Monday, September 29, 2008

Pulled from The Iconoclast blog spot

aubunique said...

Some big farms hurt the Beaver Lake watershed, but most of the farms in the area with a dense animal population hurt the Illinois River watershed.
The development sites allowing uncontrolled runoff of red dirt affect the water quality of Beaver Lake the most. And the yellow fill dirt is as bad in its own way, probably causing the most algae bloom in the lake.
That yellow dirt, like runoff from golf courses and many private lawns and other green space where pesticides and herbicides and FERTILIZER are used, also contributes tons of silt and chemicals that affect the cost of cleaning Beaver Lake water. The algae bloom results in the poor taste and smell of the water.
Dan has had eight years to stop the use of chemicals in the urban part of the Beaver Lake watershed. Decades ago, many Fayetteville residents were trying to get chemical fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides banned in the city. A lot of longtime residents mention the failure of this administration to address those concerns adequately and make them a part of the development code among the reasons they will not vote for the incumbent now. The council voted for a strong hill side ordinance but the mayor protested strengthening the tree ordinance on the hills without doing so in the rest of the urban forest. But, so far, he has not brought forth a strengthened tree ordinance for the whole city. Mature trees and understory vegetation keep the shallow topsoil on the hillsides. Clear-cutting a slope guarantees siltation and pollution downstream
Federal and state environmental officials will tell you and have stated publicly that cities can make their own stricter rules for managing stormwater and urban pollution.
Those plastic bottles are bad for the environment. But using the bully pulpit to announce that city projects would no longer pollute or destroy trees and vegetation would be a lot more valuable than announcing a ban of city use of water in plastic bottles.
Both are important. But laws to prevent pollution are many times more significant than laws to prevent litter. Right now, our city allows violations of state and federal law frequently, not only with city projects but also by failing regularly to inspect construction sites that have been approved by city government.

CAT channel Cox 18 in Fayetteville for September 21-27, 2008

CAT 18, public-access television schedule through October 4, 2008

Lioneld Jordan the right choice for mayor of Fayetteville

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Candidate forum at law school on Thursday was sponsored by Sierra Club's Ozark Highlands Group

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mayoral-candidate forum sponsored by the Sierra Club on Thursday September 25, 2008, at the University of Arkansas law school's courtroom.

Candidates in consensus on ‘going green’
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2008

Fayetteville mayoral and alderman candidates are in favor of sustainability, being environmentally friendly and creating a city that will lead the nation in “ green ” development. But not all the candidates agreed on exactly how to do so.
The Ozarks Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club hosted a forum Thursday night for all candidates to weigh in on the environment issue. Recycling, environmentally friendly development, public transportation and green ordinances were among the topics discussed.
Mayoral candidates present included Incumbent Mayor Dan Coody, Walt Eilers, Steve Clark, Lioneld Jordan and Sami Sutton. They squared off for their fifth debate in a month. Candidate Adam Fire Cat was not present.
Northwest Arkansas Times report on Sierra mayoral debate
Eilers kicked off the forum stating that he wanted to be a servant leader and focus on bringing a “ Green Valley Initiative ” to Fayetteville to encourage environmentally friendly businesses to settle within the city limits and provide economic growth. He said that a government providing tax breaks or incentives to sustainable businesses could be very successful.
Coody told the audience to let his resume as mayor for the past eight years speak for itself. He pointed out that he brought in the first city sustainability coordinator in the state of Arkansas and has consistently pushed for innovative energy-rating systems to be used for judging new homes.
Clark said he wants to see a tree for every parking spot and more parks filling the city of Fayetteville. He added that public transportation is one of his priorities and buses, satellite parking and park and ride programs would be a nice addition to Fayetteville.
Jordan also asked the public to look at his service record when they hit the voting booths. He said when it comes to voting on environmental issues, he’s cast 143 “ yes” votes and very few “ no ” votes. Projects like the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and the citywide smoking ban top his list.
Sutton said she’d like to put more focus on recycling and tree planting. She said wants to see more businesses and apartment complexes offering recycling programs and she’d like to do away with bottled water and switch the city to tap water.
On the alderman side of the debate Ward 1 candidates Brenda Thiel and Don Conner; Ward 4 candidates Craig Honchell, Sarah Lewis and Bernard Sulliban; and Ward 2 candidates Mark Kinion and Matthew Petty talked about environmental issues as well.
Thiel asked that voters consider what she said is an excellent record of service. During her two terms in office, Thiel sponsored and supported ordinances dealing with hillside development, water runoff and drainage issues, animal protection and services, and sidewalk and trail development.
Conner said he wants to put more teeth in the city’s ordinances dealing with hillside development and he wants to create more environmentally friendly ordinances.
Kinion said that he’s very sincere about protecting the environment, stating that he wanted the city to become less dependent on automobiles and he supports the 2025 plan while encouraging environmentally friendly businesses to come to Fayetteville.
Petty said protecting the environment is his lifeblood and his experience in lobbying for climate change and running social sustenance programs should be proof of how committed he is to “ going green” in Fayetteville.
Honchell said he’s just an average guy who’s learning about how he can help the environment. He said that he’s interested in environmental ethics and the green technology that’s being produced.
Lewis said basically her whole educational background is in environmental studies and she works with developers around the region teaching them how they can be environmentally friendly and can save money in the process.
Sulliban said he’s a community activist who’s been involved in many grassroots movements. He said pushing for recycling for businesses and apartment complexes is one of his priorities. He said he’d also like to see entire neighborhoods of environmentally friendly houses built.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Morning News reports that school-board supports new high school on old site

