Another sales tax proposal for the jail, another defeat.
FOR — 12,088 42.8 percent
AGAINST — 16,112 57.2 percent
It was a chamber of commerce campaign and the precinct results showed. Outside of favorable votes in Hillcrest and the Heights, the tax was beaten soundly just about everywhere else. I was interested at the measure’s failure in the city’s most crime-prone neighborhoods, where the returning scourge of burglars and thugs freed from jail constitutes a greater present danger than elsewhere. Defeats in unincorporated Pulaski, which opposes nearly all tax measures, and in North Little Rock, already paying for an essential (sarcasm intended) ballpark and facing a huge electric rate increase, were less surprising.
I swung by the county administration building last night to check in with the Election Commission. Only the early votes had been tabulated then. The tax increase was leading only 1,551 to 1,525. I took this as a bad sign, because early voting strikes me as typically friendly to taxes. In this case, the number was swollen by all the county employees who voted at the courthouse. Many of their jobs could now be in jeopardy as the county comes up with ways to cope. Operating a jail with hundreds fewer beds than we operated more than a decade ago is no solution. The cities will have to pay more. But, please, don’t forget that most of the “county’s” money already comes from the cities in the first place — through the county sales tax and county property tax collected in incorporated areas.
No real-time election results were posted on the web last night. The election commission’s tech people say they discovered that you could hack into results during the time they were posting results in earlier elections. No one is saying that happened , naturally.
It would be nice if the commission could figure a way to generate results to a server that isn’t holding protected election results as precincts come in. We can dream, can’t we?