Quote of the week
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry of violence on many sides — on many sides. It's been going on in our country for a long time." — President Trump's initial response to the violence in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, incited by white supremacists. An Ohio man, with ties to neo-Nazi groups, plowed his car into a crowd of people, killing one woman and injuring others. Two state troopers, who were monitoring the scene, also died in a helicopter crash on Aug. 12. At least 34 people were injured in the violence. On Aug. 14, Trump condemned the K.K.K, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups by name. On Aug. 15, Trump again blamed "both sides."
Tweet of the week
"White supremacy has no place in America. When it turned violent in the 80's, I prosecuted them as U.S. Attorney. #Charlottesville" — In sharp contrast of the president, Governor Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) offered an unequivocal Tweet at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 12. He's was one of only a few Arkansas Republicans to explicitly and immediately condemn white supremacy for the violence.
Statement of the week
"As we watched the events and the response from President Trump over the weekend, we too felt that he missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together by unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists." —Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on Aug. 15 in a statement responding to the violence in Charlottesville and Trump's response. Amid the fallout, executives from Merck, Under Armour and Intel have stepped down from a presidential advisory council for manufacturing.
Womack accessible only by ferry
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack is going to have one "town hall" of a sort in August, but it won't be easy to get there. He's scheduled a one-hour "coffee with the congressman" at 2:45 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Lazy Acres Fire Department, which has a mailing address in Missouri. Not to worry, it's in Arkansas, if barely. To get there, most of Arkansas has only one ready way of access, the last publicly operating ferry, across an arm of Bull Shoals Lake at Peel (Marion County). The Peel Ferry will operate that day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and departs every 20 minutes. The ferry can carry perhaps 12 cars each trip.
Once you've crossed the lake on the ferry, you're still not there. You've got to find Lazy Acres Road off Highway 125, take a right and then drive about 2.5 more miles, said a spokesman for the fire department. Tell the congressman we said howdy. I'm thinking the grassroots activist group Ozark Indivisible plans to greet him.
Tenants win rare victory
Circuit Judge Alice Gray has given a partial victory to residents of the Alexander Apartments, forced to vacate the apartments around Christmas in 2015 after the city found numerous safety code violations.
The judge had earlier found the city of Little Rock had violated due process rights in removing tenants from the apartments without notice. Continuing was a claim by tenants and interveners for the Arkansas Community Organization that the landlord had breached rental contracts by failing to provide habitable housing.
The judge said state law was clear, both in statute and court decisions. Arkansas (alone among the states) provides no warranty of habitability, explicit or implied, to people who rent housing.
But, she said, the housing code of Little Rock, with its requirement of safe and sanitary conditions, does become an implied part of a lease agreement and creates an implied warranty of habitability. She granted the tenant interveners partial summary judgment on that argument. The issues of breach of contract and damages will be decided at trial, the judge said.
If this notion prevails over time, it could mean there is some protection for tenants — at least in Little Rock, and perhaps other cities with similar housing codes — against the most anti-tenant law in the country.
The homicide tally
Little Rock recorded its 43nd homicide of 2017 on Tuesday when Michael Davis, 19, died after he was shot along Asher Avenue on MOnday. That number is one greater than all homicides in Little Rock in 2016. That's nearly an average of almost six homicides a month; at that rate, Little Rock could rack up 72 homicides by year's end, which would just surpass the high of 70 in 1993, the subject of the "Bangin' in the Rock" documentary.
The Little Rock Police Department, meanwhile, added 18 new officers to its force Aug. 4. The agency had 67 vacancies in its officer force in June.