Dec. 9-15, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
FREETHINKERS. The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers won a federal injunction allowing their winter solstice display on the Capitol grounds, where it will join a Nativity scene allowed by the secretary of state. Once Charlie Daniels created a public forum, Judge Susan Webber Wright said, he was bound to comply with his own rules for participation, not arbitrarily deny applicants whose looks he didn't like.
CHARTER SCHOOLS. The state Board of Education approved another open enrollment charter school in Little Rock, one aimed at serving black males. But it set a condition that the school must serve needy students.
DOUBLE-DIPPERS. A legislative committee said it would expand an investigation of public employees who found a way to draw both retirement and regular pay checks, sometimes without meeting legal requirements of complete severance before going back to work.
CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING. Former Farm Bureau president Stanley Reed became the eighth announced candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Somebody's gotta win.
It was a bad week for …
FREE ENTERPRISE. Central Arkansas Water joined a growing list of governments and public agencies providing subsidies to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce with no financial accountability in return. See Max Brantley's column.
The PULASKI COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT. The School Board abruptly ended recognition of the teachers union. The union called a one-day strike. Feelings are raw. The district has plenty of other problems — money, declining enrollment, Jacksonville secession efforts, etc.
PUBLIC INPUT. A Missouri foundation's grant to put a cancer survivors' memorial in War Memorial Park — an idea never discussed during lengthy hearings about use of the land-poor central park — was announced before any city board had ever scheduled a formal discussion or taken a formal vote on ceding the land for the purpose.