State court ruling applauded
The news that the Arkansas Supreme Court had struck down the state's lethal injection statute thrilled me. There is now effectively a moratorium on the death penalty in Arkansas. I have never supported the death penalty and my opposition to the death penalty became even stronger after my brother, Ronald Schlatter, was murdered in 1968.
Ronald was murdered in a public place with many eyewitnesses, four of whom gave statements to the police immediately following the shooting. Despite this the suspected shooter was free for almost 40 years before finally being apprehended. By that time it was too late for justice and the suspect was free six days later. The prosecutor could no longer make a case. The eyewitness statements could no longer be corroborated and physical evidence had long since been destroyed.
I can't begin to express the painful emotions that were stirred up for my family and me during this process. Arkansas shouldn't be looking to the death penalty for justice; we should be looking at supporting law enforcement so they can investigate these crimes and arrest the people responsible — that's where the pursuit of justice needs to begin.
Numerous studies have shown that death sentences cost much more than life without parole. Imagine what our justice system could do with all those millions of dollars they are currently sinking into capital punishment! Maybe families like mine could have access to services to help us heal. Maybe more resources could be directed to solving unsolved crimes rather than to the broken, bloated death penalty system. And just maybe my brother and my family would have received justice.
I am grateful for the Supreme Court's ruling on June 22, and I am hopeful that the legislature will take this time to think about what really serves justice for victims and their families instead of just drafting yet another new law for lethal injection protocol. The death penalty doesn't serve me, it doesn't bring me peace, and the expense of it may well have cost my brother and my family the justice we deserve.
Don't call it Obamacare
There is no such thing as Obamacare. When Mitt Romney speaks of such, he is hoping to lead you astray. There is such a thing as the Affordable Care Act, passed by the U.S. Congress and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which gives everyone a chance for affordable health care. Now, Democrats and President Obama must provide U.S. citizens with exact information to the excellent things this law does, such as insuring a greater number of people, eliminating preexisting conditions and allowing people to keep the coverage they have, just to name a few.
So, when Mr. Romney tries to tell you the horrors of the Affordable Care Act and calls it by a fictitious name, just remember, he set up the model for this act in Massachusetts when he was governor there. Don't let him fool you. You are smarter than that, aren't you?
Brenda Ball Tirrell
Hot Springs Village
Parsing SCOTUS decision
Mr. Dumas was wrong! He expected an activist Supreme Court to take the individual mandate down ("Scalia makes plain court is politicized," June 27). The rulings were fairly simple. Chief Justice Roberts agreed this is simply a massive tax increase (thus the 5-4 ruling), which is within the job description of the Congress. At least Mr. Dumas is happy to officially be the federal government's bitch because we can now be forced to do anything through taxation. Nevada needs more hookers — implement the Affordable Hooker Act and tell everyone they have to pay a tax if they don't have their own hooker policy. Obama and all Democrats vowed this wasn't a tax bill. Would this have been able to pass had Obama been honest and called this a tax increase? Even with the super majority Democrats held, not very damn likely. Conservatives got one positive out of the rulings and that is that the Medicaid expansion was invalidated as states can't be punished for not expanding the Medicaid pool forcing states to raising their taxes because they can't afford the expansion. A big part of the appeal was that in five years states have to pick up the costs of Medicaid expansion. This part of the ruling (by 7-2) leaves states the opportunity to ignore this expansion if they so choose. If Arkansas chooses to implement the Medicaid expansion we will be fully on the hook in five years and Arkansas taxes will have to go up. We have Senator Pryor to thank for this massive tax increase and we will remember in 2014 when he'll have to explain why he didn't understand the amount of taxes built in to this bill.
Tech Park unaccountable
I had serious misgivings about supporting the tax increase proposal that will eventually fund the Little Rock Technology Park. Now I know it was the wrong decision, and not just because the Technology/Research Park concept has a hit and miss record of success.
The appalling arrogance shown by the Technology Park Authority and the Chamber of Commerce in their rush to make a site selection is mind-boggling. Their lack of concern for the fabric of the city and lack of compassion for the citizens they plan to remove from their homes is inexcusable. It appears that this enterprise is being engineered as a source of profit for the real estate/development industry by their cronies who serve on the Tech Authority and City Board. Equally appalling is the lack of concern shown by the city directors and mayor. The Technology Park Authority needs to be reined in and made accountable. Can't the City Board of Directors do that?
It is difficult to believe that an appropriate site that wouldn't require the demolition of viable neighborhoods cannot be found. One must wonder what the true motivation of the Authority Board is. Who stands to profit from this development? Why are these three sites the only acceptable ones for this Authority?
It will be the proverbial cold day in hell before I, and many other citizens, trust the city of Little Rock when it places another tax increase proposal on the ballot.