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                                      Please send newsworthy items to and note them as "News" or "Commentary."  We will publish worthy submittals here.

See classic news story, "Hot Springs Heats Up" in the Arkansas Times by clicking here.


Garland County Economic Development Ranks Near Bottom in US        Nov 2, 2013

We all know Hot Springs ranks among the highest in crime and taxes and near the bottom in education and income.  Well, more disturbing

statistics are now out.  We also rank near the bottom in economic development successes.  In fact, of the 379 MSAs (metropolitan

statistical areas) in the United States, Hot Springs ranks 378th.  Were it not for Pine Bluff, we would be dead last.  You can confirm this

information at and view a spreadsheet with all 379 MSA rankings.


So, we may ask, “Why does the city and county keep pouring our hard-earned tax dollars into economic development efforts that are not

working?”  The city and county each were sending $125,000 to the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce division called GCEDC

(Garland County Economic Development Corp.)  After the chamber refused to disclose how our tax money was being spent, both entities

reduced their contributions to $75,000 each.  Some JP’s and many taxpayers are now finally beginning to ask, “What, if any, results or

benefits are we getting for our money?”  This is a very legitimate question and was just answered for us by our economic development



Those of us who have taken economic development courses or actually became a certified economic developer (CED) know that

approximately ninety percent of new jobs are created due to expansions of existing businesses.  Why then, should we spend most of our

economic development funds trying to attract out-of-state business and industry to Hot Springs rather than spending it to help our existing

businesses expand?  In fact, it appears that our city is bent on driving our existing businesses away by increasing taxes, fees, and regulations. 

Downtown building and business owners now face exorbitant costs that could bankrupt them or force them to sell out.  Of course, the city

disguises their “Thermal Basin” scheme by calling it “downtown improvements.”  This scheme was so ill-conceived and rapidly approved that

the city forgot to post notifications required by law and forgot that the city did not have sufficient water mains to support the new water

sprinkler requirements.  Not to worry, notifications have now been posted and our tax dollars are being used to, once again, dig up downtown

streets and install new water mains. 


Remember the infamous “grease trap ordinance” which caused several “mom and pop” restaurants to close and even forced some

restaurants (e.g., Dominos) to install grease traps in spite of the facts they don’t use grease?  Remember Logan’s Steak House who

eventually gave up locating here and called Hot Springs the most anti-business city they had ever encountered?  Remember the Bass Fishing

Hall of Fame, Dollywood, Bass Pro Shop, and numerous other businesses our city leaders told to “go away?”  And, most recently, don’t forget

one city director and our city manager telling Harps, Wal-Mart, and several other businesses and residential developments they could not have



Include the tax increases for roads, jails, schools, businesses, etc. plus cost increases for city permits and fees plus all the red tape and one

begins to understand why the city is consistently losing population.  Given such dire circumstances, one would likely think the city is cutting

back on services and employees but that would be incorrect.  Our city keeps adding employees.  We now have well over 600 with over 500

of them driving their cars home every day.  Twenty-two city employees are paid more than the county judge or sheriff.  We pay well over

$100,000 each for a city manager, deputy city manager, and an assistant city manager.

What can we do?  For starters, talk to your city and county representatives and remind them that they were elected to represent you.  Then

tell them how good of a job you think they are doing.  Don’t forget to give them your opinion on money they are spending on economic

development and maybe even throw in your opinion on the hundred million or so the city already approved to take water from Lake DeGray.


Director Fale Decides Citizens Cannot be Heard at Board Meetings       Feb 26, 2013

On Feb 26, 2013, at 9:49 PM, "editor" <> wrote:

Breaking News!!!!  Not only has director Fale decided he doesn’t want George Pritchard (or anyone else) using the city’s televised board

meetings as a forum for their own personal views, he doesn’t even want it to be discussed at a city board meeting.


You will likely recall that after several years of working to obtain a “public comment” session at city board meetings, we were finally granted

such a session but it would be held only after the regular board meeting was officially adjourned.  This was done by a formal resolution

proposed by director Cynthia Kaheley on May 3, 2011 and eventually adopted on June 7, 2011.  Well, our new director, Randall Fale, was

so outraged by comments made by George Pritchard during the last televised public comment session that he demanded an end to

televising all future public comment sessions.  George’s comments amounted to a simple request that the city not pass a resolution of

support for the upcoming NPCC tax election as is common practice for the city board.  Director Fale stated that George’s comments

could have a detrimental impact on the college’s upcoming vote for a new tax increase and that the city should no longer provide a forum

for such comments.  He obtained an agreement (“consensus”) from the majority of the board members.  All this was done at a “private”

meeting of the board normally referred to as a “board retreat.”  Apparently, this change was never reported to the press or the public

because many people who were watching the most recent city board meeting on television were surprised when the public comment

section was abruptly cut off.


