- PUBLIC ART: Hunted, not admired.
ECO goes Big Picture
Local environmental do-gooder Rob Fisher and his group Ecological Conservation Organization have been busy in recent years saving us from ourselves, including their effort to restore Little Rock's Swaggerty Creek from a concrete ditch to a free-flowing stream, helping stave off development in sensitive wetlands, and water-quality monitoring projects all over the state. Now, he's looking to expand his focus with a name and game change. ECO will henceforth be known as the Earth Cause Organization. While they're still planning on keeping up the good work with regard to the environment, they'll also take on other big-picture items.
“I've been working on expanding my efforts from just the typical environmental stuff, to things that impact the everyday people of Arkansas,” Fisher said. “Food safety, preservation of antibiotics for humans and removing it from animal feed, finance reform, and yes, the climate bill… We will also be working on human rights and social justice issues.”
The new ECO is already making its mark, fielding an election-season commercial on climate legislation. Last week, they sponsored a visit by internationally-known environmental photojournalist Gary Braasch, who is in the state documenting the changing ecology of Arkansas.
The state code of judicial conduct says neither a judge nor a judicial candidate may “publicly identify himself or herself as a candidate of a political organization; seek, accept, or use endorsements from a political organization.” Circuit Judge Rhonda Wood of Conway, a candidate for state Court of Appeals, was identified as the source of recorded telephone calls that said:
“Hi, this is Gov. Mike Huckabee and I'm calling to ask you to vote for Judge Rhonda Wood for the Arkansas Court of Appeals on May the 18th. I appointed Judge Rhonda Wood to the Circuit Bench in 2006 and she was later elected for a six year term. Judge Rhonda Wood has been selected by the Republican Party of Arkansas as their preferred candidate in this race. Please vote for Judge Rhonda Wood.” Huckabee referenced a recommended judicial slate put together by the Republican Party chair that said of Wood, “A Republican!”
In a prepared statement, Wood's campaign said the endorsement phone call was “in clear compliance with the Judicial Ethic Cannons [sic].” Yes, the canons were blasted.
First it was the fiberglass pigs set about town as public art that suffered from our non-art-loving public after they were installed several years ago.
Now the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park is suffering from the same backward attitude. A small figure in Lorri Alcott Fowler's work “Conversation with Myself” was yanked off at the ankles after the sculpture's installation a year ago, when the garden, off the Peabody Hotel's conference center, first opened. Then after the second major installation of works May 5, someone ripped Bryan Massey's work “Hot Time on a Saturday Night” from its pedestal and tossed it in the grass. “Hot Time” has been reaffixed with secure bolting. “Conversation” has been restored by Little Rock sculptor Michael Warrick using a new figure the artist supplied and will be reinstalled soon. The repairs cost the city Parks and Recreation Department $1,750.