Some odds and ends this morning:
* DUSTIN MCDANIEL’S MOVIE — THE SEQUEL: Remember back in July when Attorney General Dustin McDaniel spent $6,000 on a little movie to announce at a State Police gathering that he was directing $700,000 from settlement of a lawsuit against a drug company to build a training facility at the agency’s shooting range. The money still hasn’t been transferred. A spokesman for McDaniel insists it will be transferred soon. I can’t shake an answer loose from the agency about the delay. The State Police Foundation, a tiny fund (assets of $81,000 on last tax return) that will receive the money, says it hasn’t heard anything about the money either, though it says it has someone working up some plans to fit the expected budget. Public money to private agency to build public facility on public land? There was, you may also recall, a question in this about whether McDaniel had the power to unilaterally decide how lawsuit money is spent and whether the court order for this particular transfer said anything about using the money for the State Police. The State Police Foundation is now saying the facility would be open to all public agencies. When the transfer is made, it will follow the attorney general’s new policy for use of settlement funds. Why hasn’t money been sent? “No specific reason,” spokesman said.
* GREENWOOD CRACKDOWN ON INTERNET COMMENTS: Remember the story about Dennis McCaslin, a part-time newspaper reporter in Greenwood tracked down and arrested for making alleged threatening remarks on an Internet chat board (under a pseudonym) about a member of the Greenwood City Council? Sounds like a plea bargain in works. He entered a not guilty plea and a Jan. 4 court date is set. The case would be taken under consideration then after a no-contest plea and McQuaid’s record would expunged if there’s no further trouble.
* MAYOR MARK STODOLA THEN AND NOW: I sent Mayor Stodola yesterday a list of questions about the surprise deal by which the city will provide a variety of taxpayer-provided incentives for Pulaski Tech to move its culinary school from Southwest Little Rock to downtown. Here’s one more. A reader who followed Stodola through the campaign to pass the sales tax increase from which he’s now spending freely — including in ways not mentioned in the sales tax campaign — remembers this:
The mayor and city manager went to the Southwest Little Rock Community Center and talked up supporting an extended bus route that would serve that campus of Pulaski Tech.
Is that new bus route off the table now?
You wonder if bus talk (downtown is a better place for bus connections) is mostly window dressing anyway. Part of Stodola’s downtown deal is to provide 250 free parking deck spaces (worth as much as $20,000 a year, I can testify as a paying parker in a deck down the street) to serve the students.