A tweet from Clinton National Airport indicates former state Rep. Kathy Webb was appointed to the Little Rock Airport Commission last night. The position was among mayoral nominations on the board’s agenda for ratification. (And I surely wish citizens could get a preview of these appointments before the meeting, just in case they might like to be heard on one or another of the mayor’s always stellar picks.)
She’ll be the only woman on the seven-member commission. Kay Kelley Arnold’s term on the commission had expired.
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Webb joins just in time, I see, for travel opportunities. Commission Chairman Jesse Mason told the commission yesterday, according to the Democrat-Gazette, that it’s time for the commission to start traveling to industry meetings again. Only Airport Director Ron Mathieu has been traveling since a dustup over airport expenses that followed our reporting on advertising and travel expenditures. Airport passenger counts have decreased since then, but revenues have continued to climb because of airport fee increases.
Conventions can be useful. Hard to imagine, however, that anybody could be more creative than Mathieu at wrangling more money out of airlines. And hard to imagine how a convention can solve declining passenger numbers that reflect the economy, changing ways of doing business (why fly when there are “webinars”?) and airline industry realities (no convention is likely to provide a solution to Southwest’s expected expansion in Memphis, which will reduce Little Rock numbers further).
I’d add: There’s business travel. And then there’s other business travel — full retinue, first-class commission travel to a convention held conveniently each winter in Hawaii.
The city board news reminds me: With City Director Stacy Hurst making a Republican race for state representative this year, her Ward 3 (Heights, Hillcrest, Highway 10 corridor to I-430) seat on the City Board should be open. Several had mentioned Webb as a potential candidate. And about that House seat, only Jodie Mahony has declared as a Democrat. Ad exec Jordan Johnson, who ran against Webb in her first legislative race, won’t be running, as some had hoped. JP Tyler Denton is still considering it.