so people know
who's opinion they are reading about Good Ole Boys and Good Ole Girls. As
your opinion so truthfully stated, all of the groups you mentioned do have
some GOBS participating in the various organizations named. The GOBS
"aren't afraid to express their opinion or speak out on matters they feel
are important to the people of Hot Springs". Truer words were never
spoken! All goes well until the newer residents, and the people that have
grown up in this city, speak up wanting to preserve some semblance of the
sleepy little town they enjoyed in the past. The retirees have also awaken
to the fact that plans left to the discretion of the GOBS will transform
the town they came to into the town they left behind because those
towns were too big, too transient and too frantic to enjoy a decent
quality of life in the "BIG CITY"!
It is the
age old riddle of "follow the money". Some folks let money (yours or
theirs) drive and control their life, and others prefer to ease into a
moderate life style, free of discretionary debt, and thankful for the
beauty of the surroundings ,without a need to overload the senses with
sentence that the GOBS AND GOGS "just might take Hot Springs to new
heights" is possible. However, I prefer to have more balance permitted (or
taken ) in that the folks that THINK they are the planners for this town
consider the ideas of residents that may choose not to build a shrine to
debt and growth for growths sake.
Prosperity differs for each person too. Some are content with less, others
require a great deal to make their life appealing. Thank heavens for the
GOGS and their sisters living in the community that appreciate the beauty
and the choices available to all without the necessity of someone deciding
for you what prosperity really is.
Editors note: We must have stepped on a rather "sore" toe because the
editorial you reference was an obvious response to our May 29 post in the
"Commentary" section. We thought it interesting that the Senile Record
felt compelled to put in a lot of "fluff" to try and make their points that
were not included in the commentary. Readers of our posts know that
our primary interest is in listing the facts or locations where our citizens
can find the facts. For example, we don't think it is proper to have
misleading or downright false headlines such as "State Attorney says
Thompson's Proposal Stupid" when nothing even close to that was said and the
newspaper didn't bother to check it. We don't think it proper for the
newspaper to constantly criticize our mayor based on rumor rather than fact.
We don't think it proper to publish front-page headlines and articles
touting Steve Arrison, A&P CEO, nine days out of ten. The Senile
Record appears to have the mistaken belief that none of the visitors to our
fair city come on their own. They must all be here due to the work of
Emperor Arrison. Hey, read our May 29 commentary
by clicking here and then read the Senile
Record's editorial. Judge for yourself if their editorial is not
"yellow journalism" at it's best (or worst).
Disney animators of Cinderella predicted this very wedding
Newspaper Should Print Retractions When They Are Wrong
Date: May 29, 2011
Your blog has
reports of the Senile Record not reporting things they should and making
head lines about things that are not really news. How about listing things
they make head lines about that are not true. We saw some reports on what
a state attorney said about Tim Stockdale on the front page. Turns out the
state attorney never said anything like that. A later report kind of
admitted the story was not true but they did not report a retraction. They
will not admit when they are wrong and rather let the public believe they
did not make any mistake. This is wrong. We found out the state attorney
said he would be STUPID to comment on the question ask him about Tim
Stockdale and his plan for money. The Senile Record front page said Tim
Stockdales plan was stupid. There is a difference. We will keep taking the
paper but have quit doing business with the business' that advertise in
it. That will be more effective we think. Do you have any other
Editors note: We really don't other than the possibility that the parent
newspaper, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, or their owners could correct the
situation. Don't hold your breath though. This type reporting
has become the rule rather than the exception. Oh, please note today's
post in the "Commentary" section. It references other aspects of
recent newspaper articles, editorials, etc.
Crazy George Finally Sees the Light - Hee, Hee, Hee
R. Pritchett -
Date: May 19, 2011
I hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as
I did writing it.
Thoughts by Crazy George – The Error of My
Ways – My New Life Goals
I have done some soul searching. As a
simpleton it has always been the norm for me to pay my bills, plan for the
future and take care of myself. However, I realize I’ve been living under
a misconception my entire life that being responsible is a positive
thing. After observing Hot Springs City Management and Board of Directors
for several years I’m forced to accept the fact I am a failure, a
disaster, an embarrassment. You will understand after you finish reading
this. Following is a list of my major problems.
I don’t ask
others for money to support my habits
I have money
in the bank
equity in all the things I own
I don’t make
purchases I can’t afford
I use debt
I apologize for these. I have seen the error
in my ways and plan to do better in the future. My first action will be
to enter a “12” step program (or similar) to help me get my life
together. I have set as my goal in life to become Hot Springs City
Management as soon as I’ve completed my rehabilitation. Fast forward!
Oh boy, as Hot Springs
City Management, I don’t have to be responsible, I’ll just throw it out
there and the city board will get the blame if it doesn’t work and I’ll be
a hero if it does. Gee whiz, this is great; I’ll get raises, votes of
confidence and more, hee, hee, hee
will love and cater to me, I make the plans, I am the man. If I wrap my
arms around the employees and embrace them everyone will love me. If I
can’t reward everyone the city board will get the blame. Gee whiz, I
can’t lose with this deal and me and my cronies all get paid. Wow, I’ve
hit the mother lode, hee, hee, hee
Don’t do a
thing to make money and don’t have to do a thing to save money, got me a
sugar mama and I’m gonna party, party, party, hee, hee, hee
to ask for money to support my habits, they electronically send it to my
accounts and my cronies accounts. Money, money, money it falls into my
lap, sales taxes, franchise fees, fines, permits, etc., can even borrow
with bonds and other debt instruments, hee, hee, hee all this just for me
money in the bank, I have me a garden filled with all kinds of money
trees, hee, hee, hee all this just for me
Got all the
“Quality of Life” items one could ever want, don’t need to worry about the
infrastructure, all I need to do is wait and see; that is wait until
things are bad and others will deliver a new money tree to me to take care
of the infrastructure. Those directors and that Chamber of Commerce are
sure good to me, don’t know if they are the good old boys and girls I've
heard about, but they are sure good to me, hee, hee, hee, everyone wants
to be me
for me, all I need is the directors who deliver everything to me, hee, hee,
hee I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t want to be me
hee I have my money trees the directors gave to me, I can afford
everything, makes me very popular you see with my money trees
wisely some say, but that doesn’t apply to me, hee, hee, hee, I have my
garden full of money trees the directors gave to me
Just as it has taken me so long to realize the
error in my ways I imagine someone else will get the job as Hot Springs
City Management. Well, if so, I’ll just have to go to plan B and be
theHot Springs City Board. Fast Forward - I got the job,
hee, hee, hee
Wow, being the Hot Springs City Board is a lot
harder than I thought it would be. First problem I encountered was I
learned I am responsible and I am also without authority, this stinks.
That nasty Hot Springs City Management has all the power. Thought about
for a while and said to self, self you can make this work, but big
problems keep floating to the top, like you know the stuff in a cesspool,
and no one warned me about the stuff and to tell the truth it stinks to
high heaven. What’s even worse is I have discovered that everyone, and I
mean everyone, blames me for everything (well that damn Crazy George knows
better, but everyone knows he’s crazy and they don’t listen to him, thank
goodness or I would be out of job). Don’t get paid; boy, that Hot Springs
City Director, old Boss Hog, complained to one of those JPs sometime ago
they got paid and he didn’t; now I know how he feels, can’t pay my bills
and that mean old Hot Springs City Management won’t do a thing for me (I’m
beginning to feel a lot like a citizen; they take my money, don’t ask me
what I want or need and stuff it up my ----- or down my throat and there’s
no end in sight)! My money I had in the bank is gone; this not getting
paid stinks, sure wish my buddy hadn’t beat me out for the job of Hot
Springs City Management, he is so lucky to have those money trees. My
infrastructure isn’t worth spit, it has crumbled to nothing and the value
of my equity is lower than dirt. One thing that hasn’t changed is I don’t
make purchases I can’t afford; but alas that ole buddy of mind, Hot
Springs City Management, can pull more rabbits out of a hat than any
magician ever. Now I don’t have to use debt wisely, I have my old buddy
Hot Springs City Management.
Why didn’t I see the light years ago!
Editors note: Wow!! It is really more simple than we had
thought also. We hear there are openings at the city for utilities
directur and enginuring types. Think we'uns will go apply - hee, hee,
Predictions For Today's City Board Meeting and Beyond
- Hot Springs
Date: May 16, 2011
City finances. Here is what is going to
grow out of the Higdon Ferry Phase III discussions.
1. The $3 million to more than $5 million
for the Higdon Ferry Phase III
2. South location for a new fire station
and equipment, probably $3 million or more
3. Police equipment, probably $2 million or
4. Possible new fire station on Carpenter
Dam to replace Golf Links, $3 million or more
5. $2.5 million plus to tear down old
hospital building for math and science school
6. Some possible solution to the old fire
and police retirement fund problems - placed at $12 - $23 million.
See the pattern, let's get well by not
letting a little crisis like Higdon Ferry Phase III go to waste.
Some directors are proposing a 1 to 5
Lance and staff proposing bond issue
Others thinking about a sales tax
All are unacceptable.
The simple solution is to end the project
near the 270 expressway by redoing the intersections at Section Line, on
the north side of 270 (hospital side) and at Lakeland which will
facilitate access to the south mall area within a reasonable response
I'm working on a number of recommendations
to cut city costs and will send them to you when I am finished.
The above are the reason I say this is the
beginning of the "train wreck" predicted by the fire chief.
CoC and GCEDC already lobbying staff and
directors to fund Phase III with new money sources.
No new taxes or fees
Editors note: Your timing and predictions are impeccable. Note
the "letter to the editor" by the chamber gurus in today's (May 17)
newspaper which you predicted. In fact, George's perception and
predictions are so accurate that we asked for further explanations which led
to his commentary which can be seen on the "Commentary" page.
Only Real Election Problems Were Due To Actions Of An Over-Zealous County
Date: May 16, 2011
The following references requests by the Election
Commission to County Justices the evening of May 16 to remove
campaigners from the inside of the fence at the Election Commission
during early voting.
I believe the request
is a violation of existing laws and violates First Amendment rights.
1. During the
election cycle in 2010 vehicles from private businesses were parked in the
election headquarters parking lot with the full knowledge and permission
of Judge Williams and the GCEC
"electioneering" always respected the 100/ft. rule mandated by law
3. At no time did
I witness a prospective voter being unable to find a parking space
4. Safety was never
an issue inside of the fence
5. In the event an
emergency vehicle had been needed those on the sidewalk would have
assisted in clearing any area/s necessary to facilitate emergency services
6. Access and egress
could be made easy by converting some parking spaces along the East fence
near the vehicle exit to parallel parking spaces instead of angled parking
7. While I wasn't at
the early polling site all of the hours it was open I was there a number
of hours and did not witness a "traffic jam"; however, if enough believe
there is a problem that we need to add more "handicap" place for the
impaired I would support this action
ordinance restricting or proposing the activities beyond the 100/ft be
limited will most certainly be met with a court challenge that will
require the county to spend money to defend itself and would likely be
referred to a higher court (adding more costs) if it was upheld at the
local lever. I don't believe we want to be put in this posit on
The only real
problems that occurred in 2010 were the actions of an over-zealous County
Editors note: You speak the truth George. Judge Williams made
the parking issue "much ado about nothing."
Another Well Orchestrated Attempt To Discredit Mayor
Date: May 14, 2011
This is a
message I sent KARK in response to the Lead In Story last night.
report on KARK was yet another well orchestrated attempt to discredit the
mayor of Hot Springs It started when she called for Truth in Advertising.
If that truth bothers them we can only guess what else and more serious
things are hidden. Since when is a statement made on a Facebook become
reason for a lead in story on a TV News
program. If they were truly an investigative news station, they would
research the millions invested in a failed water project. They would
question the millions spent each year by the A&P. No, that would take a
real investigative reporter. This was much easier. Lead in story? Really!!
Editors note: Good observation which we're sure also applies to
similar headline stories in the local newspaper. How can anyone think
this is news? Perhaps a better question is, who is behind the
orchestration of these non-stories getting so much press? Could it be
Mr. Arrison? He was the only local "expert" on camera talking about
how bad such a joke was. Perhaps he was more embarrassed about his
obvious, possibly intentional, estimate of the hundreds of thousands of
people at the St. Paddy's Day Parade than we thought. Perhaps, as you
reference, they really need to divert attention away from the $3 million
city staff wasted.
Give Us $40 mil and Then We'll Tell You What We'll Do With It
Date: May 13, 2011
we are once again exposed to some jailhouse humor in the front page
jail article. How about this for a classic
“Rick Davis and Bud West say that building a new jail first, before having
a tax in place to operate and maintain it, will help the county get a
better handle on those costs.” Where is Donald Trump when we need him?
then this: Davis said that the county cannot ask for a one-cent sales tax
to build the jail with a stipulation that the tax would be lowered to
3/8-cent to maintain and operate it once it is built. Now it might be
true that a capital improvement tax could not be used for operation and
maintenance. But nobody has proposed that. What should be proposed is a
single jail financing package comprised of two taxes: (1) a capital
improvement tax to finance the construction, entirely pledged to pay off
the bonds which would be sold to get the cash to build the jail; and (2)
an O&M tax to operate the jail after it is built. The capital improvement
tax would be enacted under the capital improvement bond act and would be
exempt from sharing with any city within the county under ACA
14-164-327. The O&M tax would have to be shared with county cities, but
that can be worked out later with an “interlocal agreement,” since the
cities would have to pay for their inmates in the new jail. Mr Davis
tells us that this tax package is not allowed, on the advice of his “bond
counsel.” This is apparently the same “bond counsel” that the county used
in 2008 to advise that the county would have to share the tax to build the
jail, and the same “bond counsel” that the Hot Springs City Manager
recently referred to as the City’s bond counsel. Apparently this bond
counsel is everybody’s “bond counsel?” This time, counsel is telling us
that we must have two separate tax ordinances, with apparently two
separate elections, in order to get a jail tax package. Again, where is
the Donald when we need him?
Finally, for today, jail committee chairman Bud West confirmed JP Mickey
Gates’ recent admission that they really don’t know what they’re doing:
“We have no design plans right now because we have no money to hire an
architect to design plans.” That is pure baloney: the County has $6
million laying in a bank, some of which could be used to pay an architect
for plans, and then recovered in the capital improvement phase of the
financing. West goes on: “But once we get our design plans and
construction gets going, by then the full site costs will be known, and a
lot of other costs will be known, and yes we can pinpoint the operation of
the jail a little bit better.” Now that’s really encouraging.
JP Gates said, give us the $40 million and then we’ll tell you what we’ll
do with it.
Citizens should reject this half-baked jail proposal, and tell the County
Judge to get serious about this problem.
Editors note: Hopefully, we'll get better answers before we vote for
the new jail. There is yet some time for them.
Give Us $40 million for a "Half-Baked" Jail Proposal
Date: May 12, 2011
Mickey Gates makes a great argument against the obviously half-baked jail
proposal in today’s
he says there are “too many unknowns,” and “we don’t even know what kind
of jail we’re going to build.” But, he goes on, give us the $40 million
and we’ll find out. Gates has missed his calling – he should be on the
Arkansas lottery commission, or better yet, in the Harry Reid-Pelosi-Obama
administration. “Give us the money, and then we’ll tell you what we will
do with it.”
this after the County has already spend a bunch of money on “jail
consultants.” Again. To paraphrase Casey Stengel on the ‘66 Mets, does
anybody here know what the hell they’re doing?
Editors note: The plan is a little scary because it sort of sounds
like the same Little Rock "Bond Daddies" pushing the same old plan as
before. Hopefully, this is not the case. There is a big meeting
the Good Government folks are having at the county library tonight at 6PM.
We'll hold off our decisions until we go to that.
Sentinel Record Losing Sight of What is Good for the Community
Date: May 11, 2011
unsigned editorial with the full body slam on Mayor Carney.
The issue is not Tourism
vs. Industry. People need to realize that Tourism is important however it
brings with it many problems. We have to deal with additional traffic,
clean up, and crime unique to a tourism city. It provides jobs but many
are low scale and seasonal. Industry (light if you will) provides real
jobs and, in turn,
supports our restaurants and local shops as a consistent source of income.
Real Industry, requires new homes to be built, revenue for the local
government. But alas, very little in the way of advertisement for the
paper. It is the people who live here, retired or not, that have to pay a
great part of the "Hamburger Tax". Yet those who personally benefit the
most are those who "Manage" the tax. (A&P staff), newspaper, Track and
Amusement Park. If you bring 10,000 or 50,000 people downtown for a
parade, do you think that the outlaying restaurants will benefit? Only if
the local residents stop on their way home. We need to take part of that
money and promote Industry as it is as important as a parade. Let all reap
the rewards. Remember a tourist may be here for a day, a well paid
employee is here 365 days and brings with him a family.
Before you rush to
judgment, remember that an ex-mayor thought that vulgar expressions about
a fellow director kept the meetings lively, yet you were silent. Remember
that it was the uncontrolled city management of the past 4 years that cost
the taxpayers $3million to design a failed lower lake water treatment
plant, yet you were silent. Two directors embarrassed a citizen in a
public forum and still I missed your condemnation of their actions.
The present mayor's guilt
basically is that she would like department heads and the A&P to put a
little truth into the numbers on the success and failure of events. Would
you prefer dishonesty? How much negative flack would you suggest if she
held those responsible for the $3 million loss to answer as to their
motives? We are closer now than ever in getting a working relationship
between the city and the county. Let’s not lose sight of what is good for
the community on both sides of the city limits.
Editors note: Great points. How can a joke made by the mayor
warrant an editorial? Same way no action in an executive session makes
headline news meaning radical action would have been ignored by our local
paper. Priorities are obviously skewed. Suppose our local
newspaper is in bed with some of the "good ol' boys?"
Sentinel Record Policy Quite Different from Policy They
Impose on the Public
Date: May 11, 2011
"someone's" opinion written on page 10A of today's paper titled "TOURISM
JOKE HARDLY AMUSING" and, once again, I find it appalling that anyone can
write such a negative and insulting story about the mayor without having
the requirement all others must live by attached to a submission to the
recall, all are required to list their name, address and telephone contact
to have a letter placed into the paper. Is it not just as important that
we know which staff writer harbors this distain for our mayor that
this type of "I gotcha" is placed in the paper?
I for one
would find it important to know the writer, as now I am left to guess
which person could be so nasty, and so incorrect , in the assumptions made
about a person they obviously do not know .
also amusing, but extremely irritating to me, that in the recent past,
this would have been unthinkable, regardless of whether or not it was
warranted, based strictly on whether or not one "likes" the elected
policy of privilege at your paper for staff writers needs to be revised to
include the same requirements as the readers must comply with.
Editors note: You are, indeed, correct that this is the worst kind
of double standard. By not publishing the writer's name, it infers
that every single person working for the Sentinel Record loathes our new
mayor. It is painfully obvious that those in control of such yellow
journalism do but there could be a carrier or lower-level staffer that even
likes our mayor. The above was also sent as a "Letter to the Editor" to
the Sentinel Record. What are the odds it will be published?
Keheley Will Become Part of History At Tuesday's City Board Meeting
Date: May 2, 2011
Well Tuesday (May
go down in the history books along with
great leaders of history. If only
they had taken Director Keheley’s initiative and passed a resolution along
with three other directors we could have saved the embarrassment of a few
Director Keheley, I salute you, by introducing this resolution
and the support that you must already have to pass it, you will silence
100,000 citizens of our community.
why Director Keheley didn’t offer this resolution several weeks ago when
the supporters of her previous resolution booed and jeered at a fellow
Director and/or speakers with opposing views. I wonder why no one was
embarrassed when two previous directors sit behind me and snickered and
laughed while I had the floor and I watched the reaction of Director
Keheley as she shook her head and scoffed at my remarks. I wonder if
Director Keheley is politically responsible enough to condemn those
actions as well or is this only aimed at her opposing citizens who spoke
at the last meeting?
remember to set your calendars back to July 3, 1776 after Tuesday's city
Editors note: We could not agree more.
It may be more accurate than we realize. Seriously, we were appalled
to see Director Keheley recommending not to let anyone from the public
speak at the last city board meeting. It seems that even the City
Attorney was agreeing with Keheley in attempting to further quash our
citizen's constitutional right to speak. We need to send a firm and
clear message to Keheley and our so-called city attorney to abide by the
constitution. It may take a civil rights case to convince them but to
do otherwise is to voluntarily give up our constitutional rights. Read
the proposed resolution below and come to your own conclusion as to whether
or not this is true socialism proposed for personal selfish reasons.
Besides the likelihood of being illegal, think of the logic involved.
For example, how brilliant is it to stop and take a vote of the board before
allowing a speaker an additional minute of time? Mayors are charged
with the responsibility to run meetings as they see fit. If those
intellectual stones sitting in the director's chairs don't realize this, we
need to turn them out to pasture, do we not? Let these people know
what you think. Tuesday night may just be our last chance.
CITY OF HOT SPRINGS AGENDA ITEM #16
BOARD ACTION REQUEST
6 X City Wide
April 28, 2011
Date Action Requested:
May 3, 2011
Type of Action Requested:
A RESOLUTION AMENDING THE
HOT SPRINGS BOARD OF
Consider adoption of resolution amended the procedural guidelines
for Hot Springs Board of Directors’ meetings.
This proposed resolution was prepared at the request a Director for
purpose of clarifying procedures followed by the Board during its
agenda meetings and business meetings. It is intended to supplement
the existing procedural guidelines adopted by Resolutions 5909 and
Approve any, all, or none of the sections contained within the
Prepared by: Approved by:
/s/Brian Albright _______________ __________________________________
Brian Albright, City Attorney Lance Hudnell, City Manager
S:\Word BOD\Barfs - 2011\Board Procedural Guidelines.wpd
RESOLUTION AMENDING THE HOT SPRINGS BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ PROCEDURAL
Resolution No. 5909, as amended by Resolution No. 6655, adopted certain
procedural guidelines concerning conduct of Board Meetings; and that
said guidelines should be revised to include additional guidelines.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
by the Board of Directors of the City of Hot
That Resolution No. 5909, as amended by Resolution No. 6655, is hereby
adding the following paragraphs:
K. GUEST SPEAKERS.
All guest speakers and/or citizens signed up to speak
regarding an agenda item will be limited to three (3) minutes for their
or comments regarding an agenda item. The presiding officer (Mayor) may
the speaker’s time for one (1) additional minute or longer with the
of Board quorum. Said time allowance may also be extended in order to
Board members’ questions or comments that are directed to said speaker or
L. EFFECT OF TABLE - LACK OF MOTION OR SECOND.
If an agenda item
is tabled or fails for lack of a motion or second, no discussion will be
the Board or members or the audience and the Board immediately proceeds to
next item on agenda.
M. AUDIENCE CONDUCT AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES.
At the beginning of
the regular meetings, the presiding officer (Mayor) will caution the
audience to not
make verbal outbursts, applause or any other disturbances to the order of
meeting. With the exception of the press and Hot Springs public safety
personal electronic devices are to be silenced during Board meetings.
N. AGENDA MEETING - NO DEBATE.
Citizen or audience comments will not be
allowed at Board agenda meetings. Furthermore, the purpose of an agenda
is not for debate, but rather to provide the Board with sufficient
City staff to determine whether or not an item will be placed on the
agenda for an
upcoming Board business meeting. Should the Board request additional
from City staff, it shall be included in the packet compiled for the
purpose of the
O. POINT OF ORDER.
If a Board member calls for point of order, all discussion will
cease until order is restored.
RUTH CARNEY, MAYOR
LANCE SPICER, CITY CLERK
S:\Word BOD\Resolutions - 2011\Board Procedure Rules.wpd
May 3, 2011
Director Wants to Further Limit Citizen's Right to Free Speech
From: Whoa -
Date: April 29, 2011
It appears that
one of the Hot Springs Board of Directors (she didn't attach her name) is
presenting a resolution to limit the citizen's right to free speech. If a
motion dies for lack of second, you can't speak although signed up. You
are not allowed to speak during agenda meetings. The audience is not
allowed to applaud, boo or (offer facial expressions?). (Boy she would
have been guilty several weeks ago when I spoke) The meeting will be May 3
@ 7pm. Oh, no electronic devices. Banned! This ought to take us back
several hundred years. Agenda item 16, last item on the list. I hope 300
people sign up to speak three minutes each. Bring your sleeping bag.
Let’s support our mayor.
Editors note: Her name is Keheley. We're not sure what her game is
but it appears to be to bring our new mayor down. Talk about jealousy.
Reader Apologizes for Being Part of Our Community
Date: April 20, 2011
I would like to take the time to thank Mayor Ruth Carney
and Director Peggy Maruthur for their consideration and compassion on the
issue last night (April 19, 2011). They showed true leadership in their
actions and words. This is an example of excellent management and what we
need in all levels of government.
At the same time I feel compelled to chastise Directors
Cynthia Keheley, Elaine Jones, Pat McCabe, Karen Garcia and Tom Daniel for
their collective and deliberate misuse of their position. There was a
time and place to voice their opinion of Blake Robertson in the executive
session away from public view. They choose however to drag their
objections onto a public forum by their words and lack of common
parliamentary courtesy. They have beyond a doubt crossed the line of
common decency and dignity bringing shame upon themselves and the
position entrusted them by the voters of Hot Springs. They owe Blake and
the community of Hot Springs a public apology. I am embarrassed to be
represented by these self-serving hypocrites of our society. This was a
violation of public trust and they deserve the humiliation of removal from
office. I had resolved to stay away from City Politics, but with this
disgustful display of teenage “Bullying”, I could not remain silent.
