OUR CITY: Some want to feed the homeless, such as Robert Johnston, shown here some years ago with flag in hand and supporters with jugs of orange juice. City government is not so receptive to the idea if it's to be anywhere the public might encounter the effort, such as on a parking lot near Riverfront Park.
The run of headlines out of City Hall here in Little Rock is short of inspiring.
* More reporting today
underscores how desperately the city wants the compassionate to stop feeding homeless people
on a parking lot beneath the thundering traffic of the Broadway Bridge. (that grim patch of concrete is a park, in the legally acute view of City Attorney Tom Carpenter.) And they aren't too happy about an outreach to the homeless and hungry at a West Markham Street storefront either.
* You can't do business at City Hall without a photo ID
(though City Manager Bruce Moore assures me that if you don't produce an ID you'll be allowed to enter, which makes you wonder why the $10,000 photo ID scanner was put in place
to begin with.)
* Some members of the Little Rock City Board don't want voters to control the local school district
and prefer charter schools, even failing ones in the case of Joan Adcock.
* Mayor Stodola
has sent assurances that Little Rock is only the 8th most violent city in the U.S.,
not No. 1, as some reports had it. (We ARE NO. 1 when you combine violent and non-violent crime indexes.) No wonder LR cops
don't want to live here.
I don't guess these stories will find their way into the press packets compiled by the taxpayer-subsidized Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce,
though its pride at our inadequate workers compensation system
, stingy unemployment
, anti-union law
and the ongoing chamber effort to make it all but impossible to sue for medical negligence
and malpractice will certainly get a mention.
I could go all Biblical here, but I'll just say that those people trying to feed the homeless seem to have a better grasp of the texts than city officials, such as the mayor, quoted by the Democrat-Gazette about balancing "competing interests" of the poor and those who don't want them around.
PS: There IS good news. Police report a highly successful crackdown — ballyhooed by cutting edge social media — on underage drinking at Riverfest.