Disheartening news on the equality front. A referendum is in the works to repeal Eureka Springs' ordinance protecting LGBT people and some Little Rock city directors have had discouraging things to say about an effort to pass such an ordinance in the capital city.
Arkansas Outside, a website devoted to outdoor sports, offers reporting on the Little Rock City Board's recent failure to adopt a "complete streets" ordinance. Progressive planning policy has rarely been a hallmark of Little Rock city leaders.
The Little Rock City Board last night heard from Ward 2 residents in favor and opposed to the resignation of City Director Kenneth Richardson because of a recent drunk driving arrest. I'd say such a call is at best premature. Also politically motivated.
The Little Rock City Board of Directors is scheduled to take up Tuesday night a request from the Junior League of Little Rock to change windows on its headquarters, the historic Woman's City Club building at 4th and Scott Streets.
Convenience store battles continue as West Little Rock neighborhoods marshal opposition to another giant proposed Murphy Oil gas station, this one at busy Taylor Loop Road and Highway 10. The hope is for a City
Board moratorium on such developments while the broader issue is studied.
The noon deadline today for filing as a candidate for Little Rock office has come and gone, and Mayor Mark Stodola did not draw an opponent. He'll be elected to his third four-year term. Benny Johnson, of the Stop the Violence group, has been critical of the mayor for the city's use of police resources in the inner city and had been considering the race. But several Little Rock Directors face opposition.
The City Board of Directors will vote tonight on whether to allow a 24-hour convenience store and 20-pump gas station at the northwest corner of University and 12th Street, on lots formerly occupied by Brandon House furniture. If it approves the ordinance, it will be against the advice of the city's Planning Commission staff and the wishes of the residents in neighborhoods surrounding the intersection.
City Manager Bruce Moore has further reduced a pool of candidates for Little Rock police chief from seven to three, including the current assistant chief of LRPD Eric Higgins. Public meetings with the three are planned in the process for Moore to choose a successor to the retiring Stuart Thomas.
A fight could be brewing over regulation of puppy mills, with legislation planned to better protect dogs and opposition already underway from a state representative who makes a living working with commercial dog breeders.
It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
The Presbytery of Arkansas, the governing body for Presbyterian churches in the northern two-thirds of Arkansas, met Saturday at Clarksville and adopted a resolution urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, which is aimed at preventing local government from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people. The Presbytery also expressed its opposition to a pending House bill that, in the name of "conscience," would protect those who discriminate against gay people.
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus has issued a news release pointing to the recent double murder/suicide ascribed to UALR faculty member James Wibanks as an illustration of the potential for problems in legislation to allow staff members to carry guns on campus.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, after extended debate, today refused to endorse HB 1228, Rep. Bob Ballinger's "conscience protection" bill that is intended to allow people to claim religion as a pretext for discriminating against gay people.