Just wanted to post and remind you all that, while The Patriot has gone a bit dormant — for now — you can still keep up with my writing over at The Arkansas Project. I’m posting daily about happenings at the state capitol.
The Arkansas Project <– click it. Read it. Bookmark it.
Oh, and don’t worry — The Patriot will be back, probably around the time the Searcy City Council proposes their monthly tax hike. And that could be sooner rather than later.
Here’s a look at our top stories from last week:
- Examining Judge Lincoln’s ‘Transparency’ Record. Judge Lincoln recently said that his office has ‘always fully complied with Arkansas’ FOI law.’ We beg to differ.
- Why I Can’t Support White County Judge Lincoln. Community leader Scott Biddle weighs in on Judge Lincoln’s recording in light of the upcoming primary.
- Audio: New Ads In White County Focus On Judge Lincoln’s Record. Two new ads have hit the airwaves in White County. One ad highlights Judge Mike Lincoln’s ethics violation. The other focuses on his OEM director’s misuse of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
I will be appearing as a distinguished guest on The Paul Harrell Program today at 5 p.m. to discuss our work here at The Patriot, and Arkansas politics, including all of the tomfoolery that goes with it.
You can tune in live at AnswerTo.Us or listen on 1230 AM in northeast Arkansas.
(apparently Paul is as ‘sufficiently patriotic’ as we are and chose a great URL for his show’s website as well!)
If you can’t listen live, I believe we’ll be able to share some in-studio video after the program.
Hope you’ll tune in.
I attended the debate Monday night between Judge Michael Lincoln and his opponent, businessman Bill Haynie. There were lots of people in the crowd (I would estimate it as being in the hundreds), and the event itself was well run. I took lots of notes (five and a half pages type written). With that being said, I thought I’d share my impressions and hand out some letter grades.
The crowd was polite and attentive. It was larger than I expected and was full of folks who were clearly interested in the process. Several individuals had signs protesting against Randall Homsley of Higginson and wanting to know why the county prosecutor wasn’t doing anything about his alleged misbehavior. It’s great to see people getting involved in the process.
Overall grade: A (if the crowd had been larger I’d have given them an A+)
The Debate itself:
The debate was in a fair format and even started (almost) on time. The moderator did a good job of keeping things moving, and on the one occasion when the candidates got off topic (Judge Lincoln continuing the discussion of question five instead of answering question six), he got them back on topic smoothly and quickly enough. Question ten seemed open ended and unnecessary (and a waste of an opportunity) as both candidates essentially had the opportunity to address the “biggest problem facing the county” in their opening and closing statements. It would have been nice to see something else there.
Overall grade: B
Judge Lincoln repeatedly hammered home the concept of road improvements and bridge improvements that have occurred on his watch. His opening statement, his closing statement, and his responses to at least four of the ten questions discussed roads and bridges. He attempted to deflect attention from the OEM scandal by declaring that because “we have nothing missing from the county” we have no theft. He stated that complete restitution had been made and that this absolves the party involved from any wrongdoing. He was also asked specifically if he would do anything differently with regards to his promotion of the countywide sales tax before the election last fall. His response was twofold. The first part was to imply that the tax election was actually brought about by actions of governor Mike Beebe and former Searcy mayor Belinda LaForce. His second answer was that he stood by all of his actions and wouldn’t do anything differently.
In my opinion, the biggest flaw in any of Judge Lincoln’s positions was his assertion that the current system of county government has “so much accountability” and transparency that it is a “beautiful system”. He asserts that any citizen of the county can go to quorum court meetings (what percentage of the county’s approximately 80,000 residents could fit into their meeting room?) and that any citizen can go to the clerk’s office and request to see any document.
Overall grade: C (he met expectations and performed adequately)
Mr. Haynie also repeatedly discussed roads and bridges, touting equitable treatment for all citizens in the paving program. He emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in county government more than his opponent did, and cited specific instances where FOI requests were met with responses indicating that the records requested had been destroyed accidentally. He made several excellent points regarding the need to post all agendas, budgets, expenditures, and upcoming ordinances online and free to the public and stating that if elected he would do so.
When Judge Lincoln said (regarding the allegations of employee misbehavior) “Thank God we live in a country where it is innocent until proven guilty”, Mr. Haynie missed out on the opportunity to point out that our government employees should be held to a higher standard of behavior in their official capacities, not the lowest standard of behavior available.
He also declined to point out that Judge Lincoln’s assertion that he wouldn’t do anything different with regards to the tax election meant that Judge Lincoln was willing to repeatedly violate the law (as stated by the Arkansas Ethics Commission) in pursuit of a proven losing strategy.
Overall grade: B- (he did better than his opponent but missed multiple clear opportunities to go after his opponent’s missteps)
Scott Biddle is formerly chairman of Searcy Friends of the Voters & a guest contributor to The Arkansas Patriot.
In this week’s episode of Patriot Talk, guest Derek Glover & I discuss the Supreme Court hearings from last week. We also discuss the ramifications for Obama’s campaign if the law is struck down or upheld.
Hope you enjoy:
Articles referenced in this episode:
Jonah Goldberg article: http://bit.ly/HWVM3I
Kennedy quote: http://bit.ly/HWVUQG
Here’s a list of our top stories from this week:
- Democrat Kyle Osborne says he is against Obamacare…but it’s ‘not a bad idea.’ Read the full recap of this week’s healthcare forum in Searcy. (Still waiting to hear what Governor Beebe has to say about this)
- Joe Biden thanks Dr. Pepper. And The Patriot thanks you too! (ad check in the mail?)
- Local media hits new low & uses tragic death of 4-year old to solicit ‘likes’ & retweets. No apology or deletion of the post that we know of yet.
- Introducing Patriot Talk! This is our new video project to keep you informed about what’s going on in politics around the county, state, and country. The response has been terrific!
- Full text of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. You know, the one that Congressman Crawford broke.
- Is the ‘Constitutional Carry Act’ Constitutional? Just what was the original intent of the founders regarding the federal Bill of Rights. Constitutional nerds, enjoy.
As always, thank you for reading!
“We want to create (what’s called) a global minimum tax, because American taxpayers shouldn’t be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home,” Biden said at a campaign event.