I promised yesterday a link to former mayoral candidate Baker Kurrus’ op-ed in the Democrat-Gazette explaining why he was supporting Steve Landers for mayor over Mayor Frank Scott Jr., who defeated Kurrus in a runoff for the seat in 2018.

He was out of town and I got his response today.

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Here’s his original version of the article.

It doesn’t reflect some edits made at the Democrat-Gazette before publication. It also includes footnotes that didn’t appear in the D-G. He added:

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Here is one substantive update. When I wrote this, the employment numbers for August 2022, were not published. …. They show that 92,666 people were employed in Little Rock in August of 2022. The total number of people employed on Jan. 1, 2019 was 92,734. Little Rock now has 68 fewer people employed than it did on January 1, 2019. There may be a lot of discussion about why that is the case. The fact is that the mayor has not added 8,000 jobs in Little Rock, as he claims.

I never wanted more police officers, but he sure hasn’t added 100 there either. It would have helped the job number. The big adds were Amazon, but nationwide Amazon has vastly overbuilt. Not sure if that is the big drop for August.

Unemployment in LR has risen from 3.0% in January of 2019 to 3.9%.

I think there’s more chatter in the politics-dedicated corners of social media about this race than there is at large. But I’ve been struck by the angry response on Twitter and Facebook to Kurrus’ article. It’s just sour grapes, say some. Others say Frank Scott has done a wonderful job despite embedded resistance from the white business establishment and systemic racism. Bitterness lingers in some quarters over Kurrus pushing a popular progressive candidate, Warwick Sabin, out of the 2018 runoff. Others are simply horrified at the notion of Landers as mayor.

I get all that. But Kurrus is qualified, if not moreso than some of his critics given his study of city government over a period of years, to offer opinions.  By all means judge them as coming from someone defeated by Scott. But facts matter. I’m not ready to endorse Steve Landers, but I agree with Kurrus that Scott’s record offers ground for criticism, none worse than his penchant for secrecy.

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