Riff Raff

by Michael Tilley -

Riff Raff: Calling the system an SOB

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared Dec. 28, 2008, on The City Wire, now Talk Business & Politics. It continues to be an appropriate note to begin a new year….

by Michael Tilley -

Riff Raff: A Veterans Day remembrance

Editor’s note: This essay about my grandfather, Raymond Evans, was first published November 2002. Raymond Evans died Dec. 6, 2008. There is no expiration on the need to remember Veterans…

by Michael Tilley -

Riff Raff: 3 concerns with Issue 3

As a former chamber of commerce employee, Issue 3 is appealing. As an Arkansan interested in good public policy, the appeal wanes. Issue 3 would amend Arkansas’ Constitution “to encourage…

by Michael Tilley -

Natural gas, budgets and BS

Some in the upper levels of Fort Smith city leadership have said the city has cut expenses as much as possible and the best/only way to fix budget holes is…

by Michael Tilley -

An unexpected cavalry

Downtown Fort Smith was alive. Alive with “special energy.” A new element of culture was brought to the city. The “cool switch” was turned on for Fort Smith. Those are…

by Michael Tilley -

Carter’s charity

It’s not likely I’ll soon praise the presidency of Jimmy Carter, if for no other reason than dad would disown me. He is not a fan of the Georgia peanut…

by Michael Tilley -

Escalating the avoidance

Recent commentary suggesting citizens should avoid escalation during police interactions to avoid negative outcomes serves only to escalate avoidance of what is a broad and complex problem. Reducing violence and…

by Michael Tilley -

Breaking the law

The trust and transparency deficit with Fort Smith municipal government took another hit Friday (July 10) when Mayor Sandy Sanders admitted – maybe unwittingly – that the Board broke state…

by Michael Tilley -

The jobs hole

Recent numbers reflect well on the Fort Smith metro economy, but there remains a four-letter word that makes unpleasant a more in-depth conversation: Jobs. Positive economic headlines have been frequent…

by The City Wire staff -

You should know Jack

Let’s take a moment and talk about the late Jack White and leadership and paperclips. Jack is remembered by the Jack White Legislative Golf Classic held each year by the…

by Michael Tilley -

Trust, transparency and trails

Funding for a 35-mile multi-use trail system in Fort Smith wasn’t rejected because voters don’t like trails. It wasn’t about the trails. Never was. It was about trust. It was…

by Michael Tilley -

A fortunate son

A lot has changed in Mom’s world. The world in 1949, the year of her birth, was a crazy place. Europe was rebuilding its continental economy, the Soviets were rattling…

by Michael Tilley -

The Earth Day thing, revisited

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it.
 – H.L. Mencken Recently toured several of the fine museums in Chicago. The city…

by Michael Tilley -

A lack of confidence

Raising of Fort Smith sewer rates in a process that will more than triple the average bill by 2017 is not a problem. It’s not welcome news, but we’ve been…

by Michael Tilley -

Some you can’t replace

Having watched and interviewed elected officials for more than 30 years, there are only two with which it was easily and immediately evident why they were popular and successful: Bill…

by Michael Tilley -

Passions of the Sen. Cotton

The good Senator Tom Cotton isn’t acting like the farm boy from Yell County who was dominant in his campaign commercials. Those small town, farm values he loaded up in…

by Michael Tilley -

Muddy shovels and needle movers

If or when the post-Great Recession history of Fort Smith is written, a leading candidate as an historic marker in the economic recovery will be the recent and well-attended cold…

by Michael Tilley -

The trail money money trail

The Fort Smith Board of Directors may not have had a full battery of information when approving a ballot question seeking voter approval of a plan to spend more than…

by Michael Tilley -

Shut up and pay up

Let’s consider this mysterious and allegedly absolute cover of confidentiality under which Fort Smith and federal officials discussed the settlement of the city’s Clean Water Act violations – a settlement…

by Michael Tilley -

7 Fort Smith government moves

Solely for the purpose of providing a window into how Fort Smith city staff and the Board of Directors conduct public business, let’s revisit the process to name the water…