Category Archives: City Politics

The Founders’ Constitutional Republic has been murdered…Most foul.

ROLL BACK THE YEARS TO CIRCA DEC. 5, 1788 December 11, 2017

Imagine if you will Colonial Williamsburg, VA, about 8 or 9 in the evening. A group of men sitting around a large table in a tavern enjoying their pipes & ale, while seriously discussing how they might prevail against the attacks on the recently signed Constitution (September 17, 1787). One of the principals of the attacks was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who in debate was brilliant & eloquent. Two of his numerous political positions were that a President should be appointed for life and Governors would be determined by the federal government. Other issues which were heatedly debated were the “General Welfare” clause (abused at the outset & grossly abused now) coupled to his belief the Constitution conveyed “Implied Powers”. Other of Hamilton’s visions were not unlike that of England’s George III’s government that American patriots had fought against for 8 years to secede from the choke hold he had on the commoners and they ultimately won and produced a free & independent American Republic.

Sitting around the table were a number of the colonies’ leading patriots, i.e. George, Patrick, Lighthorse Harry, Benjamin, Thomas, Samuel, James and others. They were discussing what parameters they had to prevent Hamilton’s visions they knew would ultimately lead to a tyrannical government. So sad, that is where we are today…Hamilton prevailed.

Suddenly, a patriot burst through the tavern door and informed those at the table that the Williamsburg Town Hall meeting had concluded in a discussion that would level a tax on Williamsburg’s businesses. Does this ring familiar?

Did the Patriots march down to the Town Hall with a cadre of Blue Coats and George commanding, to protest, arrest the pro-tax traitors, or hang ‘em high. None of the above occurred. Remember: this war was fought for the “right of self-determination and to be secure in their persons, homes, businesses”, i.e. the rights of man to be free from oppressive, corrupt government.

The gentlemen seated around the table simply asked the question without emotion; was there support for a tax?

You see, in 1788 Americans were truly free and independent and indelible facts that guaranteed citizens would be extremely watchful in protecting their newly fought for independence. Citizens of today long ago lost their vigilance on our evil governments.

One would have expected the courageous patriots sitting around the table the word TAX would have elicited an emotional outburst. Their reaction was stoic.

Simply put, the colonists lived under a new form of government, the Constitution nationally & locally TOWN HALL MEETINGS FOR DISCUSSION, and concluded at a later date for TOWN HALL MEETINGS FOR DECISION—the reason the gentlemen were not irate…freedom & transparency were at work with citizens deeply involved. Far different from today where we have allowed ourselves to be politically extricated from the process while being forced to pay all the bills for government follies.

Town Hall Meetings assured there would be no force used, theft, lies, and intimidations…all the methods used by today’s politicians. Corruption abounds!

The Town Hall concept was the capstone for transparency & honor. Tragically this concept was swept away many years ago by unscrupulous politicians & bureaucrats and actually accelerated with the Lincoln Presidency. Note the State of the Union today—too large in area, too many unassimilated cultures, too populated and again government corruption reigns supreme; to ever have a chance to return to a true Republican form of government. President Trump’s mightiest efforts will never clear the swamp. Americans unfortunately identify with political parties as opposed to truth, honor & courage.

Such is the case today. Observe Fort Smith, Arkansas’ City Government wallowing in a plethora of misadventures under-girded with malfeasance and misfeasance. The city is presently engaging in processes giving Fort Smith control over more millions taken by force & deception. Most of the money will end up in the General Fund where there is no citizen oversight or accountability. The city government & their enablers tightly control the tenor of business while citizens pay the tariff and “we the people” can only be described as their serfs.

I am incensed that we the people have allowed all governments in the U.S. to lay claim to everything we own, from mind to property—everything our Founders fought against, e.g. the two new taxes and bond issue the city government proposes violates our person.

