The Bottom Line: 'Hurry, Marty...we have to go back and vote on something that we already did!&#
So let's summarize.
The sitting city administrator for the City of Fort Smith and three elected officials decide to make a mockery of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act by holding what is clearly illegal meetings through text messages, emails and Lord-knows-what-else-means in an effort to basically run a coup and control every vestige of city government.
These same four individuals (we'll call them "These Four Guys") aren't just satisfied with usurping the local government, bilking taxpayers for every penny they can squeeze out of a turnip and generally stamping The Fort with their own brand of liberalism and ethical elitism.
The bottom line? They want more. They want it all. They want to be a four-person cabal with penultimate power to make every decision on the face of the earth because, you know, they are smarter than the rest of us.
That old canard about you can always tell a local politician --but you can't tell them much -- rings true.
There is no need to rehash the entire FOIA debacle. They are going to appeal and it's going to cost the city a lot more money in unnecessary legal fees. It's on the agenda and they are going to "vote" on it at the board meeting Tuesday night. Except the City Administrator has already filed an appeal. You know. BEFORE they vote on it.
Voters are a funny lot and Fort Smith is not immune to making bone-headed decisions at the ballot box. Look up Fagan Bourland sometime. The guy was elected as mayor four times just before and just after the turn of the century (not this century...the last one.) Three of those times he was elected after his crazy wife assaulted (and finally killed) his mistress.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that the actions of a love-torn and crazed woman with Victorian ethics may not have reflected on the capability of the long-late Mr. Bourland to govern the city.
But still. His wife killed his girlfriend. In 1895 just the fact that he had a girlfriend seems kind of scandalous. The whole "my wife attacked her twice and killed her once deal" probably would have been a red flag to me when I cast my ballot.
There are plenty of other ex-politicians in the history of Fort Smith who left their skidmarks on the community. Some were in the formative years, some were in the Golden Years and some have been in recent years. There just seems to be something about being in a position to spend other people's money unfettered that puts a curve in the road.
The whole Freedom of Information flap that we are currently enduring is just a speed bump on the highway to hell "These Four Guys" are driving. One has a chip on his shoulder, one seemingly goes along to get along and one has a Napolean-complex and self-deluded status concerning his place in the grand scheme of things. The fourth is an outsider who, from day one, has sought to fundamentally change our community and mold it into something that he finds acceptable to his values.
I'll leave it to you to put names and faces to these various role-players. I'll take $100 for "Malfeasance", Alex, and let's make it a true Daily Double.
Here's the part that drives me insane. No one seemingly cares. I, personally, have turned in complaints to both the state ethics board and the Municipal League. In at least one case, my complaints were taken by the targeted individual as a joke.
And like I have said before, if it happens much further west than where I-430 makes that sharp turn off I-40 in North Little Rock, the state gives not one tinker's damn until they are forced to deal with it.
Cough, cough <Jake Files> cough, cough.
There was a fleeting notion of attempting a recall on some of these scalawags. That has disappeared like state grant money in a state senator's pocket. I express disappointment and also feel used to some extent. Touche'. The art of the deal. Well played.
This dog-and-pony show might be slightly entertaining if it wasn't so pathetic. I guess what I want is for someone -- nay anyone--to go all Howard Beal and just declare they are mad a hell and they are not going to take it anymore,
Me? I'll just keep holding my nose and wading in the deep end of the cesspool.
Somebody has to give a tinker's damn.