My apologies to Blake Robertson for my being a part of a community that
would stoop to such low levels for self gratification. Rest assured Blake,
you are a highly respected and appreciated member of this community. Your
appointed position would have served the community well. It is our loss.
Editors note: We all sort of owe Dr. Blake and apology for allowing
such people to even be in office. We understand this letter was also
sent to the Sentinel Record. Lots of luck getting it posted. It
is way too accurate.
Wants to Hear More About the Good Ol' Boys
From: DM -
Date: April 11, 2011
Are you guys asleep at the
wheel? Every good old boy (to use your term) in town showed up at the last
board meeting and you guys didn't report anything. There was even a blast
directed at one of your Tea Party candidates who had applied for the Civil
Service Board and your website said nothing about it. What gives? How can
we depend on you for the other side of the story as you recently reported
- I think - and not mention anything about the shenanigans of those you
love to talk about?
Editors note: Perhaps we have been "asleep at the wheel" but we
typically post and respond to letters and e-mails you, the public, send us
so email us as soon as you want to add something to the discussion page or
have a question. We do intend to begin posting more in our "News"
section as well as the "Commentary" section in the future. For your
information, no one here is a member of the Tea Party but we did note with
interest, the improper and brutal attack by some board members on a
candidate the Tea Party had endorsed. That seems to be their trend
nowadays, attack those conservative candidates who are beginning to take
control away from the Good Ol' Boys who have all but bankrupted our fine
city while praising those who take our tax money to advertise their
businesses. You do realize the A&P tax is the only tax in the state
that was approved without a vote of the people, right? Keep watching,
you will see better reporting of those "shenanigans" in the future.
What Is The Deal With Director Keheley?
From: Johnny -
not Hot Springs
Date: March 31, 2011
I used to live in Hot Springs and
still take the paper to keep up with whats going on with my friends. I
also read your websight
so I get both sides of what the paper is reporting and not reporting. I have
always thought your websight sort of tells the rest of the story as Paul
Harvey used to say. After reading the headlines today online I have become
more confused than ever. It was easy to see the 32,000 people reported at
that short little parade was not possible but I thought the mayor was
criticizing the A & P for not doing something right or promoting tourism
to much which don't make sense. After seeing what the mayor really said
and reading your websights take on it - it sure seems like a handfull of
burecrats and a couple of directors who were there when I lived in Hot
Springs really don't like the new mayor. What is the deal with that
Cynthia Keheley director? She seems to be really bitter and jealous of the
new mayor - why? She made a resolution to praise the A & P? What will that
do? Aren't resolutions used only for important things? It looks like
Keheley just wants to jump on and rub another lady's nose in it while she
is down. I can't see anything the mayor did that I wouldn't have done.
Tell me where I'm wrong.
Editors note: Unfortunately, we cannot say you are wrong. At a
time when we so desperately need changes in our great city, this obvious
clash over nothing begins. We think it may have occurred in order to
divert attention from the two city employees who wasted over $3 million of
the public's money and should have be fired. Some of the board and all
of the "good ol' boys" apparently don't want to lose these puppets.
You may not have noticed but if you read today's "Letters to the Editor" in
the Sentinel Record, you will see that even Mr. Sunshine himself over
at the local chamber is now hopping onto the pile of negative and
unwarranted criticism aimed at our new mayor but he does it in a sort of
putrid honey-coated manner. Since he also uses the 32,000 parade
attendees number, we have another organization who should lose credibility
relative to any future projections or number of jobs they bring to town.
Oh, sorry, they had already lost credibility for the latter item since he
refuses to make public how many firms he talks to, who they where, and how
many jobs he can document bringing to town. Yep, you are also likely
painfully correct in your assessment of Director Keheley. We have had
much difficulty in understanding why she has taken her bitter turn for the
worse but it is, unquestionably, far too obvious.
7,000 Attendees at St. Paddies Day Parade
Babba - Hot Springs
Date: March 29, 2011
I operate a business in Hot
Springs that is semi-tourist related so understand why you need to list me
as Alli Babba or something due to retribution from those running the A&P
commission. Don't say it doesn't happen we have seen it first-hand. We
were at the big "First Ever Eighth Annual Worlds Shortest Saint Patricks
Day Parade and Over-exaggerated Arrison Event" of whatever they called it
this year. There were lots of people there some of which were well on
their way to being inebriated but most of us were there just from
and hoping to meet some "star" we had never heard of. A business friend
tried to count the people because he thought there were more this year
than ever before. He used a similar method to what your site used
(see below) except it was based on a actual
count of people in a section across from us multiplied by the numbers of
such sections with people. Sure this was not totally accurate but it is
probably more accurate than anything anyone else did. His section had 200
people and he went back after the parade and found that there were no more
than 35 sections where people were. This means if people were packed at
the same density as his counted section - there were a maximum of 7,000
people at the parade. By the way - not all those people could see the
parade because there were too many to get close. We need a longer route if
we ever get more than 7,000 people there. Maybe some planning would be in
order. Have the shortest parade and then the biggest celebration over at
the transportation plaza? I'm just saying! Anyhow - how has Arrison gotten
to be the savior of Hot Springs. Perhaps one in a hundred real tourists to
our store say they were influenced to come to Hot Springs by any of the
millions of dollars of advertising our stores pay for. Yes - we do ask
what brings them to come to Hot Springs. I encourage other businesses
other than Oaklawn to ask their customers so we can find out how much good
the A&P really does.
Editors note: Well said Alli. We see the bottom line as being
"much ado about nothing." Yesterday's local talk radio blurb and
today's Sentinel Record editorial once again criticized our mayor for
daring to even question Mr. Arrison's guess of 32,000 attendees. The
newspaper even went so far as to describe a "visitor" for Pete's sake.
Their definition makes us locals, "visitors" to our own town. We
certainly agree with your assessment of 32,000 being an unrealistic number.
For the time being, however, we are going to just go with the one-million
(1,000,000) visitors that was listed in the post headline below.
A Million People Attended Hot Springs' St. Paddies Day Parade?
Depends Who You Ask
From: Barbara - Hot Springs
Date: March 26, 2011
Once again , my morning was
started on a irritating fact that people in this town can not deal with
reality, and everything said is "OK" if it is said by the business persons
or Mr. Arrison from the A&P Commission.
I agree with the mayor that
the majority of the people attending the parade are "locals" .
Additionally, those that know who the Grand Marshall was, and that a free
concert was being given, came to help everyone celebrate a fun event. It
is evident from the quotes in the paper that TRUTH has little to do with
advertising......just so the merchants make money....this takes us back to
why should locals permit the A&P to have our tax money and the Chamber to
be getting money from the city to carry on their normal duties?
I will still bet you that the
type of events at the convention center do not pay for the operation of
the center .I attended the day time March Madness games and there was not
a crowd at the games I was at. Yes, I know the businesses are glad to have
the additional income and care nothing about facts when reporting on the
size of the crowds in attendance. I imagine the convention center still
does not cover one million of their operation and that portion is paid
through the taxes collected on food, lodging, etc.,
I agree with the mayor in
requesting that some measure of accuracy be used and not just pulling a
number out of thin air to sound like a major event occurred. Facts and
honesty are not detrimental to the Tourist business nor will the reporting
of reasonable attendance numbers adversely impact attendance at future
Just an opinion....my day
would be much easier if I just no longer subscribed to the paper
Editors note: You are "right on" that the beginning of too many
recent days are frustrating and are tarnished by the all-too-obvious
vendetta that the local newspaper seems too have against our new mayor.
Both you and the mayor are also quite correct in stating that 32,000 people
were NOT at the St. Paddies Day parade. Heck, that would be pretty
much everybody in town. We did a bit of research to determine how many
people could fit in the space downtown attending a parade on a street that
boasts it is less than 100 feet long (thus, the shortest parade). We
discovered that police officials and others who needed accurate numbers for
the Pasadena, CA Rose Bowl Parade and for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day
Parade, two square foot per attendee was used if people were actually
touching each other. Using this as required space, 32 thousand parade
goers would need 64,000 square feet. This means the 100 foot parade
route would have to have 640 feet of depth or 320 feet behind the curb on
either side. Even if we consider the route to be "overflowing" and
stretching twice the distance of the parade route, there must be 160 wide
sidewalks on each side of the doubled route. Assuming we actually have
a more realistic 16 feet, this means the patrons would stretch 2,000 feet or
over 20 times the actual parade route length. Using more realistic
data such as those used for calculating attendees at Washington DC
inaugurations and developed at the University of California based on actual
students standing in grids, we discovered that a "loose crowd" is considered
as having one person per 10 square feet and a "tight" crowd consists of 4.5
square foot per person. Okay, this means the more typical "tight"
crowd would require 144,000 square feet. This means it would require a mile
long parade with people packed onto a sidewalk 27.27 feet deep. Think
about it, if you are traveling on Central Avenue, that is further than the
distance from Grand Avenue to Oaklawn Race Track. If we accept
inaccuracies this large, why not encourage our local "experts" (at picking
numbers) declare we had a Million People? Anyhow, it does sort of make
one question just how many tourists our A&P and chamber are really bringing
to town, does it not? Hey, a million is not that big any more
especially when it comes to our city administration spending our hard-earned
Leprechauns Lose $3 million at End of
Rainbow Lake Hamilton
Kudos Appreciated But Could Be Counter-Productive
To Town - Hot Springs
Date: March 19, 2011
staying with relatives while looking for a house to buy and were turned on
to you site by them. Because of the information we found on your site - we
have ruled out living in the city limits of Hot Springs and wanted to
thank you for the service you provide. This town is a mess but driving
through it one would not know it. Thanks again for letting us know while
we could still make a choice in where to live.
Editors note: While we always appreciate positive comments it was
never our intention to discourage people from moving to Hot Springs.
Actually, to the contrary, we would love to have new people move into town
and get involved as soon as possible. Having input from people who
have lived in "the real world" may well be our only hope for changing the
misguided mentality of the good ol' boys who have for decades, run our city.
Hypocrites at Sentinel
Record Print "Personal Politics"
Skallerup - Hot Springs
Date: March 11, 2011
The following is a
Letter to the Sentinel Record Editor, Melinda Gassaway, sent March 11, 2011
How can you sound the
klaxon for civility when The Sentinel Record submits “ Personal
Politics” as its’ editorial rubric and then attacks the residents of the
city and county for expressing, their concerns over the Jacob Consultants
work on the water intake issues on lower Lake Hamilton?
Citing those who question
the management of the project, both staff members and the consultants, as
“naysayers” is the epitome of a pejorative description of these citizens. It
certainly doesn’t ameliorate attitude, or promote cooperation.
Do you and your reporters
have prescience as in questioning the motives and/or the agenda of the TEA
Party and the Garland Good Government Group. If you do, you aren’t explicit
as to intent. You only posit that they have intentions to the detriment to
our city by innuendo.
You call on the business
and civic leaders to step forward to express concern. Do you mean the usual
allies you have as the Fifty for the Future, Chamber of Commerce and the A&P
Commission that you toady to? Maybe you can bring back the “Wanted
Posters,” Picketing of “Naysayer’s homes” and the “City Corp” you had in
1988 when you tried to put the muzzle on those you disagreed with. I’m sure
you must remember.
You had a suggestion at the
end of your diatribe which I would think you should follow or else continue
to be a hypocrite – “Stop the bludgeoning and get on with the work
to be done.”
Editors note: Correct-a-mundo Russ. One only has to "follow
the money." In this case, the advertiser's money to understand why Hot
Springs' news has always had that certain slanted flavor rather than
digging a bit for the truth.
Directors Acting More Like Slugs Than Responsible Public Servants
Exterminator - Hot Springs
Date: March 10, 2011
When one is
looking for an analogy for a spineless excuse for a city director the
first thought is a snake. But a snake actually has a spine, so it doesn’t
fit. The next substitute would be a slug. A slug moves so slow that it
can barely be perceived as moving, has no known value, and leaves a slimy
trail as its only clue that it ever existed. Not sure quite what they
feed on, they just seem to appear.
So be it with the
majority of the City Directors. Not quite sure who feeds them or what
they eat, but when it comes to functioning in the capacity of an Overseer
for the city protecting our money and looking out for the well being of
the community, a slug does a pretty good job of describing their
collective capabilities. Tuesday night was no exception. They gathered
around the round table and slimed out to decide the fate of the City
Manager and Deputy Manager after they blatantly wasted about $4,000,000 of
the tax payer’s money on a worthless project (Water Treatment Plant). One
can only surmise the motivation of our city’s management, but rest assured
that it wasn’t for the good of the community.
So as we watched
and waited for seemingly hours for the slugs to return we noticed that a
couple of directors were actually walking upright. However because of the
“No Action” decision, it is apparent that the two directors with two
backbones and four feet are unable to squash five slugs simultaneously
without falling prey to whatever fate awaits a vertebrate that steps on a
slug. I suggest that the community take
action and help the two Directors with Spines and gather up our salt
shakers and go to work on the slugs.
Editors note: From comments made prior to the executive meeting, we
assume the two directors with spines are the Mayor and Maruthur. You
are absolutely correct that we must support them and start the ball rolling
to expose (or salt) those other spineless wimps.
FBI Come to Town But Gets No Coverage
Rag Reader - Hot Springs
Date: March 10, 2011
All day Tues the
FBI and or other agents (23 in all) raided John Gibson’s Auto on Airport
Road. This took place after at least a week of surveillance headquartered
at the Airport Tower which allowed agents to observe the activities
there. Files were confiscated, no arrests were made. Rumor of money
laundering and tax evasion were mentioned on Channel Seven. The Local
Newspaper gave a whopping 1 inch, one column in yesterday’s paper. Me
smells a rat.
Today’s front page
is covered on if Mayor Ruth properly notified the press on FOIA for the
Makes you want to
go HMMMMM. What are our priorities? Proves that it pays to advertise.
Editors note: Hey, read the article below. Nothing happening
makes headlines. We couldn't even find the newsworthy one inch you
told us about. It must have been buried somewhere on page 17b.
City Board Executive Session Gives Hope For Future Action
From: Readers - Hot Springs
Date: March 10, 2011
We agree with George's view
(March 3, 2011 below)
that someone in city management has to go some of our city employees are
too incompetent for their losing over $3,000,000 of our money to go
unpunished. We know an executive meeting of the city board was held but
the paper says "no action was taken." We could not believe the paper used
that as a front page headline today. Isn't that the same as a headline
saying, "nothing happened"? What kind of headline is that? Where is the
news value in no action or nothing happening for Petes sake? We hope the
no action means something will happen later. What do you people think?
Editors note: We think you have the wrong view concerning the no
action in the "executive session." It appears that there was a vote of
confidence in the executive session which makes us seriously wonder where
our city directors have been. Obviously, they had their heads in the
same sand along with the city manager and his assistant. These guys
were obviously ill-equipped to handle a project of this magnitude or, as
many have put it, they were in way over their heads. You are
completely correct that articles reporting "no action" or "nothing happened"
are hardly worthy of being headline stories. Sometimes, one is forced
to ponder the credibility of our local "investigative reporting." Do
you ever recall the same reporters reporting that our city was spending
approximately a quarter of a million dollars a month (for a year) designing
a water plant the city staff knew could never be constructed? We
suppose that story was not as newsworthy as nothing happening.
Do We Get Our $4 Million Back Or Will Heads Roll?
From: Anonymous - Hot Springs
Date: March 9, 2011
I read with interest today's letter to the editor in the Sentinel Record
and agree almost totally with the writers opinions. He did miss the fact
that one city director, Maruthur, although voting to hire Carter Burgess
complained loudly that the city staff has not kept the board informed
about how they were wastefully spending so much of our money when they
knew the $3.2 million study was flawed and the water plant design was for
a plant that could never be built. I know the board acted to terminate
Jacobs but are any other actions going to be taken to get our money back
or discipline the city employees who allowed or maybe even encouraged
almost $4 million of our money to be wasted? This fiasco cost every man,
woman and child in our town of 36,000 over $111 each. If we consider just
the taxpayers of our city, the cost is over $250 per taxpayer. I say we
need to either sue to get our money back or fire all those with the city
who are responsible. I assume those to be mostly the city manager and the
city engineer or whatever Mallett is calling himself these days. $4
million should be enough to make sure that heads should roll. Sign me
anonymous because I am a local businessperson who still doesn't trust some
of the vindictive people on the board and city staff.
Editors note: You apparently are not aware of last evening's special
city board meeting. The meeting was announced as a "special board
meeting" to consider disciplinary action for the city manager. After
the special meeting, it was announced that no action will be taken which
appears to mean that the board considered the actions of the city manager to
be appropriate even though he had publicly stated that he "took full
responsibility." In other words, it is perfectly okay for those
responsible to waste $3 or $4 million of our hard earned money. With
this attitude and mentality of city board members, we need to take harder
looks are whether they should remain as our representatives. Are you
guys over at the 4 Gs listening and can you still spell "recall"?
City Managers Don't Last Long in Hot Springs
From: Another Observer- Hot Springs
Date: March 8 13, 2011
City managers sure don't last long in
Hot Springs. We think this may be cause they have to serve the good old
boys and the citizens don't like it. Whenever they start spending millions
of our tax dollars for city halls, unnecessary travel, and unneeded
studies for water plants they know can't be built, it is time to get rid
of them including the deputy city manager this time. It is interesting
that our former city manger who trained our present city manager is again
unhappy with the people he works with up in Washington state.
He applied for the city manager job in
Corpus Christi, Texas but didn't make the top six cut to be interviewed.
We suppose they did a little searching to find out how well he did in Hot
Springs. Don't you suppose or do you know?
Editors note: We're not in a position to say what Corpus found.
We were sent a link to an article talking about Myers' desire to leave his
which can be seen by clicking here. Note the interesting comments
following the article. We wonder how such a negative opinion of Hot
Springs was developed. Could it be our former city manager is talking
bad about us?
City Government - "A Ship of Fools"
From: JJ - Hot Springs
Date: March 5, 2011
I have followed this
for the last several days, until my gag reflex was triggered each day. I
am sure that there is enough blame to go around; however, one cannot get
enough credible information through the media to make informed opinions.
So one resorts to experience.
From where I sit, more incompetence than competence resides is all corners
of the multicornered maze. City council, city management, state
bureaucracy, contractors, and media. In that order. Unfortunately, when
persons are elected, intellect and integrity is not always in place but
the elected assume they have been anointed via election. More unfortunate
than that is that there is no cure. The old Persian proverb partially
states, "He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool." I
think the city government is a ship of fools. If I could go back 10
years, I would steer my ship away from Hot Springs and possibly Arkansas.
Sour Grapes? Absolutely.
More later. I bet you can't wait.
Editors note: No, keep those emails and letters coming, especially
when they are as accurate as yours.
Nothing Has Changed - Get Rid of the Problems, Lance and Steve
Date: March 4, 2011
REF: Last night's Special Meeting at the Hot Springs Board
of Directors. They fired Jacobs Engineering as a result of the wasting of
$4 million study of Fresh Water Treatment. BUT they did nothing to the
people who knew money was being wasted for the past 4 years, Lance and
Not only that but they expect Lance to assist in the financial audit over
the entire matter. NOTHING HAS CHANGED!!!!! The only people that could
have prevented this was Lance and Steve and they are still in charge.
Although Jacobs needed a good firing, it was LANCE AND STEVE that directed
them in spite of repeated warnings from the Arkansas Health Dept and
numerous concerns from the public. Now they want to use an internal
project engineer to oversee the project. We've been there, IT DOESN'T
We have to ask, "WHAT WAS THE TRUE AGENDA OF LANCE AND STEVE. Let finish
the job and get rid of all the causes of the problem not just the end
Editors note: Hey, we agree.
In fact, so does the writer below. Half the town has said they have to go
but they appear not to have gotten the message. Do you suppose they could
possibly think that $4 million of our money wasted is not sufficient
reason for them to leave? Thanks for the photo. We saw it on Facebook
and a couple of other places.
Someone In City Management Has to Go
R. Pritchett - Hot Springs
Date: March 3, 2011
Someone in city management has to go, the
board and the citizens cannot allow this debacle to leave city management
unchanged. Too little information, too many inconsistencies, to much
weaving and bobbing,
much money wasted, etc. to go unnoticed and
The public has lost confidence in city
management. I would say the same thing about the city board if much of
the public outcry hadn't surfaced since the November elections, so instead
I offer the public is watching closely to determine if the current board
regains control of city management. I wonder what the outcome of an
"executive session" today would be in reference to our two most prominent
city staff, city manager and assistant city manager. I seriously doubt it
would be an overwhelming vote of confidence.
Jacobs should be permanently removed from
our vendor list and Brian Albright should look closely at the terms and
conditions of the contract/s and their performance and determine if we
have a possibility of recovering some of our expenditures from them
through a court action.
I am concerned about where the money will
come from to hire another firm and I don't think we need to act
immediately. I suggest a twelve to eighteen month suspension of this
activity beyond continuing our efforts to get more water from Ouachita
would be a good idea.
Minimally we should delay hiring another
firm or staff person until 2012. The funds to hire another firm or staff
person should should be a part of the 2012 budget.
Editors note: You are totally correct about the "bobbing and weaving."
These dudes are just buying time hoping their gross negligence will be
forgotten. We hope the public won't let that happen. The city
manager is well past the time he needed to retire and we certainly hope he
will opt to do so rather than wait for the alternative. The deputy
city manager appears to have been just too stubborn and incompetent.
Hopefully, he will seek other employment rather than have a very well
publicized termination to place on his resume'. You are correct that
the board needs to "take control" to protect the public's money and proceed
City Manager Wants to Waste Another $4 Million?
From: TD - Hot Springs
Date: March 2, 2011
I am not sure this really happened or
it was just a horrible nightmare but this headline was on my computer
when I woke up this morning. Say it ain't so.
Editors note: We certainly hope it is a bad dream but, apparently,
one option still being considered is for the city to appeal or, basically,
sue the state. It won't be the first time they have used our
hard-earned local tax money to fight against our hard-earned state tax
money. It's past time we retire those who think that way, is it not?
"Arrogant Arrison" Strikes Again - Makes City (or State?) Proclamation
From: Observer- Hot Springs
Date: February 13, 2011
Just wanted your
take on what today's paper said Arrogant Arrison did. Tell us didn't
really proclaim yesterday to be Mrs. Arkansas America Day.
Does he have some kind of elected office or appointment we don't know
about? How can the head of a city department make such declarations or
proclamations or whatever the hell he did? What do you know we don't.
Editors note: We know of no special powers other than those within
his own mind. Why don't you ask him how important he is and then
compare it with his real authority. Big difference?
Mayor Responds to Fiasco Involving Intimidation of "Spineless Directors"
Signed- Hot Springs
Date: February 13, 2011
Did you see the Mayor's editorial in
today's newspaper? She and Maruthur appear to be the only ones that get
it. Some citizens of director Jones district 2 feel they are ENTITLED to
a permanent seat on the A&P governing board. We cannot help but ask HOW
MUCH MONEY DID THEY CONTRIBUTE to the building of the multimillion
dollar convention center which greatly increased their property values?
We would surmise that it was a very very small portion of the money when
compared to ANY other district in town. This mindset of entitlements has
gotten out of control and those of us who work hard and don't complain
very much about how our taxes are spent are paying those entitlements. I
have heard the A&P tax is the ONLY tax we taxpayers never got to vote
on. This is not right but to have a small handful of loud citizens scare
and totally intimidate the spineless directors into voting for their
unfair entitlement is simply WRONG -WRONG-WRONG!!!!
Another e-mail on the same date follows:
You need to read the editorial in the
Senile Record today by Ruth Carney! She really nailed it !!!!!!
Editors note: We certainly saw the editorial and agree with most all of
your comments. We do have good reason to believe though, that well
placed individuals at the A&P Commission and the local chamber instigated
much of the uproar at the last meeting. Many have suggested that
Director Jones can and is being manipulated by these individuals into doing
whatever these individuals please with our tax dollars. You are
correct that the A&P tax was never voted on by any Arkansas citizen and our
tax dollars appear to be spent with little or no regard to the tough
economic times the rest of us have to endure. Yep, they are out
spending big money on hot-air balloons, consultants, and attorneys while the
poor city employees are seeing pay and benefit cuts. You need to know
that 2 bills are being introduced to correct the improper Arkansas
legislative action which did not allow the public to vote for the A&P tax
and one bill would provide for a public vote each 4 years to continue or
discontinue the tax. We already know that the Arkansas Municipal
League will strongly oppose these bills. In fact, this group (of which
Hot Springs is a strong member) is nothing more than a lobbyist group which
last session fought to have the 3 cent hamburger tax raised to 4 cents.
Check it out and call or e-mail your state legislators. The bills
are SB 180 sponsored by Sen Johnny Key of Mountain Home and SB 212 sponsored
by Sen Jonathan Dismang of Beebe. SB 180 would change the law by
requiring an election by the people to implement hospitality (A&P)
taxes. SB 212 would require a renewal vote by the people to
continue hospitality taxes every 4 years. These are both Senate
bills but it wouldn't hurt to also contact your House Representative.
District 24 representative 24 Rephan or
Cozart are yet to be elected.