The problem, as we see it, is our belief that formal actions taken by a public vote of the city board can only be rescinded by a similar formal

public action and vote which was NOT done.  I spoke to the city attorney today and asked if this was, indeed, the proper and legal method

for such an action.  He stated that it was but, if I was referring to the change in the way the public comment sessions were held, public

action and/or vote was not required since no public vote was ever taken.  I then pointed out that he was wrong and, in fact, resolution

R-11-96 was adopted on June 7, 2011.  The assistant city clerk informed me R-11-96 was later changed to resolution 9669 for filing

purposes.  The city attorney said, “Oh my gosh, are you sure?”  I affirmed that I was and requested that he look it up and give me his final

legal opinion by email.  He stated that he would do so but has, as of this time, not done so.


Our request to have the public comment session discussed at the next city board meeting was properly made by filling out the city’s

required “agenda request form” and submitting it to the assistant city clerk.  The full city board addressed our request at today’s agenda

meeting and our request was denied by all 6 directors (excluding the Mayor).  We were, however, assigned to the first position in a non-

televised comment session to be held after the regular meeting is adjourned (which no one other than the offending directors will hear).


It appears that the most effective manner in which we can both request the public comment section be restored and inform the public of Mr.

Fale’s improper power play is to have the city attorney place the item on the board agenda so that changing the resolution can be legally

performed.  At that time, we would have an opportunity to publicly express our displeasure at losing the only opportunity for the public to

speak on items not already on the boards scripted agenda.  Can you attend that meeting (whenever it is) and will you be willing to speak?

Once we obtain the city attorney’s response, I will send you another email so that we can meet and get better prepared.


UPDATE: No email was received from the city attorney but he, by phone, denied our request and took a position supporting Fale's actions.


Hot Springs to get Water from Lake Ouachita                                            Nov 27, 2012

The US Corp of Engineers Little Rock has approved Lake Ouachita as a source of raw water for our city

This has to be the absolute best news for our city in 20 years. Unfortunately, the Colonel in Vicksburg hasn't yet approved us taking raw water

from the lake.  We hope the Ol' Boys won't play games of how they can make it look like it was their idea and their accomplishment when they

have opposed it for years in favor of their site.  We all know how they (including our last two city managers and city engineer) manipulated the

facts to make it appear that the only possible place to obtain raw water was from lower Lake Hamilton.  We'll keep a close eye on them just to

see how they spin this great news to make it look like they have now saved the day after they wasted some $3 million of our tax money.

This fantastic news will be expounded upon later once the official announcement has been made - stay tuned.


GGGG Commissions St. Pats Attendance Study                                        Apr 9, 2012

In view of the controversy over the accuracy of last year's Saint Patrick's Day parade, the GGGG hired Worldwide Leisure LLP to conduct a

scientific study of the actual number of attendees at this year's parade.  It turns out that the greatly exaggerated numbers provided by the

sponsors of the parade (32,000 - 37,000) were repeated this year as being even larger.  The actual number of attendees actually counted

turned out to be 9,261.  This was confirmed based on two separate actual counts plus an additional method described in the study report.

Click here to see the entire report.  80% of attendees lived in Garland County, 92% within a 2-hour drive, and 8% from further than 2-hours.


Hot Springs Has a New Police Chief                                                            Jan 17, 2011

The news media have not yet reported this but Hot Springs' new police chief is David Flory who was the chief at Bedford, Texas.  This is great

news because it means we FINALLY have a chief from "the outside" who is not linked to the "good ol' boy" system of government.  Hopefully,

we will all get behind him and support his efforts to make Hot Springs PD an efficient, non-top-heavy, organization that will be effective in

reducing crime rather than covering it up or denying it exists.  As soon as the opportunity presents itself, welcome this well qualified new

chief to our fine city.


GGGG Updates Hot Springs Area Crime Report                                         Dec 9, 2010

Linked by permission to the Garland Good Government Group's website.  Click here to see their update.



 Posted by Chris on Oct 5th, 2009 and filed under News.


     I sit in front of a periodical that has a headline that says: “GGGG subject of ethics inquiry.”  To some of you this means nothing.  For me, as Sherlock Holmes would say, “The game is afoot.”

     The story I am looking at describes one ethics complaint from a local citizen.  If there was a headline story like this every time there has been an ethics complaint against a city director, quorum court member, or city or county employee, the local paper would be running low on ink.

     Why bother wasting resources on a story that will be resolved on page 10A, in small print, months from now?  Why try and make the Garland Good Government Group look bad?

     It’s elementary my dear Watson.  The GGGG must be doing something that threatens the control of the local elite.  Sadly, it is now obvious that the local periodical is under the influence.  Many have told me that this is the case, but I like to come to my own conclusions.  There is a group of folks who are attempting to make a change for the better, and they are unwelcome.

