A few observations from the article that would be hilarious if they were not so sad, and related to such a serious matter:
- The paper spoke with Mr. Osborn about the incident. His response? “I wasn’t THAT drunk!” Direct quote: “I wasn’t highly intoxicated and I wasn’t driving erratically.” Searcy PD seems to disagree with that assessment…as does Mr. Osborn’s breathalyzer.
- White County Judge Mike Lincoln was asked to comment about the incident. His response? “I would hope that [all county officials] would adhere to the law…I want to refrain from comment until we get more information.” Mr. Osborn’s blood-alchol level was .13. Respectfully, what further information is needed before this actions are condemned?
- Judge Lincoln also said he ‘wasn’t sure if the offense could lead to removal from office.’ Quite honestly, that could not be more irrelevant. Mr. Osborn should resign, and the judge should be demanding that he do so.
I think this incident demonstrates a broader problem that we have in our humble White County community: a lack of humility from public officials. Some would even call it arrogance. It is not only a feeling of entitlement and disregard for the law, but a failure to accept responsibility for mistakes.
Thank you for your willingness to serve on this A & P Refunding Committee. When I’ve requested you to serve on Council Committees in the past your schedule seemed to prohibit your participation. I’m glad to see you could find the time.
I disagree with your statement regarding the city’s unwillingness to listen to citizen input, as the City held a public hearing for that specific purpose, as well as hearing from constituents on an individual basis.
It is refreshing to see that you have willingly included non-City of Searcy residents to be on this committee, knowing that you have resisted similar situations in the past regarding other standing committees of the City.
I am looking forward to hearing the recommendations of the committee when presented to the full Council for their consideration. I am confident the eight elected city council members will make a fair and reasonable decision whether to accept or deny in full or in part.
If any of the listed individuals you have mentioned decline to serve, I might have some suggestions for inclusion.
Since you are willing to entertain suggestions, I would suggest that the committee meet, as soon as possible, to insure a speedy resolution and the taxpayers can expect to see the refund prior to the close of 2010
Mayor Belinda LaForce
City of Searcy
401 West Arch Avenue
Searcy, AR 72143
(501) 268-2483 PH
(501) 279-1050 FAX
The Arkansas Patriot is a conservative organization dedicated to equipping citizens with the truth, insuring transparent government, and encouraging citizens to question their government boldly. The editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.
Letter to the Editor
The people spoke. The Searcy Friends of the Voters are pleased that so many of our fellow citizens exercised their right to vote (a right we fought hard to protect when the city tried to deny it). The results are in, and now the mayor wants to investigate to determine whether “misinformation” played any role in the outcome.
Let me save the mayor the trouble: misinformation played a HUGE role in the outcome – if the pro-tax crowd had spoken the truth the tax would have gone down in a landslide.
For the last week or two leading up to the election, the pro-tax folks kept claiming that our statements were lies. We acquired a document they were circulating (I received this from a citizen who received it from alderman Mary Ann Arnett – one of the pro-tax people) which alleges to refute our claims. I will now list the pro-tax claims of our “untruths” and cite the facts in our final word on the topic.
Pro-tax folks said “Nothing that has been done [by the city] has been or was illegal.”
- Judge Tom Hughes ruled on September 30th that for the previous 3 months the city had been enforcing an ordinance that didn’t exist. This means that they were violating several state laws pertaining to public referendum. It also means they were violating Section 1-7 of Searcy’s code of ordinances which says the following: “It shall be unlawful for any person to change or amend by additions or deletions, any part or portion of this Code, or to insert or delete pages, or portions thereof, or to alter or tamper with such Code in any manner whatsoever except by Ordinance of the City Council, which shall cause the law of the City of Searcy, Arkansas, to be misrepresented thereby.”
- Arkansas code 7-9-111 states the following: “The date of any special election shall be set in accordance with § 7-5-103(b) but in no event more than one hundred twenty (120) calendar days after the date of certification of sufficiency by the municipal clerk.” Our petitions were certified as sufficient on July 10, 2009 which meant that this law (combined with Arkansas code 7-5-103 which required the election to be held on the second Tuesday of a month) required that the election be held no later than October 13, 2009.
- The city council voted on June 9th, 2009 to take specific actions with regards to the A&P commission after being provided an Attorney General opinion which specifically stated that taking such actions would violate the state constitution.
- The city council started collecting the tax 50 days after the passage of the ordinance. Arkansas code 14-55-203 states “The effective dates for ordinances of a general or permanent nature and other local measures of a general or permanent nature of cities of the first class, cities of the second class, and incorporated towns shall be upon publication or posting as is otherwise required by law, but not before ninety-one (91) days after passage by the governing body of the city or town.”
- The city council refused to hold the ordinance “in abeyance” as required by Article 5 of the state constitution which states “[a]ny measure referred to the people by referendum petition shall remain in abeyance until such vote is taken.” Continue reading
Early this morning, many concerned citizens alerted The Patriot that their “Vote Against the A&P Tax Signs” had been stolen out of their yards during the night.
Around 11:30 a.m., 27 anti-A&P Tax signs were unearthed at a local Searcy park. The signs were buried in a mud volleyball pit that is maintained by the city. Searcy Police Chief Kyle Osborne was alerted and came to the scene. Attorney for the Searcy Friends of the Voters Greg Niblock was also present.
View the police report here.
Letter to the Editor
“Dear Editor of The Arkansas Patriot,
We do not need an A&P tax to promote Searcy. We already pay city property and sales taxes, a portion of which are used to promote Searcy and attract visitors, new business, and new residents. Our Chamber of Commerce fulfills a similar role, and although it isn’t primarily taxpayer funded, it has “nearly 650 businesses working to accomplish what is best for Searcy,” according to the city website.
In addition, we pay 2% sales tax on tourist-related goods and services to the state to help fund the AR Department of Parks and Tourism and its twelve regional tourism associations including the Greers Ferry Lake & Little Red River Association (http://www.greersferrylake.org/content) which oversees the region in which we live. The Arkansas Hospitality Association, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to help promote Arkansas and its communities. Their “Welcome to Arkansas” program could address some of our promotion needs with little to no cost (http://www.arhospitality.org/welcome-to-arkansas).
Furthermore, Mayor Belinda LaForce has pointed out that our tax burden in Searcy has been relatively low for many years. That is an excellent selling point for attracting not only travelers and shoppers but also new business and new residents. A tax increase damages that promotion point. Continue reading
By Nicholas Horton
The Tax Freedom Rally in Searcy was a huge success. Scores of concerned citizens showed up to voice their concerns about out-of-control taxes and irresponsible local government. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this event a victory for the people of Searcy.
KARK-4 showed up to capture the event on video. You can see their coverage by clicking here. The mayor showed up just in time for an interview.
More photos of the rally are available at my Facebook Page.
Early voting begins today, Tuesday, April 6th. Make your voice heard.
Everything we have worked for is all for naught if the people do not show up and vote. This is your city and your election. Reclaim your rights. Reclaim the direction of this community.
Vote AGAINST the Searcy A&P Tax this week at the White County Clerk’s Office and next week at the Carmichael Center.