By Nic Horton | The Arkansas Project
LITTLE ROCK — I read with some interest Max Brantley’s recent article about the spat between state Rep. Mark Biviano, R-District 50, and Searcy Alderman Mary Ann Arnett.
Brantley reproduced several private emails from Biviano, who appears to have made the mistake of suggesting to Arnett that she should stop saying mean things about him. Predictably, this strategy did not work.
A more effective strategy might involve saying mean things about Arnett. As a general matter, such behavior is perhaps best avoided, but I am willing to make an exception in the case of Arnett.
I’m hardly a neutral party in this dispute. I voted for Biviano and against Arnett when I ran against her in 2010. During that campaign, she falsely accused me of not paying taxes and lying about where I went to church, and she even claimed I was a bad student.
How well I remember my days as a candidate! Arnett kept a busy schedule putting posts on her Facebook campaign page about her funeral, and bragging about how many neighborhoods she walked while regularly parking in the handicapped parking space at City Hall. Working so hard for the people of Searcy, even campaigning for local tax increases on top of her regular duties, this driven public servant has been forced to catch up on sleep by napping through City Council meetings!
Many aldermen just want to make city government work better. But that’s not enough for Arnett. Her agenda is to stamp out the extraordinary dangers of unregulated yard sales. Well, not all yard sales — just the ones run by dark-skinned people. Don’t believe me? Well, I can reproduce email just as well as the next blogger. Here’s her request to Searcy code enforcement personnel, dated June 2, 2009:
“Next door to 501 Live Oak Drive. Hispanic Garage Sale on Sunday morning after the sale. How many families can live in one house? Make sure they understand the neighbors did not call me! The neighbors are afraid to say anything. I just drive by every now and then to see how many cars and campers are there. I think there is a house across the street that is for sale. Don’t think this mess will help any. I’m not sure Mr. Bond puts enough fear in them. Maybe Kyle could go with him.”
Searcy actually passed a yard sale ordinance the very next month, but it is unclear whether Arnett found it satisfactory. Unlike her private email, the ordinance did not specifically identify Hispanic garage sales as the source of the problem.
Ironically, the “Kyle” mentioned in the email is in fact Kyle Osborne, who is challenging Biviano. Apparently Arnett thought it was desirable for Osborne, Searcy’s police chief, to create fear in her constituents. After all, isn’t creating fear and increasing the footprint of government the whole point of public service?
People of Searcy, sleep peacefully tonight knowing that Arnett may be out on patrol at this very moment.
And rest assured that when Arnett’s not busy sniping at state legislators via email, she’s keeping our city safe from the menace of Hispanic commerce and unregulated house guests.