     Did Mr. Weatherford ever have such an ethics headline?  Is there any other reason to explain why Mr. McCabe, the new appointee for the folks in District 4, never had any of his many crude and unprintable words publicized?  Yes, they are on the public record and they happened over a decade ago.  However, the man was old enough and married enough to know better.  Did any ethics questions arise in the headlines of the local paper over Mr. McCabe’s past?  I have copies of court records.  Maybe the local paper didn’t let the people of District 4 know the specifics of these unethical statements because they were too raw to publish.  I don’t blame them.  I wouldn’t print the statements either.

     Whoever wrote Saturday’s editorial believes that Mr. McCabe is truly repentant for what happened 13 years ago.  If my guess is right, that the editor of the newspaper wrote the editorial, all she had to go on was an audio recording of the event.  I know she wasn’t in the room where the interviews were taking place.  I was there.  Whoever wrote the editorial made a reference to the “contrition with which Mr. Pat McCabe spoke.”  I beg to differ. Mr. McCabe sounded angry to me.  I work with people who have anger problems.  I’m not an expert, but Mr. McCabe sounded angry and not penitent.  After hearing the short interviews, I would have selected two of the other applicants before Mr. McCabe.

     I do not blame the reporter who wrote Saturday’s front page story.  Mr. Thomason did his job when reporting the complaint of Joel Rush, a district 4 resident who has filed an ethics complaint against the GGGG.  I’m glad Mr. Rush has issued this challenge.  It will eventually show that the GGGG is an honest bunch trying to do exactly what their mission statement articulates.  If this case proves otherwise, I’ll eat my hat.

     It’s not good enough that the elite got exactly what they wanted with their appointment of Mr. McCabe.  It seems like a “kick ‘em while they’re down mentality” that this ethics charge arises after a status quo victory.  Until now, the GGGG has been discounted as a bunch of trouble makers and progress quashers.  Why would a local paper put this story at the top?  You may come to your own conclusions; I have already shared mine.

     This news blog was initiated because the local newspaper didn’t print a much more important story than this ethics complaint.  You can read about it in the “opinion” or the “commentary” section of the Wings of the Wind.  The story is called “editor’s note.”

     A brief account:

     On July 21st, 2009, the Hot Springs Board of Directors approved a resolution approving an agreement with Stephens Inc. and Morgan-Keegan & Co. Inc. for “certain bond underwriter services related to various capital improvement projects.”  The project, which is now underway, with over half of the money allocated, allowed the city to begin to get its hands on $203,000,000.  That’s approximately $5075 for every resident of Hot Springs, and I’m being conservative.

     Was this mentioned in the local paper? No, except for the mention of “certain bond underwriter services related to various capital improvement projects,” buried in the minutes on a later page. 

     What was front page story the next day?  It had something to do with how minor fines had been increased by the Board of Directors.  As I recall, the increased fine headline was at the lower left in small letters.

     I will admit, up front, that I have been to GGGG meetings.  I am not an official member of the Garland Good Government Group, but I am now considering becoming one.  A recent GGGG meeting was one of the most inspirational meetings I’ve attended in my 14 year residency in Hot Springs.  That’s a high complement considering it includes the sermons of two godly pastors I have been fortunate to hear many times.  See “Nicaraguan Patriots Visit Hot Springs” on the bottom of the Wings of the Wind home page.  The local paper didn’t bother to cover the story except for a small piece on a visit the dignitaries, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, made to the Arkansas Math and Science School.  No city meeting that I’ve attended even comes close to matching the evening we spent with our new friends from Nicaragua.  This news site has received readership from Nicaragua and Spain because of its coverage of the story.

     The local newspaper’s reporter did his job on the Nicaraguan story.  He covered the event he was told to cover.  He wrote about the subject upon which he was told to write. The hierarchy of the paper made a decision on the level of its importance. Just like they did with Saturday’s ethics story.

     I must correct two things in the title of this article.  The objective of the title, any writer will tell you, is to generate interest.  No effort should be necessary to create interest in this subject. Anyone who cares about Hot Springs should be interested, whether one agrees with me or not.  The title is wrong.  This is not a game.  People’s lives are affected by the decisions of those in positions of power.  When those decisions do not consider the wishes of constituents, there is a problem. 

     The title is also wrong when it states: “The battle…begins.”  I’ve only been here 14 years. Yet, I’ve talked to hundreds of people who were born in Hot Springs.  The overwhelming consensus is that there has been an ethics problem in this town ever since they can remember, and the GGGG is not the group that is blamed 95% of the time.

     One of the kindest elderly ladies I talked to said she had lost faith in the Hot Springs Board of Directors years ago.  This is just one of hundreds of similar comments that I have heard.  