A&P "Hamburger Tax" Facts From Recent Years
From: Barbara- Hot Springs
Date: February 9, 2011
As I read letters, and the "Opinion "
section of the Sentinel Record , the comments are indicative of often
expressed exasperation with the hamburger tax, which was also brought up
at the city BOD meeting a week ago .
I cannot help but reflect on our efforts to
offer the residents of Hot Springs a vote on this "Hamburger Tax " several
years ago. Many citizens never knew we had enough signatures to get on the
ballot for November, had our efforts been allowed a opportunity to see the
light of day. The signature count being stopped shortly after we turned in
SOME of the sheets for verification of voters status prevented all but the
canvassers from knowing how many city residents wanted the right to vote
on the reduction in the tax.
Maybe the people talking and writing today
do not realize that in the past the folks voted for the 1.2 million museum
bond which effectively "locked in" the 3% "Hamburger Tax " for the next 10
years................well, the 10 years should bring a whole new group to
the front in an effort to reduce taxes ,and I hope to have the privilege
of canvassing (again!) for the signatures to qualify for a ballot
position. Congratulations again to all of you that helped to collect over
2400 signatures! You are phenomenal folks.
With admiration: Barbara
Editors note: Isn't it interesting how well the local A&P have set
themselves up so that they will be immune to the proposed Arkansas
legislation that would give city residents a chance to vote every 4 years as
to weather or not they wish to continue taxing themselves? Most
citizens likely thought the folks at the A&P actually cared about the Mid
America Science Museum even after they tried to sell it for a tenth it's
value to NPCC. Hopefully, residents may now finally recognize
opportunists for what they really are.
Different Take on Disgusting Board Meeting
From: BJ- Hot Springs
Date: February 4, 2011
We read your post
dated Feb 3 and have a different take. We also watched the city
board telecast and agree it was bad but not disgusting. Elaine Jones is
the person who got those people to show up and claim they owned a place on
the A & P board because some long ago city director said they could have
that place. First no single director has that kind of power do they?
Second we agree that the entire city should be represented if not all at
once at least on a rotating basis. How dare any person like Jones think
they own such a seat? What has Jones ever contributed to the board either
city or A & P? We found out more details about how many places she has
visited at taxpayer expense and used her city cell phone for personal
calls and had an expensive birthday party at the taxpayers expense. Let us
know if you want the info. What is the deal with the photo of Jones and
McCabe. They are not real are they? Don't forget all the wimps who voted
with Jones and McCabe. Kehely and Daniels are as bad as any directors I
can remember. Very conniving.
Editors note: Yes, indeed. Please sent us any documentation
you have. We are in the process of trying to confirm some of the
issues and excuses we received as we remain quite skeptical. We don't
have any answers as to what Director Jones has or has not contributed but we
are aware of what we term as "abuses" of our tax money. Yep, Jones and
McCabe are real people and serve as somebody's representatives on our city
board. While we agree with your "wimp" characterization, we think
directors Keheley and Daniel deserve further observation.
Disgusting Board Meeting
From: Observer- Hot Springs
Date: February 3, 2011
Watched the city
board on tv last night - it was disgusting. How can any group say they own
a seat on any board. The thing started out like it was divided on racial
lines but ended up looking like a handfull of important people at the
chamber and A&P put those folks up to it. Those important people sit there
in their suits looking smug while their pawns made all the noise. Either
the directors were intimidated, had already cut a deal or were just a
bunch of of wusses without the gonads to make logical decisions. What is
Editors note: Not much different from yours. Hey, if they own
the entity due to it's location, let the Chamber, A&P, and District 2 have
all the seats and let them pay for all the funding of the millions
of dollars the A&P spends plus the Convention Center operations.
Don't you suppose they would bring even more tourists to town? At
least those districts who are not entitled to equal representation would
save three percent on every meal they eat or prepared grocery item they
Directors Have a Long History of Travel Abuses
- Hot Springs
Date: January 22, 2011
photo was taken from a post on your website dated April 12, 2008. We
thought we had heard of this travel issue before and sure enough, it was
still on your website. The article from then pointed out that Hot Springs
had 6 representatives while the rest of the entire state of Arkansas had
only 24. Yes we sent Bush, Daniel, Smith, Jones, Weatherford, and Kent
Myers. Hopefully the mentality of our directors has changed. Bless
Director Garcia for taking a stance against this waste of our tax money.
Editors note: Thanks for the reminder. The photo you sent can
also still be seen on the cover of City and Town, the official
publication of the Arkansas Municipal League by
here. This certainly does document that we have had more than
our share of "Freeloaders" when it comes to travel. One or two
representatives from Hot Springs is sufficient. Heck, most cities in
Arkansas didn't even have a representative in the photo. Wonder if
those cities got no federal funds or if we have just been misled for
years. Methinks perhaps, some former directors plus current
directors McCabe and Jones still think we owe them a taxpayer funded
out-of-town party every couple of months. Congratulate those other 5
directors whose vote said "enough is enough." Oh, you may also want
to tell director McCabe what you think of his, "It's a sad day in Hot
Springs" comment following his and Jones vote to keep sending 5 directors
GCEDC and Taxpayer Money Used for a Scam?
- Hot Springs
Date: January 16, 2011
Our school board
(the ones that are still in office) let this happen (see Jan 15
post below) with NOTHING in the minutes
about it. You should read EVERY line
(of the legislative audit)
the whole story, now this guy
is up for Arkansas Business of the Year! AND... is any of the Garland
County Economic Development money or Chamber of Commerce money going to
this company??? That's why we need an accounting of the GCEDC. In my
opinion.. this was school district (TAXPAYER) money used to start up this
company and the HSSD superintendent resigned quietly when it all got
turned in by the state to the legislative auditors. Mrs. Craft, I think,
was assistant superintendent, so she and all the current school board
members (maybe besides Reese) was right there in the middle of it.
Click here for the Arkansas Leglislative
Audit on TLI, Hot Springs School District, and other entities.
Editors note: You are soooo right on this. With most
everyone's attention fixed on the self-serving dealings of the city and
double-dipping in the county, it is easy to overlook what is going on with
our school boards. Someone should, indeed, be held accountable.
It appears that the GCEDC and Chamber of Commerce (is there a difference?)
is supporting the very type activities the Arkansas Legislative Audit
found, at the least, to be inappropriate and perhaps a violation of ethics
and laws. It sure smells like a scam. See if you can find an
attorney in this town that would actually take the case or any other case
against these "good ol' boys." Lots of luck!
Directors to Spend $10,000+ Tax Money Traveling To DC During "Cherry
- Hot Springs
Date: January 16, 2011
Below is my letter to the editor (Sentinel
Record and Hot Springs Talk). I
know it's short notice, but I believe this is an issue of significant
importance that will resonate with your paper's readership.
On Tuesday, the Hot Springs City Directors will
consider a request to spend over $10,000 in taxpayer money to send five
of our City Directors to Washington, D.C. in mid-March. No doubt this is
just a coincidence, but mid-March is considered the start of Washington’s
tourist season and is when the city’s famous cherry trees begin to
As justification for this taxpayer-funded
mini-vacation, we’re told that our City Directors will use "...the
opportunity to meet one-on-one with our Congressional representatives, as
well as representatives from federal agencies... [and obtain] updated
information on the status of federal funds...." Traveling to Washington to
meet federal officials might have been appropriate in the age of the horse
and buggy; today it’s a wasteful extravagance.
Apparently our City Directors are unaware that our
Congressman, Mike Ross, has an office within walking distance of City
Hall--how else to explain their insistence on traveling some 1,000 miles
to meet Mr. Ross in Washington (all at taxpayer expense)? And contacting
Senators Pryor and Boozeman couldn’t be easier; their office addresses,
phone numbers and email information is readily available on the internet;
and the same is true of federal officials.
Hot Springs has many pressing needs. One of our fire
stations is, according to a city report, structurally deplorable. City
streets are potmarked and crumbling. Police cars are being pressed into
service well-past their useful life. The jail has become a revolving door
dumping offenders back on our streets every day. The city’s unfunded
pension liability runs into the millions of dollars. Yet despite these
pressing needs, our City Directors are considering a proposal to spend
nearly $11,000 in taxpayer money on a four-day "meet-and-greet" junket in
Admittedly the money saved by canceling this trip
will not solve Hot Springs’ financial problems. It will not pay for a new
fire station. It’s not even enough to buy a single new police car. But
canceling the trip and banking the savings will send an important message
to all the residents of Hot Springs: that our City Directors are careful
and responsible stewards of the public purse.
I can only hope that our City Directors will act
responsibly. Public service means putting the public interest first and
foremost. In a few months, our City Directors will most likely ask the
voters to approve a sale tax increase to pay for a new jail. Voters will
approve such a proposal only if they know their elected officials are
- Same Date
I, like many others, have
a cold and I will not be attending the city board meeting tomorrow night.
I understand the agenda
item calls for about everyone (but Maruther and McCabe) to "go to
Washington" for a city taxpayer conference. Naturally, I am opposed to the
$10,000.00 cost. They can SKYPE a talk with our representatives, or meet
them in person when they are in town, as their chance of having anyone's
attention at a conference of this size are nil. Once again, spend, spend,
spend even with all the federally mandated ,and unfunded (EPA) projects
that are always being scheduled and there is so little control over at
Editors note: We agree that the cost is expensive and unnecessary to
send 5 city board members. However, this particular trip just prior to
the legislators getting all their "pork" funds for local projects does
typically pay for itself several times over. Our recommendation is to
send the new board member and new mayor because they need to know what goes
on during this time in DC. It would be a good idea to send one member
that has been there and knows their way around such as Director Keheley.
To also send Jones and Daniel is just wasteful. For example, Director
Jones spent hundreds of taxpayer dollars during her last trip on cell phones
calls to her friends and relatives that certainly did not benefit any Hot
Sentinel Record Story About Joel Rush and TLI Questioned
- Hot Springs
Date: January 15, 2011
Subject: Today's S/R story about Joel Rush
Anyone is reads the attached PDF (Click
here for the Arkansas Leglislative Audit on TLI, Hot Springs School
District, and other entities)
should be able to fill in the blanks (only had 2 weeks to find a new
place, grew too big for the school district) in the Sentinel Record news
story which features The Learning Institute and Mr. Byerly. I have no idea
how to contact Mr. Byerly, but someone who does is welcome to send him a
copy of this PDF before he goes too far out on a limb for Joel Rush and
Adams with this "Arkansas Business of the Year" stuff.
Is Garland County Eco Dev money being spent
on this business? This is why people want an accounting and we're told
that it's "confidential".
Was this story, when it happened, in the local
news or did everyone just quietly go about their business (no one was
prosecuted?, no ethics charges filed?, was tax payer money returned?, ALL
OF IT, or just the part the state could prove?)
If you read every page of this investigation
you will understand what happened. If you skim it, you won't. Pay close
attention to the "Restricted" funds. Funds that were to be used for
children living in poverty in the HSSD (Title 1) and the National School
Lunch Program. The lawyer for the district is the same I believe, all the
players are the same other than Rowe retired and everyone moved up the
Arkansas Business of the YEAR, RIGHT!
Editors note: It appears that no legal action has been taken, no
ethics charges filed, etc. However, the public deserves such actions
if for no other reason than knowing that their tax dollars were spent
properly. The legislative audit you attached certainly suggests that
the entire operation was as scam. To have the superintendent and HSSD
employees traveling to other states at taxpayer expense trying to sell
property that HSSD owns for their own personal benefit does not sound very
legal. If Mr. Rush maintained and used HSSD credit cards and a
district cell phone even though he was not a HSSD employee or
representative, this should absolutely be illegal and should be prosecuted.
Police Chief Not Part of the "Good ol' Boy" System
- Hot Springs
Date: January 9, 2011
way wrong in your opinion of Mike McCormick. I usually agree with most comments
on your web page but Bob D and the editor don't know Mike or they would not think
he is one of what you call good old boys. Mike is a good man with morals
and values. He is not part of the system. Look at the letters to the
editor in the Sentinel Record and see what people think of him. I hope you
change your opinion and give Make the break he has worked for and deserves.
Editors note: You obviously have misinterpreted the post (below)
because we saw no place where anyone said the interim chief was not a good
guy. In fact, we think he is a great guy. The primary problem
listed was with the city manager's trying to make the selection process
appear as something it is not. Attempts were also made to demonstrate
that the process was quite poor and that, given our current crime problem,
we need a chief from the outside that has proven he/she knows how to reduce
crime. We don't need someone who is part of the police force that got
us recognized as the "most dangerous city in the U.S. Your reference
to "letters to the editor" are interesting especially in view of the fact
that the interim chief's application had more pages of reference letters
than pages of qualifications and accomplishments. We need to get past
giving "breaks" to deserving people and consider what Hot Springs needs in
order to reduce crime.
New Police Chief Selection Nothing More Than a Snow Job by City Manager
From: Bob D
- Hot Springs
Date: January 9, 2011
In spite of the fact that Hot
Springs has a documented record of being one of the "top ten" WORST
communities in the country based on FBI crime statistics,
we have been forced to stand on the sidelines and
watch the smoke screen put up by the city manager in his determination to
satisfy the good ol' boys and the police department's internal clique for
a couple of months. It is time to restate what has already been
mentioned in numerous previous posts such as those of December 15,
December 21 plus November 27, and a couple of others
Yep, it appears that the
selection of the local acting chief, Mike McCormick will be announced any
day now. Of course, as was reported, the total waste of our taxpayer
money spent to bring candidates to town who weren't really going to be
considered could and should have been avoided. The public needs to
know that the other two "finalists" appear to have been selected solely
because they were two candidates that did not have much better credentials
than the acting chief. This fact would make the city manager look
like he made a good selection even though none of the final three
candidates have a record of reducing crime anywhere. The public also
needs to know that several really good people applied for the job.
Not all sixty-five applicants were well qualified but many were better
qualified and their resumes were not even provided to the city manager's
personally appointed "ad-hoc" selection committee. For example, one
extremely well qualified individual that didn't even make the city
manager's "top twenty" list has the following achievements and
accomplishments listed on his application.
Directed a staff of 925 police
officers and 150 civilian staff.
2) Managed agencies where
special emphasis was promoting teamwork and developing innovative crime
prevention and policing programs that reduced crime.
3) Chief of a force that implemented
community policing and anti-crime plans that reduced crime by 40%.
4) Served as criminal justice advisor
to the Governor of New Jersey.
5) Recognized for implementing numerous
anti-crime programs that reduced crime and saved money.
6) Managed policing, security, and
emergency management for events of over 100,000.
7) Honored for expanding policing and
community betterment projects including over 40 honors and awards
including New Jersey State Senate Public Service Award, heroism during
terrorist attack in NYC, and Appreciation Award from FBI Director Louis
8) Nationally recognized expert who
presented testimony to United States Congress and NJ Commission.
9) Lead Representative for US State
Department for overseas police training mission on modern policing.
10) Appear and consult to radio and
television programs including Fox News, Court TV, Rita Cosby, America's
Most Wanted, CNN, Good Morning America, etc.
11) Published a model training course
on Ethnic and Cultural Awareness for Police Officers.
12) Implemented Crime Prevention
Through Environmental Design (CPTED) programs.
13) Lecturer at numerous state-wide
conferences on police practices and management (including Arkansas).
14) Guest lecturer on contemporary
policing, organized crime, physical security, Homeland Security issues.
15) Published Author: Law and Order,
POLICE, Law Enforcement Technology, Readers Digest, etc.
Yes, this applicant literally wrote the
books on police management, modern police technology, and crime plus has
successfully obtained millions in grants yet he didn't even make the cut
to the 20 best applicants. In fact, he didn't even get a call from
our city manager. Don't we deserve to know why?
Editors note: We do deserve to know why. We know from the
ad-hoc committee meetings that the committee was not told of the above
individual. We noted that the list above is not complete and is
paraphrased but the complete resume can be seen by
clicking here. We also
know that what appeared to be the committee and city manager's top criteria
was "Arkansas ties." We know that a GGGG member pointed out to the
committee that his group had presented a resolution which basically stated
that the only criteria they recommended was that the new chief have a proven
documented "record of reducing crime." It bears repeating that the 3
finalists did not have such a record and we cannot help but wonder why that
is not important given the "out-of-control" crime we have in Hot Springs.
We do, indeed, deserve to know why "Arkansas ties" are more important than
the proven ability to reduce crime. Do not let this question go
unanswered. Having improper priorities could cost us our property,
safety, and welfare.
Volunteer Boards and Commissions Worthless or Changing?
- Hot Springs
Date: January 7, 2011
At the last Board meeting the City Manager asked for people
to volunteer to be on a city commission . I looked at the various
positions and then read the application for the volunteer to complete. I
find it amusing that the Board wants extensive information about
individuals (serving as volunteers) but there is none of this provided
about the Board members regarding their educational levels or
I remember a local woman, FEMA qualified to do appraisals and write the
authorizations, being turned down for the Planning Commission even though
she applied twice!!!! I always figured she was refused because she knew
the City Code much better than the people working in the department. And
then you have our very bright Kathy Sellman that must get very tired (as
the qualified professional ) of having Board members overturn the
Last year the group of Board members in office listed CODE
ENFORCEMENT as the LAST priority of things to achieve!!!!!!!! Now I
ask you, could there be a correlation between the purchase of property in
the county, in gated POA controlled subdivisions, to the run-down place
the majority of this city has been allowed to turn into without
enforcement???? When people see the condition of our streets they are
shocked. The street I live on has been paved ONCE when the owners of
property paved it. Eventually, it was brought into the city and that was
the final blow....45 years of no paving. The major streets look like a war
zone (Albert Pike from beginning to the end), Ouachita is coming along
,but would never convince anyone to want to have a store front on this
street. Then look at the residential streets, and the city violations of
property not maintained to standards, and I can only say "keep it up,
fools". The Board has denied Kathy the reason she is here and paid to make
The favoritism means there will never be an agreed
to operating procedure, or zoning regulations that are followed, because
of the exceptions allowed by the majority of the Board. I am not a
head-banger. I need to see some concerted effort around here to even
consider the request of the City Manager.
On the previous reply I made concerning reviewing the
commission and boards that volunteers are needed for in the city....
Do you remember when the Board FIRED THE VOLUNTEERS, and re-interviewed
those stupid enough to reapply to see if they suited enough Board members
to be reappointed to the commission they were on??????? Amazing!! All to
get rid of people they did not want in service. I can be of much better
service in my current volunteer work where I am active in two political
groups I am with!
Editors note: The primary question the last city board omitted but
apparently, always gets asked is, "how loyal will you be to the good ol'
boys?" Hopefully, the new city board will operate differently.
We certainly encourage all non-establishment citizens to apply.
Otherwise, we could well end up with all the boards and commissions again
comprised of nothing but more good ol' boys.
GCEDC Did Not Account for Tax Money They Took From the City
- Hot Springs
Date: December 26, 2010
I was one of those who spoke out against public funding of
the Garland County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) at the
December 22, 2010 Board of Directors meeting. Let me assure the citizens
of Hot Springs that the comments made there were just the first salvo
fired. I, as an individual, plan on continuing an investigation into the
activities and finances of this redundant, secretive organization.
First of all, I would like to reiterate that in all of the
cities that I have lived and worked in, Hot Springs is the only one that
feels as if it needs an economic development corporation to bring business
into the city or surrounding area. Typically, these functions are
performed by business and civic leaders.
Secondly, the annual report for 2009 that I obtained from
the City Clerk's office shortly before the meeting began was little more
than propaganda. What sort of City Manager or City Board allows someone
who is accountable to them not to account for tax dollars spent? That
report did not contain a single item regarding where our money went. How
much went to salaries and administrative costs for David Byerly and crew?
How much was invested in attempting to bring new business to Hot Springs?
If the GCEDC or City of Hot Springs is not willing to be forthcoming with
this information, a Freedom of Information Act request will have to do it.
The GCEDC claims to have assisted companies in retaining
jobs. Funny, if you ask some of the management teams of the companies that
they allegedly assisted, they will tell you that it was the company's hard
work that kept those jobs here.
During my comments, I directed several comments to Director
Pat McCabe. This was done purposefully. Director McCabe has been one of
the chief drumbeaters during the budget process for funding the economic
development corporation. Yet during the recent campaign, he continually
lambasted his opponent for his business connections with the city of
Malvern and Hot Spring County. Was Director McCabe unaware of the deal
signed between the GCEDC and it's counterpart in Hot Spring County? His
opponent, Dr. Blake Robertson, was certainly aware of it, since the plan
had been in the works for months. Dave Byerly, in a front page Sentinel
Record story, proudly declared that there are "no boundaries" between
Garland and Hot Spring counties when it comes to economic development. Did
Director McCabe berate David Byerly for his regional stance on economic
development? Obviously not, since his support of our tax dollars being
spent to support Byerly's ambitions wasn't affected. Was Mr. McCabe
oblivious to reality during the campaign, or just pulling a typical
political stunt by telling only part of the story?
Hot Springs has enough promotion without allowing the GCEDC
to take our tax dollars and waste them on redundant, double-dipping
programs that should be performed by the Chamber of Commerce in the first
place. The city and county can't afford it and don't need it.
As I said at the onset, this story is just
beginning. Updates of the continuing investigation of the Chamber of
Commerce and Garland County Economic Development Corporation that you will
not see in the local newspaper will be submitted to Hot Springs Talk.
Editors note: Thanks Brian. We will look forward to your continued
reports. As to the comments of Director McCabe during the election
compared to what he now says: Why would you expect him not to be the
hypocrite he has proven to be? See what was said about McCabe on the
October 13, 2010 and October 31, 2010 posts shown below. Another point
made at the December 22 board meeting was that the city should be bidding
this work out if it is truly needed. It appears there may be some real
CEDs (Certified Economic Developers) in the area that actually know how to
attract business and even know how to write a comprehensive Annual Report.
Again, the reader can click
here to see what the GCEDC submitted and the city manager accepted as
proper accounting for the some $140,000 of tax money they took from the
GCEDC Accounting Questioned
of Hot Springs
- Hot Springs
Date: December 24, 2010
watched the city board meeting that appeared to be a rebroadcast of the
last meeting and saw where some people spoke against giving city tax money
to the GCEDC. After finding out what the GCEDC was we agree with those who
spoke against the money being given to the Garland County Economic
Development Corporation. We found the CEO and president was a man named
Dave Byerly. This is the same person who is CEO and president of the
Greater Hot Springs Chamber. We know that chambers sometimes help
bring businesses to towns but always thought this was done so they could
add to the chamber membership. It is unusual to see a chamber CEO
also set up an economic development group. It seems he may be trying to
use his position with the chamber to make more money for himself. Do you
know if this could be correct? We would appreciate any other information
you may have. Do you know who the people were who spoke against giving the
GCEDC tax money? We would like to talk to them. You can give them our
Email address but do not put it on your site. Sign us as citizens of Hot
Editors note: We were beginning to think no one cared if the city
paid tax-money to the local chamber exec. Yes, your assumptions appear
to be correct and the CEO you mention does head both organizations plus the
city usually gives him even more than the $115,000 of our tax money approved
as one request last Tuesday. He also received money for the GCEDC 's
"Retirement Relocation Program" and for another item simply titled,
"Services." See the meeting agenda items 16, 17, and 18 for the city
board meeting of December 21, 2010 at
www.cityhs.net/about-hs-boards-agenda-archive.html . In the
interest of demonstrating the total lack of accountability accepted by the
city for the some $140,000 they paid the GCEDC last year,
click here to see the city's
acceptance and the "Annual Report" GCEDC provided to the city.
Yes, there is no mention of what the money was spent for or how much was
received. We don't know how they could call it an annual report
without that information or how the city could accept such a lack of
Today's Headlines Termed "Rambling" With No News Content
- Hot Springs
Date: December 23, 2010
of today's senile record was the worst bunch of rambling without any
charges and sure no news in the story. I am talking about the top story on
the page about how there was a meeting and some people were invited and
some were not. What do you know about this we usually see stories like
this and then look at your internet site to get your take of what
happened. The senile record didn't tell us anything. Is there anything we
are missing or was it just a non story kind of story? We are guessing you
know something about it.
Editors note: Thanks for asking. We knew a little bit but we
made a few phone calls and found out even more. Your assessment of
this being a non-story appears to be totally "on-track." We agree
there was no substance to the story and were puzzled as to why it would
warrant any space in the Sentinel Record, especially front page
headlines. Trusting that the information we obtained is accurate, we
put together a list of possible reasons the story was written and had our
"crack team" investigate and report. It appears that because one city
director complained, the newspaper caved in and wrote the article you
referenced. The findings were so disgusting that we wrote a
"Commentary" on the subject which appears on our "Commentary" page
(or click here) and was also sent to
the Sentinel Record. Lots of luck is actually seeing it published in
its entirety, huh?
Police Chief Selection is Tainted by the Good Ol' Boys
- Hot Springs
Date: December 21, 2010
the post below is likely quite accurate. All indications are that
the current police chief was hand-picked by a handful of the good ol' boy
types after some of their group forced the resignation of the former
chief. What the public needs to know is that our current city
manager with a bit of advise from two of his staff and the city attorney
narrowed the 65 applicants to 20 and, in doing so, ruled out many
extremely well qualified police chiefs. The excuses primarily
included two reasons: 1) They make too much money to want to come here.