An excerpt from one of Patrick Henry’s Speeches, “THE GOVERNMENT CAN TAX YOU AT WILL AND THEN PUNISH YOU IF YOU REFUSE TO PAY, (with the barrel of a gun) YOU HAVE LOST YOUR LIBERTY. THEY MAY TAKE INTO THEIR OWN HANDS THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN, THEY MAY ASSUME THE PROVISION OF THE POOR (GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE GROSSLY ABUSED)” All the edicts in the quote unfortunately came true. It is precisely what the Fort Smith, AR government did Dec. 5, 2017 with their proposing to use force (an unconstitutional act) to collect what they term “a $100 fee”. Fees, licenses, permits, etc. are rawboned taxes. What the city fathers are doing is the exact opposite of what the Founding Fathers fought for and created—freedom from political pressures, abuses, & criminalities. Remember, in the early days of our Republic the people were the Decision Makers, not self-serving, abusive politicians.

Citizens, are you aware that the city of Fort Smith is the highest taxed city in the state and clamoring for more and that Arkansas, by a huge margin, is the highest taxed state with regard to our bordering states.

Joe McCutchen

Will the eternal, costly Sewer problem ever be flushed?

Congratulations to the Fort Smith City Government and pop the corks! December 8, 2017

Fort Smith, AR prepares to correct the massive deficiencies in the FS sewer system.

Circa 1983 the city received the first of three consent decrees mandated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

In 1985 the citizens voted for a dedicated 1 cent sewer/street tax which has generated in the neighborhood of $700 MILLION! Where did the money go? Another case of a lack of transparency and accountability.

The citizens have inherited a double tax of $500 MILLION to be raised in 12 years for at least the 3rd federal mandate for work that should have been completed as early as 1995.

Most of the present Board have been a part in this financial crime, e.g. Director Hutchings served a partial term a number of years ago and probably watched the evolution and perhaps where the money was spent and now running for Mayor. Director Settle is another long term occupant.

The onus is upon every City Mayor, Administrator and Board since 1985….something is terribly wrong with this picture.
Citizens have voted for the 1 cent tax overwhelmingly since its inception…as comedian Ron White had an affinity for saying to his audiences…”You can’t fix stupid”!

Now our collection of city “public servants” have embarked on a $38 MILLION Bond deal which Director Lau states that there are no new taxes involved in the bond deal, along with the arrogant attack on private businesses for what Directors opine is a (unconstitutional) $100 Fee (tax) to generate $500,000 yearly along with another deal which raises another $500,000. By their own admission the money will be dropped into a politicians’ Honey Hole which is called the “General Fund” and initially was declared some of the money was for the police department for the hiring of 13 new officers and other nebulous projects, without justification or transparency. The “General Fund” is the source for politicians dirty tricks.

How much of this money has been spent on the downtown insiders’ for-profit endeavors, e.g. the nascent Marshal’s Museum, etc. etc.?

Real public servants are hard to come by and that certainly is not the description holding the reins of the Fort Smith city government.

Joe McCutchen

P.S. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Progressive, runs the same type of scheme—working to keep Arkansas’ Obamacare on track. Since Hutchinson took office he has expanded his version by 340,000 new welfare recipients, now called “Arkansas Works”, which is a bald-faced lie since most are able-bodied unmarried unemployed males.

Government always wants more!

Times Record 12.01.17…City proposes new business fees/$100 per business.

The arrogance of City Manager Carl Geffken proposing another tax increase, this one on city businesses—far too much political & economic control.

In view of the Ft. Smith’s city government ongoing incompetence, ineptness and failures the pomposity & disrespect for local taxpayers is unfathomable, Softball Complexes, Trails, “Propelling Downtown Forward”, 113 page document compiled by Gateway Planning in Dallas, accompanied by in all likelihood millions for the 501c3 Establishment…specifically for what? Then there is the more recent $38 MILLION Bond deal—government’s way of raising taxes without citizen’s knowledge, claiming all the while “it is not a tax increase”.

It may be a new thought to Geffken and the City Board, because they “Need” something that does not mean taxpayers should lay down and cough up the dough—improvise. Got it? Improvise.

Those nebulous figures thrown out for police needs by Geffken are anything but specific, as usual—meaning they can spend any way they desire.