     There is no question there is a struggle going on.  It has been mostly behind the scenes for years and it is now becoming more public because those in power are feeling heat they haven’t felt in a long time.  They don’t know what to do.  Actually, they do know what to do.  They have been at it for years.  The difficult question they have to ask themselves is:  How much do we pressure these folks before we expose ourselves?  Personally, I think the past week’s events have already put the select few over that line.

     It is now obvious to me that the problem is deeper than I ever suspected.  I wish the best for Hot Springs.  It does have one thing in its favor.  There is a spiritual and natural law that says, “You reap what you sow.” Despite the antics of those who think they run the show, there is a group of women that has been praying for this town for over 25 years.  I, for one, don’t think their prayers are going to go unanswered.

Chris Reimers  - Originally posted on

NEWS FLASH!!!  It's Over - The Recall Election Was a Landslide.              August 11, 2009

The People Have Spoken!  "Did they ever?"  History was made in Hot Springs when the first ever recall election in the city and, apparently, the first in Arkansas since 1927 was concluded.  The result was nothing short of a

"Landslide" victory.  By a vote of 488 to 69, the citizens of Hot Spring's district 4 stated loudly that they were tired of the antics of their director.  The total "Landslide" of 87.61 percent to 12.39 percent means that more than

7 of every 8 people wanted their second term director removed.  A huge "Thank You" is due to all the volunteers from the GGGG, the Watchmen of Garland County, and the many private citizens who helped in the effort. 

What happens next?  Hopefully, the remaining city directors will allow the people of district 4 to elect their own representative rather that "appoint" another one of their "good ol' boy" buddies.  How the remaining board

members react remains to be seen.  Their record on allowing the citizens their right to a "voice" and a "vote" is not good.  As far as additional GGGG efforts are concerned, numerous members are pushing for the recall of

the last "good ol' boy" appointee.  Stay tuned, it apparently ain't over yet.


Hot Springs to Have First Ever Recall Election.               June 8, 2009

Another historical milestone was reached today when over 1,000 petitions were turned in to require a recall of city director Carroll Weatherford.  In typical fashion, Carroll could not understand the reasons listed for his recall.

He stated, "They're not after me, they're after the seat.  They want to control the city, the board."  He also claimed most of the 11 misdemeanor charges which were never prosecuted, date back to the 70s.

Weatherford says his 4 bankruptcies were only 2 and his state contractor law violations were "a misunderstanding."  Oh, all the trips to Japan and other places were nothing the other city directors didn't do.

Weatherford didn't bother explaining how his single city board seat controls the city or who would take that seat.

Does Weatherford not understand that most people would be prosecuted for misdemeanors unless the prosecutor works for them?  Should we somehow believe that 2 bankruptcies are acceptable while 4 are not?

We should believe that three state contractor law violations over a period of years were ALL just misunderstandings?  It is okay to travel all over the world at the taxpayer's expense since other directors occasionally also travel?


                            Press Conference Outside the Federal Building                                           City Clerk Accepts 1,000+ Petition Signatures


Hot Springs hosts the Arkansas Supreme Court.                                         April 30, 2009

History was made today when the Arkansas Supreme Court appeared for the first time ever outside of the capital.  They heard final arguments in the class action case, Scallerup and Myers vs City of Hot Springs.  Those not familiar with the case will likely recall that the City of Hot Springs was sued in 2004 when they raised water and sewer rates for county residents to approximately 150 percent the rates charged for city residents.

The following case observations were made by non-lawyer types so they may not be legally or technically correct.  The plaintiff's attorney made relatively clear and concise arguments which were easy to understand even by us non-lawyers in the audience by pointing out that the city had violated contracts signed back in the 1980s and the city was not being fair by charging disproportionate rates.  Apparently, the intent of the contract was to prohibit the city from imposing "special conditions" on anyone in what was to become a "regional" sewer district.  One point made was that a lawsuit which the city lost was not even known about or was withheld from the record by the city which impacts this case.  That lawsuit effectively stopped the practice by the city of requiring properties contiguous to the city to be annexed if they wanted to have city water or sewer service.

The city attorney provided a more legalese sounding case and appeared somewhat nervous based on his constant use of the word, "ah."  He did concede that the sewer district was a "regional" district which appeared to give credence to the plaintiff's case.

Both sides agreed that the regional district was created because the EPA had placed a building freeze on areas around Lake Hamilton due to pollution of the lake.  Both sides agreed that the Hot Springs Mall and other developments in the area would not have occurred without the solution that the regional district provided.  Both sides also seem to agree that other solutions were possible but the regional district was the one selected.

The city attorney seemed to be at odds with Justice Corbin when he stated that Lake Hamilton was "cleaner now than when I was a kid."  Justice Corbin stated that the last time he was on the lake, it had lots of "bottles and trash" floating in it.

The plaintiff's attorney, Mr. Turner, summarized by saying that "Government should keep its promises" and that even consumers living in the county should be provided "equal treatment."

