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The people served


Sometimes we the people complain so hard about the government not working that we fail to notice when it does. There have been two such happy occasions in Central Arkansas in the last week and a half.

Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright upheld the First Amendment, always cause for celebration, ordering the local bus company to stop discriminating against atheists who want to advertise on the sides of buses just as other people do, including churches. Central Arkansas Transit Authority and its advertising agency had refused to sell ads to the atheists unless they put up an unprecedented $36,000 deposit to pay for vandalism that might ensue. Wright told CATA to deal with the atheist group the same way it deals with other advertisers. She brushed aside the flimsy defense that it was the private ad agency, not the public transit authority, that was denying ad space to the atheists. Even the ad agency's own contracts said the agency was acting on behalf of CATA.

Next, the state Ethics Commission voted to send a letter of caution to Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs, finding that she had illegally raised her own salary without the approval of the city council. Dabbs' rambling testimony on her own behalf was unpersuasive. The Commission voted against her 5 to 0, and a couple of those were Republican votes. Mayor Dabbs is a Republican, apparently of the Mark Martin school. Like the erratic secretary of state, she's a good bet to stay in hot water.

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