Little Rock

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola comparing the city to a glass of water half full.
YouTube

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola is calling for city infrastructure improvements, while likely candidates to challenge his reelection bid this fall say changes should have been made long before now. Stodola delivered his annual State of the City Address Wednesday, which covered everything from the fire department’s new International Accreditation Designation, to new bikeways and outdoor sculptures. 

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and potential candidates Frank Scott, Jr. and Warwick Sabin.
Arkansas Times

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by the city of Little Rock that attempted to stop two potential candidates for mayor from using exploratory committees to raise money.

The city argued that Frank Scott, Jr. and Warwick Sabin should follow a city ordinance that prohibits raising campaign money until June. But the ordinance doesn’t mention exploratory committees for all but formally declared candidates like Sabin and Scott.

Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Frank Scott Jr., who has formed an exploratory committee to run for mayor of Little Rock, has filed a counter claim against an effort backed by Mayor Mark Stodola to stop Scott from raising funds. The city has filed suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court to stop Scott and Warwick Sabin from raising money with exploratory committees.

A city ordinance bars campaign fundraising until June 1st. But the Arkansas Ethics Commission has said exploratory committees are allowed. Scott suggests Mayor Stodola is trying to control the election process.

littlerock.gov

Both potential electoral challengers to Mayor Mark Stodola are firing back this week against a city-backed lawsuit to stop them from raising money through exploratory committees. Warwick Sabin moved on Tuesday (here and here) to dismiss the city’s suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Little Rock Mayor Introduces Plan To Curb Violence

Jul 21, 2017
City of Little Rock

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola on Thursday outlined a plan to reduce violence in the city. The “Little Rock for Life” plan (available here) addresses ways to improve the police department, invest in violence prevention programs, expand job opportunities, and revitalize neighborhoods, among other areas.

Little Rock To Give Homeless Feeding Center A Try

Jul 12, 2017
Arkansas Times

After outcry led to the tabling of a proposed Little Rock ordinance that would have restricted feeding large groups of people on public grounds, the city is about to embark on a trial plan for getting food to the homeless community.

On Tuesday, the Little Rock Board of Directors heard from the city's Volunteer Committee on Group Feeding that had spent six weeks studying the issue. The committee recommends relocating most feeding operations to the grounds of the Jericho Way Resource Center in southeast Little Rock, with transportation to and from downtown.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR News / KUAR

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola says he intends to run for reelection in 2018. Stodola’s statement comes after State Rep. Warwick Sabin announced over the weekend that he’s exploring a mayoral run. Stodola has been in office since 2007.

Sabin Announces Intent To Run For Little Rock Mayor

Jul 7, 2017
State Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock)
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Democratic State Rep. Warwick Sabin has announced he’s exploring a run for Little Rock mayor in 2018. The announcement comes as Little Rock faces growing incidents of violent crime, a school district under state control, and a major interstate expansion project that has drawn the derision of many community groups.

In a press release, Sabin says he would promote new energy, create jobs, and improve education. The press release says he will “visit and listen to every corner of the city.”

Low unemployment, affordable housing, strong healthcare access and below-average poverty rates are the positives in the Little Rock Metropolitan area. Some negatives: a high crime rate, fewer professional and technical jobs than other cities, low employment specialization, and slow growth in the ratio of large to small businesses. That’s according to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas Economic Development Institute’s fourth annual Little Rock Metro Report Card, released Thursday.

Little Rock has had several drive-by shootings over the past week but police say recent ones don't seem to be random.

An 18-year-old was shot Thursday and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police spokesman Steve McClanahan told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that it appeared that the shooting was not random. He did not offer details.

Separately, police said an arrest was made in drive-by shooting Tuesday that injured a 7-year-old boy. McClanahan said it appeared the shooter was targeting a group of people - not the child.

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