The Captain Queeg of Arkansas Journalism
Max Brantley explains how he, with geometric precision no less, caught Secretary of State Mark Martin stealing the strawberries.
Max Brantley at the Arktimes continues his obsession on whether or not Secretary of State Mark Martin's office did the ropes course on the recent staff retreat to the Soderquist Center. Martin's office, doubtless annoyed they have to keep answering questions about stuff like this while Gov. Beebe and AG McDaniel violate the state constitution to impose a secretive redistricting process on the state while they are tied down with bogus attacks over non-issues like this one, keeps denying it.
At any rate, Brantley raves that since the waiver the group signed to attend the training had a reference to the ropes course in it, he has somehow "proved" that Martin's office is "lying" about the non-issue of whether or not they went on the ropes. The Soderquist center simply used their standard waiver for the group, which includes a reference to the ropes course even if that is not one of the activities used for a given group.
These constant attacks over nit-picking stuff serve to keep Martin and his team tied down so that he can't devote the needed energy to exposing the unconstitutional redistricting antics of Beebe and McDaniel. The political crime of the decade in this state is being ignored while Queeg, er Brantley, writes multiple stories on whether or not Martin's team attended a ropes course as part of their training!
Martin, who stayed in Little Rock while key staff went to the training, spoke to me about the whole issue of hiring the Soderquist center to do the event. Put yourself in his shoes. You have a staff of well over 100 people, 20 or so of whom you let go, but the rest are retained hires of the opposition party. You go into your office, and three burned-out paper shredders are sitting there, still full of fresh paper shreds. You look at the 100 retained hires in those cubicles. In many cases you have no idea what their duties are, and the paperwork documenting it likely sits in the refuse bins of those shredders.
How do you proceed? Don't you think a little team-building exercise between the staff you are bringing in and key members of the staff already present is a good idea? Especially if some parts of the exercise are to get folks to help define their own responsibilities and duties after the old lists of duties vanished? Especially if the money was already budgeted for training by the prior administration (i.e. it is not new spending)?
Martin has taken a lot of unnecessary heat, even from people who should know better, on this thing. What should he be doing instead with any energy he has left after fending off these attacks? How about blowing the lid on what is really going on in redistricting? That's a bigger deal than some missing strawberries.