2) They don't have Arkansas ties. The resolution of the Garland Good
Government Group that, in view of the current crime situation in Hot
Springs, the only criteria that matters is that the next police chief have
a "documented record of reducing crime" was totally ignored. To
prove our point, one application and resume from an individual that simply
wants to move to Hot Springs in the future is attached. He is likely
the best qualified candidate to ever apply for a police chief job in
Arkansas but he was ruled out without so much as a call or inquiry.
Read his application and his website by
clicking here and see if you
would agree that this individual could do great things for Hot Springs
during a time when our primary focus should be to concentrate on our
"out-of-control" crime. Let the city manager and board members know
if you think we need an individual such as this to bring new modern crime
fighting methods to our city.
Editors note: Could it be this applicant and others didn't make the
finals because someone didn't want the public to know what great applicants
we had and that they may look way too good when compared to their choice
that they had made months ago? We think this may well be the
situation. Remember, the city manager did not show the applications to
the city board and is telling even the new board that HE is the one
authorized to hire the next police chief. Big question is - do we let
the city manager by with this?
New Police Chief Selected
Date: December 15, 2010
finalists for the position of Hot Springs Police Chief were released
today. They are David Flory, David Ebinger and Mike McCormick. Based on
what we've seen on your site in the past you seem to have information on
all the applicants for the position. If you have any information on the
three finalists can you share them with us by posting their resumes?
Editors note: We do have their full resumes and application but these are
quite lengthy. David Dodson Flory is the current police chief in
Bedford, Texas, which is in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metropolitan area.
You can see his picture and other information at
has spent his entire police career with the city of Bedford. He is a
paramedic and still works part time in this capacity for the city of
Arlington He graduated in nearby Euless, Texas. David Gray Ebinger
is currently police chief in Moorehead, MN. Some information can be
seen at www.MoorheadPolice.com.
He spent the rest of his career with Little Rock, AR police department and
held the positions of officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain
before moving to Minnesota. He holds degrees in criminal justice from UALR.
Michael John McCormick is a captain with the Hot Springs, AR police
department and currently serves as the interim chief. Mike has a BS in
sociology from South Dakota State University and served as a deputy sheriff
in Brookings, SD and for Garland County, AR before joining the Hot Springs
police department. Here he served as patrolman, sergeant, lieutenant,
and captain. Both Flory and Ebinger appear to be well qualified as
police chiefs and could bring new fresh ideas to our department even though
both appear to have been selected due to their "Arkansas ties" (Flory owns a
house at Hot Springs Village and Ebinger spent most of his career in Little
Rock). This is unfortunate because numerous other candidates were
better qualified and have proven records in reducing crime which are
qualifications Hot Springs sorely needs. Unfortunately, the die has
been cast. We have said before and remain convinced that the selection
of Captain McCormick was made long ago. For the sake of public
perception, we must go through the city manager's dog and pony show.
Be sure to go meet the applicants because we, the taxpayers, are paying them
to come waste their time talking to us. Oh, determine for yourself why
the city manager is in such a rush and why he didn't let the city directors
see the applications or his paring the 65 applicants down to 20 and then
ranking them for the ad-hoc committee. His letter is as follows.
The word "finalist" is as sent by email. We question whether or not it
was intended to be plural in several cases.
Good afternoon, and thank you for your
comments and concerns regarding the selection of the new Police Chief.
When Chief Southard retired last June, we developed a recruitment and
selection schedule that set a TARGET date of January 1st for a new chief.
The schedule included time for developing recruitment materials, meeting
national law enforcement publication dates, holding public input meetings in
each Board district, etc. etc. There was no "rush," in fact, it is likely
the whole process is going to take six months or more. As you are aware, by
state law, the City Manager appoints subject to "override" by the Civil
Service Commission. Of course, I (as would any City Manger) will keep the
Board informed of the process and provide time for their interaction with
the finalist. Should any finalist site visits be schedule before the end of
the year, the Mayor-elect and the Director-elect will be invited to
participate. In addition, I have formed an ad-hoc citizens committee to
assist me in determining the finalist. The committee will complete telephone
interviews with the last three of the 9 semi-finalist this week from which
we will select the finalist to visit Hot Springs for a day or day and half
process of formal interviews with myself and the committee, informal
meetings with the Board (including Director and Mayor elect) and Civil
Service Commission. We will also have community forums for the general
public as well as tours of the Department. Hope this answers your concerns,
if you have any questions please give me a call. Lance 321-6810
The above makes it abundantly clear that the city manager is not rushing but
wants no help in the selection process from the new city board members.
According to him, "state law" requires the city manager to do it this way!
Economic Forecast May Not Actually be as Great as Newspaper
From: BD -
Date: December 13, 2010
"Wow! It’s a Chamber of
Commerce type of day today." We’ve all heard
that old cliché used to describe beautiful sunny days with perfect
temperature. Most people associate chambers of commerce with always
putting the best possible spin on the weather, how great their town is,
and numerous other extremely optimistic views of their area including the
economic well-being of their particular communities. For these reasons,
we can forgive recent comments by Mr. Dave Byerly with the local chamber
for putting the best possible spin on how well the Hot Springs area is
doing economically and otherwise. However, it is difficult to forgive the
local newspaper for accepting the chamber’s rosy forecast as factual
without doing any of their own research. Facts easily obtainable appear
to indicate that neither Arkansas nor Hot Springs are doing very well.
As to how our state is doing, the website
figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce in
early 2010 show that although Arkansas moved up in a national ranking of
states based on 2009 per capita income, Arkansas’ per capita income
declined compared to 2008, and the state’s increase in rank was primarily
credited with other states having even bigger drops. The Bureau of
Economic Analysis numbers show that Arkansas’ per capita income in 2009
was $31,946, which ranked 45th among the 50 U.S. states and was 82% of the
national average. In 2008, the state’s per capita income was $32,257,
which ranked 46th and was only 80% of the U.S. average.
The following quote is from Sunday’s Sentinel
Record newspaper. “Dave Byerly, CEO of the Garland County Economic
Development Corp. (GCEDC) said the study was performed free of charge at
their request by Michael Pakko, chief economist and state economic
forecaster for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Institute for
Economic Advancement.” This statement leads one to believe that the GCEDC
was responsible for having the study performed and it cost our taxpayers
nothing. A check of the website
seems to indicate that UALR, a state supported college, performs this
study annually for the entire state irrespective of any local requests or
attempted credit for the data. Personal income, real estate market, and
sales were listed in the Sunday newspaper article as the indicators used
in the study. Saturday’s article titled, “Economic forecast good for Spa
City” lists employment and unemployment as reasons for the optimistic
Perhaps they didn’t believe the unemployment
numbers listed in what certainly appears to be the same study they
for unemployment numbers because the data indicates that the Hot Springs
MSA has higher unemployment than any of the seven Arkansas MSAs except for
Pine Bluff and Fort Smith, which recently had major factory layoffs (chart
In spite of what the local
newspaper article published, this same site shows that the Hot Springs MSA
personal per capita income decreased more than Little Rock – North Little
Rock, Pine Bluff, and Texarkana MSAs. In fact, per capita income actually
increased in Pine Bluff (chart below).
Other employment data at
shows that the Hot Springs MSA ranked 223 out of 366 MSAs in 2007, so we
were not in great shape even before the downturn.
A quick look at
indicates that Arkansas education levels in the Hot Springs MSA are far
below the national average and the Hot Springs composite cost of living
index is higher than any MSA in Arkansas except for Little Rock / North
Little Rock. Could our higher cost of living have anything to do with our
paying an extra 3 percent tax to the A&P Commission and a couple of
hundred thousand per year to Mr. Byerly for his economic development work?
The following chart from
shows that Hot Springs per capita income actually came down during the
last couple of years for the first time ever, beginning with the 1969
reporting period. Go to this federal website for much more statistical
data for all U.S. cities, states, and MSAs.
Additional information for cities is found at
While there, also check the crime ratings for Hot Springs. Pretty
astounding stuff including off-the-chart crime rates at 2 to 3 times the
national average. But we digress. This is definitely not something
chambers of commerce want to report.
For additional information relative to population, income, unemployment,
home sales and values, weather, crime, politics, and religion, see
Editors note: Wow! Lots of information to digest here but your points are
well taken. Don't believe everything you hear because sometimes,
everything you hear is only what people want you to hear. Thanks for
the sites. Yep, it does appear that the study our local folks want to
take credit for has been done annually for years.
Schools Have Methodically Removed Christ from Christmas
Date: December 12, 2010
I want to explain the reason for the letter because even my
own mother had no idea if I was just attacking public schools or praising
this private one. She, as many who haven't been to school Christmas plays
in a while may not know, there is no Manger or baby Jesus allowed in
school Christmas plays, nor traditional Christmas carols involving the
birth of Christ. She was shocked when she asked; "You mean there aren't
Wise Men, or even Angels in the kids Christmas plays?" I told her no, not
anymore. That is the reason I wrote the letter. To illustrate how far our
society has devolved in one generation. I say one, because I was an angel
in the school Christmas play at Oaklawn School here in Hot Springs,
standing watch over the Christ child. My children will never experience
that. That part of Christmas has been removed.
During a recent Sunday morning service, my pastor stated,
“What you laugh at, you will eventually embrace.” The truth of that
statement hit me like a slap in the face on a recent Thursday night when I
attended a local school Christmas program.
For 20 years, I have stood and enthusiastically applauded
my children, nieces and nephews dressed as toy soldiers, reindeer and
elves dancing around giant presents as they heralded in the arrival of the
“star” of the school “Christmas” program. There was The Grinch or Rudolph,
Charlie Brown and Lucy, or maybe Frosty. The shows were always spectacular
and students worked so hard on the music and songs in order to make sure
the story was portrayed perfectly. For years, what I thought was so cute
and funny was, in reality, the complete and methodical removal of
Christmas from schools as the holy event it is. What shook me to my core
as I watched the play presented at this school was my complete acceptance
of what public schools now teach our children as the meaning and
traditions of Christmas. Through this simple children’s Christmas program,
in 30 minutes time, I clearly saw what was done so gradually in our public
schools. Falling into the commercial and politically correct trap required
very little; in order for us to accept it, it had to be funny. On this
night though, we were not in the auditorium of a public school. We were
fortunate enough to attend the Christmas performance at Hot Springs
Christian School, a tiny little school right in town that so few people
even know exist. As I looked at the almost bare stage where there were no
Disney characters or Santa’s elves, the room became hushed in
reverence. There on the stage were children kneeling as Wise Men, the baby
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and shepherds and angels. The angles danced with
arms outstretched in worship and instead of heralding in a skeleton name
Jack, they were heralding in The Messiah, the Christ child. From
kindergartners to seniors, the children all participated in some way.
Those on stage dressed in simple clothing, not elaborate costumes, and
read aloud from the only script that has ever really been needed to tell
the Christmas story: the Holy Bible. The impact of the stark difference of
what I had grown up with and what I had been lulled into accepting over
the last two decades was shocking and my pastor’s words reverberated in my
ears. We accepted it because it was funny. I ask that Christians of all
denominations examine what your children are being taught through “play.”
I ask if you would help sustain this school with its wonderful academics,
athletics and activities, but more importantly, without the moral and
ethical relativism that is being taught in public schools today. I
encourage those with children and grandchildren to consider touring Hot
Springs Christian School and witness for themselves the impact this school
has had on the lives of its students. Meet the certified life coaches and
staff who care individually for each and every student. People of our
generations will soon be all that is left to relay the truth. When our
generation is gone, there will be no one to point out the ludicrousness of
portraying The Grinch as the Christmas “star.”
Editors note: The above letter also appeared in the Sentinel Record
but is so true and appropriate during this
that we also asked permission to post it here.
America's Founders Wanted Limited but Good Government
Date: December 11, 2010
I just returned from listening to one of the best speakers
that I have ever heard in my life. His name is David Barton, and he is
without a doubt the nation's foremost expert in the United States
Constitution and the Founding Fathers.
Hot Springs was blessed to have him appear at First Church
of the Nazarene, where he conducted a seminar with our newly elected
officials this morning and a public lecture beginning at 3:00 this
afternoon. Everyone in the packed auditorium hung on every word,
interrupting the lecture on several occasions to erupt in thunderous
applause. Even though I had heard Mr. Barton on TV in the past, this was
my first time to see him in person.
In very clear and concise terms, Mr. Barton spoke
eloquently on the limited role that the founders intended for government
to play in the lives of citizens, not only on a federal level, but on the
local level as well. I was impressed to learn that Thomas Jefferson said
that the role of government could be summed up in five things. Here is a
paraphrase of Jefferson's five points to good government.
1.) Respect God
2.) Exercise frugality
3.) Punish criminals
4.) Encourage free enterprise
5.) Protect citizens property and income
Using these five principles, ask yourself a question. Has
government in any form, from the city to the federal government, exercised
and utilized these principles in governing the citizens that they are
sworn to serve and protect? The answer would have to be a resounding "NO".
One point of the presentation that citizens of Hot Springs
would be especially interested in was when he touched on property taxes
and zoning. According to the Jefferson paraphrase above, government should
protect the property and income of citizens; not take it. Property owners
should not be taxed for the priviledge of owning property. Mr. Barton made
the analogy that paying property taxes is the equivelant to leasing your
own property from the government; and if you do not pay that lease amount,
the government has given itself the right to take that property away. Much
the same could be said for zoning regulations.
It was great to see all of our newly elected officials in
attendance for this event. Conspiculously missing were any of the current
officials of the city or county, nor any of those who consider themselves
power brokers in Hot Springs. They may have learned a thing or two.
Editors note: Or, perhaps, they haven't learned anything at all and
that is why they still don't show up to hear anyone else's views and
GGGG to Host Factual Radio Show
Date: December 10, 2010
At the GGGG regular monthly meeting of December 9, 2010,
the announcement was made that the GGGG now has its own radio talk show on
KZNG, AM 1430. Beginning on Saturday, January 8, 2011, from 2 - 3 PM, This
show will present some great benefits for residents of Hot Springs and
For one thing, citizens will learn of news items that the
local newspaper does not or will not print in a truthful, non-biased and
non-partisan manner. Guests and guest hosts will be providing factual and
insightful information on a wide variety of topics that affect the lives
and wallets of the public. Call-in sections of the show will give citizens
an opportunity to share their views.
I for one am
very excited about being a part of this new growth for the GGGG and Hot
Springs. This is a big step in the continuing effort to bring open, honest
and transparent government to Hot Springs and Garland County.
Editors note: We share your optimism. With the newly elected
city and county officials plus the GGGG weekly radio show, the public should
see Hot Springs truly take a new direction. Our city has such great
potential and, hopefully, the good ol' boys have finally lost the
strangle-hold that has hampered our growth and prosperity for way too long.
Site Wrongfully Accused of Making Untrue Allegations
Date: December 9, 2010
Tell me please that you are not alledging that a city manager does not
know what a metropolitan statistical area is. Your answer to Brian White's
item yesterday accused our city manager of misrepresenting the Hot Springs
MSA. This can not be accurate. I do plan to visit with Mr. Hudnell soon
and clear this up. This is like you saying he doesn't know where the city
limits are or how big Hot Springs is. You should know better than do
reporting like this. Once you find the facts you may have to eat some
Editors note: It is great to see hear that you cannot believe any
city manager would not know the size or scope of the MSA in which he manages
the principal city. Our site posts information sent to us but our
comments are made, to the best of our ability, on facts that are available.
We did confirm the Sentinel Record newspaper report of November 30
which clearly stated, "City Manager Lance Hudnell said the MSA consisted of
'a good portion of the county, Hot Springs Village, and other areas.'"
The same newspaper on December 7 (page 2) printed what was titled,
"Clarification" which stated,
"Hudnell has since said that was in error and the MSA, for
the most part, consists of an area slightly larger than the city limits,
and does not take in any of the Village." The facts are simple.
Neither statement is true. All 362 MSAs (as of June 2010) use county
lines as their boundaries and, likewise, the Hot Springs MSA includes all of
Garland County. Some MSAs include more that one county (e.g., Pine
Bluff MSA includes three counties, see map below)
We don't make this stuff up. Read your newspaper Old Observer, do a
little research, call the government, then go out, shoot yourself a crow,
and enjoy the meal.
City Manager's Newspaper "Clarification" More False Than His Initial
Date: December 8, 2010
I thought the loyal readers of Hot Springs Talk, especially
those in Hot Springs Village, would like to see this "clarification" that
appeared in the Sentinel - Record on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.
"In a front page article published in the Sentinel - Record
on Nov. 30 regarding recently released crime rate figures for the Hot
Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area, City Manager Lance Hudnell said the
MSA consisted of "a good portion of the county, Hot Springs Village, and
Hudnell has since said that was in error and the MSA, for
the most part, consists of an area slightly larger than the city limits,
and does not take in any of the Village."
I guess Mr. Hudnell couldn't stand the heat and got out of
the kitchen, especially since good 'ole boys Steve Arrison and Dave Byerly
set off a "firestorm" with their ill-thought-out and amateurish comments.
Editors note: Unbelievable! This further demonstrates the fact that
far too many of our city leaders are eager to express their opinions without
knowing any of the facts but to follow up one falsehood with an even bigger
one is truly unbelievable. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau define an MSA (Metropolitan
Statistical Area) as including, as a minimum, the principal city and the
county in which it is located. Wikipedia clearly shows that Hot Springs MSA consists of ALL of Garland County, no more, no less.
Check with the U.S. Government and you will
discover that MSA code 26300 refers to Hot Springs, AR MSA with the
principal city being Hot Springs and the area being Garland County.
A simple Google search provides numerous Hot
Springs MSA related sites, all of which show the the MSA covers the entire
county. Sites such as Tripwiser.com and givemehotsprings.com/HotSpringsInformation
even go so far as to state, "Hot Springs MSA is the only MSA on the most
dangerous (crime) list with a population of under 100,000." How can
the city manager NOT know the boundaries of our MSA especially since we have
only been an MSA for a few years? Of course, we also asked how can a
city manager with one of the worst crime ratings in the entire country
propose to hire a police chief from within the department that contributed
to having such a poor crime rating? We predicted this inappropriate
action but just learned how accurate we were this past weekend. Oh,
the most important aspect of these facts is that Hot Springs crime rating
would be much worse per capita if the MSA did not include the village area
because their crime rate is one of the lowest in the country.
More Village Residents Upset by Being Linked to Hot Springs' Crime
Date: December 2, 2010
Thank you Betty
(see post below)
for alerting us to what the Hot Springs City Manager was saying about us.
We don't take the Hot Springs paper but went out and got one after reading
your letter to Hot Springs Talk. We would also like to inform Mr. Hudnell
that crime hardly exists in Hot Springs Village and we have twenty times
fewer police officers than his city per resident. How dare he say that the
MSA crime rate is higher because the MSA includes the Village? The fact is
the Hot Springs MSA crime rate is much lower because the Village is in it.
A neighbor said Mr. Hudnell reminded him of the person whose car became
worthless because he ignored the low oil warning sign. Well Mr. Hudnell
and those others who are agreeing with him are not only ignoring the
warning signs but they are looking at them and refusing to believe the
facts. Betty and our neighbors are right. To just say that numbers are
wrong without any proof is the same as saying the low oil warning sign is
wrong. Mr. Hudnell is not part of the problem. He is the problem and he
can make his city worthless just like the car became worthless. We used
shop in Hot Springs but we now go to Benton and Little Rock rather than
fight our way through the downtown with that bottleneck on your website,
the noisy motorcycles, big trucks parked in the street, and jaywalkers or
pedestrians who always have the right of way. We moved here from a large
urban area to get away from those kinds of problems including crime. We
are happy to live here in the peace and quite of Hot Springs Village and
dine or shop in Benton, Bryant or even Little Rock west side without being
part of the problems of Hot Springs. We would thank Mr. Hudnell and his
ilk if he will be so kind to quit including us as contributing to their
problems when they won't even acknowledge they have them. We notice your
website thinks he is not doing the right thing by hiring a police chief
with Arkansas ties. We agree that new ideas wouldn't hurt Hot Springs.
They have been in a rut and going downhill ever since we moved here. Ask
Mr. Hudnell where that murderer from a couple of days ago and the bank
robber in the news today are from. We bet they don't live in Hot Springs
Editors note: You are correct. Both perpetrators live in the
city of Hot Springs. Most of us know that the Village does not
adversely effect the Hot Springs Metro crime rate and, in fact, actually
makes the overall crime rate look better than it really is.
Please give Hot Springs another chance after the new city board takes over.
We are very optimistic that they will begin to turn our city around.
Hot Spring Village Residents Don't Appreciate Being Called Criminals
From: Betty -
Hot Springs Village
Date: December 1, 2010
I would like to address those brilliant
officials who were quoted in the Sentinel Record yesterday. For example -
"Keep in mind the MSA designation takes in more than the city of Hot
Springs. It's a good portion of the county, Hot Springs Village, and other
areas," Lance Hudnell said. The MSA is all of the county, not a good
portion Mr. Hudnell. How can you not know this? Secondly you infer that we
older people who live in the village add to Hot Springs city crime rate.
Can you name a single offense committed by any of us? You also infer that
Hot Springs does not have a serious crime problem but state - "We're
arresting people in almost record numbers every day...". Did you ever stop
to think your statements of not having a crime problem but making arrests
in record numbers conflict?
The brilliant interim police chief
McCormick said - "There's a lot of different organziations that keep track
of crime statistics and every one of them uses a different methodology". I
am told and have done some research which show that all of the statistics
come from the FBI. If this is not correct please send whatever other
source is used to the web site I sent this to. They would probably publish
it wouldn't you? You - McCormick - infer that you have 70,000 people in a
town of 35,000. Where did you get those numbers - out of the air? You seem
to say that these visitors are committing the crimes. Is this really what
you mean? If so - what are they doing and who is doing it? You have the
records. Let us see them. Don't just expect us to believe the visitors are
committing all the crimes. What is different about your crime reports from
other cities? Are you the only town using that - "National Incident Based
Here's another newspaper quote -
"If you run out of toilet paper, I'd recommend this report," said Steve
Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. Well Mr.
Arrison I hate to waste to paper needed to comment on your comment. How
old are you - 10 or 12 I'm guessing based on your childish comment. You go
on to say - "...there is no way in the world that we are in the top 10 or
whatever they said". Your end to that statement makes us wonder if you
even read the report. If you did - what training and experience gives you
the right to say the FBI is wrong? Your statement - "I think people
realize these reports are just what they are - people trying to sell
books" leads me to ask you just how many more books will they sell because
they list Hot Springs with the 6th worst crime ranking in the country?
Carefully read your next statement - "I don't think this is the first time
we've been listed, and we can come out with all the reports and numbers to
show that's not true, but people will remember the first report. It
depends on which report you want to refer to. This was the latest to get
publicity and we're in the top 10. I can find five or six to show we're in
the bottom 10. It's all relative," Arrison said. Okay Mr. Arrison - walk
the walk by sending those 5 or 6 showing us how Hot Springs in in the
bottom 10. Otherwise you need to admit you don't have a clue what you are
Okay Mr Byerly makes a lot of
statements which - unlike Arrison - shows that he probably read the report
but your statement - "Hot Springs being No. 6 on the list means absolutely
nothing except for the fact it hurts us. It's not the reality on the
ground," he said. Mr. Byerly are you saying the FBI numbers are incorrect
and not reality? Are you saying they made up numbers and aren't using the
numbers our police department sent them? Are you saying every other city
uses a different crime reporting method? Don't just tell us - show us -
Please invite these officials to
answer my questions and will you publish them when they do? Most of all
gentlemen - put up or shut up. And please unless you catch us selling dope
or robbing liquor stores in your town - stop calling us who live in Hot
Springs Village criminals.
Editors note: By all means, we will join you in inviting any
official to provide the answers to your questions and the data to back-up
their claims. We will gladly publish all data as soon as it comes it
but don't hold your breath. These sorts of invitations have been made
before. Oh, please see the "Editors note" for the posting below,
previous research has proven that Hot Springs Village enjoys one of the
lowest crime rakings in the county. It is definitely NOT you and your
neighbors causing a rise in crime in Hot Springs. We know this for a
fact even if our city leaders do not. Until our city leaders recognize
and admit that we have a serious crime problem irrespective of our "crime
ranking," they will do nothing to solve it. Unlike the city manager's
ad-hoc police chief selection committee who are insisting on a chief with
"Arkansas ties," we continue to insist that the new police chief be from
outside the city and state. We need a chief that will not only
recognize our crime problem but also can recognize our police department
organizational and morale problems. We will continue to insist that
the new chief have a proven record of reducing crime.
More Excuses Made Available for Our City "Experts" to Use
Date: November 30, 2010
In light of today’s article about Hot Springs
being NUMBER SIX most crime ridden in the country, City
Manager Lance Hudnell and Interim Police Chief Mike McCormick, seem to be
running a little low on excuses. I would like to take this time to
replenish their list of reputable explanations and solutions.
isn’t Hot Springs with the problem, it’s all those other cities with low
crime rates that make us look bad.
2. We don’t really have that much
crime, we have too many people.. (that one may be overdone)
3. It’s all those criminals in Hot
4. … and in the County
got 5 or 6 reports that puts us in the top safest cities.
These reports are bad for our tourism and
should be suppressed…
Lance says we’re arresting people as fast as
We really shouldn’t count crime from illegals,
transients and homeless. Only home owners should be counted.
