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Summary of CGLRN Meeting 12 July, 2014

Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods

An Advocate of Quality City Neighborhoods

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LRNeighborhoods

President Kathy Wells                                                            

Box 777, Little Rock, AR 72203                           

501-960-6918                                                                                  

  1. lrneighborhoods.org

 

Summary of the meeting of Jul. 12, 2014

Submitted by Pres. Kathy Wellshttp://imaginecentralarkansas.org/our-mission

 

Jarod Varner, Ex. Dir., CATA, spoke about on transit alternatives to adding highway lanes; and

Chief Kenton Buckner of LRPD, recruited citizens to join his community policing efforts.

 

Buckner complimented the work of the Coalition of Greater LR Neighborhoods, and actively recruited citizens to join his efforts to vigorously expand community policing. He urged working toward solutions, saying he had enough folks already who only wanted to throw rocks at police.

 

He called for specific complaints documented with photos, and persistence in returning, again and again, to talk to police about problems. He pledged in return to document police responses, and to keep working to solve ongoing problems. He will get proper authorities to respond to citizens, Buckner said. He complimented the Downtown NA and its meetings with police that have occurred for years, as an example of recording problem addresses, and pressing authorities to resolve the trouble.

 

The Downtown Division reports ongoing problems with the homeless, the chief said, and a meeting to address that specifically is forthcoming.

 

Buckner firmly rejected any Zero Tolerance policies. Law-abiding citizens, ones he wants to recruit to help police, get taken in such wide nets, and are alienated, he said, while criminals are not. He intends to “spear” criminals in targeted moves, Buckner said. For that, he needs intelligence, information from citizens, he said. Reviving the COPP program, 15 strong, and setting up close exchanges with residents, is his first step toward achieving that, Buckner said.

 

Varner brought welcome news that state highway officials decided to delay the study of solving congestion along I-630 for 18 months, until after they completed studies on widening I-30. Coalition members have raised many concerns about risk to neighborhoods along I-630 if lanes were added, and the Interstate was expanded. His agency now is studying future needs and services, Varner said, and this could address highway-widening concerns with alternatives.

 

All were reminded to speak out at the Highway Dept. Public hearing on I-30 widening, 4-7 p.m., Thu. Aug. 14, Comfort Inn, 707 I-30.

Dedicated funding, such as a quarter-cent sales tax countywide, as has been discussed previously, could be estimated and put into future plans, he said.

 

Varner emphasized his transit agency moves people – three million annually. Lots are disabled, who never drive a car. Buses provide opportunity for economic development; keep down air pollution from vehicle exhaust; help families control budget with cheaper travel; and help control sprawl in communities, he said. There is no state funding for transit today, he noted, and it would be wise to broaden duties of the Highway Dept. to include such activity. Metroplan officials are demanding this, he said, including Pul. Co. Judge Floyd (Buddy) Villines.   

Pulaski County Judge Forum

The Pulaski Co. League of Women Voters is sponsoring a Candidate Forum for the three running for Pulaski Co. Judge, at 6 p.m. Mon. Sep. 8, at the Quorum Court Room, Broadway & Second.

 

Details may be found on Ark. Times blog at:

http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/08/06/county-judge-forum-set#more

Bike-Friendly Community Committee Meeting

Your presence is requested.  Please help us solve Little Rock’s Bike/Ped related issues together.  Meeting Agenda attached, plus last meeting’s minutes.

Bike-Friendly Community Committee Meeting
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:30am-1pm
Little Rock River Market, 400 President Clinton, Little Rock, AR
 (3rd Floor above Boulevard Bread)
Open to the Public

Thanks,

Jeremy Lewno, Bike/Ped Coordinator
City of Little Rock
501-371-4688

COPP Division Reactivated

Sgt. Cheryl Wood spoke at the Gaines & Arch St. Crime Watch this week, and informed us she was the new supervisor to the COPP division of the LR Police Dept.

She has worked with downtown residents for several years, and proved to be responsive and energetic.

 

Wood reported she is filling seven positions in the division, which had declined to almost zero over the years.  A notable exception has been Officer Lewis Smith, who has continued to work with this Crime Watch over the years. These officers will work at ALERT Centers, being renamed Resource Centers, already operating in the community.

 

For safety, COPP officers on bicycles will work in pairs, Wood continued. The bikes must be purchased, and the formal certifications for operations must be acquired again.

 

These officers will be issued LRPD cellphones, to enable them to keep in close contact with the citizens they are serving, she said. Some have used personal phones over the years, and this proved its worth.