In the manner of the police purview is the $790,000 surplus residing in the coffers of the FSPD and demanding more while an alleged deficiency in police & fire retirement funds. How about Sgts & officers going to FBI training schools in Conroe, Tx using city transportation, staying in a Day’s Inn 4 nights at a cost of $23,000 for 7 officers & Sgts?

The point: the majority of the Board, maybe by design, appears blandly unaware of who is really running the government and seems to be sorely lacking in business experience and knowledge.

The Board should temporarily ask Geffken to step aside and demand he implement a government that is efficient, transparent and certainly less fat.

The only way to utilize taxpayer dollars efficiently is Zero Based Budgetry, which means every department Head does not begin with a budget with built-in increases year after year. It means every single expense has to be anticipated and accounted for and that each succeeding year begins with reducing the outgo. Some departments could actually increase revenue.

Joe McCutchen

P.S. In Director Don Hutchings political ad yesterday he said “I am trying my hardest to keep fees (taxes) from going up in this community”. So Director Hutchings this is your big chance to back up your statement.

Thoughts on Preacher to run for Mayor

Times Record, November 29, 2017…”City Director to run for Mayor”

Preacher/Director Don Hutchings will run for Mayor. November 30, 2017

It would be remiss if it were not pointed out that he has been a City Director in two different City Administrations. The point being he has been a collaborator in one of Fort Smith’s biggest scandals and apt to get bigger.

The scandal of course includes Senator Jake Files, the City Government, banker Sicard and HUD czar Richard Griffin, as well as others. Curiously it has been said the latter two loaned Senator Files huge amounts of money and maybe other valuables in return for what? Quid pro quo? Could it be Files’ distribution of over $1 million in GIF funds to the nascent Marshal’s Museum? Could it be the softball fields and the Marshal’s Museum jump started Files construction career and subsequently his downfall. Remember the Marshal’s Museum was billed as a “private endeavor”.

The all important question: Why were Republican Sen. Jake Files and Democrat Lee Webb (conflicts of interest) picked to develop the River Valley Sports Complex??? This question is tantamount to uncovering the dirt on the River Valley Sports Complex for which Hutchings was an enabler.

In the interview Hutching’s, in a rambling, worn-out stable of bromides stated “I am for less government”. Hutchings has been an instrument in making Fort Smith the highest taxed city in the state. His next offering was “I am trying my hardest to keep fees from going up in this community”. How about voting no to any tax increase, e.g. he just voted for a $38 million bond issue to bribe a plastic company to come to Fort Smith. If you understand the mechanisms involved in bonds it becomes readily obvious that bonds raise taxes. And you might direct this statement to Dir. Keith Lau who says it will not increase taxes.

Another Hutchings throw away statement: “As Mayor I FEEL like you can serve more people”. How?

He rambles on with nonsensical utterings and then he crosses the line that should anger any American and incur their wrath. Hutchings says, “HE AGREES THAT CHURCH & STATE SHOULD BE SEPARATE”. He is employed by the church and at the same an employee of government. The textbook definition of an oxymoron. That statement is an outright trashing of the U.S. Constitution and so doing with arrogance, untruthfulness, and absolutely a lack of character.

Then there is the matter of government “faith-based” funding to churches, consisting of cash payments to those churches accepting and the control of their speech and activities. Where does Rev. Hutchings’ church stand on this crucial point?

Finally, could it be that Hutchings is interested in getting his hands on the nonsensical $250,000 yearly mayoral discretionary fund? Politics and religion are lucrative businesses.

Joe McCutchen

Increasing Parking Meter Fees Make No Sense

According to BUSINESSTALK POLITICS: October, 2017 October 29, 2017

City Administrator Carl Geffken wants to replace the old meters & increase downtown parking meter fees by 100%. The upgrades would come from the existing $350,000 city parking meter fund for the approximately $270,000 cost for upgraded meters and an automated parking deck gate, the increased rates would supposedly repay the city for their costs.

However, as it stands now the city loses about $35,000 per year on parking!