Is assault really a crime? We’re asking our
citizens to take it on the chin for their community.
in Hot Spring someone is committing a crime every half hour. All we have to
do is find that guy and stop him.
We have reached our quota on crime for this
year so we are shutting down the 911 office until May 2011.
If the same type of crime occurs multiple times during a given night, we
should only report that as one crime. (Oh, we are doing that now).
We should consider legalizing Meth, so that
won’t be a crime any more.
If number 9 works for us, we might consider
legalizing other crimes, bank robbery and the like.
Hey what do you want? We’re cracking down on
And finally: Isn’t it enough that we have
nice expensive parks? What is it with you guys anyway? Aren’t you ever
Editors note: Careful that the eminently qualified crime spokesmen
(you didn't mention) that we mistakenly hired as tourism professionals
quoted in today's paper (see article following) don't hear of your ideas.
They would likely be posted as a "front page" story. It is really a
stretch when these folks attribute Hot Springs crime to people in Hot
Springs Village which, by the way, is listed as one of America's safest
places to live and to blame the tourists that come here. Okay you
tourism experts, just shut down the National Park, the lakes, the casino,
all hotels, restaurants, and those souvenir joints. Lets also tax
those tourists another 3%. Anything to keep those pesky tourists out
of town so we can reduce crime, right? Perhaps you brilliant minds may
want to stop and think before being interviewed by the newspaper again.
Crime Expertise of Advertising Chief and Chamber Guru Questioned
Date: November 30, 2010
While checking my E-mail this morning my wife
reads me the story on crime and how the city manager, acting chief, Steve
Arrission, and Dave Beyerly all say the statistics the Arkansas Democrat,
local television stations and you reported were all wrong. I did some
looking on my own and found the FBI website on which I assume the stats
are based. It is
www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/violent_crime/index.html. You have
to select the MSA under Browse by and then go down to Hot Springs. The
offense rate is listed for every MSA in the country. How can these guys
say the FBI is wrong when all the police departments give the information
to the FBI for them to make these lists and what makes these guys
qualified to even question the FBI. The Arrission character says he has
many other lists that disagree with the FBI. Where the hell are those
lists? Why does the Hot Springs paper give him and the chamber guy any
credibility at all? They are not criminologists, policemen, or even very
smart people are they? Why doesn't the paper just call the FBI and ask
them where that information comes from and report that. If the FBI isn't a
credible source of information - who is, Hudnell, Arrission, and Beyerly?
Give us credit for knowing when these yokels are blowing smoke and trying
to feed us B.S.
Editors note: What we said in the article below, "Don't be too
terribly surprised when the city manager or police chief comes up with some
cockamamie study showing that the crime rate has gone down" is certainly
worth repeating. Note that this was predicted two days ago. We
just didn't anticipate the newspaper would bother asking the two other
gentlemen who were interviewed. Their expertise in the field of crime
is not sufficient to impress us either. In other words, we agree that
it someone must have wanted some smoke blown. Just be thankful that
yesterday's front page reported another murder in the middle of our city.
Okay, so they called it a "shooting," but we know are learning to read
between the lines.
Police Chief Selection is Deja Vu All Over Again
Date: November 28, 2010
The article below
was written over three years ago. Not much has changed except Kent
obviously wasn’t the problem or a least wasn't the only problem. We have
waited this long without fixing anything. Why can’t we wait until the new
mayor is in office before we appoint a new police chief?
City Manager Has Head Buried in the Sand
We all know the story about the two girl ostriches being harassed by the
two boy ostriches. They stuck their head in the sand and the two boys
said, “Now where did they go?” Like the ostriches, the City Manager thinks
that the Public Safety Issue will go away.
The Garland Good Government Group presented a very comprehensive study on
the excessive crime in Hot Springs based on FACTS from
various crime reporting agencies including our own police department. Kent
Myers’ only comment was that the facts were wrong. In other words, the
the U.S. Department of Justice,
and the Arkansas Crime Information Center is giving out bad information.
The seven people who were killed this year aren’t really dead, all the
women who were raped were not raped after all and nobody was mugged or
beaten. Not in his office anyway.
My apologies to all the victims of the Hot Springs Crime Wave.
With the exception of the city manager,
you are not statistics that we can ignore. Your pain is shared by everyone
in our community. We think about you as we walk downtown shopping. We
think about you walking out to our car at the mall. Yes, we even think
about you standing in front of the City Hall. We think about you in the
“safety” of your own homes. You were not safe when you should have been
and neither are we. Now that the City Manager’s priorities are focused on
a new City Hall,
funding for public
safety could be
delayed for 25 years while we pay for it.
Mr. Myers should be more concerned about a solution,
not a cover up. How does he do that? Instead of sending the Parks Director
to Japan when they don’t have budgeted money to maintain the parks,
instead of “buying” the Stepford Director’s votes by shipping them off to
Japan and New Orleans, maybe just maybe, he should listen to the Police
Chief instead of hiring “Yes Sir Department Heads.” Maybe he should allow
the Police and Fire Department to retain the money budgeted to them
instead of transferring it back to the general fund in administrative fees
and $70 oil changes.
Yes, Mr. Myers, pull your head out of the sand, the problem is here and
will not go away by changing the way you report crime. Besides the part of
you that is still exposed should be the part you should cover.
Editors note: Thanks. This is still a great and very
perceptive assessment of what continues to be the thinking of our city
manager. After all, he was trained by Mr. Myers. We
should, indeed, wait and allow the new directors and mayor a voice in the
police chief's selection. Again, we continue to hope that the city
manager will pull his head out of the proverbial sand and hire an outside
police chief with a documented record of reducing crime. No such
individual exists in Hot Springs Police Department or they would have
already reduced our crime, would they not? Don't be too terribly
surprised when the city manager or police chief comes up with some
cockamamie study showing that the crime rate has gone down. This may
appear factual because the PD started combining offense reports and,
sometimes, they don't even make a report. It is amazing how many
citizens have complained that they could not get a "police report" on items
they had reported and are told, "that item has no report available since it
is still under investigation." While we are reminiscing, remember how
well the city manager and his crack team did on the last police chief
selection. It was the GGGG that did the research and confronted the
city manager's number one pick by asking him why he was representing himself
as the current police chief from Casa Grande, NM when he was fired over a
month before showing up in Hot Springs. It was also the GGGG that
pointed out their number two selection from Oklahoma City was not a chief
but was working as a security guard. Yes, we recommended that the
internal applicant be hired. He was a better choice because the city
manager and his team did not do their research very well. Funny how we
can spend millions on consultants but not a few thousand on a professional
Kudos Are Always Welcome Here
From: Anonymous -
Date: November 27, 2010
I would like to withhold my name from this,
since I am in a sensitive position and don't want it compromised. I have
been watching your group for some time now, and although I don't always
agree with you, you've been right on the money about just about everything
I saw on Facebook that you are wanting to put
local news stories on your website that the paper won't print. That's a
great idea. What those folks don't print could fill a New York City phone
I have heard people in certain circles bashing
your group, but I think it's because you keep catching them with their
hands in the cookie jar and piggy bank. If the truth were known, this city
would be in a lot worse shape if the GGGG weren't there. You've gotten a
bad rap from some people, and unfortunately, they're the ones that control
the media in this town. However, with the popularity of the internet and
networking sites like Facebook, the truth still gets out there.
Keep up the good
work. A lot of folks who don't or can't say so are on your side.
Editors note: Thanks. It is notes like yours that keep us
going. The truth is what we always try to dig up and show the public
so they can be informed. Stay tuned, you are about to see a wealth of
information we have collected concerning what has happens in our local
police department. Unbelievable stuff but most of our officers have
never worked anywhere else and appear to think their way is the way all
police departments are supposed to work.
Open Letter to HS City Manager on Police Chief Selection
Date: November 27, 2010
Mr. Hudnell – The front page report in yesterday’s (Sat, 11/27)
suggests that crime is still a problem in Hot Springs. This is not good
news. I understand that the City is about to hire a new police chief.
This is welcome. But I also understand that there is some “urgency” at
City Hall to make this appointment before the end of the year – that is,
before the new people recently elected to the City Board can take their
seats. That seems like a bad idea to me. What’s the rush? Now it may
be that the Board is technically without legal authority to affect the
choice of the new chief. But that does not mean that the Board should
not participate, even if informally, in the selection process. This is in
part a political issue. Seems to me that there should be a “consensus” by
City officials, going forward, on the new chief. The new Mayor, in
particular, will have to live with the choice, and should not be a
stranger to the deal. I urge you to wait until after the new Directors
are seated before completing the process for selection of the new Police
Respectfully submitted, Jim McCafferty, Hot Springs
Editors note: Our information is consistent with the unnecessary
"urgency" you describe. Additionally, we understand that the
selection has already been made and the new chief will be the currently
acting police chief. We agree with a reader (below) that the current
chief is an upstanding and honest man but strongly feel that the new
directors and mayor should be a major part of the selection process.
These back-room deals and improper selections just could be part of
the reason we have such problems in our town and part of the reason our
police department has a clique improperly running the department. We
will soon publish survey forms submitted by members of the police department
which will graphically point out the problems within the police department.
We also strongly feel that only a chief hired from "outside" the city and
state can reorganize the department and truly begin to have a real impact on
reducing crime in our city.
"Plain Wrong" to Exclude New Mayor and Board from PD Chief Selection
Date: November 27, 2010
Well, it looks like our local paper missed the boat
again, not mentioning a word about the crime rate story that made it to
the front page of the Democrat-Gazette. What else is new. The Sentinel
Record has been missing the real story about a lot of things for years.
At least there are places like Hot Springs Talk where news that
they are afraid to print can still reach the public.
I am concerned about the selection process for our next
chief of police. Let me be clear right away that I have absolutely
nothing against acting chief Mike McCormick. He may very well be the
right man for the job. I think that he has done an excellent job so far.
The bone that I have to pick is with the selection process itself.
As I understand it, one of the criteria that has resulted
in the disqualification of candidates is that they don't have "Arkansas
ties". What the heck does that have to do with anything? The drug gangs
and cartels shipping their merchandise into Hot Springs don't have
Arkansas ties either. When several Arkansas cities are in the top ten on
the crime report, maybe Arkansas ties is not such a good thing.
There also seems to be a rush on to get a final decision
on a chief before the new administration takes over, thus excluding
Mayor-elect Ruth Carney and Director-elect Karen Garcia from the
process, but leaving them with the outcome. This is just plain wrong.
Can someone on the Civil Service Commission or the City of Hot Springs
please explain to me and the thousands of other citizens that they work
for, why a decision this important can't wait until these new officials
are sworn in? A rush to judgment is never a good thing. It looks very
unprofessional and generally leads to poor decisions.
I would like to see the qualifications of all of the
finalists published in the newspaper so that the public can have access
to the same information as those making the decision do. An informed
public is the best way to ensure accountability and transparency.
Editors note: We could not agree with you more. You likely
won't be surprised to learn that the best qualified applicants, in terms of
proven success fighting crime, did not even make the "committee's" final
list. The single best qualified candidate did not even make the top 20
list (out of 65 applicants) and, thus, was not even considered by the select
"committee" of "good ol' boys." Your point is extremely well taken.
The new board is inheriting the crime problem of a city which the New
York Times Almanac calls "America's Most Dangerous City (pp 321), FBI
files indicate has the "highest property crime rate" (for cities over
30,000) in the entire country, and the Arkansas Democrat - Gazette plus
local television stations have reported just yesterday is the center of the
6th worst crime rate for a metropolitan area. It is totally unfair
to allow the same folks that contributed to these problems make this
important selection for the new board.
Hot Spring's Crime Rate Published in Statewide Newspaper but Not
Date: November 27, 2010
To the Sentinel Record
Dear Editor – While your
report on Friday’s downtown t-shirt shop foot traffic was encouraging, I
somehow missed your article on the latest crime statistics report by CQ
Press. The Democrat-Gazette had it on the front page. Where
should I look in the S-R? This CQ report might be an important piece of
news, given that Hot Springs is apparently about to hire a permanent
Editors note: Uh Jim, it wasn't in the local newspaper but then, we
think you already knew that. We citizens are fed only the news we need
to know as determined by the local "good ol' boys" but we think you probably
also knew that. A brief overview of what made front-page headlines in
the state newspaper is as follows. The highest crime rate of 347
metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) was Detroit followed by Pine Bluff,
Memphis, Lake Charles, Lawton, Hot Springs, Flint, Las Vegas, and Little
Click here to see the entire chart. As usual, the police and city
officials quoted in the article questioned the statistics and tried to find
fault with FBI records used rather than addressing the problem. Yep,
we are set to hire a permanent police chief from the ranks of our local
police department. We can also say, with our tongue firmly implanted
in our cheek, that hiring a chief from the police department with the 6th
worst crime rate in the country makes a lot of sense, huh?
Here's the "Rest of the Story" on Education at HSSD
Date: November 26, 2010
I am writing this in addition to the post
by Karen Lynn regarding education in Hot Springs. I once heard Governor
Beebe say that to cure the problems of any city, one must begin with
education. I absolutely agree with that statement. There are some real
problems with the Hot Springs School District. All of them could be
fixed with time and cooperation by the administration, but that
cooperation has not been very forthcoming. Although the school board and
district administration are privately well aware of the problems, the
public is kept in the dark.
A huge example is, as Karen pointed out,
the deplorable benchmark test scores. Where is the public outcry over
passing children through the grades who can't read? You certainly won't
find it in the local newspaper without a magnifying glass. These items,
which should be front page news, are buried with the legal notices. Why?
A clue may lie in the fact that at every school board meeting,
Superintendent Joyce Craft tells the assembled administrators that they
continue to receive favorable media coverage, not to mention the
thousands of dollars worth of advertising that the district spends with
the Sentinel Record. What they don't seem to realize is that anyone
with a shred of computer savvy can find the truth of the matter. In
order for anything to change, the district needs to start telling the
truth about the situation within the district.
Last year I proudly watched one of my
children graduate from Hot Springs High School. What I didn't realize,
but was later told by a school board member, was that many of the young
people standing on that stage were not really graduating, but were going
through the motions. I wonder what percentage of the approximately 140
seniors on that stage actually graduated? Another distressing point that
the board member made was that in the years since they had been elected,
graduation rates were only a fraction this year of what they had been
during the member's first year of service.
At a younger level, the problems at the
Hot Springs Middle School are almost too numerous to mention. In all of
my travels through large cities and small, I have never encountered a
more violent school. Children are being bullied there to the point of
hospitalization for either physical or psychological trauma on a regular
basis. These incidents are rarely reported as required by law. Many of
the incidents are reported as excessive horseplay, or dealt with
internally. Again, there is no public outcry because the public at large
is unaware of the situation. The Middle School administration has a
plethora of excuses, but no real answers. The local newspaper is either
unaware of the situation, which is doubtful since I know that they have
been notified, or are choosing to ignore the gravity of the situation.
There is a solution, but it is going to
take time and a cooperative effort to achieve it. First and foremost,
the school district needs to start being honest with the public. The
board needs to roll up their sleeves and start holding people in
administrative positions accountable. If they are not doing the job,
they need to go.
Secondly, a cooperative effort needs to
take place between community leaders, business, law enforcement and
others to change the mindset of a lot of these children, many of whom
are being raised in less than ideal domestic situations. Young people
have to have hope. Hope for a future that is far better than their
current situation. They need encouragement to reach for their dreams and
people standing by to assist them in achieving those goals. They need
business people and tradesmen willing to share their experience and
their craft in order to give these young people an alternative to
earning a living on the streets. The list goes on and on.
It has to start somewhere, and that start
must be TRUTH.
Editors note: The following is a post that was received enabling
readers to research and find the rankings for any Arkansas school
district but the data referenced below is only for Hot Springs School
State Ratings References:
On the bottom of the school's published legal notice in the
newspaper, "Report to the public"
it is stated, "Hot Springs School District received accreditation status for
all schools." This obviously does not mean they are
accredited, it just means that they received the status for each school.
What the schools failed to publish was what that status is.
As per the HSSD website, "All of the Hot Springs School
District schools received accredited status on the annual Arkansas
Department of Education Accredited Status Report. The Hot Springs School
District is in compliance with the National and State Educational
Standards and will continue to progress towards accomplishing all of its
to see the District
When you select and click Hot Springs on the statewide
district reporting website it takes you to a report for 2006 - 2009 but
when you look up at the "Accreditation Status" that legally has to be
there, here's the truth! The statement by HSSD, "All
of the Hot Springs School District schools received accredited status" is
Hot Springs Middle School: NO
Hot Springs High School: NO
Editors note: This data is obviously
follow-ups to the posting below. It certainly appears that only the
magnet schools are accredited. We also took the liberty of exploring
the website referenced and noted that while the attendance rate has
remained virtually steady, the dropout rate has increased and the
graduation rate is in serious steady decline. The site shows a
graduation percentage drop from 72.1% in 2007 to 57.4% in 2008 to 48.8% in
(click here to see).
This should be totally unacceptable to every citizen in the district.
Hot Springs Doesn't Rank Too Well in Education Either
Date: November 23, 2010
Today's paper in the small print
Does anyone care? Does anyone understand how important great schools are
for a great town? Why would industry or business come to this town if we
don't have the educational support needed for workers or for their
children? We've spent a fortune on IB and tried it for NINE YEARS. It's
not working. We've built 12 million dollar new schools. We've spent
millions on sports. Something DIFFERENT must be done IMMEDIATELY if we
want the crime to go down and property values and tax revenue to go up in
Hot Springs. Nothing will change in Hot Springs until something changes in
REPORT TO PUBLIC - NOTICE HOT SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT 2010 DISTRICT
PERFORMANCE STANFORD ACHIEVEMENT TEST 2009 -2010; NATIONAL PERCENTILE
RANK; COMBINED POPULATION DISTRICT...
Grade Reading Comprehension 42
Third Grade Mathematics-Problem
Fourth Grade Reading Comprehension 64
Fourth Grade Mathematics – Problem Solving
Grade Reading Comprehension 44
Fifth Grade Mathematics-Problem
Grade Reading Comprehension 43
Sixth Grade Mathematics-Problem
Reading Comprehension 48
Seventh Grade Mathematics-Problem
Grade Reading Comprehension 47
Eighth Grade Mathematics-Problem
READING COMPREHENSION 31
Mathematics-Problem Solving 56
Arkansas Benchmark Examinations2009-2010
Percent at or Above Proficient Level
Third Grade Literacy 59
Third Grade Mathematics 80
Fourth Grade Literacy 69
Fourth Grade Mathematics 79
Fifth Grade Literacy 60
Fifth Grade Mathematics 67
Sixth Grade Literacy 65
Sixth Grade Mathematics 68
Seventh Grade Literacy 58
Seventh Grade Mathematics 63
Eighth Grade Literacy 58
Eighth Grade Mathematics 51
End of Course Examinations Combined
Algebra I 66
Editors note: We are assuming 70 is the minimal acceptable percentage
rating. It is obvious that Hot Springs is well below state educational
achievement levels and even further behind national levels. So what
else is new? We also have the distinction of being the "most dangerous
city in America" with the country's highest property crime rate and now the
entire metro area (county) is rated as having the 6th. highest violent crime
rate in the U.S. (see the "News" page or
click here). In
addition, we recently discovered the Arkansas has the highest poverty rate
and hunger rate in the county. Couple these factors with Garland
County having the highest number of child abuse cases and ask yourself why
aren't all citizens enraged about these facts. Except for that one
encouraging factor, our recent elections, one would almost want to just give
up and move, huh?
Professionalism of Police Department Administration Questioned from
From: Anonymous -
Date: November 11, 2010
thought you may be interested in seeing the shift guidelines we got
while back. We didn't think much about it at the time but we know he is
on the list to be moved up and we are not sure
he should be Captain. You can use this but don't use our names, sign us
anonomous or something. We would like to talk to someone with your group
later on similar things we think are important but you may not agree
with. Let us know because we got some surveys and haven't filled them
out because we don't know what they will do with them. More later if you
Editors note: This correspondence was actually received several
months ago but was not published due to the determination (at the time) that
internal police affairs should be kept internal if the public is to retain
confidence in their ability to "serve and protect." This information
is now posted due to the fact that the individual credited for authoring the
"Midnight Shift Guidelines"
(click here to see) is reported to be number one on the Hot Springs
Civil Service Commission list for promotion to the rank of captain. It
further appears that several of the infamous "good ol' boys" are determined
to promote both our current "acting chief" and this individual before the
new board takes office. One can only wonder why and what they are up
to this time. While reading the "guidelines," we must ask if this is
the professionalism we need for "second in command" at PD. Another
short email asked an equally pertinent question. "Why would a city
with a serious crime problem hire a chief from the city with the worst rated
crime problem in the county?" Good question, huh?
With Newly Elected Officials, We Will All Be Winners
Hot Springs Resident
Date: November 7, 2010
What a fabulous start we will have toward resolving
With the newly elected persons taking office, I know they have as a
first priority the "will of the people" and I look forward to seeing the
Mayor, City Board of Directors, and the County representatives all work
on the issues of importance to all of Garland County. I know that with a
respectful attitude toward each other, and a cohesive effort put forth,
we will get much more done and we will all be winners!
Editors note: Hopefully, you are correct. There are still a
couple of "good ol' boys" on the city board but at least, they are now in
the minority and, hopefully, will learn to work for the best interest of the
city. See related story in "Commentary" section.
Got Questions for City Board? "Send Those Cards and Letters In
Date: November 3, 2010
Now that we have a new Mayor and one
new director, maybe we can get some answers to some old questions.
did Lance and Steve spend $4,000,000 trying to justify a fresh water
intake against the advice of the Arkansas Health Department?
Why is the City spending a rumored $5,000 per day (loss) to run empty
busses all over town? If you go to the transportation depot around 1
PM, three busses will pull up and one or two passengers will get
on/off. We would be better served to operate a shuttle bus free like
many of the resort cities around the county where such service is
supported by the local merchants (hotels, motels, and restaurants).
Shouldn't it be funded by the A/P tax? At least they would get some
return for the money.
does every employee need a cell phone and why don’t we monitor the usage
to determine if calls made are legitimate? Like during business hours.
do so many of the employees need a city vehicle? And if they do, why do
they need to take them home or leave the office in them to take lunch?
Shouldn’t they be driving their own car?
Why do the Department Heads continue
to get tremendous pay increases and the working employees get nothing?
about a Water/Wastewater Commission scares the present administration?
What is wrong with a controlled open
mike during director’s meetings?
we repaying pension funds for fire and police that were already paid by
the taxpayer, and invested poorly, so now the city BOD has a major
obligation in the budget to continue to compensate this poor investment.
How many times do taxpayers owe for retirement funds to workers? NOBODY
is guaranteed to succeed at their investment strategy............this is
Those are just a few questions.
Maybe we can now get a few answers. Oh, how about asking your readers,
“What would YOU like to have answers for?” “Send those cards and
letters in folks”
Editors note: Sounds like a great idea to us. We have spent
several years trying to get answers to these and numerous other questions
like, "Why do we have a bottleneck that congests traffic and is a public
safety hazard?" Unfortunately, most all our questions have been
totally ignored and, in some cases, even ridiculed for anyone having the
nerve to ask. We are in the process of compiling a similar list
of questions and concerns to present to the new city board. This list
will be published here when it is completed. In the interim, please do
send us your questions and concerns.
McCabe's Obnoxious Comments Hard To Find
From: Peachy24 -
Date: October 31, 2010
Hooray, Hooray, Its Halloween and
Weatherford has his orange and black signs all over town and Pat McCabe has his
orange and black Halloween ad in the Sentinel Record newspaper again. I
told you a couple of weeks ago about McCabes obnoxious comments and
thanks to you for linking to them again. He is warped to say those things about women and is
just plain vulgar. I see Dr. Robertson finally ran an ad saying McCabe lied about
him but the link in his ad goes to the long court documents on your
his vulgarities are hard to find unless you read for an hour. Can you
link to something shorter or point to his vulgar comments about women?
Editors note: We received several comments similar to yours and
published the entire PDF document to avoid any appearance of not providing
what we think is the entire court documentation relative to his comments.
Those can still be seen by clicking
here. However, we did convert the document to Word, highlighted
the more abusive comments in yellow, shortened the document, and converted
it back to PDF format. We did note that some conversion errors
occurred but most of the "vulgar" comments to which you refer are still
basically intact. You can see this shortened version by
Taxpayers Pay Thousands for Director and Mayor Personal Cell Phone Calls?
Date: October 31, 2010
Call Director Elaine Jones at
545-3426 and ask her
(concerning the attached cell phone records):
What the $40 per month office sync
Did she reimburse the city for any
of the calls?
Does she think it is right for
taxpayers to pay $20 - $40 for her roaming calls to friends and family?
What did she do with the $100 plus
data charges she made several months?
What business does the city have
with Jamie Calhoun (200 calls)?
Editors note: Wow! That is a lot of calls apparently
paid for by we taxpayers.
Click here to
access the attached list of phone calls made on Jones' and Bush's city
provided cell phones.
Click here to see
the actual bills. We would have the same questions but don't think
either of them would give us honest answers so we have decided to forward
the lists to the state ethics commission, FBI, and, after the election, to
the attorney general. In the interim, why don't we just vote both of
the abusers you list (Jones and Bush) out of office in the next couple of
days and have such abuses ended for good. Oh, while we're at it, let's
also get the other two "good ol' boys," Ramick and McCabe out. Okay?