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

New High School Gets Green Light On Current Site

By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE -- A 21st century high school will be built on the current site of Fayetteville High School.

After more than two years of contentious, often divisive discussion, the Fayetteville School Board authorized the school district's administrative team "to conceptualize and present a plan for a 21st century pre-K through 12 school system that includes one new high school on the existing site."

Thursday's vote was unanimous, climaxing 26 months of conversation, research, study and community input that divided many patrons into one of two camps, one supporting the current site and the other in favor of selling the property and building at a new location.

Assistant Superintendent Dick Johnson said the nine-member administrative team is ready to move forward with planning a new school on the current 40-acre site.

The district already has asked city officials about closing Stone Street, which could add just more than an acre to the construction site.

No other details on construction were discussed. The administrative team as well as principals and teachers are expected to visit 21st century schools. Several such schools have been identified, including one with an enrollment of 3,000 built on 16 acres in Boston, Mass., Johnson said.

Technology will be the centerpiece in Fayetteville's 21st century school, Johnson said.

"Throughout all of this, everyone wanted a new school. That's a unifying theme. I think we're there," said board member Tim Kring. "We had to look at all the options. I'm glad to see where we are. We have to ask our community to focus on helping us move forward."

Board member Becky Purcell said she is concerned the board may not gain the community trust without a discussion on the size of the new school.

The board has settled on a configuration of grades nine through 12 but hasn't been able to agree on the maximum size of a new school and at what point the discussion would shift to a second high school.

If a new high school is opened in four or five years with the ninth grade, enrollment could be about 2,700 students, based on current figures. A growth spurt in Fayetteville could send that number upward.

"We have had size discussions all the way through with so many camps of thought," said board member Susan Heil. "I would like to trust you to have that conversation."

Johnson said the administrative team is "very comfortable" in discussing size and making a recommendation to the board.

The administrative team doesn't have a timetable for bringing any recommendations to the board for action. Johnson said the site visits will be done first and could start in the next few weeks.

"Tonight was the go button," Johnson said.

At A Glance

No New Boundaries

The Fayetteville School Board probably will delay any major revisions to elementary school boundaries before the 2010-2011 school year.

Assistant Superintendent John L Colbert recommended the delay Thursday, noting, however, attendance boundaries for Root and Holcomb elementary schools may have to be modified this year to alleviate crowding.

Board member Becky Purcell has been meeting with administrative staff to lay some groundwork on criteria and suggested the board could wait to review the boundaries until after the completion of renovation at Butterfield Trail Elementary School.

The original plan was to have new attendance zones drawn for the entire district when the Butterfield renovation was completed in 2009.

Source: Staff Report

Governor's commission on global warming tentatively says NO to new coal-fired power plants

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Panel Tentatively Endorses Ban On New Plants

By Peggy Harris
LITTLE ROCK -- An Arkansas commission studying ways to reduce global warming tentatively endorsed a ban Thursday on new coal-fired power plants, saying a proposed $1.5 billion facility in Hempstead County shouldn't open until at least 2020.

