Of course the bill introduced by Rep. John Walker and discussed today in the Democrat-Gazette is aimed at requiring ward government for Little Rock. He and I have talked about it many times. It makes too much sense to pass this legislature.
The powers-that-be that control Little Rock by virtue of three at-large seats on the city board fear that pure representative government — where dollars don’t control the balance of power on the city board — could soil their playpen. The Chamber of Commerce might not get its taxpayer subsidy. The same old rich people might not control the Airport Commission. Developers might not control the Planning Commission. In fact, little would likely change, but the plutocrats would have to work harder for control and they might have to throw some crumbs to the poorer neighborhoods now and then. The city nears the point based on Census data where the board should include its first Latino member and four or more black members, where there are now three among the 10. That day will never arrive as long as the good suit crowd controls the three at-large seats.
Good luck to John Walker. He’ll need it. Maybe he should line up the lobbying crew that helped airport parking lot operator Drew Baker withstand the punitive, anti-competitive aims of the greedy bunch at Little Rock National Airport.