Not All Realtors are Part of the Good Ol' Boy Network
Date: October 21, 2010
Please note and
be aware that The Rushings that are being referred to in support of the
article written about the City Good Ol’ Boys- is DEFINITELY NOT Cliff
and Laurie Rushing or any relation. We are very much in favor of seeing
a new group of leaders in the city and ones that are conservative and
fight for the rights of the people.
I am a Realtor,
but not any affiliation with the ERA Rushing McAdams Polychron. I am the
Executive Broker of Trademark Real Estate, Inc. I don’t support or
endorse any of the City Directors that were appointed and not elected to
the city. I do not support Mayor Bush, I attended a city meeting that
the water treatment plant was being discussed and Mayor Bush was very
rude and disrespectful to a little old lady that was just asking some
It is time for
change- and these Rushings, that are REALTORS, support change.
Editors note: Thank you for being a conservation who is not afraid
to use the term. We are hearing this more and more. We corrected
the "Commentary" page to eliminate any future confusion. Eliminating
the Good Ol' Boy network that has run our city for so long will help us all
to get our city going in a new direction. Hopefully then, we'll have
plenty of activity for those ethical realtors, like you, who want to promote
growth and see our city reach it's real potential. Dear readers, this
is a realty company you need to remember and refer.
"King" Larry Williams Issues Illegal Edicts ?
Date: October 18, 2010
It was with amusement that I read Judge William's
edicts in the newspaper on October 12. He needs a course in 1st
amendment rights. The only edict that he laid down that was even
remotely legal was about electioneering within 100 feet of the polling
place and that one is based on a law that the Arkansas AG has opined is
Since they are prohibiting the
tea party insignia I assume that fifty for the future, the chamber, Mr.
Plumber, and the thousands of people whose names appear in the paper
supporting a candidate and their clubs, associations and businesses
should be prohibited from any wording on their clothes. Oh I forgot
Jewelry, at the recent lakeside school tax election, all of the class
rings worn by alumni were in violation.
Also you should not pull through
the driveway without sanitizing your car of bumper stickers, ink pens,
political junk mail etc... because you can't loop through the parking
lot without getting within 100 feet of the entrance.
Williams in absolutely nuts!!! I
hope Crass puts him out to pasture.
Attached is a State Attorney
General's opinion on the 100 feet. I actually like the law, but I agree
it is unconstitutional.
Click here to see the Attorney General Opinion
Editors note: For the benefit of those who didn't read the article
you reference, Larry Williams stated from his Judge's throne at the Quorum
Court that campaigners could not park inside the fence at the election
commission, could not attach signs to the fence, could not stand inside the
fenced area, could not have more than two people holding signs or handing
out literature even outside the fence. Guess what? King Williams
showed up this morning to enforce his rules which he obviously made up
without checking to see that he doesn't have the power to make laws,
especially ones that are unconstitutional. Someone probably needs to
point out to King Larry that his edicts based on his control of what he
calls, "county property" really means he is trying to control "public
property." The same is true for city property, state property, and
federal property. These are all "public properties," King Larry.
The law supports our rights. We likely should get an injunction to
keep King Larry from violating the public's rights.
Funny Business on the City's Television Network
From: TB -
Date: October 14, 2010
Editors note: Surely you are not inferring that the city would promote one
candidate over another during a heated, close campaign. That wouldn't
be proper (perhaps legal), would it? Oh, they will probably discover
that fact eventually and remove the candidate's free ads at the taxpayer's
expense. We are providing the attachment
(click here) so you can see it
even after it is removed which will likely be after the election.
McCabe is "Most Despicable Human" to Walk the Planet
From: Peachy24 -
Date: October 13, 2010
Pat McCabe has the be the most
despicable human who ever walked the planet. How can he possibly be a
city director? My husband just showed me your web site and how McCabe is
saying "re-elect" when he was not elected to his seat on the city board
because he was appointed. His ads in the Sentinel Record newspaper also
say re-elect. Those alone are enough to label McCabe as a liar trying to
deceive our voters. But what Mr. Toth had to say about director Pat
McCabe makes him totally despicable
(see 2 letters on Sept. 29, 2009 below).
His comments have to be the most obnoxious thing I have ever read. Why
is he not on the sexual predators list? Every woman in this town
should demand that he be placed on the list for their own safety and
well being. A friend told me he was forced to leave his job at St.
Josephs and they created the job he has at Levi. I saw where his boss
there disiplined him for his improper activities but he should have been
fired. How any human can say those things about women and think they are
funny is unbelivable. He is totally warped and should be in a mental
hospital not as the head of it but as a patient in a padded cell.
Editors note: Okay, but do you have any strong feelings about what he
said? A condensed list of the "things" Mr. McCabe is credited with
saying is actually in the second letter sent to us on September 29, 2009
listed far below or you can see his reported actual letters by
clicking here (do not click if you
are offended by crude language or at least, skip page 4). Note that
McCabe often signs himself as "The Commissioner." We actually think
the most telling insight into his ability to "tell the truth" are his
newspaper ads, one of which is in today's local newspaper. In addition
to misusing the word, "re-elect," he begins the ad by falsely stating, "A
little over a year ago you and I recalled the then seated District 4 City
Director and I was elected by the City Board to complete his term."
The facts are that he was APPOINTED by the "good ol' boy" Directors who were
friends of the recalled director. Not a single resident of District 4
got to vote. What is a real falsehood is his claim to have "recalled
the then seated" Director. He in NO WAY assisted in the recall
effort. He did not circulate or turn in any petitions and did not even
sign a petition to recall the director. In fact, if he had done so,
the "good ol' boy" friends of the recalled director would likely not have
"appointed" him to fill the vacancy. Mr. McCabe is simply trying to
play both sides of the fence. His (and Weatherford's) Halloween
colored signs and advertisements are misleading at best and intentionally
deceptive at worst.
"Scoundrely Wascals" Further Explained by Reader
Date: October 6, 2010
As Elmer Fudd would say, Those "Scoundrely
Wascals" you have a picture of (October 2,
didn't give us much of a story. I
took the liberty of touching up the picture which is attached and
provided a few facts so people can know why they are scoundrels.
The guy on the left is Don George
who was the Garland County supervisor that ran Cedar Glades Park and
oversaw the guy on the right who is Carroll Weatherford for about
$110,000 worth of work for the county. Don was fired by the county and
word on the street is that the Arkansas State Police have concluded
their investigation of him and Weatherford and have recently turned the
information over to the prosecutor with an incitement expected. The
second guy from the left is Rick Ramick who is now a city director and
is running again. You already printed his campaign signs showing how
deceptive he is (Sept. 28, below).
The big story you barely touched on is the fact that he was friends with
and in business with both guys on the right but lied about it in a
public meeting. He made headline news (Sentinel Record - Aug
16, 2010) recently being named as a defendant
owing some $600,000 due to land development or financial problems. The
second guy from the right is Rodney Meyers who spent time in a federal
prison for scoundrely behavior involving land developments or illegal
financial dealings. Director Ramick admits to driving him to prison but
won't admit to being his partner even tho there are public records
showing business transactions. The guy on the right has a long history
of bad behavior including several bankruptcies, long police rap sheets,
abuse of travel privileges while a city director, ethics complaints and
fines for improperly using the city attorney for personal legal matters,
several citations and state fines for conducting business without a
license, and the list goes on. On top of that history he is now
running for Mayor even tho he is on the city's delinquent tax list.
There appears to be another man cut from the picture. Who is he and why
is he not shown?
Editors note: The scenario you list is, no doubt, scoundrely
behavior. You state that Ramick is currently serving as a city
director. The primary point made in the post of September 28 (below)
is that Ramick was NOT elected although his signs ask people to RE-elect
him. He was appointed by the city board, none of which live in city
district 5. The same is true for director McCabe as stated in the same
post. Your comments relative to "the big story" we "barely touched on"
are not totally accurate albeit we have not reported anything recently.
Read the stories about Director Ramick below dated August 8, 16, and 20 of
this year. Ramick's business relationships you reference were reported
way back in 2009 (see Apr 8, May 11, and June 4) with many other posts and
comments concerning him and the other "guys" activities even before that.
Click here to see an Arkansas Times story involving all these
guys. As to "another man cut from the picture," there were actually
two other men. We cut them because we were unable to identify them and
thought they may not wish to be seen with others in the photo. We
finally discovered the man on the left is Darrell Allison, friend of Rodney
Myers, a real estate broker, developer type (condos and timeshares), and
owner of Diamondhead Realty
(click here to read about he and Rodney Myers). Another reader identified the man
on the right as attorney Mike King. Two readers said they thought the
photo was several years old. Okay, here is the complete intact photo
with the camera's photo date also shown.
Amendments on Ballot Would Allow Politicians to Play Games With Our Tax
Date: October 6, 2010
The Arkansas Constitution limits
the interest rate which the State and its creatures can offer on
bonded debt to a small margin above a certain “Federal funds rate.”
This has seriously impaired issuance of State and local bonds, since
the controlling Federal rate is real low. The State Legislature wants
to eliminate this Constitutional rate limit with “Referred Issue No.
2,” on your November 2nd ballot.
Perhaps it is reasonable to let the market
for such bonds set the rate, and not have some arbitrary rate limit
which impairs the government's ability to borrow money.
But alas, Referred Issue No. 2 goes farther
than simply curing this little problem: in Section 4 it authorizes the
issuance of new bonded debt for "energy efficient projects," whatever
those might be. The Legislature thus overreaches, opening up a new
"opportunity" for enterprising politicians and their pals to speculate
in feel-good capital projects at taxpayers' risk. Can you even imagine
the whacky new "green" projects that will show up looking for this new
money? Al Gore would have never had it so good.
Referred Issue No. 2 should be rejected
because of Section 4. The present problem of the interest rate cap can
easily be remedied without providing another opening for public
The same thing goes for Referred Issue No. 3,
which removes certain key conditions for publicly financed "economic
development projects." Think of all the more modest "economic
development projects" which the Legislators could dream up to get
State debt money, without those current pesky requirements of
employing 500 people and investing more than $500 million.
These two blatant and unnecessary attempts to
change the present law will only ten to increase the amount of public
debt in this state, which has until now been reasonably contained
compared to most other states. Arkansas voters should keep it that way
by voting “NO” on Referred Issues 2 and 3.
Editors note: What? You don't trust politicians to use our
tax-money properly? Wish we had more skeptics. Some of us had
never heard of the word "Trillion" until it was used to describe our
national debt. Now, even local politicians throw around "Millions"
like it is no big deal. We do agree that voting for the "Referred
Issues" would just open the purse strings for politicians
and their schemes.
Mayor Putting Up Campaign Signs Without Property Owner's Permission?
Date: October 3, 2010
Your site showed pictures of campaign
signs on Sept 28 that were not accurate and you criticized whoever put
them up for not being accurate about re-electing McCabe and Ramick since
they were appointed - not elected. Well I have one worse and hope you
are interested in getting it corrected. Mayor Bush had the guy that
works for channel 7 out putting up his signs Friday and Saturday and he
put one on my property with out asking my permission. I checked with
others I know with Bush signs and every one of them said they did not
give anyone permission for Bush to put his sign on there property. Some
of them did give permission for others but not for Bush. Two said they
support tea party which I think are mostly Republican candidates and
they could put signs up but I am sure Bush is not supported by those
groups. One guy took Bush's sign down while I was talking to him and
said he was going to put it in the trash. Another guy told me where to
find the city sign ordinance and I found it and it says: (1) No
political sign may be placed upon private property without permission of
the owner; and (d) Authority of the city. If a political sign is placed
improperly or is not removed as required herein, the city is authorized
to enter upon private property and to remove the sign. That was what
Chapter 6 of the Hot Springs Code says - not me. Can you get the city to
have those signs removed?
Editors note: We found the ordinance to which you refer. It is
Hot Springs Code 16-6-1 which can be seen by
clicking here and
scrolling down to page 202. Do you really think any city employee will
remove the Mayor's political signs? Get real, irrespective of what the
law requires, city employees are intimidated and don't dare touch the
mayor's signs. What is more important is the fact that the mayor would
violate the law and demonstrate callous disrespect for your private property
rights. This seems to be quite consistent with how he treats the
public, with rudeness and little or no concern. We don't know for
certain but we feel fairly confident that, like your friend, you should have
the right to remove anything from your own property that you didn't
Circle of Friends Kickoff Weatherford for Mayor Campaign
From: Anonymous -
Date: October 2, 2010
Thought you may be interested in
seeing about half the people who showed up at the Weatherford for Mayor
kickoff party September 22, 2010. We understand 250 were invited and 9
showed up. At least we know who the main supporters are. These could also be
half the voters that vote for Weatherford also.
Don George, Rick Ramick, Rodney
Myers, Carroll Weatherford
Editors note: Thanks for the photos. You are the second source
to tell us about Ramick crying like a baby after he and another guy (cut
from the photo) had finished off a few beers and then driven Mr. Myers to
prison. Several people are working to substantiate the information
before it is posted. Thanks for the info but send more firm data.
Oh, we do remember how Director Ramick told the public (with a straight
face) that he was not friends or business associates of some of the people
in the photo above. We wonder how many will remember that little fib
at the polls. Oh, our sources tell us between 20 and 30 people showed up but
that still is a small percentage.
Observations of City Board Challengers
White, President Garland Good Government PAC
Date: September 30, 2010
I wanted to take a minute and share some of my
observations and personal experiences with the candidates who are
running for city positions in opposition to our current board of
directors. Each and every one of them are proven leaders, and I am
proud to know them.
I will start with mayoral candidate Ruth Carney.
I can't say enough about the admiration and respect that I have for
this very special lady. Ruth has been a leader for years in ways that
don't receive a lot of attention. In the mission field, she has led
countless volunteers in building churches, schools, and generally
improving the quality of life for those less fortunate. She and her
husband, Pastor Ken Carney, have been long time advocates for
children, serving as Therapeutic Foster Parents for special needs
children. The rewards for this commitment are not monetary, but even
more meaningful. I have seen it in the eyes of some of the children
who have been the recipients of the love of the Carney family. On a
personal note, when my youngest son was in the emergency room, Ruth
Carney stopped what she was doing and came to pray at his bedside,
providing comfort to my entire family. Ruth doesn't have to do any of
these things. That is just the type of lady she is, and are just a few
of the reasons why this sort of compassion and leadership is needed in
the office of mayor.
In District 2, Willie McCoy is running against
incumbent Elaine Jones. If you are looking for a leader, Willie has an
incredible track record. As a career law enforcement officer, he
retired from the HSPD several years ago with the rank of Capitan. More
important to me, he has been involved with the youth of our community
through decades of service with the Boy's Club, impacting the lives of
hundreds of young people over the years. In fact, my wife told me that
Willie was her softball coach when she was young. That is exactly the
sort of long term commitment to the community that we need on the
Board of Directors.
In District 4, Blake Robertson is the clear
choice for taking the board in a new direction. Blake's vast
experience in the fields of education and criminal justice are
invaluable resources at this pivotal point in our city's
history. Having gotten to know Blake, I am very impressed by his
personal humility. He would rather listen to people than hear the
sound of his own voice. When he does have something to say, listeners
can be assured that he has examined every possible aspect of the issue
at hand, and can bank on the fact that his words ring true. Blake
lives in a neighborhood within District 4, not on the fringes of the
city with a boat dock in the county. When Blake Robertson says that he
wants to take the city board in a new direction, he means it, and has
the character and experience in leadership to do it.
In District 5, when it comes to community
leadership, there is no comparison to Glenn Gallas. Glenn typifies the
term "grass roots", and has the track record to back it up. Glenn has
always believed in being "inclusive". In the early days of his
residency in Hot Springs, Glenn organized his neighbors in the area
around the old Jones School, cleaning up the area and enlisting the
help of the people in creating the park next to the school. While
Glenn and his family lived in the area, the neighborhood was a lot
safer than it is today. Glenn still believes in the power of neighbor
helping neighbor, and will play an integral role in reclaiming and
revitalizing the neighborhoods of District 5 and Hot Springs as a
whole. Business leader, community leader, a man who lives his faith
and principles... the choice is clear.
Our current Board of Directors, with a couple of
notable exceptions who are not running this cycle, have brought Hot
Springs to the brink of chaos. The candidates that I have spoken of
here, all time tested and proven leaders, will strive to give Hot
Springs back to its rightful owners... the citizens.
Editors note: Thanks for your observations. We know what you
say is correct and we are unbelievably fortunate to have such well qualified
candidates seeking office. We also know why most of those well
qualified candidates are seeking office. It is so that the "chaos" the
current office holders have brought about can be corrected.
How could any decent city representative allow our city to become this
many millions of dollars in debt, allow our crime rate to become the highest
in the country, still propose even higher taxes, do nothing for our
underpaid and underappreciated rank-and-file city employees, perform
selective enforcement and improper favoritism, continue to ignore obvious
conflicts of interests, set the embarrassing standard for rude behavior,
cater to only select special interests, continiously abuse travel and phone
privileges, ruthlessly waste of our hard-earned tax dollars on unnecessary
and extravagant programs, and continue to refuse to allow the citizens to
have a voice or a vote on everything from a new city hall to denying
citizens a public forum at board meetings. The November 2nd election
is finally our chance to elect our own representatives. Never
again should we be forced to sit helplessly on the sidelines and watch as
they appoint more "good ol' boys" as our representatives.
More Bad Words to Describe the Good Ol' Boy Candidates on the City Board
Date: September 28, 2010
Hey you guys missed the boat on Bush's
campaign claims. Bush says we need to reelect him so we can "continue
the progress we've made" and your response was good because all the
progress was in the wrong direction but you missed a lot of his missteps
and painful lack of leadership. His being a board member on the chamber
is a big big conflict of interest since the city gives them hundreds of
thousands of tax dollars every year. You missed his nightly drinking
binges and several other things I will send you later after I get them
all together because I have spent years gathering info for a time like
what is about to come. Another issue or two you didn't mention is how
all the board except Maruther has been screwing the public for years.
You missed several more words that describe Bush and the board. Some of
them are deceptive, scheming, complicit, sell out, opportunists,
misrepresentative, deceitful, and liars. Think back about how three of
the board members met most every morning at Grannys Kitchen to decide
what happened at the next board meetings discussing things like how to
get the new city hall without letting the public have a vote. You guys
have videos, pictures, and recordings of some of the meetings. The
pictures attached to this email show how deceptive and misrepresentative
two of the board members are. Try to tell me they are not liars when
they put up signs telling the public to RE-elect them when they were
never elected to their present positions in the first place. Both Ramick
and McCabe were appointed by the other board members - not elected -
even tho you guys complained about it at the time.
The pictures don't lie but the candidates sure do. They think the public
won't notice these little lies like Re-elect since we didn't
notice the big big lies they have been telling us ever since they were
appointed. Don't forget McCabe was appointed to replace Weatherford who
was recalled in disgrace and Ramick was appointed when Bill Edwards died
even tho he was a friend and business partner of the guy he drove to
prison and Weatherford. Ramick pulled some questionable deals while he
was a director and now has a recent lawsuit the public needs to know
about. McCabe hates women and you already have some of that proof on
your website. I saw where their buddy Weatherford is delusional and is
running for Mayor. He was on the list of delinquent taxes on page 3A of
the Sunday paper. There is a law against running for office when you owe
delinquent taxes isn't there?
Editors note: We think that you are correct. Our recollection is that citizens
cannot seek office with an entity to which they owe taxes. We did go
look at the list to which you refer and it does, indeed, list Weatherford
Construction LLC. Hey, over 7 out of every 8 voters in his own
district voted to remove him. What chance do you give him to be a
serious contender for mayor? We look forward to your additional
information and will publish it here as soon as you send it. Speaking
of "delusional," the current mayor's ads all say, "Experienced Leadership
for Hot Springs' Future." Is he serious or does he think no one has
noticed what his leadership has done to our town? The post below does
a good job describing where his (and his board's) leadership has gotten us.
Mayor Thinks Hot Springs Progressed Under His Leadership. Really?
Date: September 26, 2010
The following is a letter to the
Sentinel Record but has not yet been published:
Like many of your readers, I saw
the re-election ad placed by Mayor Mike Bush. Three words really stood out
to me. Those were “honor”. “progress” and “leadership”. I would like to
expound on these three words in relation to the ten years that Mike Bush
has served as our Mayor. Mr. Bush is quite correct in his statement that
it is an honor to serve as Mayor of a city such as Hot Springs. Yet one
must ask, has Mike Bush brought “honor” to the office of Mayor? I cannot
count the number of times that I have witnessed Mayor Bush treat his
fellow board members or citizens with disrespect, rudeness, and outright
sarcasm. Is this the way that an honorable mayor should conduct himself?
And what of the other “honorable” men of the board. Did they stand up to
their colleague or just sit smugly by and snicker their agreement.
Perhaps no other incident
defines Mayor Bush's version of “honor” than a 2007 Board of Directors
meeting in which former Director Steve Smith profanely denigrated fellow
director Peggy Maruthur. Did Mayor Bush tell Smith that he was out of
order, as one might expect an honorable man to do? On the contrary, he did
nothing at all, except to be quoted as saying that such behavior “makes
our meetings fun”. Incidentally, Steve Smith and Mike Bush are a part of
the same Rotary Club that the Mayor refers to in his ad, as are several
other individuals who have benefited greatly during Bush's tenure as
Let's talk about “progress” for
a moment. Under Mayor Bush's administration, Hot Springs has “progressed”
to the number one position for overall crime in a city its size. This
information is available from a variety of sources, including the New York
Times 2010 Almanac. There are some neighborhoods within the city that are
progressing through revitalization; but this is due in large part to the
efforts of concerned citizens and neighborhood associations, not city
Hot Springs has also
“progressed” from being a community which draws retirees and families
wanting to establish long-term residency to a mecca for short-term
tourists and get rich quick gamblers at Oaklawn's casino. Mayor Bush made
his stance on this issue quite clear during the 2009 visit to our city by
a group of Nicaraguan mayors. In his welcoming remarks, he informed our
international guests that “tourism is the engine that drives Hot Springs”.
That was about thirty seconds before he looked at his watch, concluded his
remarks and left. I was embarrassed for our city by our mayor's casual
disregard for these men who had traveled so far. Thankfully, the other Hot
Springs elected officials in attendance stayed and made our guests feel
welcome, as City Manager Lance Hudnell had done very admirably earlier in
Now let's talk about leadership.
I know a thing or two about leaders. I have been one in one form or
another virtually my entire adult life. A leader directs and inspires
through example. Perhaps the example of our current mayor is partly
responsible for this city's current plight. Of course, to catch a glimpse
of the realities of Hot Springs today, you must step outside the gated
communities and gatherings of the social elite and get your hands dirty in
the trenches with the rest of us.
Springs can no longer afford, ethically or financially, the “honor”,
“progress” or “leadership” of Mike Bush. Ten years of watching the will of
the citizens disrespected in favor of the privileged few is enough.
Editors note: Most citizens of Hot Springs can identify with the
"rudeness" of the mayor and "disrespect" from most of the board. Our
primary concern is that the mayor and board may not understand the real
meaning of the word "progress." Do you suppose that they think
achieving the number one position of being designated the "most dangerous
city in the nation" is progress? Having the highest serious crime rate
in the nation is progress? Having the highest property crime of any
U.S. city (over 30,000 in population) is progress? Being several
million in debt, imposing furloughs and pay cuts on the city's rank-and-file
employees while giving certain department heads huge raises is progress?
Wasting millions of dollars to design a water treatment after the state made
it clear it cannot be built is progress? No maintenance programs for
city property and buildings and admitting they are losing up to 43% of our
treated water is progress? Spending over $10 million for new water
meters and fouling up charges during the transition period is progress?
Spending millions of our tax dollars on expensive out-of-town consultants,
early warning systems that take inordinate amounts of time to activate,
Little Rock attorneys, hot air balloons, etc. is progress? Sending
half the board and administration on trips all across the country plus
constant trips to our sister city in Japan is progress? Not allowing
our citizens a voice or a vote on a new city hall or replacement of a
recalled director is progress? Firing every member of the three most
important citizen boards because they disagreed with the "good ol' boys" is
progress? What the mayor and the other "good ol' boys" on the city
board refer to as "progress" is not the same as our definition of
progress. Words that do come to mind include: "uncaring,"
"unqualified," "cronyism," "self-serving," "elitist," "unethical,"
"immoral," "unaccountable," un-representative," and mostly, "incompetent."
That can all change on November 2nd if the public is informed and then
"Super Scooper" Terry Smith and His "APERS Caper"
Date: September 23, 2010
Brian White's letter yesterday (9/22) on Terry
Smith was right "on the money." Smith's successful strategy against Jo
West should not go unnoticed by our candidates running against Rima and
Short: attack 'em on the "double-dipper" issue. It's a sure winner.
Smith has been hanging around Hot Springs for
years, taking advantage of the addiction of Arkansans to political
plunder in the form of pork from the Legislature, or advantage granted
by some "special legislation" like the Oaklawn gambling charter. His
"history" ought to be reason enough to send him packing.
