July 22-28, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
DEAL-CUTTING. At long last, Little Rock is on the verge of a deal to sell the old Ray Winder field to UAMS. The Zoo, which had wanted the land, will get a parking lot from the War Memorial Stadium Commission for expansion. Mayor Stodola pitches this as a net gain of park land, with plans for new park space across Interstate 630 to be designated as part of the existing War Memorial Park.
A EUREKA SPRINGS SCRAP. The latest in this ever-contentious little city is unhappiness over the installation of 86 parking meters in downtown lots. Preservationists say they detract from the Victorian architecture for which the town is famed.
JUSTICE. Tony Alamo, the leader of a religious cult that has based itself in Southwest Arkansas, was convicted of 10 counts of taking children (his so-called child brides) across state lines for sex. He should spend his life in prison and civil suits may bust up his empire of tax-avoiding businesses.
COMMUNIST OUTREACH. Gov. Mike Beebe announced a state trade mission to Cuba, along with reps of Riceland and Tyson Foods.
SOLE SOURCE CONTRACTING. The request for bids to run the computer end of the new state lottery drew only one bid and objections to the process from other potential bidders that too much emphasis was placed on low price. Ernie Passailaigue, the $324,000 director of the lottery, said if he'd learned one thing since he moved to Arkansas it was that price was important.
It was a BAD week for …
DOUBLE-DIPPING. Prodded by state Rep. Allen Kerr, an investigation began of whether elected county officials had legally qualified to draw both retirement pay and regular pay at the same time. The review of the issue also turned up questions about other public employees who have tortured the law to double-dip
U.S. REP. MIKE ROSS. He emerged as the leading obstacle in the House to President Obama's health care plan. And he seemed right proud of himself about it.