Lau enters Fort Smith Director race

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 180 views 

There will be a race for Fort Smith’s Ward 1 Director position even if City Director Steve Tyler does not run for re-election.

Fort Smith Realtor Keith Lau announced Thursday (Mar. 15) he will seek the seat now held by Tyler. Tyler has said he is not sure if he will seek re-election.

Former City Director Ken Pevehouse, 48, also has announced for the Ward 1 position. Pevehouse was elected to the Board in 1998 and was defeated by Dr. Cole Goodman in the 2002 election. Pevehouse, who has been employed by Arkansas Best Corp. subsidiary Data-Tronics more than 24 years, serves on the Board of Westark Area Council Boy Scouts of America and most recently was a member of the city’s Homelessness Task Force.

Lau said he believes the Board should be similar to boards in the business world in which they provide “big-picture” guidance “and don’t get down into the daily business.” He said the Board has micromanaged the city’s sanitation policy with the recent revision of service in the Park Hill East area, and has micromanaged the development of policies related to animal control.

He also said the Board needs to do a better job of analyzing budgets and new project proposals. While Lau said he supports the idea of having an aquatics park at Ben Geren Regional Park, he was “surprised and a little concerned” that the Fort Smith Board did not present more recent expense and income figures for the aquatics park plan.

“Every day, in my business, I have to make decisions that are profitable … by really looking at the details of a deal. I don’t think this board does that, and that (aquatics park) was, I believe, an example of approving something that could be a boondoggle down the road,” Lau said.

Elections will be held for Fort Smith’s four wards in 2012. Directors serve four-year terms. The city filing period is May 16 through June 5. If needed, a municipal primary will be held Aug. 14.

Fort Smith Realtor Keith Lau has announced his candidacy for the Fort Smith City Board of Directors, Ward 1.

Keith Lau is the executive broker and owner of Weichert King Realty Group. He has spent more than 25 years in the real-estate industry as a broker, homebuilder and mortgage banker. Lau holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, where he majored in banking and real estate.

“Fort Smith is at a critical time. We need leaders who have experience running for-profit businesses. The most important issues that our community and region face are those that promote our city and its businesses to grow and prosper,” said Lau. “Fort Smith has all of the ingredients to be successful in the years to come; however, we need the leadership to move forward and focus on issues that are important to our city’s future.”

Lau has served on the Fort Smith Planning Commission for six years (2005 – 2011) and as president of the Fort Smith Board of Realtors (2005), the Greater Fort Smith Association of Homebuilders (2008), the River Valley Landlords Association (2006 – 2007) and River Valley Habitat for Humanity (2003).  Lau is also a current member of the 2012 Leadership Fort Smith class.

He and his wife, Maria, have two daughters and are members of Immaculate Conception Church.