Nov. 3-9, 2010
It was a good week for ...
The WEST MEMPHIS THREE. The state Supreme Court ordered new hearings to consider DNA and other exculpatory evidence for the three men — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley — convicted in the deaths of three West Memphis children in 1993.
REPUBLICANS. What was not to like in the wake of last Tuesday's elections:
• Four of six Arkansas members of Congress next year will be Republicans, including a new senator, John Boozman.
• Three Republicans will hold statewide office — pizza magnate Mark Darr as lieutenant governor, expense accounting padding state Rep. Mark Martin as secretary of state and church security guard John Thurston as land commissioner.
• Republicans made huge gains in the legislature — they'll be about 45 of 100 in the House and 15 of 35 in the Senate.
GOV. MIKE BEEBE. His careful governing style and crossover appeal gave him a huge re-election margin.
The STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. It rejected three charter school applications, including transparent efforts to re-establish school districts ended by consolidation. If the approval process continues to be meaningful and accountability is demanded for those approved, charters will hold less potential for harm to students and conventional public schools.
TAX TALK. Randy Zook, head of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce said new legislators — many elected on no-tax pledges — better start thinking about approval of an increase in the charge to businesses for unemployment insurance or else expect a bigger charge from the feds to replenish recession-depleted trust funds.
It was a bad week for ...
MAYOR MARK STODOLA. Why did he play coy about his sponsored trip to China? Why won't he open up government and hold the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce accountable? Maybe because it was sending a rep with him on his trip to China.