by Max Brantley
The midweek line is open. Finishing up:
* EUREKA SPRINGS SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE: The Eureka Springs City Council has approved a resolution endorsing marriage equality, despite the state constitutional prohibition against same-sex marriage. From a news release:
Michael Walsh, a retired journalist who authored the city's precedent-setting 2007 Domestic Partnership Registry - the ﬁrst and still only one in the state - told the council, "True equal marriage rights are a long way off in Arkansas and the South. We know that. But the resolution before you is powerfully symbolic and potentially inﬂuential. Tonight, you can jump-start history."
... Without discussion and with one council member voting "present," a fourmember majority approved the measure.
A bright spot in Arkansas's retrograde political season, if merely symbolic of Eureka's different drummer ethos.
* MITT ROMNEY IS A TOOL: Read for yourself his explanation for his loss. The takers again. Unbelievable. Blacks and youths and women just want free stuff. Like women want "free" birth control pills. No, you idiot. They want coverage of preventive medicine in their health insurance. Just like men want coverage for cholesterol medicine. What a tool.
* TEACHERS TO ENDORSE STEELE: Tracy Steele, in a runoff for North Little Rock mayor with Joe Smith, says the North Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association will endorse him. Steele was a backer of the school tax from the begining and it earned him friends. And he's a backscratcher. In Steele's world as a state legislator, favors with dollar signs were traded. I just noticed that the private Stand Foundation, which pays him a salary and uses a little overage for supposed "leadership" programs, has drawn on government grants for much of its support, as well as contributions he sought from corporations that do business at the legislature. I couldn't run them all down, but I found several from state agencies on the on-line state checkbook. I'm checking to see if Steele filed any notice about potential conflict in his vote on appropriation bills for those agencies, such as Workplace Services, which sent $5,000 to his foundation while he was a state legislator.
* HOSPITAL SALE: 51 percent of the 51-bed Arkansas Surgical Hospital in North Little Rock has been sold to the Medical Facilities Corporation.
* LAWSUIT CLEARED AGAINST WEST MEMPHIS COPS: A U.S. appeals court has said West Memphis cops can be sued in a case over the fatal shooting of two people after a car chase into Tennessee.
* SAFER ROADS FOR BICYCLES: Bicycle Advocacy for Central Arkansas has issued a statement of support for a cyclist injured seriously in a recent wreck with a car on Kavanaugh and used the occasion to call on the city to take steps to make streets safer for bicycle riders. It calls on the city to begin by creating a "sharrow" on Kavanaugh, a stretch popular with bicyclists. It is not a designated bike lane, but pavement marking intended to make it safer and easier for bikes and cars in stretches where the vehicles share traffic lanes. A photo above illustrates. The full news release follows on the jump:
Statement from the Board of Directors of Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas:
“The Board of Directors of Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (http://bicycleadvocacy.com) would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to Diane McConnell and her family as Diane fights to recover from injuries suffered in a crash last Saturday afternoon. Diane has been a zealous bike advocate for years, always eager to share her passion for enjoying life on two wheels with others. We look forward to seeing her out again soon on the River Trail, riding
around her neighborhood and across the state, attending all kinds of events by bike, and demonstrating through her actions to everyone around her why riding a bike is simply the best and most enjoyable way to get around.
We also want to take this time to call on Little Rock’s city leaders to renew their efforts to make Little Rock a safer place for all road users. The intersection where Diane was hit (where Kavanaugh Boulevard, Club Road, and Van Buren Street come together) deserves special attention because of its many points of conflict between people in cars, people on bikes, and people on foot. On a bigger scale, all of Little Rock’s streets and sidewalks should be welcoming
and convenient for someone who chooses to ride a bike, walk, or take public transit. Please join us in our efforts by signing a petition asking Little Rock Public Works and Little Rock Traffic Engineering to start by improving much of the route Diane took on Saturday from downtown to her home in the Heights.
The petition is available online here: http://www.change.org/petitions/little-rock-public-works-department-improve-kavanaugh-markham-and-capitol-ave-by-installing-sharrows
A sharrow is a shared lane marking, it is used with travel lanes shared by bicyclists and other vehicles. Sharrows are intended to:
Assist bicyclists with positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
Assist bicyclists with positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
Alert road users of the location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
A sharrow is not a dedicated bike lane but is a simple and inexpensive reminder painted on the road to motorists that bicyclists are allowed to share this space. For more information on sharrows please visit http://www.bicycleadvocacy.com/sharrows.