by Max Brantley
It's open. Final words:
* TOE SUCK CASE IN CONWAY: Sentencing today for the Conway man charged for asking women if he could suck their toes. He'd been in trouble for this before. KATV reports he received a suspended sentence on condition of receiving psychiatric help and staying out of PetSmart and T.J. Maxx, the stores where women were approached.
* 7-YEAR-OLD'S SHOOTING NOT ACCIDENTAL: KARK reports that a 7-year-old fatally shot in a western Little Rock apartment Monday was not shot accidentally by his 9-year-old sister. Under law, she cannot be charged in the death, as a juvenile or otherwise.
* LR CITY HALL GETS SMALL: I've mentioned several times that Little Rock City Hall's petty and undying efforts to block an expanded veterans clinic on Main Street has included abuse of zoning ordinances to penalize developers of the vacant building proposed for the clinic for spending too much money on the building. (Crazy, yes?) This large investment, under the city's stretched theory, triggers other city land use controls by which the city can further obstruct the VA use. The evidence follows. Read City Attorney Tom Carpenter's letter. And here's the response from the lawyer for the building owner.
* DEAL STRUCK ON JUDGESHIPS: Senate Leader Harry Reid has struck a deal with Republicans in which the minority party will agree to move President Obama's judicial confirmations through at a rate of two per week, allowing at least 14 to be confirmed from a bigger logjam by May 7. The news here is that Kristine Baker of Little Rock is one of the district judge nominees expected to get confirmation under the deal.
* PLEA COPPED IN FOI CASE: Newspapers in NWA are reporting that Marilyn Heifner, executive director of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission, has pleaded no contest to an FOI violation — specifically not turning over a document she had pertaining to leasing of a downtown building. It's a misdemeanor. The plea deal, if approved by the judge, reportedly would give her a suspended sentence and $100 fine. She'd also have a chance to clear her record with good behavior. I'd like to think this would set a good example for others, but some public officials are pigheaded about complying with the law.
* UNION/PULASKI SCHOOL DISTRICT STALEMATED: Channel 4 reports on another day without a resolution of talks between the Pulaski County School District and its union on contract adjustments to meet the ailing district's financial problems. I don't see how the union wins this battle over the long haul. Question is whether they'll face the reality that their existing contract is viewed as essentially meaningless by state trustees and try to preserve their status for the day — if it ever comes — when the district is on firm footing and independently run again. Sounds like union wants to give up class days to save money, administrators want to shed teacher pay extras and keep all the calendar.