 

Wood may be contacted at 379-1524. Her offices are in the Downtown Division, in the former VA Hospital on Roosevelt Rd. These offices will be relocated when the 12th St. building, now under construction, is opened, she said.

 

The worth of Community Policing may be seen in the statistics kept by Smith over the years: the first year of COPP operation, crime went down 45 percent; the next year, it went down another 18 percent. Small ups and downs have been recorded recent years, but less severe crimes are occurring, and the levels remain far below what once happened

LRSD Candidate Forum

The Coalition of Greater LR Neighborhoods will host a Candidate Forum at 10 a.m. Sat. Aug. 9 for those four seeking election Sep. 16 to the LR School Board at the Hinton Resource Center, 12th & Pine St. The public is invited to attend.

 

Each candidate will be given 3 minutes to make a statement.

 

Those questions provided in advance will be asked each one in turn.

 

Questions will be taken from the floor.

 

The advance questions are:

 

To offset the loss of state special funding for desegregation, where would you cut the budget?

 

Seven schools have been listed by the state as “academically distressed.” What is the best way to remedy this problem, and get those students performing on a par with others?

 

          (Background: Ark. Dept. of Ed. Named Covenant Keepers Charter School, as well as Baseline Elementary, Cloverdale Middle, Henderson Middle, J.A. Fair High, Hall High and McClellan High.)

 

Should boundaries be changed into a single school district south of the Arkansas River in Pulaski County? Why or Why Not?

 

          (Note: the city of Little Rock is adding valuable property to the tax rolls in the west, in the Pulaski Co. School District territory, while collections in LRSD have little growth. Demolitions in older neighborhoods steadily decrease those tax rolls annually. The Pulaski Co. Treasurer provided these totals on what was disbursed to LRSD: $145 million in 2011; $149 million in 2012; and $147 million in 2013. )

 

Year-end Fund Balances are a key measurement of the financial health of our District. Ours has fallen from $46 million in 2012-2013 to $38 million in 2013-2014, and it appears the 2014 number will go down again. County property taxes are stagnant, offering no relief there. District officials have funded new initiatives at Forest Heights and Geyer Springs schools, and raised teacher pay after an arbitration decision, which were not budgeted originally. State officials have the power to declare our District to be “financially distressed” and take over. What will you do to keep finances stable?

 

          (Background: The Little Rock School District (LRSD) 2013-2014 projected budget contains total revenues of $328,004,757 and projected total expenses of $332,019,597 leaving a projected ending fund balance of $37,882,856. The projected fund balance in the Operating Fund is $36,930,856 which includes $953,000 restricted operating fund balance for future QZAB debt

 

          For 2012-2013, the numbers were Revenues of $345,231,414; Expenses of $338,285,582; and Fund Balance of $46,341,172.)

 

The District conducted a study of facilities, which is typically the start of an effort to win community support for a millage increase to fund new schools and major renovations. What total is needed? Does support exist among LR voters to raise taxes for new schools? If not, how will you meet these needs?

 

Should LR School District officials allow or arrange a state takeover of the district, as occurred in the Pulaski Co. School District? Why or Why Not?

I-30 Widening Public Hearing

Reminder: come to public hearing Aug. 14 to state concerns about I-30 widening project and new Ark. River bridge. Open House runs 4 – 7 p.m., Comfort Inn, 707 I-30, Little Rock. (by Sixth St. overpass & I-30.)

 

If you cannot attend, below is contact information to use.

 

Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department 10324 Interstate 30,

PO Box 2261 Little Rock, Arkansas 72203 Phone: (501) 569-2000

 

Highway Commission members are:

 

State Highway Commission-Arkansas Highway and Transportation Commission Member Information

Name

Title

Address

Phone

Expiration Date

Scott Edward Bennett

Director

PO Box 2261 Little Rock, AR 72203

Robert S. Moore

The Honorable

11 Moore Lane Arkansas City, AR 71630

01/14/2023

John Edward Regenold

4575 North State Hwy 137 Armorel, AR 72310

01/14/2015

Tom Schueck

Post Office Box 16390 Little Rock, AR 72231

01/14/2021

Frank D. Scott

7903 Edwina Drive Little Rock, AR 72209

01/14/2017

Richard (Dick) R. Trammel

9954 South View Drive Rogers, AR 72757

01/14/2019

Friday August 8th Art Night Tod Switch,Matt McLeod, Robert Bean

Artists – Tod Switch, Robert Bean, & Matt McLeod
Over 75 new works
Last two shows open to the public – August 8th and September 12th 2nd Friday
Art Night 5-8 p.m.
The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group
200 River Market Ave., Suite 400
Wine tasting courtesy of Raimondo Winery!

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