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Smart talk, Oct. 2

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Fun with numbers

 

We occasionally like to pull out the calculator when public officials and media throw numbers around without much thought.

For example: Last week, North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays said a visiting recreational vehicle convention would produce up to $5 million in economic benefits.

We did some math. The city claimed 1,000 RVs would attend. If that figure was reached, each RV would have to produce $5,000 in benefits for a five-day convention, or $1,000 per day. They don't rent hotel rooms. They make many meals aboard their land yachts. They don't buy much gas. The city invested tens of thousands in a new parking lot and services from city police and firefighters. How do you spend $1,000 a day in North Little Rock? Yes, undoubtedly the mayor would claim a multiplier effect. But even an overly generous tripling of expenditures would require the RVers to spend $333 a day, at no cost to the city. Sounds a touch high, even if North Little Rock has many more places to spend money than it once did.

 

Bad press

 

A Little Rock native made national political news for a misstep early in a new job as campaign spokesman for Cynthia Lummis, a Republican candidate for Wyoming's seat in the U.S. House. Rachael Seidenschnur, a Little Rock Central High graduate, resigned her post last week, six days into her new job, after phoning a news conference held by Lummis' Democratic opponent Gary Trauner and, using a false name, asking a question about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He denounced the call later as “gotcha politics.” News media said a check of phone records indicated that Seidenschnur had made the call. Seidenschnur had been a spokeswoman for outgoing U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin. She's worked for several other members of Congress, including a 2002 internship for then-U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson.

 

Go bottle

 

A report that the federal Environmental Protection Agency won't require public water supplies to remove a toxic rocket-fuel ingredient from their water brought a quick response from Breck Speed, CEO of Mountain Valley Spring, the bottled-water company headquartered in Hot Springs. If you drink Mountain Valley, you don't have to worry about perchlorate, he said. “Mountain Valley and all other members of the International Bottled Water Association have tested for perchlorate for years.”

Perchlorate has been found in public water supplies in 35 states, at levels that could endanger public health, according to some scientists. But according to the Associated Press, the EPA has decided that a ban on perchlorate is unnecessary.

 

Comfort station

 

It's not a new nonstop to Paris, but the Little Rock National Airport has an advancement to report. In the area of restrooms.

The airport last week announced completion of a “family restroom” in the post-security part of the airport, adjacent to Gate 7. The facility includes a baby-changing table and space large enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, plus “hands-free” faucets and flushers and motion-sensitive lighting.

Go now.

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