The line is open. Final items:
* RANK POLITICAL SPECULATION: Amid all the scuttlebutt put in motion by Mike Ross’ decision not to seek re-election in 2012, this floated repeatedly to the surface: Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin was thinking of going home to Washington County in 2012 and running for county judge. He’s clearly been chafed by the unflattering attention in Little Rock. It’s harder to pad his expense account in this office than when he was legislator. County judge pays more. He’d be closer to home. It made a certain kind of sense. But, says staffer Mark Myers, there’s nothing to it. “He’d be more likely to run for U.S. Senate in 2014 than county judge in 2012.” By the way, I think the Senate reference is meant to illustrate the absurdity of the county judge rumor, not to be a serious intention of Martin’s, at least not at the moment. Fourth District Congress in 2012? Myers said he’d have to get back to me on that. He did note, however, that Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, Martin and Land Commissioner John Thurston all outpolled Democratic rivals in the new Fourth District in 2010 elections. They all ran against Barack Obama.
* SOVEREIGN CITIZEN: You’ll remember a so-called “sovereign citizen,” who didn’t recognize governmental authority, was the key to the West Memphis shootout that left two police officers and the man and his son dead. He was not alone. Another police shooting in Texas involving one of these renegades.
* RIVERFEST EYES NLR AGAIN: The Times of North Little Rock reports that Riverfest and North Little rock are talking again about a bicoastal Memorial Day weekend event, perhaps by moving a carnival midway over to the North Shore. Concerts? Not sure.
* DEPUTY FIRED: The Pulaski sheriff’s office has fired Deputy Albert Harris for beating a jail inmate July 13. He’d earlier been charged with second-degree battery.
* HUCKSTERING: Mike Huckabee says he intends to stay neutral in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
* ROUGH LANDING AT LIT: Just got word of a rough landing by a Delta commuter jet en route to Little Rock from Memphis about 3:40 p.m. A flap wouldn’t deploy and the plane circled for a time before a landing that, one of 48 people on the CRJ2 said, seemed faster than normal and ended with hard braking. No one was reported hurt. Emergency units were deployed but weren’t needed.
* SHANE BROADWAY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Republican Reps. Jane English and Allen Kerr have asked for an attorney general’s opinion whether the law allows Shane Broadway to be named permanent director of Higher Education, given that he has no previous work experience on a college campus. It’s a political job, Broadway is a political person and he’s capable of handling the duties, such as they are. But … the language of the law presents the tiny problem of appearing to make him ineligible to serve, though Gov. Mike Beebe thinks it’s flexible enough. He could serve until the end of Beebe’s term as interim director, a position with no standards, but Beebe has said that isn’t acceptable to him. Maybe it should be. Or maybe he could consider appointing someone clearly qualified for the job and set them to work vigorously trying to institute some top-down efficient and thoughtful governance of colleges and universities. Problem: none of the colleges want THAT.
* NEW STATE SENATE MAP: Gov. Mike Beebe has released a new map for state Senate districts. It affects four senators. It significantly helps Sen. Jonathan Dismang, a Republican who hadn’t been happy with how White County was split up, and Sen. Jack Crumbly, who thought his East Arkansas seat was sufficiently majority black (it’s now 53 percent). It also provides some changes for districts currently held by Sens. Percy Malone and Eddie Joe Williams, another Republican. The attorney general has also issued what appears to be a similar map.
* RIVER MARKET TROUBLES/NLR EDITION: A North Little Rock friend passes along a link to NLR City Council on the web. Boring stuff mostly, but toward the end are complaints about crime problems downtown. These include an assault of two young women walking across the Junction Bridge back to the Enclave Apartments on a weekend night recently. NLR police have not been forthcoming with a report on that assault, which I requested last week. The mayor acknowledges downtown security cameras, including some on the bridge, aren’t working (and probably weren’t being monitored when they were working.)