The preliminary proposal would allow the John W. Turk Jr. plant near Fulton to open eight years later than planned, when new "sequestration" technology presumably would be available to capture harmful carbon dioxide emissions and store them in the ground. The plant could open sooner if the technology becomes available.

Under the proposal, the $1.3 billion Plum Point plant being built near Osceola could open as planned in 2010 but operators would have to retrofit the plant with the new anti-pollution technology once it becomes available.

Any other new coal-fired power plants in Arkansas would have to have the new technology when they open.

Currently, sequestration is not in use at any commercial power plant in the country. But the new technology is among the many innovations being discussed nationally and worldwide to reverse global warming.

State Rep. Kathy Webb, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Global Warming, said the draft proposal was one of about 50 the group has analyzed over the last several months with the help of consultants. The panel expects to have its final recommendations in a report to Gov. Mike Beebe by Oct. 31. Legislators could consider the measures when they meet in regular session next year.

Webb, D-Little Rock, said the proposed ban has been among the most controversial of the draft recommendations.

Coal-fired power plants and automobiles are the leading producers of carbon dioxide, the chief culprit of global warming. They also are a primary generator of electricity in the U.S. and considered essential to economic growth.

Commission members from the energy industry Thursday voiced opposition to the proposed ban.

Gary Voight, chief executive of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, said scrapping plans for new plants would mean using "dirtier" inefficient plants that produce more pollution and fail to meet consumer demand.

He said a ban would effectively make it more difficult for utilities to produce electricity economically and free up more money to invest in energy-efficient technology. In addition, Voight said, the Arkansas Public Service Commission has already imposed conditions on Southwestern Electric Power Co. to address pollution at the planned 600-megawatt plant in Hempstead County.

"This is a bad plan. It's retroactive regulation," said Voight, whose cooperative plans partly own the SWEPCO plant. "The commission has already ruled that SWEPCO must evaluate all carbon sequestration and capture technologies as available in the future so this (proposal) is pointless. It's a waste of time, and we should all vote against it and get it off the table."

Other commissioners spoke of the seriousness of global warming and the need to take strong action.

"This is what Congress is talking about. This is what a lot, a lot of scientists are concerned about. New coal plants, we're talking about moratorium until sequestration," said Art Hobson, a physics professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Commissioner Kevin Smith, the former state senator from Stuttgart, said without a moratorium Arkansas could become "the new Pittsburgh -- not the Natural State." And commissioner Rob Fisher, executive director of The Ecological Conservation Organization, said the proposal was the most important recommendation the panel could make.

"If we don't pass this option, everything else we do is pointless," he said.

The commission endorsed the recommendation by a vote of 11-10.

Kacee Kirschvink, a spokeswoman for SWEPCO, said the Turk plant would be one of the cleanest coal plants in North America. She said it would use "ultra-supercritical" technology that requires less fuel and produces less carbon dioxide. In addition, she said, the plant could be retrofitted for newer technology once it becomes available.

"It would not be good public policy to change the rules now after much planning and investment has been done to meet the energy needs of SWEPCO's customers," she said.

Shreveport, La.-based SWEPCO wants to open the plant in 2012 and has begun site work, while awaiting an air-quality permit from state environmental regulators. SWEPCO is a part of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co.

David Byford, a spokesman for Plum Point developers Dynegy Inc., said the commission proposal was in the early stages and Dynegy might comment later after further study.

Web Watch:

Arkansas Governors Commission on Global Warming

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ducks Unlimited Banquet October 2, 2008

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Real change is a vote away

Letters to the editor
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Real change is a vote away

I have never been one to view any individual running for public office as a savior or fix-all for our local or national problems. The American political system simply doesn’t work that way. Instead, I have always believed that “ we the people” should be the driving force behind government policy and that our collective vigilance is necessary to keep government on the straight and narrow. That said, I do acknowledge that there are some who rise up from the ranks of the people in order to seek political office — not for self-serving purposes but rather, because they believe in their hearts that we are capable of creating better situations for our communities and the world. There are three such people that I would like to discuss.

