by Max Brantley
It's open for your comments: Finishing up:
* CHARTER SCHOOLS: Stephens Media is following the state Board of Education meeting on six charter school applications. It could continue through Friday. So far, the Board has turned down an application for a new school in Pine Bluff, where the local school district argued the applicant didn't propose anything not already being offered.
* FOOTBALL SCANDAL: The former president of Penn State University has been indicted for perjury and other charges in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. When this started, nobody dreamed that football could take a back seat to the justice system. Students even rioted at the deposing of Joe Paterno. Who knew? Justice won this round, though not the years of abuse that went before.
* POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS: Arkansas Community Organizations, the grassroots lobby, issued political endorsements today. The list includes its nod to non-incumbents in the at-large Little Rock city board races. Comment from the ACO news release:
We encourage Little Rock voters to vote for those candidates who:
Will withhold taxpayer dollars from the Technology Park until the Authority agrees to locate the park in a non-residential neighborhood;
Will work to distribute street funds in an equitable way based on need;
Will work for First Source hiring, a residency requirement for city employees and initiatives to ensure that people living in neighborhoods with high unemployment and poverty have a chance to benefit from the jobs created by city tax dollars; and
Will work for fair representation in city government by eliminating the at-large positions on the Little Rock City Board.
Among others, the group backed Lillie McMullen for Quorum Court JP District 5 and said it opposed Issue 2, the constitutional amendment to set up development districts financed by sales tax money.
Issue 2 — Please vote AGAINST this terrible amendment. It would expand the power of local government to set up economic development districts that can raid the taxes we pay in order to support private development projects. A local government would have the power to declare a neighborhood “blighted”, and homeowners would be faced with displacement through eminent domain
* CHUMMY: Note that the grassroots ACO group didn't endorse incumbment Director Joan Adocck, who's made a lot of noise about neighborhood interest but whose long willingness to throw in with the moneyed crowd that finances her campaigns always makes her suspect. Take today: She sent out a lovely note praising Ellis Houston, owner of the Yellow Cab Co., for offering free rides to the polls Nov. 6. The umbrella company through which Houston manages cab service in Little Rock under a city franchise gave $1,000 to Adcock's campaign. Wonder if any of his drivers could lay their hands on Adcock campaign material should any rider need election day guidance?
* THE WAR ON WOMEN: Heard about the Republican congressional candidate in Virginia who opposes abortion just because of "the rape thing"? Good time for a link to a graphic presentation of the war on women through attacks on abortion, no matter how dire the circumstance; birth control and, by attacking agencies liked Planned Parenthood, basic women's health care. This war to tear down women's existing rights is the official platform of the Arkansas Republican Party and almost the sole driving force in some races, such as that of Jason Rapert, who infamously pushed a bill that would have forced vaginal probes of women in early stages of pregnancy if they sought an abortion.
* LITTLE ROCK AIRPORT HUBBUB: Parts of the airport were cleared this afternoon and routine passenger handling was disrupted on account of a suspicious package. It turned out to be nothing, Channel 4 reports.
* NEW HARDING PRESIDENT: Dr. Bruce McLarty, 55, currently Harding University's vice president for spiritual life, was announced today as the successor to retiring Harding President David B. Burks, who'll retire in June.