A decision or directive is scheduled to be delivered by the Arkansas Supreme Court next Thursday at 9 AM from their courtroom in Little Rock.


Hot Springs Has a TEA PARTY                                                                                                                              April 8, 2009

The following is a press release sent to the Sentinel Record in Hot Springs for Sunday's paper.  Might look for it this weekend.

On April 15th there will be tens of thousands of Americans in hundreds of communities all over the nation attending "Tax Day Tea Parties".
Citizens from the local area will converge on the grounds of  the Garland County court house between 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. for this non-partisan event to send a message to Washington to say “No!” to over inflated budgets, government bailouts, pork barrel and deficit spending, and increased taxes that will burden the future of our children and grandchildren.
According to Glenn Gallas, local spokesperson, the modern day TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Parties are reminiscent of the famous Boston Tea Party that in 1773 sent the message from the colonies that they wanted no "taxation without representation".  In a massive protest effort thousands of colonists gathered around the docks in Boston.  Some 200 of them, disguised as Indians,  boarded ships loaded with the British tea that bore the government's taxes and threw the offending cargo into the harbor.
We have also just learned that the Watchmen of Garland County will be hosting a TEA Party during these same hours on Arlington Lawn - with entertainment.

Recently thousands showed up holding “TEA Parties” in Orlando and Cincinnati.  These were just warm up exercises for the big event scheduled on America’s “TAX DAY”  April 15th.  On that day, there will be “TEA Parties” in over 400 cities all over the country.  It will likely be the largest multi-site protest event in American history!
All  concerned over the fiscally irresponsible direction of our country are invited to participate.
More information on plans for the Tax Day Tea Party is available at:  


Sometimes things become so puzzling that we must pause and analyze the situations.  After discovering that city director Daniel had won reelection although he lost by a large percentage on election day, we found that the early vote was significantly different from election day vote tallies.  This was not the case with other local elections and seems quite strange.  We have heard director Daniel pontificate for years so we must also disagree with his latest explanations. One must ask oneself, in spite of his well documented record and improper positions on important issues (see story below), why do voters still send him back to continue his handy-work?  We believe that we have uncovered some very unfortunate facts and will be reporting further on these if and when they can be verified.  A group of concerned citizens are currently working diligently.  We will report their findings as soon as practical. The other two city director elections went as we anticipated and, in fact, as we had forecast.  Thanks to all of you who went out and voted properly.


Uncertain economic conditions have every American concerned except, apparently, for the Hot Springs city leaders.  This group is still working hard to raise every possible tax and fee.  It seems they are trying to "tax us into affluence" although history has proven such efforts always fail.  The new city budget numbers are out and they are higher than ever.  If you check the budgets of other Arkansas cities, you will find that Hot Springs already pays higher taxes than any other city over 20,000 in population.  Our 2008 city budget of $92 million plus for 37,500 city residents equates to a tax bite of $2,500 for every man, woman, and child resident.  When compared to cities such as Little Rock with a budget of $170 million for 170,000 citizens or $1,000 per resident, we must question whether our leaders are being prudent with our hard-earned tax money.

Election day, November 4, provides our citizens with a much needed opportunity to replace our "tax-and-spend" city directors with people who will represent us instead of their special interest buddies.  For too long, our city leaders have failed to listen to our citizens and have shown little or no respect for the opinions of the public they were elected to serve.  Hopefully, we will take advantage of this election to vote these callous, uncaring blokes out of office.  Director Maruthur has proven to be the lone voice of reason and the sole representative of the people.  We simply must get her some help on the board.

Tom Daniel  In district 6, Tom Daniel has shown his true colors during his term by consistently voting with his "amigos" for special interests.  He also has a documented voting record on fireworks contracts, sign issues, duck operations, and various issues where he had obvious "conflicts of interest" and should have abstained.  He has even bragged that he votes to "help downtown businesses, such as mine." He has consistently demonstrated  disrespect and occasional disdain for the public and even board members who dare disagree with him.  Citizens are tired of seeing him "shout down" any member of the public who dares get up enough nerve to even speak in public who is already intimidated enough with television cameras pointed at them.

Steve Smith  The citizens of district 3 have revolted.  In fact, Steve Smith can already be considered as "history."  For this reason, there is no real need to waste space in listing the multiple errors and misdeeds committed by this rude, crude, failed director. In district 4, Carroll Weatherford is not yet up for election.  However, a few signatures are still needed to have the sufficient number requiring his recall. Sign the petitions available outside the polls of district 4 during the election and this director will be removed from office shortly after the first of the year.  The reason the recall effort was suspended is that if the petitions were turned in now, the existing directors would be allowed to select Weatherford's replacement.  Be patient and sign the petitions. Expect to see a huge advertising blitz for Daniel.  Just remember that special interests have lots of money to spend.  We believe the candidates running against Daniel and Smith when they say they are running to represent the citizens and not special or personal interests.  Better days are ahead but we must first all get our friends and neighbors to the polls.



