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Miscount

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Secure Arkansas's poor arithmetic apparently will not be penalized. Jeannie Burlsworth, president of Secure Arkansas, signed an affidavit for the secretary of state saying that the group had acquired 78,211 signatures on petitions for its proposed constitutional amendment to deny benefits to illegal aliens. A total of 77,468 valid signatures were needed to place the amendment on the general election ballot. But before the validation process even got started, an accounting firm hired by Secretary of State Charlie Daniels said that only 67,542 signatures had been submitted. Some people wondered if the incorrect affidavit constituted a violation of state law. There are laws prohibiting the "knowing" misstatement of material facts, but the "knowing" part would have to be proved. Asked if Daniels planned any further action concerning the signatures and the affidavit, a spokesman said "Not at this time."

Dicker does

Pulaski County District 7 JP Pat Dicker, whose term ends in January, is hoping to go out with a bang, by implementing a plan she hopes will keep young people from winding up in jail.

Based on a similar program in Kansas, the idea is to give at-risk youth a series of tests to identify their personal problem areas and allow officials to target those needs before they turn criminal. As Dicker envisions it, a coalition of experts from the Pulaski County sheriff's office, UAMS, UALR, Arkansas Children's Hospital, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and other organizations would be integral to making it work.

"We've got to stop this cycle," Dicker said. "We can't keep building jails and prisons. If we can establish a way of identifying and then working with the folks that could benefit, certainly society would be the bigger benefactor."

Dicker is working with Pulaski County Community Services on the plan, trying to get her fellow Quorum Court members to agree to a feasibility study and looking for funding for the study, perhaps from the state legislature.

Pension p.s.

Add this to the city's funding obligations: The Little Rock Police Pension Board still wants the city to pay it $500,000 it says it owes the Little Rock Police Pension Fund for the years 1995-2005. The fund is separate from the Little Rock police and firefighter pension funded by state insurance turnback money, which has come up $587,000 short. City Manager Bruce Moore said last week the city didn't owe the money because a statute of limitations had run, a position the board contests.

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