So, let’s see—the city loses $35,000 per year at the present rates—does the City Administrator actually believe the same number of people who pay parking meter fees now will stay the same or go up with a 100% rate increase?

The fact is that the present parking meters probably deter many shoppers who park free at the mall or all over town and not risk an overtime pay penalty—only logical. Comparing our town to larger, more economically robust cities is utterly ridiculous…we simply can’t afford to “keep up with the Joneses”.

Throw in the important factor that a majority of the downtown business owners prefer free parking—so what possible sense does this new plan make?

Sounds like there is no quid pro quo in free parking, but lots of possibilities in replacements with expensive, high tech superior devices that can even be controlled by your Smart Phone—what an incentive to draw customers!

But wait, the Propelling Downtown group’s expensive Gateway Consulting (there’s that “consulting”word again, as always in these expensive proposals) “warns that getting rid of paid parking makes it more difficult to bring them back again for future revenue”! Honestly, that is what the article said. More interesting “logic”.

Which begs the question—if the city already loses money why continue at all, and doesn’t this new proposal stand to lose twice as much or more—who benefits?

That question always needs to be applied, especially to government spending taxpayer’s money. The taxpayers will generally be the losers as usual and the businesses downtown could likely suffer and some may even be forced to relocate or close.

The 501c3’s & 4’s, the “Consulting” firms, and the instigators appear to always be the financial winners in their various projects/schemes—but who are “we the people” taxpayers to question the wisdom and logic of our “leaders”?—Hints: The River Valley Sports Complex fiasco, the Marshal’s Museum expenses, the Convention Center failures, decades old dysfunctional sewers/waste water (hundreds of millions flushed over the years from a 1984 dedicated 1% sales tax & hundreds of millions to go due to uncompleted EPA mandates), poor streets, and distorted graffiti (painted by “Ghetto Artists” on historic buildings) which mystify tourists who come looking for history of the old West & outrage/embarrassment for those of good taste & historical knowledge…a regal historic opportunity lost due to the “Emperor’s New Clothes”, often grotesque syndrome, in my opinion.

So the question now remains, will the City Board & Mayor cooperate in this newest scheme, just as they did in much of the aforementioned disasters? We already know where the City Administrator stands, sadly.

~Barbara McCutchen

Questions re Files/Pitsch/Hutchinson/Ft. Smith

Is it possible—what if? October 21, 2017

This hypothetical narrative, accompanied by some facts, begins with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and could end with the Governor.
The Governor acts like a Progressive with both feet in the DC & Arkansas swamps, an important fact in the narrative.

“Talk Business” broke the story May 16, 2017 in Little Rock that Sen. Jake Files (R) was allegedly the subject of an FBI criminal investigation, absent Lee Webb. Curious! The next day (Hutchinson’s Screw) Rep. Mat Pitsch (R) boldly announced to the media, “He will enjoy serving as the next new Republican State Senator”. Was the fix in? Did Pitsch anticipate Files had fallen on his sword?

Question: At that juncture why did Hutchinson not demand Files resignation? 10/21/17 the Governor still mum re: the Senator’s undergoing a number of investigations, along with his refusal to resign his State Senate seat, all in view of the fact the FBI has/had him under investigation. It is said that during one of the investigatory FBI summons Files stated he was cooperating, yet in a civil deposition he pled the 5th Amendment.

Another question & purely conjuncture: What action against Files, if any, would be taken by & if Hutchinson called an emergency session of the Arkansas legislature? Files remains a sitting member in the current Arkansas Senate and is Chair of the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee. If he remains in the current legislative body would this act not be fraught with constitutional & legal problems?

Now the matter of Files legal difficulties moved up the Arkansas River to Fort Smith pertaining to the now defunct River Valley Softball Complex that Files & partner Lee Webb (D) a county employee that were awarded a contract to build the Complex, another curiosity and potentially corrupt act by the Fort Smith City Government. Webb, as stated is also an active government functionary and appears to be a phantom in the current criminal investigation.

