Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Editorial about Our Commodore from the 5 July Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Play ball!
Pat Hays throws a steee-rike !

A retired couple we know moved to North Little Rock (Park Hill) a few years back from the south side of the river. And they won’t shut up about the mayor.

It’s Pat Hays this and Pat Hays that. They talk about seeing him out in the ’hood. They talk about the twice-weekly garbage pickupfree!—and the leaf sucker-upper that’ll inhale what you rake to the curb. They talk about the new light posts along JFK and how, if a bulb blows, it’s replaced faster’n you can say Patrick Henry Hays.

In short, it’s the little things. And those folks aren’t alone. Which explains why Pat Hays is now the longest-serving mayor in the history of North Little Rock. He gets the little things done. And, as he proved this week, he can get the big things done, too.

Mayor Hays wanted a new minorleague baseball park in North Little Rock.

He wanted it along the Arkansas River next to the Broadway Bridge.

He wanted the Arkansas Travelers committed to the move.

He wanted the city council to put a one-cent, two-year sales tax on the ballot to pay for the park (and expand the Hays Senior Citizens’ Center).

He wanted it done Monday.

Mayor Hays went 4 for 5. He got it done Tuesday. (Slacker!)

The special election on that sales tax is set for August 9 th. If it passes, Mayor Hays says the Travs will be playing in Stephens Field come opening day 2007.

We tell ya, for those on the slower moving side of the river, looking to the other shore must be like looking into a parallel world of opposites.

Can you imagine Little Rock’s clunky bureaucracy pulling this off? And managing to avoid a deal-breaking impasse between Big Money (read Stephens) and Big Personality (read Bill Valentine)?

Can you imagine Little Rock’s board of directors slapping a sales-tax option on the ballot that fast, without a year’s worth of focus groups, expensive outside consultants, and a fight that splits the city 33 ways from Sunday?

It takes some imagining, doesn’t it? But at least Little Rock got in the game this time, if too late to save the Travs. That was encouraging. And the mayor and city manager were in there swinging in the bottom of the ninth, when Pat Hays took the mound to close it out.

Call it a moral victory for Little Rock. But score it another big W for the can-do mayor.
This story was published Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Copyright © 2005, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved.This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.


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