At the apparent insistence of the "Three Amigos;" Tom Daniel, Carroll Weatherford, and Steve Smith, Hot Springs City Manager, Kent Myers, has resigned.  The original action, which the local newspaper describes as being illegal due to the city board not following proper procedural requirements at its November 17 secret meeting, resulted in the city manager offering his resignation effective December 31, 2008.  It appears that the Amigos expected Mr. Myers to serve out his remaining time on vacation or otherwise not return to his duties at city hall.  Surprise!  Mr. Myers returned to work on Thursday, November 20.  The Amigos called for a "special meeting" on Monday, November 24 and reported the following details:

1) The City Manager will not return to his desk or office effective November 25, 2008.  2) The City Manager will continue to draw his full salary until January 1, 2009.  3)  The City Manager will be provided with a rental car equivalent to the SUV currently furnished by the city complete with mileage and gasoline payments.  4) The City Manager will continue to have all benefits including retirement payments, insurance payments, etc. paid by the city until January 1, 2009.  5) The City Manager will be paid a lump sum of $15,000 as severance pay.

The final action at the "special meeting" was to appoint Lance Hudnell as the "Interim" City Manager.

FLASH - December 11, 2008: Kent Myers becomes the city manager for Port Angeles, WA on January 12.


City Abolishes Cantankerous Planning, and Historical Commission Members (+ BZA)           November 24, 2008

Constantly having to overrule decisions by the Hot Springs Planning Commission appears to either have become bothersome or embarrassing to certain city directors.  For whatever their undisclosed reasons, the board voted 5 to 2 at their February 10 meeting to effectively "fire" all of the volunteer members so they could be reappointed by the city board with a provision allowing for one-third of the replacement commission members to actually be sitting city directors.

The board also voted to dissolve and reappoint all members to the Hot Springs Historical District Commission.  You may recall that at least one board member admitted (in open session) to telling the owner of the Toy Chest store downtown that he should go ahead an install a $5,000 "barrel" awning even though the historical commission had ruled that he could not.  The city director admitted telling the owner that the city board would "just overrule them (the historical commission)."  Unfortunately, the director obviously did not realize that historical commission decisions are appealed to the circuit court, not the city board.  This big blunder has now resulted in a lawsuit against the city which the taxpayers must pay for.

A third similar action found the same city board voting to eliminate the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).  Apparently their are some personal problems with those board members as well.  When asked at the board meeting who put these items on the agenda, the apparent guilty dog barked by saying, "It was the consensus of the board at our retreat."

The above agenda items 20, 21, 22 can be viewed by clicking here. 


Garland County Quorum Court votes to not increase your property tax                                      November 24, 2008

After many phone calls, personal visits, and other lobbying by members of the Garland Good Government Group (GGGG), a vote of 6 to 6 effectively killed the proposed property tax increase for 2009. County Judge Larry Williams and County Finance Committee Chairman, Ray Owen were pushing for the implementation of an increase in property tax to meet an anticipated shortfall the county's 2009 budget.  The GGGG unanimously voted at its November business meeting to oppose the tax increase for the following reasons and to present these reasons to the Quorum Court at today's meeting.

1.  This is the worst possible time for a tax increase - uncertain current economy and Christmastime, etc.

2.  Justices would be reneging on their promises made when the half cent tax was imposed.

3.  Justices are considering yet another tax without a vote of the people similar to the city hall attempt.

4.  Taxing citizens now would literally kill any funding for a new jail that we desperately need.

The JPs voting with us in obtaining a tie vote which means that the tax proposal did not pass were: Jorge Garcia, Larry Griffin, Jimmy Harmin, Darrell Mahoney, Sue Vaughn, and Bud West.  Mickey Gates was absent but sent a letter expressing his opposition to the proposed tax.  Please call or write these people and thank them for properly representing their constituents.

The JPs ignoring the overwhelming voice of the citizens and voting to raise taxes were: Lawrence Adkins, Tom Anderson, Ed Foshee, Kenneth Johnson, Ray Owen, and Gertie Parker-Watson.  You may wish to express your opinion of their actions to them and remember their votes when you again have an opportunity to vote for your county representative.  It is unfortunate that the election did not follow the proposed tax increase.  Could it be that this was by design?

The above article is republished from the "News" page of the Garland Good Government Group website, with permission.


