It's About Us...
COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY ENFORCEMENT
Are you aware that Rogers Police Department does not outfit their officers with body-worn cameras? The news came as a disappointment to Aaron, whose first order of business is to fix the problem, but his plan doesn't stop there. We want to see a pilot program set up in Rogers which pairs social workers with a Law Enforcement partner to help prevent risky behaviors by both officers and their community contacts. The program should be rooted in the concept of "Community Policing" -- ever seen Andy Griffith? Yes, that is exactly what we mean, and it works. Community Policing strategies are proven effective according to research released by several organizations including the FBI, but it isn't just about encouraging peaceful interactions. The introduction of body-worn cameras alone could help prevent officer-initiated violence. Cooperative Community Enforcement is about preventing negative future behaviors in the close contacts and family members of legitimate offenders who may be affected socioeconomically by the things happening around them. It's about reducing recidivism, or the rate at which people are re-arrested for same or similar offenses, by getting them into programs that rehabilitate bad behavior patterns without relying on incarceration. It's about reducing officer stress to keep the good guys good, and to keep the good guys going. We understand that this is a national conversation. There are many existing programs whose structure could help define our own -- and there are pitfalls of prejudice in social work the same as in policing -- but, with proper training and thoughtful policymaking, we believe the results will speak for themselves. Check out these graphs from the Washington LEAD program:
ROGERS: READY FOR BUSINESS
We're gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you don't often get around to reading City Council meeting minutes, huh? That's OK! You've got a life, and we're betting it's pretty busy right about now. The fact is, we don't think City Council wants you to read their minutes because, if you did, you might notice that many city contracts are awarded to out-of-town businesses after the waiver of a bidding process. Now, that might not sound like a big deal at first, but those expenses add up to lost tax revenue for the city...all while you're being asked to buy bonds for more improvements! Aaron is OK with you spending your time on you, so he's done the research and brought you some barebones facts to get interested in.
Rogers City Council waived bidding for repairs to municipal property, awarding the contracts to out-of-town businesses, on January 28, February 11, March 24, April 14, and June 23, 2020.
This has resulted in the loss of at least $979,536 to the internal Rogers economy in just the first half of 2020.
Production, Material Moving, Construction, and Extraction jobs accounted for just over 25% of the Rogers economy in 2017.
So we're asking: Why doesn't Rogers invest in Rogers?
It's time to rethink the way our city goes about selecting qualified contractors and provide local business owners the training and resources they need to participate successfully in a healthy bidding system -- not just for the continued growth of Rogers, but for its future business prospects across the state!
LEARNING THROUGH RECREATION
Did you know that Rogers enjoys a below-average High School graduation rate? How about the above-average poverty rate?
That's right! Over 18% of Rogers' working-age adults haven't got so much as a GED (compared to 15% for the nation) and 12.4% live below the federal poverty line. The national poverty rate, which is still high, rings in at just 11.8%. So what are we doing about it? Well, Aaron's got an idea. Why don't we use some of the over 1.5 million dollars in average single-source grant income for Rogers Parks & Recreation "community improvements" to build up the community (and not just its monuments) by starting low-or-no cost childhood sports and tutoring programs and continued-education classes for parents?
We believe that such programs and classes being offered via area recreational facilities is the best and surest way to attract participants and aim to do so in a spirit of positivity, uplifting children and families in a fun and engaging atmosphere because there is more to Rogers than meets the eye...and Aaron Clarke intends to prove it.
INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE ADVANCEMENT
OK, so get this: 38% of Rogers homes lack access to broadband internet. The city is growing, and county landowners want to grow with it! County residents are asking for their property to be annexed all the time, yet we haven't been able to even secure this basic service for many of our existing friends and neighbors. But Aaron's got an eagle eye on how to do it, and the legislation is already out there. There's this bill in Congress, US HR-2147, with massive bipartisan support that we could use to get ISP's excited about expanding within our community! It grants tax incentives to utility providers -- including internet companies -- who want to expand into rural and semi-rural communities, and it could not be more important that Rogers take advantage of this opportunity to prevent losing tax revenue to nearby Bentonville due to virtual learning requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than that, we want our people to be safe as houses, and increasing access to remote-work opportunities is 100% the right decision for Rogers and its residents!
Our City, Our Home
Rogers' Density Concept Plan sounds great on paper, but is this tool being used as designed for the benefit of Rogers residents? Aaron isn't convinced, and you shouldn't be either. Rezoning enabled by the citation of Density Concept Plans is happening all the time whether residents agree with the Council's assessments or not. Current plans for increasing population density through apartment and dormitory-style housing developments completely disregard the economic danger to Arkansas citizens presented by a total lack of modern renters rights in the state, and Covid-19 has only compounded that danger. It isn't just the renters we're worried about, though! Homeownership in Rogers has been on a slow but steady decline for several years now. Thoughtless rezoning of commercial parcels by the current Council members despite community outcry for infrastructure repairs before new neighbors only threatens to make things worse. We've had enough!