In defense of Stanley Reed
I am writing to comment on your editorial, "The decks run red," in the June 1 edition of the Times regarding the selection of a new University of Arkansas President. There were several glaring misrepresentations and falsehoods stated therein. First, the Arkansas Farm Bureau is composed of over 200,000 citizens of the state from every county including Pulaski. These men and women meet monthly in their home counties to discuss issues relevant to their livelihood and life and family, as well as their community and the state. Then delegates are selected to attend an Annual Convention to inform the elected Officers and Directors of ARFB through an open debate and parliamentary voting process what issues the delegates agree with or disagree with. The stand that the ARFB takes on any issue whether state or national comes from the members, not the board of directors, nor the lobbying component, which is essential part of any organization that wants to be heard in this great country of ours.
Yes, the concerns of most of these folks is about agriculture and rural affairs. They are also concerned about wildlife habitat, human health, and yes, animal welfare. The ARFB fully supported the current law regarding animal cruelty that is enforced today. Another fact for you to ponder is that agri-business is the largest industry in this state and many others. Furthermore, the raw materials used to produce almost any industrial product from cars to corn is not sales taxed.
By the way, what do anti-gay laws and animal cruelty have to do with education? Higher education is what we are discussing, isn't it?
Now to the despicable characterization of Mr. Stanley Reed, "a farmer of sorts." How absurd. Did you know that he grew up on a small farm in Marianna on which he worked until he came to the U of A for college in 1969? No doubt he worked on the farm during the summer. He earned an engineering degree and law degree. Then he married his lovely wife Charlene and went back to farming with a vision and determination to succeed in this business like no other. Isn't that what we all aspire to do? Well he did succeed by the sweat of his brow and risked losing or winning each year to do it, like any businessman. From a small farmer he became a big one, but he earned it. Think of Sam Walton on a smaller scale. Anything wrong with that?
He has served with distinction as president of both the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the U of A Board of Trustees. He is the most decent, honest, smartest man I have ever had the good fortune to know. A true gentleman that would not stoop to answer this flagrant slander presented in your paper. But, I will!
Go pick on someone else.
There's an easy way to solve the parking mess on President Clinton Avenue that was mentioned in Smart Talk last week.
The solution is to just ban most ordinary drivers! Instead of dealing with physically fit drivers hogging the spaces, the city ought to turn all the parking spots on Clinton Avenue and Main Street into handicapped spots, with loading and unloading zones every 100 to 200 yards, or just at the corners and middle of the block. Plus motorcycle parking spread out after every three or four parking spots. This would cut down on parking hogs. But most importantly, it would allow disabled people who don't use an electric chair to enjoy the River Market without walking long distances from public parking lots a block or two away! There are many people who have medical problems that prevent them from enjoying the river front parks and attractions like the Discovery Museum.
Motorcycle owners will feel their bikes are safe with special mini-slots for motorcycles. Just make the slots about 3.5-feet wide so riders can park and safely move around.
And, if all the spaces aren't being used at night, then that would just make it easier for people to see the names of the businesses and make it easier for people to cross from one side of the street to the other.
If the city does this and increases handicapped spots by the bridge and park areas then more older and disabled people will be interested in going down there.
If you agree, speak up and tell the mayor.
The Russellville Middle School yearbook in Arkansas listed in addition to Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson also George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as "The Top Five Worst People of All Time," which naturally caused quite an uproar.
Perhaps the yearbook should add the Russellville School District to that list, as it unceremoniously covered that "top five" list with black duct tape, which stifled free speech and freedom of the press, which is even a more deplorable action than the printing of that "top five" list.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Chicken litter and downtown revival
Way to go Polly D. Davis of Scott with your truthful comments about chicken litter and the (un)Natural State. Time Arkansas began cleaning things up and protecting its citizens.
But on another note, I was so pleased to read about Jason Meier and Myles Roberson and their plans for the old Sterling Store. I have recently settled in Argenta because of all the improvements I see and use. I can walk to Argenta's Farmers Market as well as just across the river to Little Rock's. I love Argenta Market and it's only two blocks from me. I also really like the old post office, the trolley, libraries and restaurants that are not fast food joints. We could use another nice market with organic foods — what about a Fresh Market or Whole Foods or an expanded "Argenta Market II"? We need good, close services for all the people that now live downtown and will continue to move to this renewed and revitalized area.
North Little Rock
Submit letters to The Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.