Tagged: Mike Chalenburg

Reader: “Two City Officials Acknowledged They Ignored Arkansas Constitution.”

The following letter to the editor was submitted to The Patriot by Scott Biddle, a resident of Searcy, AR.  The letter was originally written by “Searcy Citizens for Ward 1” & posted on their blog.

“Dear Editor,

This week a Federal judge ruled that a “lawsuit brought by 20 states challenging the health-care overhaul law” can move forward, and those states can “contest whether the law’s ‘individual mandate’ requiring virtually all Americans to buy health insurance exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority.” Hearing about this story in the news, Searcy voters may remember our own city government exceeding their constitutional authority in June 2009.

In the June 2009 Searcy City Council meeting, five of the City Council (English, Chalenburg, Arnett, Dixon, and Sterling) voted to appoint the initial seven A&P Commission members recommended by Mayor Belinda LaForce. Some of those appointees were not qualified electors (they did not live in the city limits), which violates Ark. Const. art. 19, Sec. 3. In the meeting, the Council discussed Attorney General’s opinion #2007-055. In this opinion, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel explained that the Arkansas Constitution requires Commission members to be qualified electors. In appointing the A&P Commission members, the Mayor and five of the aldermen ignored the Arkansas Constitution (the other three voted against the appointments). Continue reading


Searcy Mayor Changes Course, Commends Nutter For Appointments


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

Your Mayor,

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 arkansaspatriot@gmail.com Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.

Laforce Does Not Recognize Nutter–Must Have Been the Tie.

This video clearly shows the type of bickering that is impeding true progress in this city.

Here the mayor is clearly seen denying an alderman a right to even pose a question during last night’s city council meeting.  Just imagine how bad things would be if the city was still under a partisan system (the non-partisan resolution passed last year by the council was designed to heal all of the party-invoked wounds and disagreement on the council):


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 arkansaspatriot@gmail.com Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.

Searcy Friends of the Voters: “If Pro-Taxers Had Spoken the Truth, Tax Would Have Failed in Landslide.”

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

The People Spoke: Searcy A&P Tax Rejected.

While the debate will rage on, the election on the Searcy A&P Tax is over.

Results of the Searcy A&P Tax election are as follows:

  • 1,574 Against
  • 1,331 For

FOX-16 was in town to cover the events.  See their coverage here.

Also, Harding’s “The Link” covered the picketing at City Hall and the voting.

There is much to be said about the events of the last 15 months.  But we will withhold analysis until the dust settles.

What is important to remember from today is that The People spoke.

Regardless of the outcome, The People won because their rights were restored and their judgment prevailed.  The People would have won if the tax and they win now that the tax failed.  Their wishes are what the Searcy Friends of the Voters and others fought to defend.  City Hall did everything within their power (and even outside their authority) to keep the voters from being heard, but ultimately, the people prevailed.

The People win because The People were heard.

Many thanks to all of the freedom-lovers who fought hard for The People’s right to vote on this issue.


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 arkansaspatriot@gmail.com Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.

27 Anti-A&P Tax Signs Unearthed On City Property – UPDATE: Police Report Attached

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.

Continue reading

Reader: “A&P Commission is Redundant, Unnecessary.”

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