Monday, May 27, 2024

AR-Land Comm: Davenport Keeps Talking, Keeps Being Wrong. I Sense A Pattern.

[Author’s note: Shortly after I first posted this, I got an email from commenter “jayzee,” who said,

[R]egardless of the L[and] C[ommissioner] budget thing, I think the questions in the middle part of the post [are] what’s important. It’s easy to sit back and throw stones at good ideas; it’s a lot harder to beat good ideas with better ideas.  So, if he is gonna trash L.J.’s plan, I want to know what Monty’s plan is.  That part kinda gets lost [in the post].

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that “jayzee” was right, so I revised the post to reflect this.]

Monty Davenport is at it again.  He was apparently not persuaded by our previous post — which, I would add, he clearly read, given that it attempted (in adorable yokel fashion) to rebut the arguments I made — and decided not to drop the whole “OMG, L.J.’s plan is ‘spensive!!!” approach.  Instead, Davenport issued another press release today (you can read the full thing here).  It’s typical Davenport “logic” for the most part, but at least two parts require comment.

The AGIO plan calls for a much more comprehensive approach, citing aerial mapping as just one of the components needed to effectively market tax delinquent property. Imaging alone will not get the job done. In fact, according to Shelby Johnson with the AGIO, “aerial imaging doesn’t show individual tax parcels”. Identifying tax parcels is the most essential element the Land Commissioner’s office would use in tax delinquent property transactions. Unfortunately, LJ doesn’t seem to understand this—singling out imaging as the only component of his incomplete plan and calling the other components, like tax-parcel-mapping “peripheral” to the aerial imaging.

Monty Davenport has told us more than once that he understands the demands of the Land Commissioner’s office better than anyone in this race.  So, just for grins, let’s take him at his word that “identifying tax parcels is the most essential element the Land Commissioner’s office would use in tax delinquent property transactions.”  I mean, that sounds reasonable to me.

Assuming that to be true, I have to ask Monty what his solution to best effectuate the necessary identification would be.

I ask because:

  • if your solution is to adopt the AGIO recommendations in their entirety, then YOU are now proposing the same $15 million expenditure that you have tried to castigate Bryant about;
  • if your solution is to adopt a different plan, or to otherwise manage to spend less than $1.3 million to do it, then you are contradicting your very own premise that Bryant is “irresponsible” for proposing an expenditure that would not fund the entire project; and
  • if you are suggesting that we do nothing, thus not spend any money, then you are neglecting what you have just called “the most essential element … in tax delinquent property transactions,” which seems far more irresponsible than a candidate proposing something that would address this issue.

So, which one is it?  The first two answers make you a hypocrite; the last one means that you are willing to ignore a “most essential” part of your job.

LJ did not cite the Geographic Information Office’s (AGIO) research when spouting off about aerial imaging, nor did he accurately portray the details from their report, so it seems that he wants to spend $1.3 million dollars from the Land Commissioner’s budget to conduct his own, inferior aerial mapping; thereby duplicating the efforts of the AGIO who have been researching this issue for over a year and who have developed a much more comprehensive and accurate plan.

Point me to where he said that he wanted to do a separate program of aerial mapping.  Because I don’t see where anyone asked him that question, nor do I see where he specifically said that he would pursue a different plan rather than contribute Land Commissioner funds to the account, created by the same bill that you voted for, that will fund the aerial photography.  To quote the only thing Karl Rove ever said that I actually liked, the absence of proof is not proof of absence.

More to the point, while Bryant may not have mentioned the AGIO report, it was you, Monty, who did not accurately portray the details from that report.  You simply stated that Bryant’s proposed plan would cost $15 million, implying that the Land Commissioner’s Office would have to cover that entire amount over the next five years, despite the fact that the AGIO research clearly explains which costs are to be covered by which agencies/groups.  You also leave out — probably because it would make your argument seem even less compelling — the myriad savings, benefits, and uses that the AGIO research says the program will provide.  If you are going to lean on them for all of the numbers that you think support your argument, you have to also acknowledge the numbers that would support Bryant’s contention that investments in technology and improvements in the office would pay off multi-fold down the road.

But what else can we expect from a 23 year-old who has had his real estate license since January…of this year. Bryant’s on record as saying that he’s been too busy running for office to actually use that license to conduct ANY real estate business.

“I’ve been licensed since 1971 and have completed thousands of real estate transactions. I didn’t get my real estate license just to run for public office.”, Daveport said, “I’ve served Arkansas for three terms as a State Representative and I ALWAYS found time to tend to my real estate business and farm in Marion County”.

You’ve been licensed since 1969 according to real estate commission records.  Either way, though, you’d been licensed for over a decade when you “receiv[ed] a reprimand in 1982 which said [that you] ‘failed to see that all financial obligations and commitments regarding real estate were in writing and expressed the exact agreements of the parties.'” Oh, but you were “doing the right thing by saving a man’s property from foreclosure,” right? Despite the fact that the rules of your chosen profession said that what you were doing was not the right thing?

I guess you must think that the rules don’t apply to you.  Between that attitude, your inability to cite a single achievement or explain your proposed solution to the above problem, your admitted prior oversight of $3000+ in lobbyist gifts, and the fact that you have no qualms about spending as much taxpayer money as you like when it comes to your own expenses, what could possibly go wrong if you were put in charge of an important state-wide office?

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