Texarkana Arkansas City Manager Calls Press Conference in Regards to Legislative Audit Results [OPINION]
Texarkana Arkansas City Manager Harold Boldt called a press conference in regards to the results of the legislative audit requested by Mayor Wayne Smith. The report clears Boldt of accusations of personal gain... but there's more!
I was called and asked to attend the press conference, even though I am just an entertainer, and depending on who you ask, not a great entertainer.
I was excited to go, as I had never been invited to a press conference before. When I arrived to the meeting place I was seated close to the Texarkana Gazette reporter. I won't call her by name as she already told me her bosses would be calling mine, so I don't want her to get any more angry with me. (???)
As I started making small talk before the conference began the gazette reporter was complaining that the press conference was "called wrong", and added "that happens when people don't know what they are doing". So I figured right away that she was already mad at Boldt for something. Maybe not, but that's the way I felt.
The conference began and Boldt went through the complaints that Mayor Smith and his supporters had made with the Legislative Authorities. As for results of the investigation... some results were good, and some bad but the thing that Mr. Boldt was most pleased with was that this investigation cleared him of "any personal gain from dealings with the Crossroads project." All of the details will be coming out over the next few days, but it really is as useless as the Attorney General's Opinion that also cleared Harold Boldt of any wrong doing.
There were some issues found lacking, like incentives around water payments. This is something that the legislature will look into because if things must be changed this could call into questions other arrangements in the city with the likes of Cooper Tire, and The Fairgrounds.
Here's where the thing went weird... this reporter for the Gazette, who in my opinion I think has already written her story making the man guilty, seemed upset. She was saying that the report says he's guilty of breaking the law, etc... He asked her to show him one place in the report that said he broke the law, and she couldn't. So I deduce that either she hadn't read the report, or is just working off of what someone else told her. Of course, I am no "Investigative Reporter". Bless this poor woman's heart. She said, "We can take it to court right now", she said "you can be sued for this". I thought ... DAMN! This is a press conference, and now the Texarkana Gazette was going to sue the City Manager for doing what the City Board voted for and approved. Just... damn.
She was red in the face, and you could tell she was angry, or just hates confrontation, but what really spun her off, was my question... I asked the City Manager, "Mr Boldt, do you believe you are being attacked and treated unfairly by the Texarkana Gazette coverage?" To that he responded "Absolutely".
As the conference wrapped up, I told this lady that I apologize if she took my question personally, and she responded with "You need to watch some T.V., and learn something about news and press conferences". I responded with , "I don't really care that much." She has a difficult gig man, and people pulling at her from both sides of every argument that involves news, but I just get the feeling that she has something in this, personal or political, I have no idea, but she seems pretty set on her feelings with every piece she writes. I do feel bad for her, and I sent her a Facebook message apologizing if my question upset her, and she responded with a lot of reasons for her being so stressed out, but I think it only fair that I keep that private between her and me. She is probably a really nice lady with a really tough job.
I do know that most everything that Mayor Smith complained about was voted on and approved by the City Board and/or the A&P Commission. Remember, he not only sits on the City Board and the A&P Commission but he is the Chairperson of each... so everything he doesn't know about, he voted on, and sometimes voted on twice... and not just a majority vote, but unanimously ALL voted for the City Manager to take the actions that he did to jump start economic development in the city and get the Crossroads Project going. Texarkana Arkansas was, and I stress WAS growing at a rate not seen since Cooper Tire came to town, and since this is the third or fourth investigation that has been launched and ultimately proven to clear Harold Boldt. Investment into the City of Texarkana Arkansas is non-existent. I know that Texarkana Arkansas has lost major job providers that were looking to the area, and it is because of this mess.
I have said it a dozen times at least, I HAVE NO SKIN IN THIS GAME. Mayor Smith has always been nice and respectful to me, and so has Mr. Boldt. I do not live in Arkansas and have nothing to gain, or lose no matter what happens with Texarkana Arkansas politics.
Here's the thing... not just here, but all over the country, EVERYBODY is against "The Good Old Boy Network"... unless it is their good old boys running things.
Tell'em I said that.