I read with some interest Max Brantley’s recent article about the spat between state representative Mark Biviano and Searcy Alderman Mary Ann Arnett. Brantley reproduced several private emails from Rep. 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 Alderman Arnett. As a general matter, such behavior is perhaps best avoided, but with respect to Alderman Arnett I am willing to make an exception. I’m hardly a neutral party in this dispute – I voted for Rep. Biviano, and I voted against Alderman 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 that I was a ‘bad student.’
How well I remember my days as a candidate! Alderman Arnett kept a busy schedule putting eyebrow-raising 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! (VIDEO)
Many aldermen just want to make city government work better. But that’s not enough for Alderman Mary Ann Arnett. Her agenda: 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.”
The city of Searcy actually passed a yard sale ordinance the very next month, but it is unclear whether Alderman 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 currently challenging Rep. Biviano. Apparently Alderman 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 Alderman Arnett may be out on patrol at this very moment. And rest assured that when Alderman 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.