Tuesday, March 17, 2009




March 17, 2009



Mrs. Sandra Ramsey, City Clerk


P O Box 248, 226 Perry Street

Helena-West Helena, AR 72342

Re:       Veto of Removal of Don R. Etherly from Advertising and Promotion Commission

Dear Madam Clerk:

I hereby pen my reasons for the notice of veto that I submitted to you earlier regarding Mr. Don R. Etherly. For brevity, I adopt as additional reasons for this veto, the background and reasons stated in my letter to you regarding Mr. Joe St. Columbia.  

Attorney Don Etherly has served our community well. He moved here from Pine Bluff, Arkansas and began a law practice. He is a businessman; an entrepreneur. Don has a very good background of working with the children of our community. He coaches little league baseball. He sponsors little league teams. Don serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Phillips County. Mr. Etherly brings a diverse and traveled background to the commission. He also is a no-nonsense kind a fellow who believes in long term planning.

On the commission, Don was instrumental in establishing an application process such that request can be legitimate critiqued on merit rather than emotion. Don was instrumental in getting the commission to establish a budget and plan for its future.

Our parks and community based projects will suffer dastardly without Don on the commission. Our parks which are in need of a lot work, in spite of all of the work done by this administration and a core group of volunteers. Our community appreciates and relishes Don’s voice on things that matter.

Don is a serious man; he is not messy. You will not find Don Etherly embroiled in protracted fights or discussions about anything. Don believes in doing things decently and in order. I have had many people stop me in Wal*Mart, Fred’s, Food Giant, the post office and a variety of places to talk to me about this situation. I have been approached by many people including my church members who believe that a small group of people have come under unwarranted attack. Each and all of these voters believe that Don Etherly has been a positive force in our community and should be allowed to continue to serve on the A & P Commission.

As additional support for my veto, I am quoting Mrs. Cathy Cunningham’s support of Don Etherly:

I have had some calls today from other A & P Commission members who are concerned that Don Etherly may be replaced on the A & P Commission. You may hear from other members as well, but I for one, want to comment about this. I also realize that you can make any decision you wish, but sometimes information from those directly involved may help.


This committee has evolved a great deal since the times when it was just the Helena A & P Commission with a budget of about $40,000/year - at that time it really didn't matter what we did we couldn't make a BIG difference. The Commission now has a larger budget, and with that, comes more difficult choices; especially if we are indeed going to help H/WH become the Tourist Destination that it can, while also helping to develop local recreational options for our children and families.


Don has done a great job of handing difficult situations with a calm and well thought-out approach. Every member of our present board respects and admires Don for his handling of these situations.  He is one of our hardest working members and brings a totally different and valuable perspective to these meetings. Helena-West Helena has the possibility of developing some major areas for heritage tourism and Don has been instrumental in helping with these projects.


If it is true that you are thinking of replacing Don I hope you will reconsider. Don't just take my thoughts about this , check with other A & P Commission members - John Crow, Pat Roberson and Kim Brown are copied on this e-mail.


Each member of the council was provided with these words prior to the vote to remove Mr. Etherly from the commission. There seems to be ample support for the placement of Bruce Hudson on the A & P Commission; that is commendable. It should be done. However, Mr. Hudson should simply replace his predecessor in the now open slot. It just makes good sense.

For those and other unstated reasons, Mr. Don Etherly should not be removed from the Advertising and Promotion Commission of the City of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas and I therefore tender these, my, reasons for vetoing his removal therefrom.



James F. Valley, Mayor

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