$15,000 — Oh Really?

Last week, the Freekly’s cover illustration of a sledgehammer in close proximity to one of Fayetteville’s new parking pay stations near Dickson Street drew the attention of city government. No actual pay stations were harmed in the photo shoot, though $2 was fed in the machines in the process of getting pics.
The image netted a phone message Thursday from Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff, implying TFW was inciting a call for vandalism against the park-o-trons. An informal poll among area 5-year-olds came back unanimously with the response “Are you kidding me?”
Late Friday, the city whipped out a carefully timed news release screeching about $15,000 in damages to the e-meters, warning of felony arrests and threatening lot closures. Television stations and the Fayetteville Flyer — erroneously referred to as “news sources” — ran with the official line without bothering to verify the damage or even ask any questions. Fact gathering? Not on a Friday night, baby!
So, reporters at the Northwest Arkansas Times did some actual work. They asked a question.
The answer: $451.
Yeah, that’s the actual amount of damage prior to the news release that Fayetteville police were able to verify. Police put the original $15,000 estimate on the parking department; the parking department in turn blamed the number on police.
Vandalism stinks — no matter the amount. But city government over-reacting by sending out erroneous information in what had to be a calculated move to make a point? Well, that doesn’t just stink. That’s a betrayal of the public trust.


  • The vandals — Fail. Cut it out or I’m telling your moms.
  • The “news sources” — big Fail. Hey, TV, stick with what you do best — regurgitating the stories that ran in that day’s newspaper.
  • The city — Epic Fail. You really embarrassed yourselves on that one — and that’s coming from the people who made the mistake of printing a Dan Savage column.

Everybody Wins! — Except Bentonville

In the quest to lure the Walton Arts Center eetteville, the Marinoni family is putting up 108 acres for a new site with 10 of those acres — a $4.5 million value — for free.

Result: Win-Win-Win, if it works. The WAC gets a great new site at a discounted price, Fayetteville improves on an important part of its arts and entertainment draw and the Marinonis rightfully make a few bucks.

The Naked Truth

Jimmy Don Engleman is being accused of attempting to blackmail a married teacher by threatening to send nude pictures of her to her husband and workplace. Even though police recorded a pretty damning phone conversation, Jimmy Don is claiming he didn’t do no nuthin’ wrong. He says the $2,000 he asked her for was repayment, and he’d been seeing the woman for a couple of months. Jimmy Don cited a former roommate as an alibi but wouldn’t give police the roommate’s contact information.

Jimmy Don — Fail. Dude, in addition to lacking class, you have to come up with a better cover story than that.
The teacher — Fail and Win! For Fail, this is an object lesson for everyone out there: Never let naked pictures of yourself out of your control. But Win! for having the guts to put the kibosh on this dirtbag instead of just paying up.

Categories: Commentary