Good Big Ideas
I think Sabine Schmidt presents a great argument for letting permanent residents vote in their area of residency ("Big Ideas for Arkansas 2013," Dec. 19). Many legal non-citizens are very involved in their communities, and sometimes are more actively involved in their community than many citizens, and would like to serve on committees and would like to be able to vote.
I thought this latest Big Ideas piece (Dec. 19) had the best ideas I've seen so far — nothing ridiculous or too tough to implement and all would greatly benefit Little Rock! My favorite was Jennifer Carman's Public-Private Urban Rehab Partnership; this is such a simple policy that should have been implemented many years ago.
However, I'm writing to alert readers of a correction that needs to be made. In the CALS System idea by Benjamin Hardy, he calls for our Main Library to provide social services: "job training, adult literacy, tutoring for kids, and ESL classes." I would like it to be noted that Literacy Actions' offices are housed on the 5th floor of the Main Library by CALS. Literacy Action of Central Arkansas offers programs in Basic Adult Literacy, English as a Second Language (ESL) and bridge programs for adults who want to enter community college. Literacy Action has worked hard to teach literacy skills to struggling readers in the Central Arkansas area since 1986. Today, they are one of only a few organizations meeting this need for adults with low literacy levels. These increased skills are helping Arkansans to gain employment, to teach their children the value of reading and to improve their health and well-being.
Students and volunteers can learn more by calling 501-372-7323, or visiting the website at literacylittlerock.org.
From the web
In response to the Dec. 26 cover story "Best and Worst 2013":
"In May, two years after the tiny Mineral Springs-Saratoga School District installed a state-of-the-art artificial turf football field at a reported cost of more than $700,000, the district was taken over by the state due to budget shortfalls ... the district employed a head football coach/athletic director and seven assistant football coaches."
Want to understand why our state only earns 80 percentage of the national average? Why we have a lower percentage of college grads? It's because countless school districts in Arkansas are run by jocks instead of educators.
Great list of bests and worsts, one of my yearly favorites.
I want to know how the Little Rock School District is going to enforce the mandatory undergarment dress code.
From the web, in response to "The five best bites of 2013":
Queso Fundido is one of my favorite dishes. La Hacienda has one of the best in town, but I will have to try Fonda soon if for no other reason. Sad to say that I have not had the chance to go to Table 28 yet but hoping to make the excuse or reason for it soon.
In the running from my standpoint, I would also offer for consideration the la Quercia American prosciutto, the fish tacos at E's, and The Beast from Green Cart Deli.
In response to the post, "The Darr saga: Will he quit? And, if he doesn't, what then?"
Why would a Republican resign for doing anything?
That's would be like me stopping driving around drinking beer and smoking pot when I was a teenager, when my girlfriend's dad was the county judge.
It's stupid. If you can break the law and get away with it, who the hell cares? There is no such thing as right and wrong, there are only consequences that can be avoided. Morality is relative and depends on the person and situation. More power to Darr.
The reconvening of the General Assembly is still over a month away, so there is plenty of time for Darr to screw up again, and each mistake will cost him precious political capital. He could fail to make his first payment on his Ethics Commission fines. He could fail to file his amended campaign finance reports — or he could file inaccurate reports again. He could increase his use of the state police as his personal chauffeurs. Etc., etc.
I'll disagree a bit with Max on his call for all Republican legislators to voice their opinions immediately. That is appropriate for the House members, but the senators should reserve their judgment, or at least refrain from public comments, especially Sen. Lamoureux. But perhaps Lamoureux will become the bellwether who changes his mind and persuades Darr to step down, as Goldwater did for Nixon.
There are plenty of interesting parliamentary maneuvers in the rules. For example, it takes a two-thrids vote in the Senate to sustain a conviction. Assuming all 35 senators attend the vote (21 Republicans and 14 Democrats), it would take 24 votes to sustain a conviction. But if the Senate adopts a rule that the verdict is based only on the number of senators present and voting, and, say, five Republicans decide not to attend, then it would only take 20 votes, where six Republican votes for conviction would be sufficient to remove Darr from office.
To me, the most interesting rules are about who pays for the impeachment if it passes the House. If Darr is convicted, he will be billed for the whole cost of the process and be responsible for his own legal expenses. Darr's personal debts would instantly increase by hundreds of thousands of dollars and he would face years of financial ruin. If Darr is acquitted, he is entitled to be reimbursed by the state for his legal expenses, which are relatively minor by comparison. That cost/benefit analysis obviously favors resignation before impeachment.
It's like watching a Mexican soap opera on the higher channels. Most of the actors are greasy toads delivering their lines poorly. Too bad dueling has been outlawed within the United States but I'm pretty sure we could rent a big casino bus for a quick trip to Juarez!
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