IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
BIRDS. The ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought extinct, has been discovered swooping about the Big Woods of the Cache River basin. Does he have company? These, and many other questions, are now to be addressed, including whether farmers will be allowed to further imperil the bird’s habitat by taking its water.
GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE. His weight-loss book hit the stores and former President Bill Clinton kindly lent his aura to the Huckster by participating with him in an American Heart Association news conference about childhood obesity. Clinton is willing to forget all the japes and impersonations the Huck has made at his expense. You can be sure the Huckster would not return the favor.
SUING THE LEGISLATURE. We don’t think the state Supreme Court will reopen the Lake View case, as some school districts want. But we also think the legislature will have a harder time with a fresh lawsuit in which Fort Smith is the lead plaintiff. It says the legislature clearly did not meet school needs for adequacy first and then deal with everything else, as the law requires, and it seems to have siphoned off school property tax money for other purposes. In short, lawmakers have some splainin’ to do.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
The ARKANSAS REPUBLICAN PARTY. It got hit with a record $360,000 fine for an astonishing list of campaign finance law violations in the 2000 cycle. Sins included illegal contributions by Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller, massive overspending on then-U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey’s race and plenty of involvement in the funny business by the committee headed by Gov. Huckabee’s operative, Jason Brady. Understandably, Repubs prefer to talk about the future now, not the past.
The STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT. Its laboratory is going to lose federal certification — and could lose millions in revenue — because of violations of federal regulations. It’s also being legislated out of independent existence for multiple operational woes. Remind us again why a state institution has just been named in honor of its late director, Fay Boozman, apart from his kind personality.