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How high the roof?



How high the roof?

I am offering you a few corrections to Max Brantley's “Tale of Two Cities” column. Since the dispute between the library and the developer is about the 48-foot height limitation in the River Market, I think it is important to get the numbers right.

Let's start with the belief that the developer reduced the height and footprint of the proposed hotel. The first proposal submitted by the developer on Sept. 9 asked for a variance to build a 90-foot structure. The developer's revised request on Oct. 20 lists the height of the building as 78 feet with an architectural element of 12 feet. That so-called “architectural element” happens to be the roof, which, I assume, is necessary to keep the rain off the heads of the customers. Brantley then states that the building is actually 2 feet shorter than the Main Library. That is true only if you remove the 12-foot-high roof on the proposed hotel.

Next Brantley claims that the hotel is 5 feet shorter than the Budget Office Building, which is only 42 feet tall, or 48 feet shorter than the proposed hotel. If you choose to count the Budget Building's water tower, which is a true architectural detail and not a roof, the total height is 77 feet, or 13 feet shorter. And Brantley faisl to mention that the proposed hotel is 50 feet taller than our Cox Creative Center to the south.

Brantley's measurement is correct on the new manuscript storage facility, but he does not explain that it exceeds the 48-foot limit but falls within the four-story limitation and thus required no variance.

If your readers looked at a silhouette of the buildings together, most would agree that this hotel will dwarf its neighbors.

Finally, it makes absolutely no sense to compare the hotel being proposed in North Little Rock to the one in Little Rock. The North Little Rock location is a block away from the city's historic buildings on Main Street. A better comparison is the Marriott Hotel in the River Market which at least sits on the edge of the district. In contrast, the proposed Aloft Hotel in Little Rock would be dropped in the middle of a very small number of historic buildings.

Bobby Roberts


Central Arkansas Library System


n (The architectural element is not the roof, the drawings show, but a sign that adds 12 feet to the 75- to 77-foot height of the building along the Clinton Avenue exposure. The footprint was reduced, the developer says, after Roberts' original objections resulted in a reduction in the proposed hotel size from 138 to 132 rooms. — Editor)

McCain vote

I read your special “Racism Issue” Dec. 4. Your writers seem ashamed that the voters of Arkansas didn't jump on the Obama bandwagon. Perhaps it is because, like several Southern states, Arkansas has an unemployment level well below liberal failures like California and Michigan. Maybe it's because with a balanced budget we won't need the big federal bailout Michigan, New York, California et al. are clamoring for. Or maybe it's because Arkansas self identifies as more Christian than most of the country. When the president-elect says his favorite verse refers to how America treats the “least of these” while his family rots in an African hut or Massachusetts slum we sense a bit of hypocrisy. When, as usual, it is revealed that the Democrat nominee gave pittance to charity and was dwarfed by the Republican candidate I ask him to get the log out of his eye before he talks to me.

 I was born and lived in Michigan for 20 years. People here aren't any more racist than there. Could it be that some people voted for Obama because he's black? Could it be to assuage their misplaced white guilt? Nah, that wouldn't fit the narrative. Your writers should get out of the state and see the country. If they like what they see, they can just stay there.

Robert McAdams


Orval's message

Although I chuckled at the punch line, the “Orval” cartoon Dec. 4 of the foster boy in a wheel chair and his conversation with Santa about Initiated Act 1 brought tears to my eyes. I know my wife and my personal hero Kathleen can relate. You see, Kathleen — Kathy to her friends — spent several years in a Catholic orphanage in northern Illinois and most of the rest of youth with an aunt and uncle she considers her real parents. She was not a true orphan; in fact her parents were both very much alive and very much married to one another at the time. However, they were both so severely alcoholic they could not function as productive members of society let alone adequately as parents, so Kathy and her sisters and brother were divided by the state of Illinois between the orphanage and various relatives' homes.

Around the age of 6 Kathy recalls a nice young couple frequently visiting her in the orphanage. Kathy said she understood the young couple wanted to adopt her. Sadly, the visits eventually stopped and Kathy later learned that the couple was blocked from adopting her since her parents would not surrender their parental rights.

Shortly after Kathy and I were married in 2000, I spoke to her mother twice on the telephone. She was so broken by her life's burdens she could not carry on a coherent or even remotely pleasant conversation. The next year when her mother died, Kathy cared not to make the drive from St. Louis, where we lived at the time, to Rockford, Ill., for the funeral. Instead she mourned the deaths of her aunt and uncle — her spiritual parents — from many years previous.

I presume not to understand the call of the gay lifestyle. It is not for me. But the fact that homosexual couples want their love to be recognized and their partnerships to be respected has absolutely no impact on my marriage to Kathy. Also, can homosexuals be bad parents? Sure. Do heterosexuals automatically make loving, attentive and addiction free parents? See the answer above.

James R. Fisher

Little Rock

Eye on a suspect

“You know that law enforcement has an eye on them or has apprehended them, and they're sitting in jail.” — Reference to the state Crime Lab director's remark about the delay in processing DNA evidence from a Marianna rape case that eventually was tied to the killing of TV anchor Anne Pressly.

Umm ... like rural law enforcement has funding and resources to “keep an eye on” suspects who can't be arrested without the probable cause that sometimes only comes with the receipt of reports from the crime lab.

Looks like if you're into playing the odds you'd go with working on the cases that law enforcement is close to apprehending but needs the crime lab reports to have probable cause (or as in the Marianna case to clear their suspect and move on). There are probably more of those types of cases out there than there are previously unknown suspects that happen to have DNA in the state's database already. 

Sounds like the crime lab just wants to work on the ones where they might pull a suspect out of thin air through DNA so they can be the hero just like on TV. I would think that they would be supporting law enforcement's efforts in the real world where the police have to have probable cause based on evidence and don't have the funds or manpower to “keep an eye on” rapists and murderers for months while waiting for the crime lab to search for a model for a CSI episode. 

If they'd done that Pressly might not be dead now. It was kind of unsettling to hear the head of the crime lab completely dismiss that possibility by saying he didn't think they could've done anything different that would've changed anything. That sounded like someone covering his tracks instead of trying to figure out a solution for an obvious problem. Oh, and the “problem isn't the people or the money”? That pretty much leaves the management at the top as the problem maybe?

J. Foster

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