Nov. 4-Nov. 11, 2008
It was a GOOD week for …
AMERICA. Barack Obama was elected president. Another racial barrier fell. Better yet is the hope for change after eight years of damaging Republican rule.
LOBBYISTS. Voters approved annual legislative sessions. Lawmakers will be in Little Rock more often, their hands out for per diem and lobbyist-supplied drinks and steak dinners. It will obviously require more lobbyists to keep up with double the opportunity for mischief and special influence.
WOMEN. Elections sent a record number of women to the Arkansas legislature — 32, seven senators and 25 representatives.
The LAW. Judge William R. Wilson said a developer couldn't build a Bass Pro Shops in the Dark Hollow wetland in North Little Rock without first producing a meaningful environmental impact study. This must include the significant cost and impact of highway improvements, one of many things overlooked as North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays pushed to help a developer at the expense of the environment and taxpayers.
POLLUTION: The state Department of Environmental Quality (funny name) approved an air permit for a coal-burning power plant in Hempstead County.
It was a BAD week for …
CHILDREN. Arkansas voters approved Initiated Act 1, which prohibits adoption by unmarried couples. It will harm children and gays and straights alike, though the measure was mostly about the extreme Religious Right's agenda to marginalize gay people. That theme remains popular in Arkansas, though a 57-43 margin was far better than the 70-30 margin by which gay marriage was banned.
CIRCUIT JUDGE WILLARD PROCTOR. The state Judicial Discipline agency released a stunning list of allegations of misconduct against Proctor, including jailing people for failing to pay fees to a nonprofit agency he controls. As yet, nobody else in power seems willing to attempt to put a stop to Proctor's abuse of power — not the state Supreme Court and not county officials.