When Lioneld Jordan ascended to his position on the Fayetteville City Council early in 2001, I immediately became impressed with him. One of his first notable acts was to establish his now legendary Ward 4 meetings. Here was an alderman that sought out the opinions of his constituency. Here was an elected official that was approachable and who, I soon learned, often agonized over the decisions he had to make. In the seven plus years that he has sat on the City Council, Lioneld has truly supported the concept of open government, remained approachable and, most importantly, has always stood for honesty. Who can ask for more ?

In spite of the fact that many mainstream politicians, including both major presidential candidates, are talking about change, a quick glance at their proposals will show that once they are elected, it will pretty much be business as usual. In the race for Arkansas’ third congressional district seat, a golden opportunity for real change is in the offing as self-defined “ green Democrat” Abel Tomlinson is running on the Green Party ticket against Republican John Boozman, a man who has, for the most part, supported the disastrous Bush agenda since coming to office.

Tomlinson, who got involved in politics due to his horror over the invasion and occupation of Iraq, offers the voter well-articulated ideas for efficient universal health care, combating global climate change and the restoration of democracy and our Constitution. There is no Democrat running in his race against Mr. Boozman; yet, there is a very clear choice. In the Arkansas race for the U. S. Senate, incumbent Mark Pryor, who also has supported many Bush administration policies, has no Republican opposition. Still, Senator Pryor will face Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy, a young woman who stands as an intelligent voice for change. Kennedy is also interested in ending the ill-conceived occupation of Iraq as well as the widespread destruction of our environment. Further, she supports universal health care and well thought out programs for developing clean alternative energy sources while implementing programs which would delay the impending energy crunch. All three above-mentioned candidates offer real change for the voter. I hope that you all will seize this golden opportunity for real change.
Al Vick / Fayetteville

Walt Eilers would be a great mayor

As president of the board of directors for Let’s Bring Them Home, and as someone who is politically “ in tune” in my community, state and nation and is vested both personally and professionally in the Northwest Arkansas community, it is refreshing to see that Walt Eilers has entered the political arena in the quest to become the mayor of Fayetteville. I have known Walt and Linda Eilers for many years. Walt and I first met when Walt chaired (what was then called ) the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. In those days, my nonprofit experience was in the “ fledgling” stages. Walt’s leadership, professionalism, kindness and guidance not only inspired me, but taught me a valuable lesson: We all have something to give back to our community. And in this instance, Walt, as he always does, was serving the Northwest Arkansas Community, but he was also becoming a mentor... to me. However, Walt took his belief in the nonprofit work I am so passionate about a step further. He has selflessly volunteered his time and talents toward a nonprofit (Let’s Bring Them Home ) that I helped to found in 2005. In fact, Walt is an active advisory board member, supporting Let’s Bring Them Home with expertise in the area of fundraising and board development. Because of the long hours of volunteering and hard work, Walt, along with our entire exceptional board of directors, has grown Let’s Bring Them Home into an organization that is meeting the needs of children and families across the nation. And amazingly enough, Walt Eilers, like our other hard-working board members, has never asked for anything in return. Walt has personally spent countless hours reviewing documents, attending events, offering advice and lending a helping hand to further the mission of Let’s Bring Them Home. Why ? That answer is simple: Walt simply believes in making the world a better place. Walt believes in championing those causes and people that offer hope and help to those in need. And now, in my most personal time of need, as I face a health crisis and pending surgery, Walt Eilers stepped up to the plate without even being asked; he generously donated a pint of his own blood in my name. Why ? Because Walt truly cares. Fayetteville should be so lucky to have Walt Eilers elected as the next mayor. As voters decide which candidate is best prepared to run the city of Fayetteville and manage budgets, people and the like, Walt’s rich resume makes the decision clear: Walt is the candidate for the challenge. But as voters also weigh which candidate will lead from the heart as a servant-leader, it becomes even clearer that Walt, again, is the clear candidate for the job. Walt’s selfless devotion to the people and places that make up the city of Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas will make us all better people. I know from personal experience that my family is better for having known Walt Eilers.
LaDonna Meredith / Rogers

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fran Alexander's Northwest Arkansas Times column explains reasons she supports Lioneld Jordan for mayor

CROSS CURRENTS : The real deal
Fran Alexander
Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008
What is the starting point ? Where do we begin our evaluations that lead to our perceptions ? Do we make judgment calls on people based on how they treat others or just on how they treat us in particular ? Are our opinions of candidates reached via their actions or decisions on issues, or do we rely on the gut response we have toward their personalities ? Do we take the time to figure out our own motives and behaviors before we choose others to represent our values ?

