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Opinion – Daddy Warbucks

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At year’s end: What is known, and unknown

As an attempt to “settle up” or assess what’s gone on
in business after a hectic year; it is often a best
strategy to divide the future year into two broad
categories: What is known. And what is unknown.
So here is a little bit to ponder as the holiday gifts
have been opened, the egg nog is still cold and the
New Year, 2008, awaits us all.

I do know that in 2008 Fayetteville will have an “active”
mayor’s race – dominating all other races on the
ballot – maybe even the race for the White House. What
I don’t know is who will win after a runoff for mayor.
I also know that Mayor Dan won’t “stay silent” in the
race. Oh, he will promise to do so, but you can count
on, at some point, he’ll be vocal about his successor.
What I don’t know is, if his voice will really matter.

I also know that the “big ugly hole” in Fayetteville’s
downtown will be slow to fill. I don’t know if the
hotel/condo/business hub will be on schedule.

I know that the Chamber of Commerce will say it has
begun its search for a successor to Bill Ramsey as
its CEO. What I don’t know is if the Chamber can
choose someone outside its ranks or membership.

I do know that in 2008, sales tax revenue will again
be down in the city of Fayetteville. What I don’t know
is if city leaders will realize it is a downturn in
the economy – not growth in Benton County – that is
causing the sag in local revenue.

I do know that Tyson stock will make a short rebound.
I don’t know if Richard Bond and company can help it
break $20 a share.

I know that at sometime this coming year, gasoline
will approach $3.25 a gallon. I don’t know that
Congress can do a thing about it.

I know the glut in commercial rental space will not be
eased much in 2008. I don’t know if any more blank
space will be built on future growth – until the
economy builds back up.

I know that some issues to raise taxes will make their
way to the ballot box. I don’t know any of them that
will pass – no matter how solid the cause.

I know that at least a trio of restaurants in the area
will scale back or close because of declining revenue. I
don’t know if there will be many start-ups hoping
that Razorback football weekends can help make them
go.

I do know that Dillard’s management will be again the
subject of a takeover bid. I don’t know what the
Little Rock based Stephens group is doing buying so
much stock these days.

I know that the city is building far too many costly
speed tables on city streets. I don’t know if
the next mayor will have the guts to veto these
expensive solutions and tell the Police Department to
start writing speeding tickets.

I know that after the debacle of Houston Nutt’s
“golden handcuffs” and obvious mistruths told to us
all over the hiring of a consultant, that new
chancellor leadership is needed at the UA. I don’t
know if we will see it in 2008.

I know that new Hog Coach Bobby Paterino might
struggle going 4-4 in SEC play in 2008. I don’t know
how well he will do with what’s been left in the Nutt
cupboard at the UA. I know that he really needs to beat Ole Miss in 2008.
I don’t know if he will get that done or not.

I know that the NY Stock exchange will set a new
record in volume and on the index this summer. I don’t
know if it will also favor the small investor as it
has the last couple of years.

I know that with the exodus of the Malco 6 and the aging of other businesses on North College Avenue, that
portion of the city is looking rather blighted. I don’t know if the troupe of mayoral candidates even care.

I know the debate in Fayetteville over one or two high
schools will rage on in 2008. I don’t know if common
sense of a pair of quality high schools in our town
will ever prevail or if we will be stuck on athletic
success forever.

I know that Gov. Mike Beebe will hit some rough
patches on planning, growth and direction for the
state in 2008. I don’t know if he can continue to work
his magic with a young, inexperienced legislature.

I know that Wal-Mart’s stock, despite all the cuts,
new directions and changes will remain flat. I don’t
know why people think the giant retailer is excepted
to split ever so often these days.

I know that the Fed will cut the discount rate several
times this coming year. I don’t know that with the election, the housing market and the lackluster
economy – if it will really matter.

I know that the county’s new plan for a courts complex
will not be popular with area lawyers. I don’t know
if won’t be wiser for the non-attorneys to decide
this issue for the sake of taxpayer dollars.

I know that more and more proposed condo projects in
Fayetteville will be put on the back burner. I don’t
know if all the lawsuits being filed over
failed projects will continue in ‘08.

I know that any list like this will be criticized, examined and discounted by those who don’t like what is
written here. I don’t know why, I just know it will happen.

Happy New Year all. May business flourish in this uncertain economy of ours.

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