by Max Brantley
The Hot Springs Taliban strikes again.
Mayor Ruth Carney, the conservative preacher's wife who believes there's no such constitutional doctrine as separation of church and state, continues to work to impose her outlook on the Spa City.
The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record reports that the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division has rejected an application from the Magic Springs amusement park to increase from five to seven its permitted outlets to sell alcoholic beverages. New owners want to add a restaurant/bar and beer garden to existing drink outlets.
As is customary, the application was put out for comment. The police chief, sheriff, prosecuting attorney and City council did not object. No member of the public objected. Carney did. As is customary at the ABC, any objection by a local official produces perfunctory permit denial. Magic Springs will appeal to the board of the ABC, which is typically friendlier to permit applications.
Carney, I should add, didn't pitch this as an issue related to her general objection to alcohol, but as an issue of protecting children. She thinks one permit, in a bar-type setting from which children are totally barred, for the park is enough. She told the S-R:
“I have had people in recovery tell me that it’s very difficult to take their children to Magic Springs because of the free-flowing alcohol. Our DWI courts are full and overflowing. Why should we provide more opportunity for parents to drink and then drive their children home afterwards? I’m sure the kids won’t be driving.”
Presumably the mayor looks askance, too, at the multiple drink outlets at Oaklawn Park, most in open view to the racetrack's underage spectators. And gambling? Don't get her started.