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Democratic primaries

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Democratic primaries

I read with interest an Arkansas Blog item in which a Democratic county chair indicated displeasure with the apparent practice of elected officials and party leaders endorsing candidates in the primary election contests.

I currently serve as chair of the Pulaski County Democratic Committee. In our February meeting, the committee was made aware of a request by a candidate for immediate endorsement and contribution. Our committee discussed the request. I advised the committee that I would not personally be endorsing any candidate in the primary or contributing to any contested campaign, but that I felt any committee member was free to endorse or contribute personally. The sense of the committee as a whole was we felt it was not appropriate for the Pulaski County Democratic Committee to contribute to any candidate in the primary election cycle until filings closed and we could determine that a candidate was unopposed within our party.

I am confident that if you were to poll each of the 75 county committees you would find that the general practice when a candidate asks for a committee's endorsement or contribution before other Democratic candidates have an opportunity to get in a race, Democrats pretty much feel free to decline the request and promise to support the candidate with our whole heart and efforts once they are our party's nominee.

Larry E. Crane

Chair

Pulaski County Democratic Committee

Save the park

In an increasingly crowded and stressful world, human beings and other life forms need oases in the midst of cemented-over urban environments. Earlier generations recognized this need and set aside parklands within cities to provide breathing room for future generations. In War Memorial Park, the citizens of Little Rock have such an oasis.

Hospitals seek ever more space for buildings and parking lots to deal with curing illness. Parks and open land are about preserving wellness. Under the stress of daily living, we often lose sight of the fact that the former does not outweigh the latter. We need balance.

Saving our environment requires a local government that is willing and able to preserve priceless parklands and not sell them off to the highest bidder.

If we are going to be crassly commercial in consideration of the future of Ray Winder Field, there is a niggling point of monetary comparison. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Jan. 31 that the 3.35 acres owned by the state which abuts the stadium was appraised at $2.7 million in October. UAMS only offered $1.5 million, less demolition costs, for the 3.38 acres owned by the city of Little Rock on which Ray Winder Stadium stands. The reason for the difference in those two figures eludes us.

Over the last 15 years, the city has initiated dialogues — Vision Little Rock and Future Little Rock — which involved citizen participation. In these discussions, the people repeatedly said that Little Rock's greatest asset is our natural environment. Will the voice of the people be heeded?

Developed land cannot be undeveloped. We need to be mindful of the trust passed down to us to preserve this gem of open space.

We urge that the city of Little Rock develop a policy that recognizes that environmental issues are inextricably related to economic and health issues.

Ethel N. Ambrose

Little Rock

Enforce law

Remember my letter concerning the Good Old Boy UCA Board? Have my assertions not proved accurate? Is Mr. Courtway any better as interim UCA president than Lu Hardin was? It appears not. Still the secrecy and refusal of oversight if being maintained.

There was a time when Lu Hardin was a well-known and highly respected Democrat. Then he turned Republican and became a Huckabee boot licker. He wound up at UCA.

Lack of oversight and adherence to regulations got the country into the present mess. The Republican attitude that they have no reason to feel they are answerable to laws the rest of us must follow is at the root of both our federal mess and the mess at UCA. When will legislators and others wake up to the fact that an unenforced law or regulation is worse than none at all?

Karl Hansen

Hensley

Lottery money

In response to a letter to the editor printed in your March 5 edition, please allow the Lieutenant Governor's Office to set the record straight about the scholarship lottery amendment approved by Arkansas voters in November. Your letter writer is under the mistaken impression that revenue produced by the lottery will be mixed in with other state treasury revenues and, thus, subject to appropriation by the state legislature. Actually, the opposite is true. The amendment reads as follows “... lottery proceeds shall not be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly; declaring lottery proceeds to be cash funds held in trust separate and apart from the state treasury.” They key word is “not.” We encourage your letter writer to turn her attention to a proposal by a state legislator that would erase the “not” and put all lottery proceeds into the state treasury for appropriation by the legislature. We appreciate her interest in making sure the scholarship lottery is about more cash for students, not more bucks for bureaucrats.

We share her concern.

Garry Hoffmann

Communications Director

Arkansas Lieutenant Governor's Office

Electoral college

I totally disagree with your recent editorial on HB 1339. I have my doubts that it's even constitutional to circumvent the Electoral College. Whether or not you believe that the Electoral College works the way it should, this bill would ignore the will of the Arkansas voters.

Regardless of your political ideology if someone wins the majority of the votes in Arkansas then why should they get the Arkansas electoral votes. Why is this complicated? So what if someone else gets the most popular votes nationwide? If we cast a vote for a candidate we expect it to go that candidate.

Michael High

Little Rock

 

Once again a new president and vice president have been chosen in a manner unfamiliar to the average voter. From all of the United States and its territories there were only 538 voters. The six Arkansans were Jim Burnett, Reta Hamilton, Rose Jones, Phyllis Kincannon, Steve Lux and Kermit Parks. The rest of us cast votes in November to choose this group of six electors.

These electors had the constitutional right to vote for any candidate on their ballots. The votes were cast Dec. 15 and counted in Congress Jan. 8. Vice President Dick Cheney announced that Obama and Biden had won by 192 votes.

There are many flaws in this process. The saddest flaw lies in the fact that our president and vice president are not elected by the will of the people, but by the loyalty of a select few to a political party.

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

 

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