The nexus between the Fort Smith city government and Files & Webb’s contractual agreement has been going on well before at least March, 2014. The Fort Smith Board has refused to divulge why these two elected politicians (huge conflicts of interest & maybe more) were awarded the potentially lucrative contract—no transparency. Was the contract between the two parties (Fort Smith & Files/Webb) a pay-off, a quid pro quo deal, incompetence, or some other arcane involvements? It is known Files & Webb spent well over $2 million taxpayer dollars, plus “in kind” services (e.g. National Guard, Gary Grimes—dirt work) replete with no City oversight—NONE during the 5 year period. Why? After the project was identified as a failure in 2017, $27,000 or more made its way from the AIDC to WAPDD to the City Board and ultimately into the hands of Senator Files. What prompted the Board to continue funding an abject failure?

Could it be there is a working arrangement in Fort Smith comprised of the City Government, Special Interests, coupled to Files & Webb? Have all & more entities abused a plethora of city, state and federal government taxpayer funds, and leverages available to government and their cronies?

For example: The nascent Marshal’s Museum, billed as a private endeavor—not so! How many millions did Senator Files pump into Sam Sicard’s & Richard Griffin’s museum? Perhaps from the GIF, accompanied by grants, New Market Tax Credits, and perhaps a plethora of more taxpayer funded operations.

It appears the powers behind the Museum operation are First National Bank CEO Sam Sicard, Richard Griffin (long time czar of the constitutionally corrupt HUD & owner of a construction company) & a host of lesser lights.

An FOIA directed to the officers & attorney for the museum resulted in the redaction of names of seed donors & other pertinent data in this ultimately government venture.

It appears that both Sicard & Griffin have had substantial financial dealings with Files—to what end & why? Particularly with Files laundry list of failed corporate ventures. All that is left in the Files political quiver is the politically potent Chair of the previously mentioned State Revenue & Tax Committee; that allegedly cemented their former quid pro quo relations? If & when the Museum becomes functional who claims ownership & maintains it and if it fails, then who picks up the tab?

The city & county have contributed thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind resources to the 50,000 sq. ft. Museum behemoth, coupled to federally produced commemorative medallions, paid for by middleclass taxpayers. It looks like these ongoing downtown projects are enhancing the value of the downtown property owners and would not Sicard’s & Griffin’s economic & political pyramid do the same at taxpayer expense?
President Trump has a pool of candidates to select from for nominations for Federal Prosecutors, i.e. the Western District of Arkansas. In the selection of Federal Prosecutors, Senator Boozman, Congressman Womack & Gov. Hutchinson will probably make the choice. Federal Prosecutors seem to be chosen due to their past political deeds and/or political connections, not legal prowess.

In this narrative the Federal Prosecutor selected may be tied to a caveat. The caveat: the individual appointed will not initiate prosecutorial measures against Sen. Files because of what he knows. With that said, could Gov. Hutchinson be the primary force that creates the caveat to be inserted into the appointment? As insurance and for what?

At this point Files behavior has been one of arrogance and smugness. One would think with the legal baggage he is carrying he would present the opposite.

Maybe Files is holding the winning hand after all—that is a headful of dirty linen that may have been carried out by Hutchinson & his minions and of course including the Fort Smith City Government, and some of the insiders who may have leaned on Files for political/financial favors.

If the legal winds are blowing toward prosecuting Files, he may have to play his alleged hold card which is, if the principals in this matter threaten to prosecute Files, will he blow the whistle and reveal all the possible dirty tricks employed by the aforementioned that conceivably could bring down the Hutchinson regime as well as involvement with the FS city government– and Files would skate? Hypothetically the key is their choice of a Federal Prosecutor, accepting the caveat.

This hypothetical narrative, in the main, actually has become all too common in federal, state & local government.

Wake up Americans: Incumbency is a toxic weed—fatal.

Joe McCutchen

Beleaguered taxpayer questions

More beleaguered taxpayer questions October 6, 2017

Announced Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 that 7 Police Officers were taking a 4 ½ day trip allegedly for training, costing $23,000, which breaks down to $3,204 for each.