In sorting through my own assessments of Fayetteville’s mayoral choices, my checklist has stayed consistent with what I wrote in my April 21 article, “ And they’re off ! ” when there were only three runners in this race.

First and foremost, I want someone who bases his or her “ actions on an internally consistent framework of principles, ” the best definition of “ integrity” I’ve located so far. Next, from the experience side of the score care, I want someone who knows in his or her bones what it means to be on the citizens’ side of the City Council’s podium, asking questions or expressing heart and soul concern on an issue. I also want a candidate who has served on city committees or on the council, gaining not just experience in dealing with the public, but also a familiarity with how the city works or fails to work. Equally important, when candidates have served in some capacity, the rest of us have had a chance to get to know them from hearing them discuss, justify and vote their values. That’s what “ vetting” is all about.

Only two of the six candidates for the city’s top job have been active in city matters for years. If you don’t know incumbent mayor, Dan Coody, and Alderman Lioneld Jordan by now, you haven’t been paying attention to what goes on in City Hall and need to do some homework before you go vote.

Having traveled through a seemingly endless assortment of issues over almost eight years with my eyes on these guys, my support goes to Lioneld Jordan. The basic boiled-down reason is I know who he is. I know who he is now, who he has been for eight years, and who he will be in the future because of his “ internally consistent framework of principles. ”

If we disagree, Lioneld discusses our differences one-onone, but votes his conscience. A fellow I know here in town told me, “ I come from a corporate culture where a man was not judged by whether he made mistakes; he was judged by how he behaved after he made them. In my view, Lioneld would have done very well in that culture. ”

I’ve never known Lioneld to back-peddle, back-slide, or back-stab. Oh, he can get fed-up, fired-up, and want to bite nails in half at times, but you can always predict he’ll work his way through the rough spots using the same tools he always uses: determination, consistency, and responsibility. And, he apologizes if he thinks he got something wrong.

Jordan is also full of curiosity and always eager to learn, characteristics that have been very gratifying to me when we discuss environmental problems and protections. He extensively researches items that come before the City Council, which can entail reading volumes of documents. This means his decisions do not come from seat-of-the-pants guesswork or knee-jerk reflex.

Management of the University of Arkansas’ oldest and most-loved core buildings gives this candidate more of an on-the-ground knowledge of how to keep the nuts and bolts of physical infrastructure functioning than perhaps any other mayoral candidates we have seen in decades. His 120 hours of business management training, 80 hours of supervisory training, 1, 500 hours of apprentice schooling through the Department of Labor, and 20 hours of diversity coursework combined with his work experience have given him an educational foundation in managing both the structural and the human sides of problems. And, his long involvement with labor issues has provided him the real-life basics of dealing with a workforce. Using this background in his role in the political realm, he has been chair of the Street Committee for four years and spent seven years on the Water and Sewer and the Equipment committees, just three of the seven working groups on which he has served.

Jordan, if elected, wants to use his monthly Ward 4 gatherings as a pattern for town hall meetings for each ward in the city, taking government to the people in their part of town at least three or four times per year. One of his supporters told me, “ He wants to make sure that no one is missed, that everyone has a chance, no matter what side of the tracks they are from. Everything else will flow from there. I love the idea of the town hall meetings, and I know Lioneld will follow through with them. ”

Outside city business, Lioneld reads for pleasure, especially history and literature. When he quotes Emerson, Roosevelt and Eugene O’Neill, his favorite playwright, to make a point, you get the impression that he’s not just been reading comics in his spare moments. He does, however, take the time to delve deeply into the joys of Razorback devotion.