But there is even more, and it ironically involves
APERS. Smith may not be a "double-dipper," but he surely wants to be a
"super-scooper." Smith has been laboring away through his term limits
in the Legislature and other assorted jobs at a modest average pay rate
- let's say in the $20,000 range. That would be his "base pay" for
APERS retirement benefits. But that's such a paltry sum, and Smith
knows the system and how to get that number up. He knows that if he
could only get some high-paying job on a government payroll, he could
raise his APERS base pay big time. The APERS system pays a percentage
of the highest 3-years pay, based upon years of service. And elected
officials get 2 years credit for each one year served. "Viola!," says
Terry, "How about the County Treasurer job? Hell, I can do that."
Let's say the Treasurer's job pays $80,000 annually, and that Smith has
accumulated 30 years of APERS service. At the going rate of about 2%
per year, that means Smith would get about 60% of his APERS base
pay once he elects to retire. Now it would be much better for Smith if
he could get 60% of $80,000, his Treasurer's pay rate, rather than 60%
of a paltry $20,000, in his reclining years.
Smith has no experience as a "treasurer" other
than keeper of his own piggy bank. We've not heard him expound on any
life-long yearning to be a county treasurer. It is clear that his
motivation can only be to boost his APERS base pay. His candidacy is
another "APERS caper." For only one term of serving as "County
Treasurer," Smith gets to jack up his retirement benefit by a factor of
four times. Now that's what we should call a "super-scoop." Terry
Smith should be the poster boy for this scam - "Terry Smith - Super
Editors note: That works out to a retirement pay of $48,000 annually
rather than the $12,000 he has earned so far which is 4 times as much.
We suppose that qualifies him to be called a "quadruple-dipper" but we like
your term, "Super Scooper" better. Thanks for the insight.
Gambling Issues, Drinking, and Improper Lambasting by Elected Officials?
From: Brian White -
Date: September 22, 2010
This post was also printed in the Sentinel
Record on this date as a letter to the editor but was edited.
Having term-limited out of both the Arkansas
House and Senate, Senator William "Terry" Smith" is now running for
Garland County Treasurer in November against challenger Tim Stockdale.
Is Smith the right man for the job? Having done a little research, I
think not. Here are just a few reasons why.
At a GGGG candidate forum held just before the
primary election this spring, Smith strode to the podium and proceeded
to lambaste his opponent, current county treasurer Jo West Taylor, for
her role in the infamous "double-dipper" scandal. There was very
little, if anything, said about what he would do if elected, just a
lot of accusations and innuendo about his opponent's lack of judgment.
However, Senator Smith said nothing about his
own lapses in judgment. Does he think that voters have forgotten his
2003 arrest in Little Rock on charges of Driving While Intoxicated, or
additional charges of refusing to submit to a breath-alcohol test? In
a copyrighted story appearing in the Sentinel - Record on March 13,
2003, John Pennington wrote, "... As details of Smith's arrest came to
light Wednesday, Smith pleaded for forgiveness from the Senate floor.
In a prepared statement Smith faxed to the Sentinel - Record Wednesday
afternoon, he said the following. "Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate,
I want to apologize for the embarrassment my lack of judgment
last evening had on my family, this institution, each senator, my
friends, and my constituents. I hope you can find it in your hearts to
Two years later, Smith and house colleague R.D.
"Rick" Saunders, now a candidate for Garland County Judge, were
co-sponsors of Act 1151, which brought electronic games of skill -
otherwise known as a casino - to Hot Springs. In the language of the
bill, which may be found in the Arkansas Statutes 23-113-201 (2) (A)
(ii), "If the racetrack park is located within the corporate limits of
a city or town, the question shall be submitted to the electors of
either the city, town, or county in which the racetrack park is
located, as requested by the franchise holder.
In this case, Oaklawn would make the decision
where the vote would take place, which in this case was the City of
Hot Springs. Garland County voters were disenfranchised and excluded
from having their voices heard in that election, Smith and Saunders
knew that this language was in this bill, and that it was up to
Oaklawn to decide that they had a better chance of getting their
casino approved by giving county voters no choice in the matter. Now,
both of these men want the previously disenfranchised and disrespected
voters of Garland County to elect them to high county office. I think
The antics of Senator Smith do not stop there.
As reported last month by Jason Tolbert of
Smith demonstrated incredibly rude behavior toward a citizen who
appeared before the Legislative Oversight Committee for the Arkansas
Lottery, of which Smith is a member. Kenneth Wallis, a citizen who was
in attendance to speak against lottery ticket vending machines, became
the target of Smith's outrage when he appeared wearing a Jim Keet for
Governor tee shirt. Smith called a point of order in the proceedings
and demanded that the man remove his shirt before continuing.
Fortunately for the victim of the outburst, Representative Rick Green
intervened and offered Wallis his sport coat, which the young man
gratefully accepted. Video of the embarrassing antics of Smith are
www.FamilyCouncil.org. I have seen the video, and agree with
others that Senator Smith was completely out of order.
Finally, at the GGGG candidate forum held
earlier this month, Senator Smith used his time to talk about the
reported 9 million dollars of taxpayer money that he has managed to
bring to Garland County. Very little was said about anything that
would qualify him as the next Garland County Treasurer or what he
would do if elected. Concluding his remarks, Smith quoted the GGGG
motto of "open, honest and transparent" government, which I personally
find laughable. The outgoing Senator certainly has not applied any of
these principles in any of the instances which I have cited here.
It is for these and many other reasons why I can
not and will not support Terry Smith as Treasurer for Garland County.
Editors note: We always sort of wondered why Garland County citizens
didn't get to vote on the "games of skill" at Oaklawn. Thanks for the
School Superintendent Telling Teachers Who To Vote For, Really?
From: Brian -
Date: September 20, 2010
School Board meetings are generally
routine affairs. The last Hot Springs School Board meeting was attended
by the board members, administrators, principals, other staff members,
and one citizen. Me. The meeting was the usual round of presentations
and reports, but ended on a very peculiar note.
If you read the minutes of the
meeting, there will be a notation that Superintendent Joyce Craft
reminded those in attendance to vote in the upcoming school board
election. Sounds innocent enough, right? Except that that is not what
happened. What REALLY happened was that Joyce Craft told the gathering
to spread the word to their teachers and employees that it was "vital"
to keep the school board "intact". She further stated that the existing
board had been in place for quite some time and "knew how things were
done around here." Although stopping just short of ordering her
employees to vote for the incumbent, Bob Freeman, one doesn't need a
Master's Degree in education to get the implication.
The existing board may have been
around for awhile, but after seeing the number of schools that are on
year five or six of improvement, or the several that are on
restructuring (where the administrators and staff are supposed to be
replaced), it is obvious that the board has been doing a fine job at
Back to the board minutes for a
moment. If the district administration will cover up the small things,
can you imagine what they would do with the big ones?
Editors note: For a school administrator to even influence an
election of her board seems highly unethical, possibly illegal. Does
it not. If this is documentable, we strongly recommend a complaint to
the State Ethics Commission with a copy to the State Department of Education
and the Arkansas Secretary of State/ Election Commission. Oh, be sure
to vote Tuesday, September 21. You may even want to vote to change the
Superintendent's board. She should answer to them, not the other way
What Were You Thinking, Judge Williams?
GGG PAC -
Date: September 19, 2010
While at the Garland County Courthouse on other
business this past Friday, I decided to take the opportunity to invite
outgoing County Judge Larry Williams, who is running for the state house
against Keith Krass, to the next GGGG meeting, which is scheduled to be
a forum for candidates seeking state office.
Upon entering the office, I didn't get the chance
to extend the invite. Although Williams shook my hand, he opened the
conversation with," I have nothing to say to you. You're the one who
wrote the letter about my Dad, and we have nothing to talk about. I also
won't be having anything to do with your forums." I politely took the
hint and left.
Just to set the record straight, Mr. Williams, the
letter that appeared in the Sentinel Record on September 8, 2010,
was not about your father. It was about YOU. There was not a single
disparaging or disrespectful remark about your father, but rather,
pertinent questions about issues that are relevant to voters in Garland
County. Did you really think that there would not be questions about the
Arnold architectural firm? Do you really think that there won't be
questions and concerns about your role in the whole "double dipper"
fiasco? That was what the letter was about.
As far as you not wanting to take part in the
political forum next month, that is your choice. If you do not wish to
face questions from your opponent, or the voters, that is your decision
to make. However, if you change your mind, the invitation is still open.
I promise that I won't throw you out. I'm a bigger man than that.
Editors note: We suppose that are always "supposing." However,
we were just supposing that the good judge may be using this as a lame
excuse not to show up and have to face questions about his role in the
"double-dipper" cover-up or if he was attempting to steer business to this
father's employer. Arnold's name did show up on the "good ol' boy"
list referenced below (Sept.13) and on the "Commentary" page of this site.
How Can You Be Re-elected if Your Were Never Elected? Good
Date: September 19, 2010
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. I'm not talking
about the old song, but about the campaign signs that are springing up
like Surprise Lillies everywhere in Garland County. Some are
professionally and tastefully done, while some are plywood and stencils.
Of all of them, one in particular caught my attention. It was a rather
large sign featuring the familiar smiling face of Pat McCabe asking
voters of District 4 to re-elect him to the city board.
Now, I'm no rocket scientist, but doesn't someone
have to get elected before they can get re-elected? If my mind hasn't
completely stopped functioning, Pat McCabe was appointed to the board
after Carroll Weatherford was recalled in disgrace. Yep, the same
Carroll Weatherford who believes that all of his past shenanigans will
be forgotten and is now running for Mayor.
I suppose that if a lot of imagination were used,
it could be argued that Mr. McCabe was elected by the other good ol boys
and girls on the city board who appointed him, but he was certainly
not elected by the voters of District 4. Was the wording on Mr.
McCabe's sign an honest mistake, or does either the candidate or his
sign maker not understand the concept of election before re-election'
Editor's note: The reasons you list could be accurate but isn't
there also a slight possibility of intentional deceit? That would
be more consistent with most actions of the good ol' boys, would it not?
Rick is a "Decent Man" But He Won't Get This Friend's Vote
From: Anonymous -
Date: September 19, 2010
I have a government job which is important to my
family so please sign me as anonymous but I must tell you that Rick
Saunders is not a bad guy. I think he may be desperate, because his
opponent is going to win the election for county judge unless Saunders
can find a miracle. I was disappointed to see him ally himself with the
group your blog likes to call the good old boys. I would have voted for
him until he stooped that low. Oh well he will live and learn and maybe
come back to run for something else when that crowd has lost all their
My point is I have known Rick Saunders as a friend
for many years, He is a decent man but sometimes has had to go along
with things in Little Rock he didn't like. Maybe he just thought this
was another bitter pill that could help him get elected. I know several
of his friends who won't vote for him now because you can't take support
from that group without them wanting something in return. It is kind of
sad, he will learn.
Editors note: We have heard similar sentiments from several people.
We have also heard that Mr. Saunders has just done a good job of keeping his
alliances with the "good ol' boys" quite. Whatever the case, you are
likely correct in your prediction of the next county judge.
Bond Daddies Behind Those Great Sounding Ballot Issues?
Date: September 18, 2010
Arkansa populism has
Constitutionally limited the interest rate which the State and its
creatures can offer on their bonded debt, tying the rate to a certain
Federal funds rate. The generosity of Geithner, Bernake & Co has now
forced the State rate limit down to perhaps unprecedented lows. This
has seriously impaired the State and municipal bond issuance business
hereabouts, so the always-accommodating State Legislature has decided to
try to eliminate the Constitutional rate limit. This is the ostensible
purpose of Referred Issue No. 2.
Perhaps it is reasonable to let the
market for such bonds set the rate, and not have some arbitrary rate
limit which cuts off the government's ability to borrow money. But alas,
Referred Issue No. 2 goes farther than simply curing this little
problem: in Section 4, it authorizes the issuance of new bonded debt for
"energy efficient projects," whatever those might be. The Legislature
thus overreaches, opening up a new "opportunity" for enterprising
politicians to speculate in feel-good capital projects at taxpayers'
risk. I think Referred Issue No. 2 should be rejected because of the
little piece of candy for the bond daddies in Section 4. The present
problem of the interest rate cap can easily be remedied without opening
up new fields for public borrowing.
Same for Referred Issue No. 3, which
removes certain key conditions for "economic development projects,"
making this field wide open for increased public debt. Think of all the
more modest "economic development projects" which could get cheap State
debt money, without those pesky present requirements.
These two attempts to change the
present law will only tend to increase the amount of public debt in this
State, which, to this point in time, has been reasonably contained
compared to most other states. Arkansas voters should keep it that
way. What do you think?
Editors note: We totally agree. Upon first reading of these
three items which will appear on the November 2 ballot, we speculated that
the "Bond Daddies" and their attorneys in Little Rock must have come up with
these cockamamie schemes. They meet the primary "Bond Daddy"
requirements of sounding good to the public while bearing well disguised
legalistic verbiage designed to put money in their own pockets. We
typically don't take positions on ballot issues but we certainly will warn
the public to look into those possibilities you reference and vote
NRA People Have Lost Their Minds
Date: September 17, 2010
Dear Mr Cox -
Mike Ross? Have you people lost your minds? Here we have for the first
time in years a real Conservative, Beth Anne Rankin, running in the 4th
Congressional District of Arkansas, against Democrat Mike Ross, and
you guys endorse - Ross. Now I don’t care that Mike Ross may be a
Member of the NRA, or own a gun, or speak lovingly of the Second
Amendment; Ross is a DEMOCRAT, and the bottom line is that he caucuses
with the Democrats in the House and is therefore a PELOSI ENABLER, a
BARNEY FRANK ENABLER, and so forth right down the line of LIBERAL
DEMOCRATS ENABLED by Mike Ross and his ilk. Your “endorsement” of Ross
allows left-leaning media (like our local fish-wrap newspaper) to use
the NRA to slap around a good Conservative like Beth Anne Rankin, in
gun-loving South Arkansas. Outrageous. Your endorsement says to me
that you can’t see past the end of your nose, or grasp that this is
not your “regular” election and should not be “business as usual.” I’m
not suggesting that you must endorse Rankin, but only that in this
case, with two candidates apparently NRA friendly, you need not
endorse anybody; and for sure you shouldn’t endorse Ross in this
situation since - as I must repeat - he is a PELOSI ENABLER.
Now the threat: if you do not rescind your
endorsement of Mike Ross, please remove my name from your membership
roll and do not ever ask me for another penny. Never. Period.
Sincerely, Jim McCafferty, Hot Springs,
Arkansas. NRA Member No. 154546966
Editors note: We noted that you also
encouraged our readers to "send this message to
Chris Cox of the NRA to try to get them to fix this horrible mistake."
It doesn't make sense for an organization with members in both parties to
ever endorse one over the other. That is why we no longer subscribe to
or do business with anyone affiliated with the AARP. Try getting off
their mailing list. It takes a couple years and they still send us
their junk mail.
Hot Spring and Garland County Crime Still Leads the Nation
From: Jay -
Date: September 15, 2010
The Hot Springs Metropolitan
Statistical Area (all of Garland County) again led the nation as number
1 in the Property Crime and burglary categories per capita with the
highest rates of any Metropolitan area among the 379 in the nation. We
fell back a couple of notches from 2nd (behind Laredo) to 4th in the
Larceny Category. Here is the link to download and sort the results
Seperately the City of Hot Springs
(not including the whole county) lost its distinction of having the
highest property crime rate of any city with a population of 35,000 or
greater this year with North Little Rock and Miami Beach exceeding Hot
Springs this year by small margins. The recent policy of refusing to
take police reports and disposing of 500 per year or so without calling
them crime reports has paid off in statistics.
While Hot Springs was able to cook
the books to drop 2 notches from the top position on property crime we
are going to have to do a better job of hiding our murders. Nationwide
the murder rate dropped 7.3% but the City of Hot Springs murder rate
rose by 400% in 2009 and has already exceeded the 2009 rate in 2010 and
the year isn't even over yet. (those numbers don't even include the
it was in the county, and there have been rumors of unreported and
reported murders in the national park that are not included in those
numbers even though the bodies may have been dumped inside city limits.)
Starting in 2011 Steve Arrison of the
Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission has requested that we
dispose of our victims bodies across the county line. If the county line
is too far to drag the bodies call him and he will give you and your
victim a free ride to the nearest county line to help preserve our
tourist city reputation.
Editors note: Thanks for the stats and links. We are assured
the "cooking of the books" has now ceased. Note that if it did occur,
it sure didn't make our ranking look any better, huh?
Who's Who of the Good 'Ol Boys Listed In Local Newspaper
Date: September 13, 2010
Check out the large ad for Rick Saunders in
yesterday's paper. The list reads like a who's who of the good 'ol boys.
I am going to be going through this list of names seeking some answers.
1. How many of these names are members of 50 for
2. How many of these names are members of the
chamber of commerce?
3. How many of these people live within the city
limits as opposed to the county?
Any information that you may have that could help
answer would be helpful. This information should be made public so
people will know why our city is like it is. What do you guys
Editors note: The single answer to all your questions 1 through 3 is
"Several." Hey, we agreed with you so much that we wrote a commentary
piece on it. Click here to read it or
just go to the "Commentary" page.
We thought it would happen and it has. Several upset people
contacted us because their names were on the list, apparently, without
permission. Their names were not used in our article (above).
Another Important Election But Few People Seem To Know About It
Date: September 12, 2010
is a little publicized but vitally important election coming up in
September; that of the Hot Springs School Board. In the past, school
board elections have had very poor turnouts. The most voters taking
part was in last year's runoff election, when a little over 300 voters
took part. Let me give you a couple of reasons why this election is so
important, and why I am supporting challengers to the current board.
Let me begin by saying that every taxpayer in
the Hot Springs School District has a financial interest in this
election. The majority of your annual property taxes go directly to
the district. The only accountability that the district has to the
taxpayer is through the school board, which has remained largely
unchanged for a number of years. How does the school board and the
district treat your money? How do they treat concerned citizens? Read
on and judge for yourselves.
When the district and school board decided to
move Park Elementary, one of the best schools in the state, out of its
home neighborhood to the new Intermediate School building on Main
Street and replace it with Summit School, an Alternative Learning
Environment, there was little or no public notice that such a move was
taking place. The decision to make this move was determined at an
unscheduled private (likely illegal) school board meeting, disallowing
any public input from the citizens and taxpayers of the affected
neighborhood. When representatives of the district and school board
held an after-the-fact meeting with members of the Park Avenue
association, the citizens and taxpayers were treated as if they had no
voice. Instead, they were arrogantly and gruffly informed that the
district didn't have to answer to the people.
On the financial side, the board voted to spend
an estimated $750,000 on a new locker room facility and improvements
to the press box and baseball field last year, but were unable to find
the funds in the budget to buy books for the Middle School library.
What does that say about the district's priorities?
Additionally, there have been questions raised
about how the district disposes of public property, meaning YOUR
property; in this case vehicles and equipment scheduled for
replacement. At a school board meeting during the last school year
attended by myself and other witnesses, the board voted to dispose of
several vehicles through competitive bidding. Over the course of the
next few weeks there were no legal notices announcing this in the
Sentinel Record, as legally required. At the very next board meeting,
not so well attended by citizens/taxpayers/voters, the board voted to
leave the disposal of the vehicles in question to the discretion of
school superintendent Joyce Craft. There was never any public
disclosure of where YOUR property went or how much of YOUR money was
returned to the district through these sales.
However, I know for a fact, although I cannot
reveal my source, that several of these vehicles were sold to district
employees for an undisclosed amount. That is why there are school
buses now being outfitted for the deer woods.
The list of reasons why there is a need for a
new direction on the school board is endless, but I think the examples
that I have provided are enough to begin with.
I have spent quite a bit of time with one
candidate, Mr. Graham McCullough. Among his many credentials and years
of management experience there is one qualification that stands apart
from the others. He is the parent of two children in the Hot Springs
School District, and is very concerned about their education. He is a
man of honor and integrity who I am very pleased to support
wholeheartedly for Position 1 on the Hot Springs School Board.
I will close with this. I once heard Governor
Beebe say that to cure the problems of any city or town, citizens must
first begin with the schools. Fix education at the local level and
other issues will fall in line. That is a very loose paraphrase, and I
apologize to the governor if I completely messed it up.
Friends, let's take the first step toward fixing
education by electing individuals such as Graham McCullough to the
School Board who will follow legal requirements and operate our school
district in an open and honest manner. Election day is September 21,
2010 at either the Webb Center or the School District Administration
building. However, all citizens can take part in early voting, which
begins on September 14 at the Election Commission, 649 Quachita,
between the hours of 8 am to 5 pm. I'll see you at the polls.
Editors note: Why is the school board election not held along with
the November 2 general election? Could it be because if it is kept
quite, perhaps no one except another good ol' boy group will continue to run
it however they see fit? Just asking. Thanks for the candid
Lest We Forget The Events of This Day in 2001
Some Candidates "Have Been Politicians Way To Long"
From: Anonymous -
Date: September 11, 2010
I attended your event at the library Thursday, and
overall was very impressed. There were a couple of speakers though who
didn't seem to be on the same page as everybody else. I am talking about
Terry Smith and Rick Saunders. It was pretty clear to me that these two
have been politicians way too long.
Terry Smith seemed down right mad when he got up
to speak. Instead of talking about the position he's running for, all he
wanted to do was talk about how many taxpayer dollars he has been able
to wring out of the state budget for Garland County. I don't want to
hear how good somebody is at spending MY money. I want to know what
someone is going to do to SAVE my money. Smith reminded me more of a
blowhard schoolyard bully than a viable candidate. I almost fell out of
my chair when I hear him quote the GGGG line about open, honest and
transparent. My advice to Terry would be to go ahead and retire,
preferrably somewhere other than Garland County.
Rick Saunders didn't do much better. It seemed
that all he wanted to do was brag about his "connections" in Little
Rock. That's not what I'm looking for in a County Judge. Judging from
his resume, I wonder if the man has ever rolled up his sleeves and
gotten his hands dirty like a lot of us. My advice to Rick Saunders
would be the same as to Terry Smith. Go ahead and retire - again -
preferrably somewhere other than Garland County.
Editors note: Rather strong impressions there. We can't
comment about impressions. Someone may think we are promoting certain
candidates. You can see a neat story about the event
by clicking here.
Standing Room Only at GGGG Candidate "Meet and Greet"
Date: September 10, 2010
like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of the candidates
who spoke at the GGGG candidate forum on September 9, 2010; and a very
special thanks to all of the citizens who "packed the house" to hear them.
The library actually had to set out two more rows of chairs, and there
were still people standing.
Editors note: Thanks Brian. It was a great event and as Dick
Antoine, the event MC, stated this morning on his radio show, everyone has
to be impressed with the candidates running. We understand the other
officers of the GGGG join you in thanking the candidates and citizens.
What Did the County Judge Know and When Did He Know It?
Date: September 9, 2010
Well, at least Williams
apparently sees he has a problem with the jail committee. I think it is
entirely reasonable to openly argue that no binding commitment should be
made by the County (Williams) on any jail related issue until after the
next County Judge takes office. Bud West needs to be reminded of that
involvement with the double-dippers should be the basis for the same
argument on the double-dipper issue: no commitment binding on the County
until the new County Judge takes office. Citizens need to find out:
What did Williams know and when did he know it?
Editors note: Your reference is obviously to today's newspaper
headline story. It is appropriate that the county judge finally
recognized his conflict of interest even though the arrangements between
SouthBuild and the Williams' family appear to have been completed. Now
let us see if the county judge refrains from reviewing or negotiating the
proposals. We'll feel comfortable only after SouthBuild is eliminated
from further consideration. We are beginning to get lots of
information about what the judge knew and when he knew it. Once the
information is confirmed, we will publish it here. Stay tuned.
"County-Gate" and "double-dipping" does not seem to be over just yet.
Redistribution of Wealth
Date: September 9, 2010
There has been a
lot of discussion lately in the editorials about the redistribution of
wealth. Claims have been made that the rich are getting too rich and the
poor are getting poorer. In none of those revelations was there any
mention of the amount of work involved to obtain that wealth given some
inherited it and some worked many 16 hour jobs, and or held/hold two jobs
to get ahead. Others people, although hard workers, enjoyed the fruit of
their labors and choose not to save. And of course we have those who
want to party on others people’s labor. It will be extremely difficult to
separate those from one another. So let’s just look at total assets.
For the purpose of
discussion, let us assume that everyone sees the need to take care of
those unable to work. That will take the wind out of a lot of sails on
So, now we have a
simple formula. Everyone puts everything they have in a box, divide the
contents of the box by the number of people and eureka, we have a winner.
Well not quite. Harry worked hard and partied the same way thus nothing
went into the box. Susie worked two jobs and saved her money and has to
put everything into the box. I’m sorry; I said that we weren’t going
Now Joe comes
along and takes out more than his share because he wants a new car. Wait
a minute, this isn’t going to work. Tell you what, let’s let the
Government decide how much each person puts in and how much he takes out.
I can see a lot of problems with this system also. The government is
going to need a lot of practice to get this right. I’ve got it; we can’t
all get to the box at the same time, so we’ll let those who are asking for
redistribution go first. Be sure to put in all your money and share it
evenly with those who squander or choose not to work. Put it to a test
and let me know how it works out for you. Let give it a reasonable time
to work, maybe until November 2012.
Editors note: The above also appeared in the "Letters to the Editor"
section of the Sentinel Record (9/9/10). The GGGG President
certainly has a unique "tongue-in-cheek" presentation style. On top of
that, it is hard to disagree with anything he says once you have analyzed
and deciphered what he is saying. We are almost certain that he is
recommending we all vote on November 2 and vote to stop redistributing what
little earnings we have saved.
