Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
The NORTH LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL BOARD. It sued over Mayor Pat Hays' scheme to divert school property taxes from a couple of new developments downtown for a parking deck. Even if this deal met statutory and constitutional muster, which it doesn't, it would still be a perversion of a law intended to encourage redevelopment of blighted areas.
A TOBACCO TAX INCREASE. The House seemed to be making progress toward the 75 votes needed for passage. Republican Rep. Rick Green signed on as a co-sponsor. A few more GOPers will be needed.
SAFER DRIVING. A bill to prohibit texting while driving appeared headed to easy passage. But lawmakers showed no inclination to limit adult drivers' cellphone use in vehicles.
It was a BAD week for …
WEATHER. An ice storm devastated the northern tier of Arkansas, causing numerous deaths and disrupting utility service to tens of thousands of homes and businesses. A week after the storm hit, electric crews and the National
Guard were still working to return normalcy.
WAR MEMORIAL PARK. A city advisory committee recommended selling the former Ray Winder baseball park to UAMS, which will build a parking lot on a historic patch of parkland. A terrible precedent. Where will annexation of parkland end?
MAIN STREET. How bad is it? One of the last retailers on Main, the 108-year-old Dundee Smart Clothes, went out of business two months ago and the daily newspaper just took notice this week.
CATFISH FARMING. The number of acres in the state devoted to catfish fell to an 11-year low. Odds are that the catfish you eat came from Mississippi — or worse.
ARKANSAS. Thanks mainly to petty Republicans, a House committee defeated a resolution congratulating Barack Obama for his election as president. They didn't like references to slavery, protected in the founding of the republic. Their objections forced the sponsor to water it down.