Wednesday, March 28, 2012

COP 24/7 Going 360

The 24/7 news cycle is busting at seams these days and so goes COP 24/7! My inbox fills quickly each and every day with items from A to Z and then some. Some days I ponder, just how I'm suppose to process all this stuff while trying to maintain some since of understanding of it all. In the meantime, we shall keep on movin and groovin as paradigms shift and news breaks. If we're not talking about right now, then don't worry because its not lost on our radar. With all that said, let's go for it!

The State of the City 2012: Mayor Stodala Speaks to H.E.F.T.E.

Mayor Stodala came forward yesterday with his vision of what has happened or what he envisions for the city of Little Rock. He cited numerous advancements as well as nagging ongoing situations that either have been addressed or will need to be addressed in the future. Ultimately in his address and subsequent city board meeting, Stodala inquired to City Manager Bruce Moore as to the effectiveness of the cities "prevention and intervention" programming especially those designed as "re-entry programs" for parolees. Stodala expressed distinct concerns about the fact that many of the programs may not be addressing the needs of those individuals who are seeking "housing, employment, food, transportation and education." What most amazing to COP 24/7 is the fact that despite over 60 Million plus dollars being expended over the last decade, it appears that there's been little of that "evidence based" outcomes material actually produced. In other words, lots of cash thrown around, plenty of well meaning paper created but no one is sure that any of its working. The Mayor and City Board has decided that a "working retreat" is needed to assess how to spend the next 6 Million dollar "PIT" allotment set aside for such programming. 

Meanwhile the Mayor said he would ask the City Board of Directors to refer to the voters a vote to continue the capital improvements millage that would otherwise expire this year. Because of growth in property taxes, the city will be able to pay off the bonds this year, seven years sooner than the slated 15-year payoff.
The millage, voted in the 2003 bond election, is 3.3 percent; Stodola says if it's renewed at 3 percent, as he hopes the board will request, the bonds would produce $105 million that could be applied toward street, roadway and drainage improvements. The millage has been in existence since 1958, the mayor said.
Yes, the capital portion of the new penny sales tax will produce $72 million over 10 years for roads, but that's a drop in the bucket of the $700 million that would be needed to address all the projects citizens have asked for, Stodola said. As the Mayor waxed on about:

Felony crimes are up this year by a small percentage, but at 18,000 offenses, far below the 29,000 reported in 1992. Police Chief Stuart Thomas is overseeing a collaboration of the Quiet Nights Street Unit with the Detective Division to address violent and property crimes.

Fire Chief Gregory Summers has established Spanish immersion classes for all line personnel and an EMS bicycle life-saving team to be used a major events like Riverfest and the Marathon.

Clinton School focus groups have learned that the homeless are interested in getting jobs at the Port of Little Rock, which, the mayor said, indicates that Confederate Boulevard is an "excellent location" for the "soon-to-be built" homeless shelter in the old Union Rescue Mission building.

— Gallup ranks Little Rock as the 6th Happiest City in America. "Keep smiling," Stodola said.

Even as the good Mayor announced that the city is on the move, this forum was informed that Stodala was among many mayors who have not signed on as a supporter of "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" centered around the marriage equality issue. Even though this is a side issue and doesn't taint the Mayor's effectiveness, this forum will have to look deeper as to the position of Stodala. We'll let you know if we get a response.

Mark Stodola was elected as Mayor for the City of Little Rock, beginning his term in January 2007 and re-elected to a 2nd term beginning in 2011. As Mayor, he has helped prioritize public safety as the City’s first and foremost obligation, resulting in substantial decreases in violent crime and property crime. Since Stodola took office, the City’s homicide rate has fallen more than 50% with the violent crime rate falling 34%.

The Mayor also led an effort to reduce copper thefts with City legislation, which has decreased the sale of stolen scrap to recyclers and spearheaded City legislation to reduce harmful conditions at extended stay motels. The Mayor has partnered with the state Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce to bring over $1 billion in new capital investment to the city and more than 3,691 new jobs during the past four years and led a major bond initiative that has injected $6,872,201 in improvements to the City’s park system. ( credit to / as source material) In case you don't catch the city board meetings either live or otherwise such as LRTV, I suggest that you keep an eye on what's going on with your city Representatives. After all its your money and our city!

Statement by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on LGBT Health Awareness Week 2012

LGBT Health Awareness Week is an important time to highlight the progress our country is making to address the unique health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans, especially through implementation of the health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
Studies have shown that health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identity are due in part to lower rates of health coverage and a lack of cultural competency in the health care system. The Affordable Care Act is already helping millions of Americans gain access to care by creating coverage options for people with pre-existing conditions, and under the law, beginning in 2014, every American will have access to health care through Affordable Insurance Exchanges, new competitive marketplaces where Americans will be able to purchase affordable coverage and have the same choices of insurance that members of Congress will have. These same benefits are or will be available to LGBT Americans across the country.

The Affordable Care Act also strengthens training for health care providers, devotes new resources to improving our primary care workforce, and increases funding for community health centers, where patients are served regardless of how much they can afford to pay. We know that members of the LGBT community may be more likely to be underinsured or uninsured, making the Affordable Care Act all the more important.
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services continues to address the specific health concerns of LGBT Americans, including by working to incorporate data collection on LGBT populations into national health surveys, releasing rules requiring hospitals to allow same-sex partners the ability to visit each other in the hospital, and setting up an internal working group that ensures we are effectively coordinating policies to best address LGBT health needs across every agency in the Department.

Our Department is committed to improving the health of all Americans, including LGBT Americans, and we look forward to continuing this work during LGBT Health Awareness Week and beyond.

For more information on how the Department is working to improve LGBT Health and Well-being, visit
Read the Departments recommendations for future LGBT Health improvements at
Learn how health reform is giving LGBT Americans more control over their health care at

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