It’s chump change in the sweep of official skulduggery, but the saga of expropriation of public right of way for private use in North Little Rock continues to interest me, in part because it illustrates the power of blogs.
To recap: Argenta News, a scrappy NLR blog, discovered weeks ago that street parking had been expropriated for the private use of the ritzy restaurant in the Arkansas Travelers ballpark. Scott Miller raised so much heck — and we echoed it here — that the DOG, or Democrat-Gazette leapt into the story. But they did so in a pitiably laughable way, with a front-page article that suggested efforts to block off street parking for paid spaces or private use of Valentine’s was the work of some rogue independent operator, perhaps a homeless man. The reporter had to ignore professional signs, traffic cones and the use of the spaces by Valentine’s valet parkers to reach the conclusion that this was some homeless man or creative teen at work, but never mind.
Miller pressed on, as did his spinoff Dogtown Wire. And Boss Hays, da mayor of Dogtown, has had enough of the blogs’ carping. He’s now proposed a city resolution for the next Council meeting turning control of public right of way over to the management of a private entity. A resolution requires one reading. There will be no public hearing.
The strong mayor is going to get his way and Valentine’s is going to get its private parking at public expense. No need to kid yourself any longer about the homeless man theory.
UPDATE: On Dogtown Wire, Eric Francis takes the mayor’s giveaway of public parking to its logical (that is to say, supremely illogical) conclusion.