The T.R. is a paralyzed institution when it comes to asking pertinent questions, i.e. in this case, where does the training take place and the name of the organization designated to do the training. At that price I don’t have to tell you that this trip is not to Little Rock. Would the agency designated to do the training be an international organization to which the PD belongs and uses their protocols?

At the same time the Police Department announced it possessed a $790,000 surplus while maintaining Police & Firemen retirement funds are in the arrears, in all probability a lie, but if not?

Two curious purchases, 3 new fully loaded Harleys & gasmasks. How are they to be used? This brings memories of the Bass Brothers.

Also announced today regarding the water park…giant water slides coming, and the justification given, “some people just prefer those types of slides”. How many is “some”? Approximate cost $1.6 million, and I emphasize, that is approximate. Maintenance, insurance, more government hiring’s, etc. etc. and Judge Hudson states “it’s all in the name of profitability”.

As Fort Smithians sleep politicians & bureaucrats are stripping our economic hides to bare bones. Don’t count on the Times Record ever performing their professional duties by investigative reporting.

Incumbency is a toxic weed—fatal.

Joe McCutchen

FOIA Transparency Out/Secret Cronyism In?

From today’s Times Record –“The Board asked to reject FOI deal” September 13, 2017

Some quotes from 2 members of the City Board who refuse to accept that the FOIA is a legal document.

“In the email (re the lawsuit & Civil Service Commission) Good also said he questioned if some have undermined the Police Chief’s authority.” My question, how and what authority has been undermined?

Good also said “Give him (Clark) the opportunity to perform his sworn duties”. Question: What specific duty has Chief Clark been denied? Former Chiefs have apparently worked very well with existing Civil Service Commission protocols.

“Giving him authority in policy.” (Good) It appears that Director Good wants Chief Clark to run the PD without Director oversight, public knowledge, and citizen approval by the Official Commission. Forget Administrator Geffken, apparently a tool of Downtown Establishment. Citizens should be apprised of the influence Mayor Sandy Sanders exercises over both Boards.

With a deal to permit Clark to have full reign over the FSPD will prove the Board’s incompetence as shown by the many recent failures and will demonstrate they have fouled their mess-kits again.

More later re the likely hiring of Police Chief’s crony Harold Rochon, fresh out of Detroit.

All is quiet on the home front, absent transparency, e.g. the T.R. & the Fort Smith government.

Director’s Lau & Lorenz made similar quotes interrelated with Director Good’s.

Fort Smithians will rue the day that the FS Board of Directors hired Nathaniel Clark.

Regard this quote from former Captain Copeland from 5 News:

“Around 25 officers at the Fort Smith Department have retired since the beginning of this year, which is about the same time the new police chief, Nathaniel Clark, took office.

Former Fort Smith Police Captain Jarrard Copeland said there are a lot of changes happening at the department right now. According to Copeland, some of them needed to happen, but he doesn’t understand a lot of them. One change includes hiring from the outside of the department for high ranking positions, instead of promoting officers who have worked in Fort Smith for years. “Over half of his command staff have left the department,” said Copeland. “I heard him [Clark] make the comment this is normal anytime you have a new chief, which is not true. I’ve worked under six different chiefs of police and don’t know of a single person that has left because of a new chief until now.”

Joe McCutchen

LTE…”The Unexpected”, a Requiem for our culture/heritage/rationality

Submitted to TR July 26, 2017………Published 7/30/17

As an observer with a knowledge of the arts, the downtown project called “The Unexpected” (murals on historic buildings) raises many questions. Who pays? Who critiques the planned art projects and are any standards applied? What is called “art” is a very subjective subject.

Various viewpoints enter like the “Emperor’s New Clothes” faction, where whatever the “experts” say is ”art” must be believed. There is a malevolent faction which purposefully projects ugliness, misery, distortion of reality and dares the viewer to challenge it. Then, there is a faction which seeks to portray life in a rational, benevolent way, even to inspire. All artists are portraying their own sense of life, how they feel about humankind and the world in which we live. With that in mind, observe what the Fort Smith canvas is portraying. Some projects lack reality or benevolence, some are cartoonish, some are just plain ugly, only a few give a sense of intelligibility.

If any vetting is done it is poorly accomplished. This town has a unique history which could have been portrayed in the tracing of that history in a dignified, educational way. From Indians & bandits, to the Judge & Marshal’s, to the gentility of Southern etiquette & accomplishment. From wagons, horses, blacksmiths, farmers, saloons, ladies, gentlemen and fine structures, like the marble train station and elegant hotels/theaters, to the crowded Avenue lined with fine stores, to throngs of people traversing it. Opportunities to educate, stimulate & inspire, lost forever.

What rational minds see now is a growing array of graffiti. I don’t relish the idea of this becoming known as “Graffiti City”, no matter how “well-meaning” the instigators might be. The “Unexpected” is not so unexpected in this time of political correctness and destruction of decorum, etiquette, esthetics, honor, & rugged individualism.

~Barbara McCutchen

A nostalgic walk becomes surreal–beware politicrats & insiders.

A nostalgic walk down the Avenue—evolving into an embarrassing spectacle July 19, 2017

“Never give a sucker an even break”—W.C. Fields, an expression practiced by the Fort Smith City Government and downtown insiders.

In the year 1985, citizens voted on and passed a 1% street/sewer tax which remains in force to this day. By 2010 the tax had generated $650 million, $200 million more than the recent and 3rd Federal Consent Decree issued to the city of Fort Smith by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

There has been no stated amount of revenue generated by the tax in the last 7 years, but it is fair to say in the ensuing 32 years the total amount could approximate $1 Billion that have fallen into city coffers by the 1% street/sewer tax. And “we the people” are the recipients of bad streets & a failed sewer system.

The most recent EPA mandate of $480 million, plus a $300,000 fine and 12 years to complete occurred in Dec. 2014, totaling 39 years of apparent malfeasance & misfeasance, absent sewer and ground water complete overhauls.

City Manager Carl Geffken now proposing to add another 12 years to the recent Federal Consent Decree, making a grand total of 51 years (1/2 century) of Fort Smith city government refusing to address the failed sewer & ground water deficiencies, while $1 Billion is unaccounted for they recklessly involve citizens’ money in meaningless, curious & unnecessary pursuits without citizens’ knowledge or permission, resulting in a change of the image of the city, likely for private personal gains including the recycling debacle ($52,000 monthly for 3 years) replete with no transparency, the Files/Webb Softball $2 million Complex fiasco (Manager Geffken wants “to move on”…but where is the accountability?), the bribe by Delta Dental to fluoridate Lake Ft. Smith against citizen wishes, citizens’ money poured into the nascent Marshal’s Museum, $700,000 yearly into the failed Convention Center, the Fire/Police Pension Fund shortage, alleged city business conducted surreptitiously by email, ad infinitum.

The Downtown private business owners have no legal, constitutional or moral authority to change the image of our city for private gain without a detailed public explanation and approval of their future intentions, e.g. “Propelling Downtown Forward”, no doubt detailed in their 113 page dossier that the downtown insiders plan to unleash on city citizens which was prepared by Dallas Gateway Planning. From the number of pages it is easy to see that the scope and magnitude of the downtown self-servers is huge.

Citizen insouciance, fear, and ignorance have and are allowing City Managers, Mayors & official Boards to exhibit and practice hubris and self-service while bathing in perfidy, making the citizens monkeys in the city government circus. If citizens arise and become implacable perhaps one will at least have a rail.

Currently City Manager Geffken and selected sidekicks are soon to be off to DC for another 12 year extension pitch attached to the recent 12 year EPA mandate and a little prime time…who pays? And remember, this translates into 51 years before any functional waste water/ground water safe disposal.

Where did the money go & who got it? Cut out the monkey business, downsize city government, stay out of downtown politics (boxcar graffiti, new age Urban Renewal, & Propelling Ft. Smith), and pay our legitimate bills.

At this point in time the present display of boxcar graffiti does in no way depict our city’s true long & varied history in any manner. Perhaps real history in the artists’ next presentation will be embraced.

Joe McCutchen