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Who you callin' a hick?


Who you callin' a hick?
To David Easley II of Bedford, Texas. Calling all of the Arkansas population “hillbillies” is kinda painting with a broad brush don't ya think pard? I suggest you go jump in a two-foot-deep muddy lake. You Tex'uns got a lot of them!! Hee Haw.
Robert M. Eubanks III
Cammack Village


Looking good
Kudos to Bob Lancaster for his cryptic nod June 26 to the late Bo Diddly's other great number, one overlooked in every MSM obit of the founder of the Beat That Bore His Name, even ignored in Philip Martin's trivia-riddled meditation on the works of Bo, and the one always dearest to those of us toward the rear of the Handsome line: “You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At Its Cover.” Bo knows. So does Bob.
Mac Norton
Little Rock/Fayetteville


Bottled water
The comments made by Mayor Dan Coody in your recent article, “Drink tap water, mayor says,” deserve further clarification. Like tap water, bot-tled water is a healthy beverage option that provides consumers with access to clean, refreshing water that they can carry with them and drink throughout the day, which is a good thing. While tap water is a perfectly fine beverage choice, it is not always readily accessible when and where consumers need it.

Despite the mayor's suggestions about bottled water, both bottled and tap water are strictly regulated by federal law. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration imposes standards for bottled water that are at least as stringent and protective of public health as those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for public drinking water systems.

Most importantly, the environmental impact of bottled water containers, which are 100 percent recyclable, is minimal and improving. In fact, the oil figures cited in the media for making plastic water bottles account for just a fraction of America's oil consumption. Further, bottled water containers contribute only one-third of 1 percent to the municipal waste stream. Still, our industry is constantly working to reduce the material used in our packaging, become more energy efficient and improve recycling rates. These efforts are good for the environment and for business.

 On a final note, while the mayor suggests that deposit legislation would improve recycling; this would only single out beverage containers, which account for less than 5 percent of the nation's waste. Sadly, such legislation leaves some of the most easily recycled packaging out of the equation. Further, our state already has a higher recycling rate than many of the states that have deposit legislation in place. Rather, improving curbside recycling systems and educating consumers on the value of recycling all recyclables would be far more effective and efficient.

Dennis Farmer, President
Arkansas Beverage Association
Little Rock

Mayor Dan Coody of Fayetteville urged residents to drink tap water and forgo bottled water recently while claiming “public water supplies ... must meet far more stringent water purity requirements than do sellers of private bottled water.” The assertion of higher standards for public water supplies is an oft repeated one by tap water advocates — and it is simply untrue.

Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, which wholly adopts the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the regulations of the EPA (the federal agency regulating tap water) as a starting point. Then the FDA goes much further. Bottled water has higher standards than tap water for potential contaminants such as lead and bromate, and water bottlers are held to special standards related to containers, water sources and label-ing. To the extent tap water has a somewhat different regulatory scheme, it is simply because they have distribution pipes. Obviously regula-tion is not required for bottled water companies on such matters and their consumers don't have to worry about leaky, aging pipelines or lead connections. You also will never hear of a bottled water company telling their consumers, although the water smells and tastes bad because of dying algae, it is just fine to drink.

Mayor Coody is clearly right about beverage containers being too often discarded instead of recycled. All the plastic, glass, aluminum, paper and cardboard used in consumer packaging is useful stuff and we need it back. Mayor Coody and the other mayors will find an enthusiastic part-ner in the bottled water industry in devising and implementing recycling programs if he'll reach out to us instead of using us for a sound bite.
Breck Speed
CEO, Mountain Valley Spring Water
Hot Springs


On incentives
The question of disclosing details of negotiations to induce a particular industry to this state is not as simple as you recently editorialized. Yes, the details of tax incentives should be disclosed to the public. The question is “when”.

 What we all need to realize is that the withholding of details of offers and counter offers is rarely the choice solely of the governmental entities involved, it is far more often a requirement of the industry. In many cases, local Economic Development Commission members are required, early on, to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement, which basically commits local people to silence, until the industry is ready to make an announce-ment, meaning the deal is done, and the industry will locate here.

I suggest this to you as a result of serving on the Jonesboro Economic Development Corporation for more than 20 years. The competition for quality industry has always been considerable, but in the last few years, it has increased dramatically. By complying with industry's require-ments on disclosure, Jonesboro has, as you should know, been reasonably successful. I don't mean that's the only factor, but in many recruit-ments, it is required. Even if not required by the industry, it seems foolish to publicly announce what incentives are being offered before the final deal is cut. Surely you would agree that for our competition to know what we are offering is not a good competitive situation.

 One more item to consider. We have recently become very aware of the strong desire of our state leader, or leaders, to be the one to make the announcement, which can only come when all have agreed.

Charles Frierson III


The week that was
Breathes there a news junkie with brain so dead, who never to himself hath said, “Please, please, slow down the film”? In three days one week recently, the pace of history was so accelerated that it had some of us gasping.

First, on Wednesday, one of the “baddies” of the global community, North Korea, declared its willingness to destroy its uranium enrichment activity for WMDs. (In U.S. administration eyes any suspected WMD maker — except Israel — is guilty until proven innocent by US/UN — IAEA inspection.)

Then, on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that Americans — except crazies or convicted criminals — are constitutionally permit-ted to keep individual WLDs — Weapons of Limited Destruction in their homes. (U.S. citizens are considered innocent until proven guilty.)

 And then on Friday, the joint appearance of a black male presidential candidate and a white female potential vice-presidential candidate gave an unmistakable graphic public announcement that the fossil foolery of white, Anglo-Saxon, male chauvinist power is finished.

To some senior citizens it was like hearing Flip Wilson's Geraldine say to Deputy Barney Fife when he questions her right to open her new “Pleasure Palace” in Mayberry:

 “Honey, You just take care of the real rascals like Don Corleone, the Godfather types, and I will handle the moderates! And don't worry. The judge is gonna tell us who is which.”

Joel Taylor
Little Rock

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