Advertising and Promotion (A&P) Commission Needs Help                                                                October 24, 2008

Although the A&P Commission collects literally millions of dollars from tourists and locals alike through their infamous "hamburger tax," it is apparently still not enough.  Witness the method in which the grounds are being kept (or unkempt) around the convention center.  The grass has not been cut for a couple of months.  With the same number of employees as the Dallas Convention Center, one would think they could at least mow the grass and pick up trash a couple of times each month.  There is really not that much grass.  Is it time we start wondering what kind of stewards of our tax money those folks are?  Remember all the leaky roofs.  They spend millions on out-of-town consultants, attorneys, advertising agents, etc.  Perhaps they could hire some out-of-town grass cutters.  Aren't these the very people responsible for developing and promoting the image of Hot Springs?  Can they not understand that conditions such those depicted by the following pictures hurt the image of our town?

This is Embassy Suites property, quite a difference, yes?



County Judge Desires Citizens Advisory Committee for New Jail Tax                                             October 14, 2008

During the October 13 Garland County Quorum Court meeting, County Judge Larry Williams announced his desire to see a "Citizens Advisory Committee" formed to research and  recommend what should be done to achieve a new county jail.  He also made the same announcement Tuesday (October 14) on the "Talk of the Town" radio show.  Some work has already been done due to efforts of the Garland Good Government Group (GGGG).  The county judge and county sheriff both attended the most recent GGGG meeting where the group selected their representatives to each of 4 subcommittees.  The subcommittees are: Funding, Size-site-design, PIT programs, and Technology.

The Funding subcommittee will study and report on such items as how to fund all proposed capital equipment items including the jail, communications equipment, court security, IT systems, etc.  The group agreed that these items must have a "sunset clause" meaning that when the capital investment is paid, the tax will cease.  Items such as jail operations, salaries, resource officers, etc. would likely require a 1/8 cent sales tax which would be permanent.  A major consideration is a final determination as to whether a county-wide sales tax would legally have to be shared with the city.

The Size-site-design subcommittee will study and report on items such as the best initial size with expandability, the best location, and a general design especially with respect to functionality.  It was generally agreed that the professional report recommended by the city was severely flawed.  There was also much concern that the attorneys and bond counsel used for the last jail bond proposal worked more for the city than for the county.

The PIT subcommittee will study and report on "prevention, intervention, and treatment" programs designed to prevent individuals from going to jail or being repeat residents of the jail.  It was generally agreed that such programs have proven successful in various other areas and likely should be part of any public safety proposal placed before the voters of Garland County.

The Technology subcommittee will study and report on items such as a new IT (information technology) system, communications equipment, court security equipment, etc.  There have been so many problems with the radio system proposed that system reliability issues must be addressed before again being proposed to the public for their vote.

Hopefully, the county and other groups will participate with the proposed "Citizens Public Safety Advisory Committee" because a jail is probably our current greatest need.


Motorola Radio Info from the Expert                                                                                                               August 9, 2008

Many times during the past few years I’ve talked with police and fire executives who are considering replacing their radio systems with new digital equipment because they believe it is mandated by the FCC’s requirement to convert to narrowband operation prior to January 2013. This is a common, but highly inaccurate myth.

There is no mandate to convert to digital and there are many compelling reasons to stay with analog. Narrowband analog operation works fine and meets the FCC requirement for 2013. There are thousands of narrowband analog radio systems in use by government agencies and businesses all over the United States. In most cases, the radio system users can’t tell the difference between wide and narrow operation.  Most analog police and fire radios manufactured within the last ten years are capable of narrowband operation merely by reprogramming the radio. 

The FCC required all two-way mobile and portable radios manufactured after February 14, 1997 that operate below 512 MHz be capable of operation on wide and narrow channels. Furthermore, the FCC has mandated all two-way radios that operate below 512 MHz must use narrowband mode prior to January 1, 2013. FCC rules allow for analog or digital modulation, so long as the narrowband requirement is met. There are more disadvantages to digital operation than benefits. It is not necessary to replace analog equipment with digital in order to meet the January 2013 requirement.

At some point in the future, it's expected that police and fire two-way radio systems will need to reduce bandwidth even more.  Most current radio channels user 25 KHz of bandwidth.  We must reduce this to 12.5 KHz prior to January 1, 2013 and can do so with analog or digital modulation.  We believe that is likely that we will be required to again reduce the bandwidth of two-radio systems to 6.25 KHz in the distant future, however no deadline has been set.  The technology for 6.25 KHz operation has not been standardized, so it is premature to purchase this type of "narrow narrow" equipment. 

We recommend that public-safety agencies use narrowband (12.5 KHz) analog modulation for the forseeable future. At some point in the future, we will need to convert to "narrow narrow" digital technology, but we're at least one more generation of equipment away from recommending this.

More information is available at


Press Release - June 9, 2008                                                                                                                                 April 9, 2008

For immediate publication

The Garland County Election Commission was given notice today that a lawsuit is being filed against the commission addressing illegalities in the June 10th election.

Attached is a copy of the letter to the election commission from the attorney that is filing the lawsuit on behalf of the Garland Good Government Group and the Watchmen of Garland County.