Sentinel Record Reports Diamondhead Officer
Shooting But Asks No Questions
From: Jer -
Date: September 5, 2010
Today's newspaper reported the
contents of the prosecutors report and nothing more. Not a single
question was asked of anyone.
Here is a television report about the
This is not the first officer
involved shooting for Fred Ensminger. He shot a suspect who ran from
him in December 2005 as a cop in Alexander. In the state police report,
Ensminger states the suspect took his hands out of his pockets and he
saw a something shiny he thought was a gun. It was later determined the
shiny items were compact discs.
The Pulaski County prosecutors office
issued a report in January 2006 saying his use of deadly force was
justified in that shooting. In June 2006, Pulaski County deputies sent
Ensminger to jail for getting into a fight with his girlfriend in the
parking lot of the Alexander Police Department. He resigned the next
day. Ensminger was also fired as an officer in Shannon Hills for an
alleged assault in March 2005.
Here is a blog that raises more
questions about the shooting.
Today's newspaper reported "In his
ruling, Oliver noted Ensminger’s account of events prior to the shooting
incident and during the incident “is contradicted by witness statements
and other evidence.” He noted the witness to the initial encounter
stated he never saw a badge in Ensminger’s hands and the dispatcher
stated Ensminger never indicated he was making a traffic stop. The
report notes that Ensminger’s statement that he never left his vehicle
was not supported by evidence, because a 40-caliber shell, which is what
Ensminger was using, was found on the outside of his truck behind the
passenger-side windshield wiper, and a 40-caliber casing was found on
the ground in front of where the truck was allegedly parked.
The most important and obvious
question the newspaper should have asked is if the evidence is that the
officer lied in his report. Why was he not at a minimum charged with
perjury or filing a false police report? (looks like he really should
have been charged with attempted murder)
Editors note: Wow!! One must ask if background checks are being properly
performed when we have law enforcement officers with backgrounds like this.
Reports of fellow officers backing up their buddies apparent fabricated stories
too typical. Check into Hot Springs PD and you will discover similar
allegations. Do you suppose such history and apparent cover-ups exist
only in our area? We think the public should start taking hard looks
at not only our new officers but also those who currently are "protecting
the public." If we can't trust police officers, who can we trust?
Oh, while we are talking about accuracy and the Sentinel Record, check the
dates on today's sports section. Most are incorrect. Only a
couple are actually Sunday, September 5.
City Code Enforcement Department Using Illegal Tactics?
Date: August 30, 2010
A city inspector who didn't want to take no
for an answer caused a serious breach of security at a local business
where sensitive state and federal government documents are held and
processed. Early in the afternoon of Thursday, August 26, Inspector Mike
Scott arrived at the Xerox warehouse (old Wal-mart building) unannounced
in an unmarked vehicle, presumably, to inspect a recently completed
firewall separating the warehouse area and office spaces in the front of
the building. Witnesses at the scene report that Scott became agitated
when he ignored the "Third Party Confidential" security warning signs
and attempted to gain access through the front door of the site. The
security doors cannot be opened without an electronic key card.
At this point, Scott allegedly grabbed a
shovel from the hand of a construction worker who was outside the building
and demanded to know if there were any other doors. The worker, who has
asked to remain anonymous, directed Scott to a side door where a buzzer
system alerts company personnel inside. Next to this door is another
"Third Party Confidential" notification. The supervisor on
duty refused Scott entrance into the facility, noting that he wore no
physical identification and had only a business card.
According to one eyewitness, things "got
pretty ugly" from there. "He (Scott) got pretty perturbed about not being
allowed in and took it upon himself to call in the fire marshal," one
witness reported. Inside the building, a second higher ranking supervisor
was called to the scene. After the fire marshal arrived, it was determined
that the pair would be allowed access to the building but only after all
sensitive material was secured and employees and material moved to the
front building, resulting in a work stoppage. Construction workers who had
been cleared to work at the site were also ordered to cease all activity.
After being allowed access into the building,
inspection of the firewall commenced. Although the plans for the
renovation had been previously approved by the city and all codes and
regulations followed for construction of the wall, a "fire
safety violation" was found. Scott then allegedly forced the construction
company to immediately demolish the wall, resulting in even further work
stoppages both for Xerox employees and those of the contractor.
Lance Hudnell said on Monday that he was aware of the inspection situation
at Xerox, but was unaware of allegations of abuse of power on the part of
Scott. The issue prompting Scott's visit, according to Hudnell, was one of
premature occupancy of the facility.
Editors note: There have been numerous complaints and allegations
over several years involving the city's code enforcement department (now
called "neighborhood services") overstepping legal boundaries. This
may just be the event that forces them to actually read what the law allows
them to do. We have heard everything from code enforcement personnel
claiming they have the legal right to enter private residences and then
barging into people's residences to using the police to actually tell
individual citizens to leave town. Apparently, code enforcement could
care less that entering private residences requires a "search warrant" or
that no citizen can be forced to leave town. Their tactics sound more
like the old west than that of a civil society with protected rights.
We have heard directly from some individuals who said they were forced to
leave town but didn't give much credence to their stories. One recent
story of abuse by code enforcement personnel involves showing up with
13 city vehicles which apparently included police, fire, planning and
zoning, and even animal
control personnel just to find reasons to force a lady out of her home.
Another involved fining an indigent person who had no money to work off a
$250 fine. Because the person had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease) and was forced to work in a damp, dusty, archive room, that
person's lungs failed resulting in death the next day. Due to the
sheer number and seriousness of such complaints, we now think there is
evidence that needs to be gathered and made public. If you or
anyone you know has such evidence, contact us or e-mail the evidence.
We are told the matter described above is being investigated by appropriate
outside agencies. We will follow-up and keep you posted here.
Cronyism Evident in Hiring County Judge's Father to Oversee Jail
From: PF -
Date: August 28, 2010
Today's (Saturday) front page newspaper
story about the jail committee answers some of the questions you answered
two days ago. We still don't know why we need a consultant, how much it will cost,
or if the
qualified but we do know that one firm is using the county judges father
as the project administrator even though he is 80 years old and the judge
says it is okay since he will only work part time. We still ask why? It sure
looks like pure unadulterated politics as you suggested. We have never
heard of South Build but think this firm must be thrown out from any
further consideration lest they and these deplorable actions turn the
public against daring to fund a jail for fear their tax money will be
diverted to politicians, their friends and their relatives.
Editors note: Well stated. The only qualification most of the
public now knows is the undeniable fact that this firm is willing to funnel
money to a politician's relative and his employer. Part time or full
time doesn't change this fact. Our prediction is that the county judge
will eventually give up on requiring his father be actually listed in some
official capacity but still require his father's employer to be used as the
architect. We truly hope this doesn't happen because it will most
certainly kill any possibility of the public voting to fund a badly needed
jail. Politicians learn so slowly, don't they.
This Period Will Go Down in History Books as When the People Took
Their City Back
From: Jer -
Date: August 27, 2010
The Sentinel Record missed one
of the big stories when they reported
that Glen Gallas switched residences within hours of filing for City
Director. The really big story is that he was able to put together a
campaign on 24 hours notice after another candidate dropped out. That is
remarkable and I doubt it has ever been done.
Unfortunately our city government has
been so dysfunctional for so long that large organizations have popped
up that are able to quickly respond to whatever is occurring. He was
assisted by a lot of people that want reform in this city in obtaining
the signatures he needed in 3 hours that it took others weeks to do.
Hot Springs has been through a number
of historic changes involving cronies, crooks and crooked politicians. I
think this period will go down in the history books as one of those
where the people took the city back.
Editors note: We certainly hope so. The story did sound more
like one of the good ol' boys doing the interview rather than a reporter, didn't
Need For Jail Consultant Questioned
From: PF -
Date: August 26, 2010
The Sunday newspaper headline says
"Subcommittee put together to recommend jail consultant." Can you
elaborate on why we need a consultant, how much it will cost, if all the
firms submitting responses to the "Request for Qualifications" letters are
qualified, etc? Reading between the lines of your web site tells us you
are pushing for a jail to be built but we question whether or not a
consultant is needed and if so, why? Your blog is very insightful and
enjoyable to read. Very much look forward to your response.
Editors note: Thanks for the kind words. As to "need for a
consultant," the Justice Department says a consultant is "essential" and we,
therefore, agree. If the politicians will get out of the way and let
the independent "Jail Committee" do it's job, a consultant can pay for their
work many times over in savings of both time and money. There are some
true experts in the respondents to the county's RFP responses. We are in the process
of reviewing the responses to the RFPs (request for proposals, not RFQs as
reported by the newspaper) from the various firms so we are not yet in a
position to do the best job answering all your questions and concerns.
However, we can tell you that we are somewhat concerned that the county
judge is working to hire SouthBuild because they have agreed to hire his
father. SouthBuild's RFP response lists L.A. Williams as the
"Construction Administrator." It appears that Mr. L.A. Williams is the
county judge's father. If this is confirmed, we have to consider this
as nepotism and cronyism at its ugliest.
Click here to see the SouthBuild RFP
response and note Mr. Williams listed on the page titled, "Primary
Project Team." It also appears that the county judge has set himself
up as being the individual who negotiates with the various RFP respondents.
If this is true, he could be totally ignoring what appear to be obvious
"conflict of interest" laws.
Click here to see the RFP requirements which the county judge provided
and, apparently, wrote. Note item 4 of the selection process which
requires, "The firm's proximity to and familiarity with the area in which
the project is located." This selection criteria constitutes
one-fourth of the selection criteria listed and places the local architect
which apparently employs his father in a favorable position not available to
out-of-town firms who actually design modern and efficiently operating
jails. Note in the list of qualifications, the local architect cites attendance
at a seminar titled, "Planning of New Institutions" conducted by the
National Institute of Corrections in 1985. Jail design has changed
significantly since that seminar 25 years ago. Other non-local
respondents currently work with the National Institute of Corrections and
design modern jails. Although we strongly support a new jail, we will
climb out on that proverbial "limb" and predict that the public will NOT
vote for another "back room" scheme involving nepotism, self serving
interests, or diversion of tax dollars for any use other than a jail.
Watch this site. We will provide more information as we get it.
We have confirmed that the L.A. Williams on the RFP response is Judge Larry
Ramick Fails When Challenged to Tell The Truth
From: Jeremy -
Date: August 20, 2010
In the August 16 Sentinel Record
the newspaper stated:
a statement submitted to The
Sentinel-Record, Ramick said ..."I
have always paid my lawful debts. This is not a personal debt, but a
debt of a corporation."
That is not the
full truth according to what the complaint states. The lawsuit alleges
Mr. Ramick personally signed the notes that are being sued on, and the
lawsuit specifically claims that they are seeking a judgment personally
against him as well as against Mr. Killian and Traco LLC.
This is not the first
time Director Ramick has been challenged with telling the truth and
When a city director
challenged Director Ramick on TV to explain why he interfered with the
Caresaway Subdivision utility approvals he refused to answer and later
told the newspaper that he did drive Rodney Myers, the developer of that
subdivision to prison, but that Director Ramick did not have any
business relationship with Rodney Myers.
At the next board
meeting, a citizen stood up and confronted Director Ramick again on TV
about his denial of business relationships with Mr. Myers and when he
refused to come clean he was presented with a deed showing that he had
paid Mr. Myers a half a million dollars for a piece of property days
before driving him to prison, and a 2 page advertisement in a homes
magazine with Director Ramicks photo peddling Mr. Myers' Catherine
Heights Apartments project.
Director Ramick now
has 2 choices:
1) Do nothing and
hope nobody notices. or
2) Send a correction
to the newspaper clarifying that this actually is a debt that he owes
personally as well as a debt against his LLC and Mr. Killian. (If he
gets on an honesty streak he can also explain his Caresaway action and
his denial of doing business with Mr. Myers.)
Director Ramick has
137 days left in office. I hope the voters of District 5 will chose
their next director based on honesty and integrity, otherwise we may be
looking at another bankrupt Director (like his buddy Director
Weatherford) making our financial decisions if he can't come up with the
$600,000 he owes.
Editors note: Thanks for informing us what the lawsuit says.
We did note, with interest, that Mr. Ramick did not attend his own
"listening session" which he invited everyone in District 5 to attend.
Then he also failed to attend Tuesday night's City Board meeting.
Perhaps he is not ready, just yet, to confront anyone with questions as to
how he let his personal finances get in such bad shape. Most citizens
of his district have to be wondering if he is running their city business in
the same, apparently, irresponsible manner as his own business.
Perhaps he is part of the reason our city is currently millions of dollars
in debt, have reduced pay for the rank-and-file city employees through
furloughs, etc. However, in spite of this grave city condition, our
distinguished city leaders gave thousands of dollars each in pay raises to a
select few. Bottom line is he is probably just proving he is in step
with the rest of the good ol' boys who are busy approving mobile homes in
residential neighborhoods. After all, he is one of the two directors
appointed by Weatherford and the other good ol' boys. No citizen has
voted for (or against) him yet.
Ramick also did not show up to draw his number for ballot position today.
Guess who showed up in his place and drew for him. If you guessed his
buddy, Carroll Weatherford, give yourself a gold star.
City Now Has an Art Censor - aka: City Censoring Character
Date: August 20, 2010
Record today August 20, 2010 page 5B top fold. Airport hosts
Traditional Art Guild exhibit. Fantastic. No way the city could mess
that up right? Wrong. Seems as though the Assistant Airport City
Manager has picked up a new title, Art Critic and self appointed City
Censoring Character, better known as the CCC. Appears that the lady
honored, Betty Christenson, is concentrating on experimental water media
with waterfall theme. She also included a couple of nude paintings.
Not the Playboy centerfold anatomically correct type pictures mind you,
but a tasteful painting of a nude. Since I was not allowed to view the
items of disgust (city administration opinion not mine), I have to
assume they are similar to her other paintings, lively, colorful, with
lots of motion and emotions.
administration and or the newly appointed CCC had the paintings removed
and stored out of site. I wonder what would happen if
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni were still alive,
would he be able to display “David” or could he paint a mural in the
airport like the Sistine Chapel? What about Venus De Milo? As a
Renaissance Art, I worry about the outcome of what the
City of Hot Springs could do to the world of art. The human nude form
has always been the subject of art for centuries. Its beauty is the
greatest of all nature, yet the hardest to capture. Yet the
self-appointed CCC has hidden the art from view.
You sir, owe the artist, the art community and the citizens of Hot
Springs a profound apology. And you sir, need to go back to
parking aircraft, ---maybe.
Editors note: Hey, on behalf of pilots everywhere, let him park
Huge Discriminatory Raises Handed Out to Select Few at the City During
Date: August 18, 2010
When is a pay raise not a pay
raise? When it is a reclassification! Tuesday's Sentinel - Record
actually had a good story for two days in a row. I have been known to
blast them when they get it wrong, so I must in fairness congratulate
them when they get it right. The story of the reclassification of
employees and "back door raises" was an eye-opener for a lot of the
people that I have talked to.
There are several things about this
situation that I find disconcerting. First and foremost is that we are
supposedly in a budget crisis. Part of dealing with that was to be a
wage freeze from what I understood. Yet here we see that 21 city
employees were reclassified because they were doing more work and
taking on more responsibility. I am glad to know that we have good
people working for us at the city who are willing to go above and
beyond. However, I think there was a better way to handle it. Let me
give you an example.
Let's say hypothetically that you
have a group of employees who are really stepping up to "git 'er done"
during a financially difficult time. Should these people be rewarded?
Absolutely! However, this reward should not fly in the face of a
budgetary regulatory issue. Perhaps they could have been recognized
and rewarded in other ways. Perhaps they could be told that
reclassifications and more pay would come once the city comes out of
its current economic state. Make the pay raises retroactive if
necessary. Just don't break your own rules. Don't pull another back
door, cloak room deal that makes city officials look like they can't
be trusted and casts a desparaging light on these exemplary employees.
Another point that bothered me a
little bit was the raise given to the assistant city attorney. I
didn't even know that we had one. Is the city in that much legal
trouble that we need an assistant city attorney? I have gotten
acquainted with City Attorney Brian Albright over the past couple of
years and have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I say that
because I don't want my next suggestion to be taken as a stab at Mr.
Albright. It seems to me that the city could save a lot of money by
giving the City Attorney an office in City Hall, with a paralegal
staffer if necessary. That way, when he was on city business, he could
drive his personal car to city hall to conduct city business. If he
needed to drive somewhere on city business, he could check a car out
of fleet. In this manner he could separate city business from personal
business. The city attorney could be paid a fair hourly wage for
conducting city business, as is any other attorney in private
The bottom line is this. Do what
you say and say what you mean. Don't beat the budget shortfall drum
and then pull an "oops" like this reclassification mess. It is an
insult to the intelligence of the citizens.
Editors note: Superb points. The rank-and-file employees got
nothing and those who needed raises the least got the largest raises.
Yep, we have 5 employees in the "City Attorney" department. Perhaps we
should call it "City Attorneys and Associates" department, huh? How
about we actually hire a city attorney on an "as need" basis and use the
hundreds of thousands currently spent to give those lower echelon employees
raises. They are the ones that really do the work and get no
recognition. How about eliminating the city's overpaid consultants and
hire some more officers to fight crime while we're at it? The
Sentinel Record describes the current deals as "back door" raises.
Realistically, they are "back handed" slaps to those hard-working city
employees who need the raises the most but typical of good ol' boy rule.
That November election is becoming more and more important folks.
Get Back to Basics on Jail Planning
Date: August 18, 2010
Sheriff Sanders, Sheriff Sanders,
Sheriff Sanders. How stupid do you really think the public is? The
obvious scam between the Ex-Convict’s article in the Sentinel Record
last Sunday, August 15 and your announcement in today’s paper August 18
(stating that he helped your cause) did not fool anyone but the fools.
The average taxpayer is not concerned about the conditions that the poor,
poor, inmates have to endure. They are only concerned about the number of
inmates that you can crowd into a jail legally while keeping the jailers
safe. If you could put them (the bad guys) in a tent city and make life
miserable enough to make them quit the life of crime, so much the better.
People do not want any sort of jail system at all. The criminals don’t
want to go to jail and the tax-paying citizen doesn’t want to pay for it.
It is only a way to make it safe to walk the streets again. It therefore
becomes a necessary evil.
The objective should be to get the
maximum offense criminals off the street and make those who serve their
time not even take a chance of ever coming back. Do all this with the
minimum amout of tax increase and you have a winner. There is all the
talk about revenue sharing. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LAW THAT SAYS YOU
CANNOT HAVE AN INTER- GOVERNMENT AGREEMENT THAT ALL REVENUE COLLECTED WILL
GO TO THE CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF THE NEW JAIL SYSTEM.
If you create a tax that will
construct and maintain the new jail, it will free up budgeted money for
your department and also budgeted money for the city. Get over the
greed. Ask only for what is necessary to get the bad guys off the
The original concept was:
to build the jail that would expire upon the payoff of
A tax to run the jail that would continue indefinitely or be
renewed as conditions warranted.
An inter-government agreement that all taxes collected would go to
item one and two. No added amenities for the city or county.
All cities in Garland County would no longer have to pay a per-diem
If the City of Hot
Springs doesn’t want to do this, let them finance their own jail. Get
back to basics and you have a shot. Take another cheap shot like today
and you will lose.
Editors note: Try as we might, we cannot disagree with your
assessments. However, there is also a "pay as you go" option that
sounds good. That idea probably won't fly because we wouldn't need the
"bond daddies" including all those Little Rock bankers, attorneys, financial
experts, and hoards of consultants. We could actually use ALL
the money for the jail. What a concept!!!
Rude, Crude, City Directors Meeting Could Be Confused With a Wacky TV
- Hot Springs
Date: August 18, 2010
Anyone who watched the August 17 Board of
Directors meeting may have thought they were watching one of those
wacky reality TV shows. You know, the ones like World's Dumbest
Politicians where the city councils of a foreign country are
throwing everything from verbal barbs to chairs at one another.
Last night's meeting was a shining example of
why this board needs to be replaced as much as possible on election
day. The hostility and tension in the room was palatable from the
start, beginning with an exchange between mayor Bush and Director
Maruthur. Mayor Bush was more rude than usual as he initiated the
first incident. If someone with that attitude were one of my
employees or an employee of anyone in the private sector, he
wouldn't last five minutes before being shown the door with a
footprint on his arrogant derrière.
Director Maruthur herself got into a verbal
scuffle with planning director Cathy Sellman. Right or wrong, there
were some valid points that she was trying to make.
The adoption of a mobile home overlay by the
good 'ol boys (Daniel, McCabe and Bush) along with their rubber
stamp sidekick (Jones) once again illustrated how the wishes of the
majority of citizens on any given issue are ignored while the wishes
of the few are granted. Several citizens spoke out against the
overlay with very valid concerns and legal questions laid out very
clearly in the city's own planning department rules. I guess rules
and the will of the majority are meaningless when it comes to
getting the good 'ol boys and their compadres what they want.
Noticeably absent from the board meeting was
Rick Ramick. Maybe after Monday morning's headline he was so
distraught that he had to run to his buddy Carroll Weatherford and
cry on his shoulder.
The citizens of Hot Springs sure deserve
better representation than what they have now. Election Day can't
get here soon enough.
Editors note: You can say that again. We watched the rerun of
the meeting. Those you reference seem very complacent in continuing to
blatantly vote for special interests and against the people who elected
them. These ridiculous actions are not getting them votes from
citizens concerned about their safety and keeping up their property values,
The rudeness of the mayor could, indeed, raise some eyebrows even on a wacky
Only 25% of Americans Trust the Media
Date: August 16, 2010
Melinda - Further to our recent
conversation (see Aug 13 below),
Gallup has just reported that Americans trust newspapers more than TV
news for their information. 25% over 22%. A narrow victory, but a win
nonetheless. Google "media trust poll." But I guess this means that
75% of Americans don't trust their newspaper.
This could be your problem too. It's
called "media bias," and it comes from editorial and reporting people
having a political agenda and injecting it into the content. Is that
what they teach in J-school?
Editors note: Hey, throw in how much Americans trust politicians and
it will make the media look really good.
Directors Who Fail in Business Cannot Successfully Run City Business
Date: August 16, 2010
Guess you will back off your
criticizing the newspaper now because they criticized one of your good old
boys on todays top headline. It is good they did because Ramick is friends
with Weatherford and Meyers who also don't know how to run a business and
have a record breaking the law now and then. Noticed that Ramick says he
is the victim because of the economy. Ramick says it is not him, it is his
company. He is president of TRACO is'nt he? He is running our city into
red tape and bankruptcy like his buddy Weatherford has been in several
times and his buddy Meyers has been in prison for. He is typical
politician spouting BS. Ramick needs to remember nobody elected him, he
was appointed by Weatherford and some of your other good old boys. Ramick
needs to know that we are not going to elect somebody who don't pay their
bills or their taxes while the rest of us have to. He is trying to get his
buddy Weatherford elected for mayor. Bet he fails and bet he doesn't get
elected hisself because people know what kind of guy he is. Thought it
should be noticed that the newspaper knows what kind of guy he is and is
reporting it. Give them credit sometimes.
Editors note: They do deserve credit. We just checked the
Secretary of State's website for TRACO Development, LLC and for TRACO Realty
and Development, Inc. Loyd R Ramick of 145C Villa Point is the
registered agent for both companies and president of the latter. He
appears to be the owner of both companies. Irrespective of his "spin"
on the matter, we must assume that only he has the responsibility for the
success or failure of his companies. Your analogy of his track record
for running a company applying to how he runs our city is valid. We
need people that will keep our city "in the black" and out of the
courthouse. We do, however, wish you would not refer to such
individuals as our "good old boys." They belong to the whole
town or, perhaps, vice-versa.
Deplorable Conditions at County Jail
Date: August 15, 2010
I would like to extend my apology
to the Ex-Inmate, (Front Page News, Sentinel Record – Sunday August 15,
2010) on behalf of all the taxpaying law abiding citizens of Garland
County. The audacity that you had noodles, bologna, bread, gravy, cereal,
milk and cookies while the working Sheriff Deputies got to eat a regular
meal is almost inhumane.
I understand that the
accommodations were less than perfect. I do take exception to the analogy
of Barney Fife’s jail. At least there Andy would have taken you home to
Aunt Bea’s for supper. Maybe next time, we the tax-payers, can take up a
special tax collection and get you a room at the Arlington and a good meal
And for you, Sheriff Larry
Sanders, don’t you know that the best advertisement you can get at any
cost is word of mouth? How do you expect new or repeat business if you
don’t care? At this rate it will get so bad that no one will want to stay
in your jail anymore. No Prisoners, No Crime, No Job. Think about it and
shape up. These people are innocent victims of our society; I mean hot
checks shouldn’t even be a crime, or theft, or drugs. (You get the idea).
Well I feel better now. I gave
Larry a piece of my mind. Evidently there is hardly enough to go around
Editors note: Hey, when criminals become our "front page heroes," we
have already given up on fighting crime. We probably deserve the
title, "most dangerous city in America"
(click here). At least we're first at something.
Date: August 15, 2010
Melinda - "Jailbird criticizes jail
food and service." A new low for front page material. This piece,
however, seems to be a continuation of a line of reporting and
editorializing (today's exemplar) designed to convince your readers
that a new (or renovated) detention facility is absolutely necessary.