Probably the most telling attribute about Jordan’s character and seriousness about his role in city government is a little something not many people know. One evening after a council meeting was over, I saw him pick up a dollar bill from his desk and put it in his wallet. I teased him that being alderman did not pay very well. He laughed and agreed, but then added that he tries to remember to put a dollar in his view during council meetings to remind him of Truman’s motto, “ The Buck Stops Here. “

If the voters truly want to be able to trust their representatives, then Lioneld Jordan is the real deal. The experience that citizens have had with him is “ experience you can trust. ”

Fran Alexander is a local resident and an active environmentalist.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Former member of City Council trusts, supports Lioneld Jordan

Lioneld Jordan — our next mayor
Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Sunday, September 21, 2008
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I support Lioneld Jordan for mayor because he will open up city government to the citizens of Fayetteville and continue to bring diverse groups together. As a member of the Fayetteville City Council, he has invited developers to ward meetings where concerns of citizens can be addressed before they become controversial. Lioneld continuously asks people's opinions about issues facing the city while he is deciding how he will vote on the subject. One of the other candidates for mayor has been saying that Lioneld is not polished enough or that he is not sophisticated enough to be mayor. I wonder if that candidate thinks Lioneld would not be able to misrepresent things and mislead the public about issues important of Fayetteville. Having served with Lioneld Jordan on the City Council, I know that when Lioneld makes a decision on what he thinks is best for Fayetteville he will tell you how he will vote, and that's what he's going to do because he is not "polished "enough to speak out of both sides of his mouth. When talk turns to economic development, whether it is land development or business and industrial recruitment, one key factor that is always mentioned is that these people want to know what is expected of them if they come to Fayetteville. I have heard too many times "I just need to know where I stand with the city and what I am supposed to do. "These people will not have a problem knowing what they must do or where they stand with Lioneld. I know I stand with Lioneld Jordan for mayor. Cyrus Young Fayetteville

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fayetteville mayoral candidates debate in Springdale

Mayoral Candidates Sharpen Attacks

By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- As election day draws closer mayoral candidate attacks are getting more pointed. And as expected, the crosshairs seem centered on the incumbent.

When asked about the relationship between the City Council and the mayor's office, Lioneld Jordan, an alderman from Ward 4 and a candidate for mayor, admitted "a very strained relationship right now."

"And it's not coming from the body, it's coming from the head," he added.

"There's not very much going through the city right now, because of who's in charge of it," Jordan snapped during a Friday candidate forum hosted by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

"You need to listen," remarked candidate Walt Eilers about the job of mayor and the relationship the office holds with the council. "If you're always talking about yourself, you're not listening."

"It's the mayor's job to lead, either by example or persuasion," said candidate Steve Clark.

Some of the chamber questions were more than a little hypothetical, but clearly targeted at exploring different candidates' personal philosophies and goals.

One question presented each potential mayor with $5 million. What would the candidate do with the money if he or she were elected?

Coody said the money should be invested in the Arkansas Research and Technology Park as the boost it needs to further attract the types of clean-tech industry the city often touts.

"Fayetteville is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growing green economy," Coody said.

Adam Fire Cat, another candidate who often speaks of what he sees as Fayetteville's dismal economic and financial picture, would squirrel the money away into a "rainy day fund." Cat would also put a freeze on all nonessential spending. And he casts that net pretty wide to include public parks, libraries and other programs or city services he deems not strictly necessary to the city's operation.

Clark would use the $5 million as seed money to spread across industry recruitment as well as the library system, landing a regional park and building a new police station.

Candidates were also asked about their thoughts on SouthPass, the 1,000-acre mixed-use development on the edge of town, that's to include a 240-acre regional park. After fully completed in 25 years, the project would house some 11,000 people, and more than 200,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Jordan, who's never been a huge fan of extending the city's boundaries and infrastructure beyond where they already lie, has been calling for the brakes on the project.

"Do we really need a new Fayetteville on a two-lane road at the edge of the city?" he wondered.

"I have great concerns about that development," Clark said. He went on to suggest, "Make all 900 acres the regional park."

Jordan also wants more specifics about costs for infrastructure and what share the city will shoulder.

"The administration is also supposed to provide us the cost that it would be and we are yet to have those costs, and I think that needs to be addressed," Jordan said.

Southpass is being developed by the same development team behind East Square Development. East Square Development is the same company leading up the stalled Renaissance Tower hotel project downtown. Clark and Eilers both support a move to have the developers make some assurances of the viability of the financial muscle behind the project.

Coody, a supporter of SouthPass, sees this type of public prying into the affairs of private business as an unrealistic request that would create an unfriendly business environment for Fayetteville.

With the city in budget season and the mayor's proposed budget would dip into reserve funds for $535,000, candidates were asked about their fiscal philosophies.

