Thursday, November 1, 2012

Morning roundup: Racial tension at the top

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 7:00 AM

VICTIMS BY RACE: Little Rock police released this crime breakdown today after recent concerns raised about crimes targeting Latinos.
  • VICTIMS BY RACE: Little Rock police released this crime breakdown today after recent concerns raised about crimes targeting Latinos.

A morning roundup follows. I'm going to be out of pocket most of the day today. The rest of the Times crew will pitch in as able.

* RACIAL TENSION: Wendell Griffen, a circuit judge and Baptist pastor, says a community meeting is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakeshore Baptist Church, 6120 W. 32nd, to talk about the bullying and sexual harassment identified in a study by UALR sociology professor Dr. Terry Trevino-Richard. The meeting is aimed at addressing and eliminating bullying, Griffen said.

The study reported tension in the schools along racial lines, particularly complaints of black harassment of Hispanics

Coincidentally, crime against Latinos was also a concern yesterday when anti-crime activist Benny Johnson joined with an official of the Mexican consulate in Little Rock and law officers to urge Hispanics to report crimes against them. A spate of Hispanic-targeted crimes recently led to the event. There's been some reluctance in the Latino community to report crimes to police for fear that reports by people without legal status could lead to immigration action. That's not a concern of local law enforcement, they said.

Race reared its head again, too, in a report that the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police leadership isn't happy that a group representing black police officers has complained asbout disparate pay and policies and treatment of officer misconduct in the department. The FOP says it will be the judge of that. A black police leader says he didn't even know the FOP had a minority issues committee, since it is functionally non-existent. The white bosses of FOP seem to say to black officers, "We'll do the talking. You shut up." Any officer has the right to make a written complaint to police leadership. The effort to stifle free speech in a government agency tells you everything you need to know about the FOP, a retrograde bunch.

* ABOUT THOSE CHART NUMBERS ABOVE: Little Rock, in the 2010 Census, was 48 percent white, 42 percent black and almost 7 percent Hispanic. The stats show that blacks and Hispanics are crime victims disproportionately often to their percentage in the population. Black suspects are disproportionately more often suspects.

* CHARTER SCHOOLS: The state Board of Education today will review six charter school applications, approval of which would reach the state cap of 24. CORRECTION: A newish law allows an expansion of the cap by 5 when the cap is reached. The Walton-financed charter school movement is spoiling to pass legislation to open the door without restriction to charters. Awaiting, too, is whether the "reformers: will do as they've done in other states to strip regulators of power when they've proved diligent in their responsibilities of weeding out poor operators. The Arkansas Board, a diverse group representing the spectrum of political thought, has remained friendly to charters, but not blindly enough for some of tee strongest advocates.

* AND, SPEAKING OF CHARTER SCHOOLS, ANOTHER SHAME-ON-LUKE-GORDY NOTE: I've just learned that Gordy, the former state Board of Education chair who is now a paid lobbyist for the Billionaire Boys Club (the Walton-Stephens-Murphy-Hussman charter school junta), has rejected a complaint from an existing A Plus program that works for arts education in the Arkansas schools about Gordy's expropriation of the A Plus name for a Walton-financed shill group that is lobbying for pro-charter laws in public meetings around the state. This is the A Plus group for which Laurie Lee, the former Fayetteville school library book banner, was hired to promote the charter school/choice (voucher) cause. Money talks, as ever. Just don't confuse Laurie Lee with the Thea Foundation's A Plus Arkansas Schools program, which is wholly about helping Arkansas students, not jamming the agenda of billionaires through a rent-to-own legislature.

UPDATE: Gordy puts a friendlier face on his refusal to give up his new group's name in recognition of a long-functioning arts organization.

When Paul Leopoulos called me with his concerns regarding any possible unintended confusion between the two completely separate and independent programs, I went to Paul at the Thea Foundation offices and spent an hour and a half visiting with him about both his program and what we could do to mitigate any confusion. After a very cordial meeting, we mutually agreed that, on any printed materials, newspaper ads and community Town Hall meetings developed and implemented on behalf of our A + Arkansas campaign, we would provide the following disclaimer...

"While we are strong supporters of the Thea Foundation, there is absolutely no affiliation between the A+Arkansas Campaign and Thea Foundation's Arkansas A + Schools whole school reform initiative."

LUKE: I can't find that disclaimer on our group's website. Is that "printed material"?

UPDATE II: Gordy said:

To your blog question...the disclaimer was supposed to be added to everything we produced or will produce subsequent to my conversation with Paul. it was also to include the website, which I directed the campaign to add. As a result of your inquiry regarding the disclaimer on the website, I checked and could not find it, either. Not checking the website for the addition of the disclaimer is definitely my mistake and I have called and insisted it be added immediately. Thank you for the heads up

* SPEAKING OF SCHOOLS: I see Judge Mary McGowan ruled the state of Arkansas's sovereign immunity applies in lawsuits by Pulaski School District employees over the junking of their contracts after the state took over the school district. Eventually, the state Supreme Court will get a crack. I always thought the state couldn't be made to pay money owed by an entity that no longer existed. But I think the question of non-monetary issues provided in the contracts is a knottier question, as the judge acknowledged in her ruling. In theory, the "arbitrary and capricious" standard will prevent the state from wholesale ducking behind such rulings to take over entities with contracts officialdom doesn't like. Won't it?

* MORE HOT AIR: Thanks to the gas glut, looks like retail gas prices in Arkansas will go down more than 8 percent for Centerpoint customers. It won't be much felt as the planet warms. But say, if wholesale gas prices are down 39 percent at the wellhead from a year ago, shouldn't we get a bit more than an 8 percent cut?

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Rutledge refuses open records of fired trooper who now leads ABC enforcement

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge yesterday refused to allow release of records that explain the 2000 firing of Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 1, 2015
  • FOI lawsuit filed for State Police firing records on ABC enforcement boss Boyce Hamlet

    Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • State Police issues statement on Jason Rapert 'threats'

    The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
    • Sep 15, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Most Viewed

  • Governor signs concealed carry bill, but amendment coming

    UPDATE: Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the expanded concealed carry legislation, but some additional legislation is promised, at a minimum to exempt UAMS and the State Hospital from the expanded list of places where concealed weapons are allowed for those with a new permit that requires an additional day of training.
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
  • It's official: Arkansas Senate resolution blames refs for Hog loss; calls for ref education

    Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
  • Arrest made in detail shop slaying

    Josh Berry of KARK reports that an arrest has been made in the slaying of Harvel Sieber, 47, at an east side detail shop.
  • A whiny Mike Huckabee endorses arts funding

    Mike Huckabee, whose daughter works for Donald Trump, has written an op-ed for the Washington Post endorsing continued funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump has proposed to eliminate.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation