A funny thing happened on the way to the recent Republican primary election for state representative. One well-known candidate was solidly backed and publicly endorsed by elected Maumelle city officials, developers and other political insiders. The other candidate was a lesser-known political outsider who ran a grassroots campaign on resident issues and urged voters to go against the Maumelle political "insiders" that backed his opponent. The outsider won.
Such evidence indicates that Maumelle city officials have lost the standing and trust with the residents/voters of this community that they thought they enjoyed. It appears possible that the visible support actually cost their favored candidate the election.
It really should not come as a surprise that our elected City Council members have lost favor with Maumelle voters. Since the 2010 elections, council members have cuddled up with local and outside developers and have essentially taken positions counter to residents on virtually every issue that has come along in the past year and a half.
Residents have clamored for accountability and democratic control of the Maumelle water and sewer function, but the City Council voted unanimously to approve a large rate increase that effectively threw millions more of resident dollars at Maumelle Water Management without the slightest criticism of MWM commissioners and their failed business model that has racked up a $14 million dollar debt.
Residents don’t want any new high-density housing, such as apartments, especially near Maumelle Boulevard bottlenecks, but the Maumelle City Council stood quietly by while North Little Rock approved thousands of new apartment units. Then to join with North Little Rock, our council went out of its way, over resident protests, to rezone Maumelle land in the Counts Massie bottleneck to allow for even more new apartments and further flood Maumelle Boulevard with traffic.
According to a recent study, residents say that Boulevard traffic is the number-one issue that they want addressed, but other than touting a possible third entrance years from now, there is no visible sign that the planning function or City Council has any interest in trying to mitigate the problem. We’ve asked, but the city is unable to produce a study or other hard evidence that a third entrance would even help alleviate Boulevard flow. Essentially, they are approving controversial, high-density development with no apparent consideration for Maumelle’s unique physical location and its limited traffic capacity.
All in all, the City Council has been at odds with residents and voters on issues including traffic, apartments, the water department, the rezoning of Boulevard land for a strip center, fireworks and even Lake Willastein water siphoning. The city even has slipped on ethics issues with press reports of aldermen meeting outside a public forum and an elected official using city equipment for political purposes.
In summary, our current City Council has demonstrated that it won’t tackle resident issues. To correct this, residents need to decisively replace all four aldermen who are up for re-election this November. We need candidates who will vow to address these resident issues, and then we need to go out and vote for them on Nov. 6. Wouldn’t it be really nice, for a change, to have a City Council that will stand up for the individual resident?
MAUMELLE RESIDENTS COALITION
Steve Mosley 16 Riverwood Place
Kristy Rodriguez 111 Cabanel Drive
Danny Rodriguez 111 Cabanel Drive
Barbara Soden 103 Orleans Drive
Liz Adams 15 Windy Ridge Ct.
Judy Gregory 41 Oak Forest Place
Jim Edgar 113 Orleans Drive
Natalie Edger 113 Orleans Drive
Elaine Cook 4 Ophelia Ct.
Sheryl Anderson 112 Orleans Drive
J. Stephen Keeton 5 Sharondale Ct.
Tony Lature 36 Yazoo Ct.
Debbie Lature 36 Yazoo Ct.
Jon Luer 28 Club Manor Drive
Jeanie Truesdell 168 Aurial Circle
Robert Floyd 116 Sologne Forest
David Hicks 315 Corondelet Lane, NLR
Jerry Berthiaume 332 Country Club Parkway
Johnny Angell 140 Auriel Circle
Stacey Weaver 140 Auriel Crircle
Jan Rogers 169 Auriel Circle
Karen Pounders 210 Maranes
Chris Pounders 210 Maranes
Richard Behnke 19 Toulouse Circle
Steve Boyle 138 Auriel Circle
Editor’s note: All but Hicks are Maumelle residents.