Coody defended his budget, saying Fayetteville residents should not be asked to shoulder a tax increase. He's also unwilling to eliminate jobs and programs.

"We're too understaffed as it is," Coody said.

Jordan offered few specifics about how to shave costs, only saying basic services like police, fire, sewer or water need to be covered.

"First the core, and then you've got to properly manage your money," Jordan said.

Eilers stressed his plan is to do more listening.

"You meet with your employees and say, 'How can we reduce the cost of doing business?,'" Eilers said.

Clark deferred to making some "really tough decisions," and not dip into reserves.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Article submited for posting by Lioneld Jordan

Bush Officials Sued for Steering $350M to Forest Foundations

SEATTLE, Washington, September 11, 2008 (ENS) - A coalition of conservation organizations filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Bush administration alleging that federal officials diverted $350 million from the public treasury to forestry foundations "dominated by the timber industry."
The suit alleges that the administration violated federal appropriations law when, in September 2006, without any public process or congressional approval, the administration steered $350 million from Canadian lawsuit settlement funds to the foundations.

The plaintiff organizations - the Forest Stewardship Council-US, Conservation Northwest, and the Center for Biological Diversity - say they filed the lawsuit because they are committed to promoting sustainable forestry in the United States.

The Washington Forest Law Center, a public interest law firm based in Seattle, filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs in federal court in Seattle.

The defendants are the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

"Once again the Bush administration has made up its own rules," said Joe Scott, International Programs director of Washington-based Conservation Northwest.

"Here, the administration illegally gave away hundreds of millions of public dollars to organizations whose programs are not clearly established to advance the public interest," said Scott.

An example of Georgia's upland maritime forest. (Photo courtesy U. of Georgia)

The groups are asking the court to declare that the Bush administration violated the law and asks the court to take reasonable and fair steps to ensure that the money is safeguarded until the administration follows the law.
One of the co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit, represents a forest certification system.

Corey Brinkema, president of the plaintiff Forest Stewardship Council-US, said the organization joined the lawsuit because, "FSC-US and our partners work tirelessly to develop and promote the highest standards for forest management, as well as provide the public the opportunity to reward responsible forestry through choosing FSC-labeled products. The administration�s action is a huge setback that, if left unchecked, could significantly lower the bar for what is represented as sustainable forestry."

The suit alleges that money the Bush administration earmarked to the two timber industry-dominated organizations, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. and the American Forest Foundation, should instead have gone into the US Treasury.

"How this money is spent should have been up to Congress, not timber industry executives in a backroom deal with the administration," said Bill Snape, senior attorney for the plaintiff Center for Biological Diversity.

Forested land in northern Idaho (Photo by Terry Gray)

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit corporation established in September 2006, at the request of the governments of the United States and Canada in accordance with the terms of the Softwood Lumber Agreement between the two countries and endowed with $200 million. The Endowment is one of three entities designated to share in a one-time infusion of funds to support "meritorious initiatives" in the United States.

The American Forest Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with family forest owners. It was chartered in 1981 "to encourage the long-term sustainability of America's forests, restore wildlife habitat, and develop quality environmental education programs."

The AFF Board of Trustees includes officials of the National Audubon Society, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and the American Bird Conservancy as well as packaging company MeadWestvaco and timber company Weyerhaeuser, as well as keyboardist Chuck Leavell, known for his work with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and The Allman Brothers Band, among others.

The AFF adheres to the sustainability standards of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification PEFC, based in Geneva, Switzerland, a rival of the plaintiff Forest Stewardship Council.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big, blue hose takes water beyond nasty construction site

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of view northeast from W. Center Street where Sweetser crew members are rapidly replacing an old rock-walled storm drain with a new concrete culvert. The big, blue plastic hose is designed to collect water flowing from the Dickson Street area to be pumped across the street to reenter Tanglewood Branch downstream. This reduces the load of mud from the construction site and thus the load of silt flowing toward Beaver Lake.

Clear water pumped from upstream of the construction site enters Tanglewood Branch to thin out the silt-laden yellow water that escaped the site on Monday and Tuesday. The 70- or 80-year-old rock-lined tunnel recently collapsed under the north lane of West Center Street, creating an emergency repair need on a busy street near the University of Arkansas.