LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Candidates for Little Rock Mayor debated over the top issues in the city Monday night, as the November election inches closer.
To start off the night, the debate moderator brought up LITFest controversies. The event was scheduled for last weekend but cancelled days before due to alleged contract violations.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. simply said mistakes were made in how it was handled, and it was a learning moment.
Steve Landers called the city’s contract with LITFest a “sham.”
One topic creating tension among Landers and Scott was the issue of crime in Little Rock.
Landers pointed back to the weekend of violence here in Little Rock and multiple shootings the city saw.
He laid out a plan that he will follow, if elected, that focuses on recruiting more officers, retaining them, and funding better technology and training.
Mayor Scott said he, too, has a plan, but it takes time to see positive change for an issue like this.
“Anyone that tells you they’re going to fix crime in the next day or so they’re flat out lying to you,” he said.
Debate over the topic turned into a few minutes worth of rebuttals between Mayor Scott and Landers.
“You don’t worry about crime because you spent $2.2 million protecting yourself with security,” Landers said to the mayor.
Another hot topic on the stage was recreational marijuana, which will now be on the November ballot for Arkansas voters.
While Landers did not take a stance and said he will accept whatever voters decide, Mayor Scott and the two other candidates, Glenn Schwarz and Greg Henderson showed support of the issue.
“With this amendment, we could do better than what we have right now, but it is a step forward,” Henderson said.
“Some critics say this might become a monopoly of the growers,” Schwarz said. “Better to have a monopoly than to have it illegal.”
Other issues discussed Monday were whether or not candidates supported closing some parks in Little Rock, what they planned to do for the state’s economy, and transparency concerns with the mayor regarding responding to FOIA requests.