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Stodola warns of 'threats' in annual State of the City address

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published March 17, 2014 at 12:52 p.m. Updated March 17, 2014 at 1:29 p.m.


Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola gives his State of the City address Monday.

Stodola warns of 'threats' in annual address

Little Rock Mayor on Monday gave his seventh annual State of the City address, warning of a series of threats including an increase in violent, black-on-black crime and a change in bond tax policy that could cost the city millions. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola ticked off a list of the city's accomplishments in the past year, but also warned of threats including an "alarming" increase in violent black-on-black crime and a proposed change in bond tax policy that he said could prove "catastrophic."

Stodola spoke Monday at the Centre at University Park in his seventh State of the City address.

Stodola told several dozen city officials and guests in attendance that the "disproportionate and increasing existence of violence and deaths among young men and boys of color" is a "real threat." He noted that of the 11 homicides so far in 2014, all of the victims have been black and all of the suspects arrested have been black men.

Stodola called on the city to form a task force and to analyze all city programs, determining which work and which fall short. And he called on community members to step up and help too.

"A lot must change to stop the shooting, to stop the violence," Stodola said. "So it is time to marshal every resource — federal, state and local, private, faith-based and not-for-profit — to turn the tide."

Stodola also called on citizens to voice their opposition to tax proposals being floated in Congress that would place a 28 percent cap on or eliminate altogether the existing tax exemption on interest that is earned from tax-exempt municipal bonds.

"The impact ... would be absolutely catastrophic," Stodola said, noting that between 2011 and 2013 Little Rock residents would have paid nearly $14 million more if the cap had been in place or $40 million more if the exemption were gone entirely. "Where would this money come from? Yes, you the taxpayer, or the streets, hospitals, renovations and schools would never be built."

Stodola also called on Little Rock residents to support an act that would allow the city to collect sales tax on Internet purchases, which he said is only fair to "brick-and-mortar" stores.

He also heralded the "booming" investment in Little Rock's Main Street, said he has joined an initiative to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and wants to complete new portions of the Arkansas River Trail in the Riverdale area by the end of the year.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 17, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.

Try JOBS, and getting hold of drug trafficking.

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Populist says... March 17, 2014 at 5:16 p.m.

Stopping the drugs, taking children out of unfit homes, cracking down on truancy, and increasing recreational and education programs for at risk youth would all benefit these children and the community. As mayor, Stodola needs to make sure that the city improves its programs for youth. Every school should host city sponsored recreational and educational programs in the summer.

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WowReally says... March 17, 2014 at 8:47 p.m.

I'm glad I am not the only one that has noticed that a vast majority of crimes are done by people of color. I mean, it is ridiculous NOT to see it!!! I mean, if you can't get them to calm down and control themselves, maybe we need to start doing more drastic things to them. Oh, wait, we can't. They will call it a hate crime or start having Al Sharpton come in calling us racists or something like that. I still say, you act like a stereotype, you get called a stereotype!
As far as the Internet taxes on purchases being unfair to brick-and-mortar stores??? What a load of CRAP!!! I buy things off the Internet because I get better customer service, better prices, and all around better EVERYTHING from Amazon(dot)com!!!! I absolutely HATE going into local stores with all the idiots that are staffing most of them!! You want to make things "fair" to the local stores??? Try getting BETTER SERVICE SO PEOPLE WANT TO SHOP IN THEM!!!!!! I know this is being unfair to the city by taking tax money out of its pockets, but oh well, such is life. Make things better locally, I won't have to go on the Internet for it.

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Packman says... March 18, 2014 at 10:40 a.m.

Stodala's absolutely full of hot air because he's a liberal democrat who supports failed liberal social policies that are the root cause of all the problems he whines about. More specifically, to great extent these problems can be traced to unwed moms. Data doesn't lie. The overwhelming majority of crime is committed by members of the baby momma culture; the overwhelming majority of people living in sustained poverty are members of the baby momma culture; the overwhelming number of high school dropouts are members of the baby momma culture. This ain't rocket science. No amount of money spent on recreation or education will even scratch the surface at fixing the problem. Get rid of pols like Stodala and Pryor and Pelosi and Obama and elect people like Asa Hutchinson, Tom Cotton, and Rand Paul. The problem has been clearly identified, as well as the solution.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 18, 2014 at 10:55 a.m.

Asa Hutchinson is a RINO.

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