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
now out. We also rank near the bottom in economic development successes.
In fact, of the 379 MSAs (metropolitan
areas) in the United States, Hot Springs ranks 378th. Were it
not for Pine Bluff, we would be dead last. You can confirm this
www.AreaDevelopment.com and view a spreadsheet with all 379 MSA
So, we may ask,
“Why does the city and county keep pouring our hard-earned tax dollars into
economic development efforts that are not
city and county each were sending $125,000 to the Greater Hot Springs
Chamber of Commerce division called GCEDC
Economic Development Corp.) After the chamber refused to disclose how our
tax money was being spent, both entities
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
ninety percent of new jobs are created due to expansions of existing
businesses. Why then, should we spend most of our
development funds trying to attract out-of-state business and industry to
Hot Springs rather than spending it to help our existing
expand? In fact, it appears that our city is bent on driving our existing
businesses away by increasing taxes, fees, and regulations.
building and business owners now face exorbitant costs that could bankrupt
them or force them to sell out. Of course, the city
“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
requirements. Not to worry, notifications have now been posted and our tax
dollars are being used to, once again, dig up downtown
install new water mains.
infamous “grease trap ordinance” which caused several “mom and pop”
restaurants to close and even forced some
(e.g., Dominos) to install grease traps in spite of the facts they don’t use
grease? Remember Logan’s Steak House who
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
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
understand why the city is consistently losing population. Given such dire
circumstances, one would likely think the city is cutting
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
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
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" <editor@GGGGNews.com>
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
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
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
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
people who were watching the most recent city board meeting on television
were surprised when the public comment
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
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
vote was not required since no public vote was ever taken. I then pointed
out that he was wrong and, in fact, resolution
adopted on June 7, 2011. The assistant city clerk informed me R-11-96 was
later changed to resolution 9669 for filing
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
by email. He stated that he would do so but has, as of this time, not done
Our request to
have the public comment session discussed at the next city board meeting was
properly made by filling out the city’s
“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-
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.
power play is to have the city attorney place the item on the board agenda
so that changing the resolution can be legally
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.
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
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
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 -
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.
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.
“THE GAME IS
AFOOT” – THE LOCAL ELITE SHOW THEIR HAND AS THE BATTLE FOR HOT SPRINGS
Chris on Oct 5th, 2009 and filed under
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
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
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 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
Chris Reimers - Originally posted on
It's Over - The Recall Election Was a Landslide.
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
"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.
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
last "good ol' boy" appointee. Stay tuned, it apparently ain't over yet.
Hot Springs to Have First Ever Recall Election.
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
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
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: http://www.coffeeshopfun.com
UPDATE TO STORY BELOW
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.
EDITOR DISCUSSES LOCAL ELECTIONS
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
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.
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.
CITY MANAGER RESIGNS AT URGING OF THE "AMIGOS"
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
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
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
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
The above article is republished from the "News" page of
the Garland Good Government Group website,
www.GGGGNews.com with permission.
Advertising and Promotion
(A&P) Commission Needs Help
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?
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.
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.
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
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
www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=8292752 which is the website for the Bend,
Oregon NBC affiliate, KTVZ or the local talk radio at
www.kbnd.com/ 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.
THE CITY OF BEND, OREGON
SEEKS CITY MANAGER
(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
www.spacityvoice.com 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
www.codeREDweb.com 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 www.codeREDweb.com. 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.