IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
JIM HARVEY. The leader of Central Arkansas Water says he intends to move ahead with acquisition of Deltic Timber’s property beside Lake Maumelle to protect water quality. This will force the utility’s governing commission to declare whether it meant it when it authorized condemnation in 2003 or whether it has been co-opted since by a rich corporate citizen.
CLEAN AIR. Pine Bluff became the third Arkansas city to ban smoking in most public places. When will the capital city fall in line?
The SODA POP INDUSTRY. Gov. Mike Huckabee recommended that his state Board of Education merely encourage, not require, new limits on soft drink machines in public schools. Why? He said the soft drink lobby supports “local option.” Of course it does. Coke pushers know superintendents will never swear off the profits from sugary drinks.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
A FIELD OF DREAMS. That new North Little Rock baseball stadium for the Arkansas Travelers won’t be realized until at least 2008, because of a higher-than-expected cost. Oh, and, yes, a sales tax increase and a share of school property taxes will be necessary to build the $28 million pleasure palace, Mayor Pat Hays finally admitted.
FISH AND WILDLIFE. The Corps of Engineers began work on a pump station to transfer White River water to rice crops that have already plundered the East Arkansas aquifer. There’s no public cost too great to keep a few hundred rice farmers in business.
The WHITE RIVER. An unsightly alga that could spell problems for fish is flourishing below the Bull Shoals Dam. Nobody knows why. If it turns out that it’s bad for rice, you can be sure government will respond.
ASA HUTCHINSON. He’s trying to do an end-run around campaign finance law and use surplus congressional campaign money in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign. His only justification seems to be that opponent Win Rockefeller is rich. Whatever happened to the do-right rule?