Avoid ad hominem
Over the years, I've read with interest your insightful coverage on all things Arkansas — particularly politics — and admire your dedication and passion. I am grateful that you continue to "fight the good fight".
I've read with interest your coverage and comments on the mandatory congressional redistricting exercise. I happen to live in Fayetteville, have deep Jefferson County roots, and am a political partisan. But, I am most importantly an Arkansan.
I'll not here wade into the merits of the various, proposed redistricting plans. I will observe, though, that reasonable minds can (and often do) disagree.
As for what appears to be a festering of parochial sentiment on your Arkansas Blog (e.g. "loathing," "LA," "Fayette-villains," etc.), my hope is that the redistricting process can avoid the ad hominem. We're all citizens of Arkansas, and we can be better than that (particularly working together).
In short, in whatever district each of us ends up, we'll still be Arkansans — which is a heckuva lot better than being banished to, say, Mississippi.
Thank you, again, for your dutiful work.
Standing up for Rod
I was at the legislative hearings on water quality. I stood in a packed room for nearly four hours as the all-male committee enacted a wholesale giveaway (to mining interests) of the Natural State's water. I should think letter writer Shelly Bryant might be a little scared — scared of the people sworn to uphold Arkansas law.
They didn't even uphold their own hearing process, being more focused on not missing lunch at 11:59 a.m. sharp. The legislators accepted no input from any women present. They did not listen to accounts by folks who have had their property destroyed and wells poisoned by drilling/mining companies. When Rod Bryan confronted this farcical process with a bit of hard-hitting irony, it must have sailed clean over Shelly's head — if "Shelly" even really exists.
Rather than throw rocks at a man who represents the best of Arkansas in terms of talent, creativity, and consistent advocacy for the rights of families, Shelly and others like him/her might consider studying the effects of unenforced, existing law. The ADEQ and PC&E have a history of allowing ruination of rivers, streams, groundwater, and aquifers. Arkansas is letting mining interests set the agenda.
Although the legislators keep insisting that natural gas drilling is unprecedented and new, the people of Hot Springs have seen what the ADEQ and PC&E allow: unenforced laws, uncollected fines, a mining industry run amok — ever hear of Union Carbide? Nearly $1 million in fines and counting are going uncollected by the State of Arkansas as mining interests in Garland County destroy waterways, wells, property, and people's lives.
Neither the legislature nor the governor needs Rod Bryan or anyone else to point out that Sharp Solar Manufacturing (just up the road in Memphis) would make an innovative, non-polluting business partner for the Natural State. They already know there are alternatives to poisoning Arkansas' water and citizenry. Their willful lack of leadership is, well, scary.
My response to Ellen Fennell of Audubon Arkansas, who wrote about the SWEPCO power plant:
As a person, parent, and educator, I am a little taken aback by the response made on "wondering how Max Adcock [the Mineral Springs-Saratoga school superintendent] might feel years from now." Because I know exactly how he will feel. You see, we are educators. Educators are not in this job for money. It is a passion. We love children and our main goal in life is to help them be productive citizens who can make a choice if they own land in a hunting club or pick up your trash.
I am a 46-year-old mom who was born in Miami and I have asthma. I have a son with signs of autism who was born in Mena. I have a grandmother who died due to emphysema because the land she lived beside was next to the Palmetto Expressway (10 lane highway that started out as a tomato farm) in Miami. Doctors cited that as a possible reason for her death at age 82.
What most concerns me as a mom and an educator is: why does the wildlife society have so much money to spend on birds, animals and lawyers while I see kids going hungry at night. I see kids without decent clothes and parents working two jobs to pay their bills. These parents don't have time to help their kids in their education. I see school districts fighting for every penny just to have an after school tutoring program to take care of our young.
What I WONDER is when will people like Ellen Fennell see the real value of a human life. Just last week my 17-year-old posted on his Facebook this quote: "You cant do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth." We want children to have that — an excellent life full of choices and opportunities — not choices about what car they will sleep in or where is their next meal, but what can I do to help others and make this a better place.
When will the hunting clubs and Ellens of the world make it a better place for all?
Post addresses, please
Will someone please explain to me why businesses in Little Rock don't display their street addresses out front? It seems to me that it's the cheapest advertising a business could get. I find in the phonebook a place where I want to shop but then can't find the business itself because no street numbers are visible from the street. Thus I have no way of knowing whether I've passed the store in question or haven't reached it yet.
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