The leadership of the 2 groups are furious over the election commission’s flagrant violation of election laws.

On June 2nd, a Hot Springs voter filed a formal complaint with the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners claiming that the local commission unlawfully closed every customary polling place.

Three days after the complaint was filed, the commission was required to publish a notice of the election and it’s polling locations at least 5 days before the election and they failed to do so.

A special election is being held tomorrow that will prohibit the voters from having a vote to decide if they want to continue hamburger and hotel taxes for the next 10 years. Over that period, tax revenues will exceed $60 million. This is an important and misunderstood issue yet few people even know where to vote.

Attached is a copy of the complaint to the State Election Commission and notice from an attorney to the local election commission of intent to file suit regardless of the outcome of the election.

For further information please contact:

Diane Silverman (501) 623-8239


Employment Changes for City Director, Perhaps City Manager                                                               April 9, 2008

It was reported that as of today, City Director Steve Smith is no longer the Director at the Quapaw Community Center.  This action appears to be a result of an ultimatum to resign or be terminated option approved at a QCC board meeting last evening.  City Manager Kent Myers has once again made the short list by being selected as one of the final 4 candidates for the city manager position in Bend, Oregon.  This can be confirmed by  clicking which is the website for the Bend, Oregon NBC affiliate, KTVZ or the local talk radio at which provided the following story today (April 9, 2008).

The final candidates are announced in the search for Bend’s next city manager. More than 70 candidates initially applied for the job, and that has been whittled down to four. They are Bend’s current Interim City Manager Eric King; Sam Kim, a global product development manager for Hewlett Packard from Vancouver, Washington; Chris Morrill, the Savannah, Georgia, Assistant City Manager; and Kent Myers, Assistant City Manager of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The finalists will be invited to Bend May 19th and 20th for personal interviews and to be quizzed by the public during an evening session at the Tower Theatre.

News blogs and reports from the area seem to predict that the interim city manager, Eric King, will be picked for the job. Salary for the job is listed at $150,000 plus vehicle allowance, executive benefits, etc.  The following ad appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.


(Starting Salary $150,000, D.O.E. + Car Allowance & Executive Benefit Package)

Minimum requirements include Bachelor's degree in Public or Business Administration, Finance, Management, Government or related field with 10+yrs of executive management experience.


Click Here for An April 1 Submission Concerning A&P Actions


Local News Blog has Article on  City's Proposal to Buy CodeRed System                                          April 3, 2008

There is a very perceptive article posted on relative to the city's proposed new early warning system, CodeRed.  You can click here to go directly to the article.


City hopes to purchase new Emergency Communications System                                                  January 26, 2008

We attended a meeting of city department heads for a viewing and demonstration of the city's proposed new "Code Red" emergency notification system.  The system is primarily being sold as an "early warning system" for storms but can be used for various other "warning" functions.  The company's website is so our readers can determine for themselves the capabilities and necessity for buying this system.

Basically, our view is that the proposed system is a map-linked database which will automatically dial phone numbers in selected areas of the city.  We have several concerns and comments relative to the need for such a system.

First - It appears to be duplicating much of what the National Weather Service already provides.  In fact, our initial comments to the Hot Springs city board of directors was that the National Weather Service has a well proven system in place.  We are now notified by this existing system of all weather related emergencies on television and radio.  If we need notification when we are not watching television or listening to the radio, we can purchase a "weather radio" that will automatically sound an alarm and come on to notify us even when we are sleeping such as 3 AM.

Second - It appears that the county sheriff's office may already have such a system.   We have not yet verified this but will do so in the near future.  Even if this is not the case and such a system is proven to be needed, why not do so in conjunction with the county and share the exorbitant cost?

Third - The price itself is quite expensive.  We were quoted an initial cost of $160,000 just to set up the software.  Apparently, there is no actual hardware which means that any dangerous storm-water rising conditions would have to be monitored and reported locally.  Consequently, the price for any such hardware would added to the price of the software.  Oh, there is also an additional $40,000 per year just to be a subscriber to the service.

Fourth - The city already installed an early warning system back in 1990 but apparently was not concerned enough about replacing batteries, etc. to keep the system working.  Check out the equipment where the Hot Springs Creek enters the underground tunnel on Whittington Avenue.

Fifth - If we have money to spend on communications systems, how about we use those funds to purchase an adequate radio system for our police and fire departments.  The existing system was antiquated and had no replacement parts available when the city bought it.  The existing system does not currently have the capability or necessary frequencies to communicate with other area emergency responders as required by Homeland Security.  In other words, if we have this kind of money, lets use it to improve the security and welfare of citizens for functions not already covered.

Consider this as "food for thought" and do your own research at  As usual, if the city does decide to purchase this system, don't expect to be allowed a voice or a vote before our hard-earned tax dollars are spent.



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