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Letters March 24

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The water fight As a former member of the Central Arkansas Water Commission (and, earlier, the Little Rock Water Commission), I am alarmed by determined efforts to put our drinking water at risk. There are long-term and cumulative risks that occur when toxic chemicals enter Lake Maumelle slowly and cumulatively over decades. It is this long-term risk, which would be caused by the proposed Deltic development, that every citizen should oppose. I suppose some people may rationalize a short-term view of the safety and purity of our drinking water. Corporate executives are concerned primarily with annual profits for their stockholders; financial businesses are interested in making loans to developers; suppliers, contractors and builders want increased sales; politicians are concerned with elections. Citizens concerned not only about the safety of today’s drinking water, but also tomorrow’s water must continue to support Jim Harvey, CEO of Central Arkansas Water. We must ask today’s Water Commission to stand strong with him and we must urge our representatives at the statehouse to defeat Deltic’s effort to pass legislation that would limit CAW’s ability to protect Lake Maumelle. Craig S. Wood Little Rock Family I wanted to thank you and Leslie Newell Peacock for the article March 10 “Coming Out.” It was a well done and timely piece and is one reason why I am a devoted reader of the Arkansas Times. Credit is also due to the courageous people who allowed their lives to be showcased. I have been fortunate to know many people who are homosexuals. I know them to be talented, creative, loving individuals who in many cases make major contributions to our knowledge, economy and the arts. They are my friends and I love them for their intelligence and kindness. They have a special place in my heart. Michael Winston Little Rock The article on gays and lesbians was great! My partner and I are currently working on getting pregnant and raising our own kids! To hell with Arkansas’s legislature! I see kids every single day who are being raised by heterosexuals who clearly did not want children and are only reminded of their “accident” every time they look at the child. We WANT children and we WANT to be together enough to fight for every day we have together. That is more than most heteros ever have to do, or even think about. They take it all for granted. Dawn and Melissa Blakley Benton I was thrilled to receive the issue featuring a diverse group of gay men and women who are working so diligently to promote the civil rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender Arkansans. Legislation is indeed a critical element in the fight for equality, but legislation will not be possible until more citizens are courageous enough to add their faces and stories to the public record. I spent 26 years in the Navy as a physician and was “out” to greater or lesser degrees throughout that time, so I know a thing or two about discrimination against gay people. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” didn’t make life any easier. It merely codified hypocrisy and created a steady, gnawing cognitive dissonance: How, exactly, does one fit “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into the Navy creed: honor, courage, commitment? I knew a sizeable number of gay men and lesbians in uniform and the vast majority were the best and brightest in their respective fields. Intensely patriotic, all of them expressed the frustration and sadness of working so hard for an organization that placed so little value on them as individuals. Things ARE changing, however, in that two-steps-forward, one-step-back fashion, even in small communities like my own, and the impetus behind the change is individuals stepping out of the shadows to let families, co-workers, and others know who we are. I am immensely proud to be part of the family of the 16 men and women featured in your magazine and I applaud the work they are doing to make life better for ALL Arkansans. Neil Ragan Pocahontas Bravo to the Arkansas Times and to Leslie Peacock for the great piece on gays and lesbians in our communities. I also commend those brave folks who were willing to come out and speak about their lives. It occurs to me that if all relatives of gays and lesbians would come out in support of civil rights for their gay and lesbian family members, this battle would be over because statistically one family in four has a gay or lesbian member. Susan East May Little Rock I enjoyed Leslie Newell Peacock’s cover story on some of our very important family and neighbors. Thank you for the balanced, thoughtful way the topic was addressed. Meg Warren Little Rock What a wonderful issue. Your articles, and the people in them, were inspiring. And I think will be motivating. My friends from Dallas often ask me what I’m doing in Arkansas and I tell them this city needs me, my tolerance and my love. My best friend tells them I’m going to heal the world one bead at time and I just happen to be starting in Arkansas. Sometimes when I’m at my bead shop all the time I feel all alone. You reminded me I’m not. Ellie Roy North Little Rock I was both pleased and proud to see courageous Arkansans from all walks of life coming out in your publication. I know a couple of them, and honestly, I wish I knew all of them. I know the sacrifices they are making by going public with their orientation. To you brave folks, I say congratulations, and thank you, from the depth of my heart. There is only one way to fight homophobia, and that is to force people who know us, to know us completely, for who we are. My partner and I really want to retire back home in Arkansas, and perhaps due to your hard work and courage, we will be able to do so, someday. Thank you so much. Bless you all. Sandy K. Sarlo Ashfield, Mass. I was shocked by the revelation that Nancy Tesmer is an oenologist. I, for one, was deeply offended by your paper’s attempt to further the oenologist agenda. Arthur Paul Bowen Little Rock We’re idiotic I often find myself so disgruntled as a moderate Republican that I begin thinking more like a blue stater than a red stater. Then I pick up an Arkansas Times and begin reading your various editorial commentary and run whimpering back to the red-states side of the country. You guys are the liberal Rush Limbaughs of Arkansas political commentary. You seem to embrace every left-side issue, no matter how idiotic. Gentlepersons, that nearsighted nonsense clobbers your credibility Gary Blakney Little Rock

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