Unfair to Rapert
As a longtime reader of the Arkansas Times, it is rare that I feel compelled to comment on the content of your publication. However, a recent editorial by Rick Fahr regarding the Senate race in District 35 (Conway area) necessitates such a response. Although I do not agree with many of the positions taken by Sen. Jason Rapert, I strongly disagree with Mr. Fahr's characterization of him. During the past 10 years that I have been acquainted with Sen. Rapert in a professional capacity, I have found him to be congenial, honest, and hardworking, an individual of integrity far from the "snake oil salesman aura" to which the editorial alluded. A closing line of the article indicates that lots of "name" folks in Conway who should know better strongly support Rapert. This may be attributed, in part, to the strength of Sen. Rapert's character in addition to his long and respected record of community involvement.
The comment "one reason she (Rep. Linda Tyler) doesn't wear short sleeves in public is to hide the sickle and hammer tat, or so Rapert and his ilk would have us believe" is both offensive and groundless. The Times has a history of editorials that are based on fact and substance, which call the readers to think and draw conclusions for ourselves. However, this one seems to be little more than name calling.
Rep. Tyler has accomplished much good during her tenure and is a capable legislator. Sen. Rapert is also a dedicated legislator with a commitment to the area. Voters in District 35 are fortunate to have two such strong candidates from which to choose during the upcoming election. Unfortunately, Mr. Fahr's editorial did little to assist us in making that choice.
Stodola disappoints bikers
An open letter to Mayor Mark Stodola:
The lack of action by the City of Little Rock concerning promises made over the last year is disappointing. It was a year ago this September that you spoke before the Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas group (BACA) at the Oyster Bar. Your agenda was to gain support for a sales tax increase. BACA gave that support with the understanding that some of the money raised would go toward bike-friendly initiatives throughout the city. This new tax passed almost 11 months ago and the newly generated taxes have been collected for 8 months. I have not seen any improvement to bike facilities, trails, parks, etc. in that time. Law enforcement that protects drivers, cyclists and pedestrians has not improved, and drivers continue to run red lights and speed on city streets. Much is being said sir, nothing is being done. This backpedaling on promises made is not going unnoticed.
Other promises to the Little Rock Bicycle Friendly Community Committee (LRBFCC) have gone unfulfilled. City employees promised a temporary fix to the dangerous, unfinished section of the Arkansas River Trail along Cantrell Road in front of the Episcopal Collegiate School. This work was promised to be completed in August 2012 before school started. It is now Aug. 31st and no work has begun. This promise was reiterated in early July when you, again, spoke to the BACA membership at the Capital Hotel and asked for support for extension of the millage. It is becoming obvious that you will say what you must to get what you want.
Another promise to the LRBFCC included the hiring of a bicycle/pedestrian coordinator. This position remains unfilled. The LRBFCC has also worked diligently to create a complete streets program for Little Rock that would help direct the city's transportation infrastructure in support "of people" instead of cars. The LRBFCC was directed to do this by your office. Unfortunately, the city ignored this well-written and comprehensive document for a watered down version that will do little to improve the lives of Little Rock citizens.
Much talk is given to new technology parks and other employment draws, but the city fails to realize that if they wish to draw taxpayers from West Coast cities or other tech-based towns they need to match or exceed the quality of life that those communities provide. Virtually every city that is walking and bicycle friendly ranks high in both livability and economic growth.
Editor, Arkansas Outside
Pot foes misinformed
I read an article in the Sept. 1 issue of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette entitled, "Group asking court to reject POT" measure, and felt compelled to respond. The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values, whose members include Family Council President Jerry Cox and Faith and Ethics Council Executive Director Larry Page, are behind this effort.
Once again, a group of misinformed people want to prevent the voters of our state, from exercising their right to vote on this issue.
I apologize in advance for offending some of you with FACTS, but here they are:
—In 5,000 years of the known use of marijuana, nobody has ever died from smoking POT. It is impossible to overdose by using this PLANT.
—Every year, over 450,000 Americans die from smoking tobacco.
—Every year over 150,000 Americans die from the use of alcohol, either through illness or accidents related to its use.
—Every 19 minutes an American dies from the abuse of prescription drugs.
—The damage and death caused by a real problem in Arkansas, meth, is on a Biblical scale.
This group states that one of the reasons they object to the Arkansans for Compassionate Care Act is that under federal law, marijuana is a schedule one drug. The feds have cocaine and meth defined as schedule two drugs, less dangerous than marijuana.
Are you kidding me? If anyone ever needed any proof of how stupid the federal laws are regarding this matter, look no further. I have many close friends in law enforcement, none of whom would ever agree with this insanity. Show me a law enforcement officer who thinks pot is more harmful than cocaine and meth, and I will show you Barney Fife, a cop with one bullet in his shirt pocket.