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Letters Nov. 4


Joke in Hillcrest Our city Planning Commission is a joke. The Hillcrest Resident’s Association voted unanimously to oppose a new development in the neighborhood. Tremendous opposition showed up to voice their complaints at the commission meeting. More than 70 people e-mailed Donna James to oppose this development. Yet, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the development to the city board. What a slap in the face to representative government. What a slap in the face to the will of the people. Could it be because Planning Commissioner Bill Rector owns the property next to the development? Could he stand to benefit tremendously from this development? He recused himself from voting but what of his influence with the other commission members? And then he runs for a position on the city board, which is where this development is headed. And the city board of directors can’t understand why the populace doesn’t trust them and votes against their proposals. Go figure. Roger Smith Little Rock Sad and lonely Your recent Election 2004 selections seem to me to be the pinnacle of distortions, mistruths and nastiness. In reading your reasons for voting for John Kerry I was caught up by the following negative words: waged class warfare, lies, recklessly, falsely, prevarications, misjudgments, contempt, ravishes, maligns, restrictions of civil liberty, arrogance, self-centeredness, deficient, demagogues and corporate chiselers. All of these terms were applied against President Bush and less than 15 per cent of the article was used to put forward any reason to vote for John Kerry. Your words for Kerry seem to be that he “cares.” So do I, but I wonder about the person who wrote this article. He must be one nasty, sad, lonesome, vindictive, misguided individual and I feel for him. Ron Kuerner Little Rock I am completely and totally disgusted by your lack of journalistic integrity. To post a headline stating the choice of candidate for the presidency saying “Our future depends on it!” Oh my God, you have really exceeded the right to voicing your opinion. Regardless of who I vote for, this is a shallow jab of your pushy attitude of your opinion. You should thank God that you live in a country in which you have the right to have such a job that allows you the freedom of press to print your opinion and while you’re at it, thank our armed forces who are fighting for that right of yours right now. For your information, your newspaper is no longer a welcomed, refreshing perspective. Clyde H. Henderson III Little Rock Turkey drop My wife and I attended the Yellville Turkey Trot Festival. This year marked the celebration’s 59th anniversary, and I must say, as traditions go, this one is right up there with marrying your cousin. For those of you not familiar with the festival, it’s a fairly typical two-day carnival-type affair, with one major difference: the highlight of both days is the tossing of live turkeys from a passing plane into the general area of the town square — prompting a mad hunt for the birds. Between the rampaging packs of kids and the teens and adults, many on 4-wheelers, the turkeys that survive the drop (about a third die on impact, like the one that crashed into the Fred’s parking lot in front of us; a third survive the fall but are crippled/mortally wounded; and a final third survive and are captured, with who knows what kind of fate awaiting them) don’t stand a chance. Neither property lines nor human decency serve as impediments to the seemingly primal need to hunt down these poor birds. Turkeys are pretty intelligent as animals go, and possess quite a bit of character — enough, in fact, that Benjamin Franklin lobbied hard to make the turkey our national bird. While no animal deserves to be terrorized, it seems doubly wrong to visit such torment on such a noble creature; I can only speculate how different the public’s reaction would be if dogs were substituted for turkeys one year. It boggles my mind that a proud community of otherwise fine people finds the siren call of this tradition sacrosanct and steadfastly resists any attempts to curtail this “tradition.” As a matter of fact, following negative national press and the request of then-Gov. Bill Clinton, the Yellville Chamber of Commerce (organizer and sponsor of the celebration) made a show of canceling the turkey drop, denying any involvement with the event. Yet every year since, turkeys are still thrown from planes (using the Flippin airport), supposedly sponsored by anonymous private individuals). “X” must have some pull, as FAA regulations appear to be violated during the drops and each pass is coordinated with the festival officials. This year, for instance, the band performing gave regular reports and updates on “drop status” and warned when the first pass was imminent, instructing festival goers to “watch to the east, they’ll be here before you know it!” And when storm clouds grounded the plane Friday and part of Saturday, “X” used his/her pull to have the county courthouse opened so turkeys could be thrown from its roof instead. People of Arkansas, wake up — animal cruelty in any form, be it setting a puppy on fire or throwing a bird from a plane, is neither good, clean entertainment nor our right. M. Chris Osment Russellville Starr and booze A few comments on a couple of recent articles. First, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the New York Times has enlisted the help of one Kenneth Starr, Esq., in its battle to prevent further embarrassment over the reporting of Judith Miller. Starr and the Times are old buddies, going back even before their symbiotic relationship that flourished while he was the special prosecutor (I refuse to use the term, “independent counsel”) for Whitewater and other vastly unrelated issues. Back in the early ’90s, Starr filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Times that was instrumental in persuading a federal appeals court to reverse its previous ruling against the newspaper in a libel suit brought against the Times by investigative reporter Dan Moldea. Moldea’s book about the connections among organized gambling, the Mafia, and the National Football League had been the subject of a hatchet-job review in the Times that contained several demonstrably false assertions. A number of legal experts have said the court’s reversal of its initial ruling against the Times was “extraordinary,” among other adjectives. With regard to Warwick Sabin’s piece on the difficulty in securing approval to call for local option elections to change prohibitions against alcohol sales, I have a suggestion that would considerably alter the dynamic of this situation. Of course, there’s no chance of this coming out of our legislature, but if Arkansas would adopt two laws, I believe you would see dry counties falling all over themselves to call for local-option elections on liquor sales. The first law would provide that a county could either be all-wet or all-dry; nothing in between. This would prevent the hypocrisy that now exists in many “dry” counties that prohibit beer and liquor stores, liquor by the drink sales at restaurants, and public taverns — all of which could be patronized by ordinary citizens — while at the same time allowing “private club” alcohol permits where the country-club set and the local Rotarians, bankers, and chamber of commerce leaders (oops, I’m becoming redundant here) who can afford the membership dues can gather for cocktails and not have to worry about rubbing shoulders with the unwashed masses. The second statute would simply require that all tax revenues from alcohol sales would be distributed ONLY among “wet” counties — not a dime could go to the “drys.” Doug Szenher Little Rock

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