Favorite

Letters March 10 

O’Brien’s essay As a longtime reader who generally finds myself in agreement with your editorial stance, I was surprised by your knee-jerk reaction to Pulaski County Clerk Pat O’Brien’s requirement that his employees write an essay addressing an adversity they had encountered, overcome and learned from. You suggest that the essay’s subject is an intrusion on privacy, but I find it rather innocuous. Having a flat tire on a busy street is an adversity, as is running out of a key ingredient when preparing a special dish or having the dishwasher break right before Thanksgiving dinner. These are hardly deeply personal matters. Did you feel your child’s right to privacy was infringed upon when he/she was asked to write the inevitable “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay? As an instructor of English Comp I, I think perhaps the problem lies more with the unexpected requirement of writing an essay than with the subject matter. Over the years my students have often asked what the writing of essays has to do with “real life.” Pat O’Brien has given me an excellent illustration to use when answering that question. Many professions — teaching among them — require the submission of an essay as part of the application process. (For that matter, I doubt that you hire writers without seeing a writing sample.) Why should county employees be exempt? O’Brien was more open-minded than many newly elected officials when he retained all of Ms. Staley’s employees (with the exception of Ms. Hay). Surely he has the right to ask that they prove themselves capable of literate expression since they work in an office where clear communication with the public is essential. Besides, having worked in Ms. Staley’s office, no one should have any problem in thinking of an adversity. Barbara B. Peters Little Rock In regards to the editorial about Pulaski County Clerk Pat O’Brien and his request for the essays regarding an adversity that we have faced and overcome. We feel that the person who wrote this editorial is not competent or level-headed, unlike Pat O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien is not harassing the county employees as you suggested, he is only doing what he feels is relevant to the evaluation process. Second of all, the comment about bra sizes is not only immature but elementary. We feel that your informant or informants made this comment due to their lack of intelligence and maybe jealousy due to the fact that their bra size is bigger than their I.Q. leaving it difficult to compose their essay. We also would like you to know when it comes to incompetent circuit clerks, the only names that come to mind are Carolyn Staley and Janice Hay. Mr. O’Brien is very capable and willing to clean up the two decades of incompetence that these two left behind. Last but not least, we feel that the informants who provided information are among the b.s. artists that he is trying to weed out. The county employees who are capable and highly intelligent and who will be retaining their positions with the new COMPETENT clerk, would like to say to the informant(s), if you still work here, we suggest that you find a box, pack it and do not let the door bruise your bottom as you leave! Amanda Edwards North Little Rock Water world Lakes Maumelle and Winona are valuable resources that have provided pure, clean water to over 360,000 customers in the Central Arkansas area for years. Central Arkansas Water has won the highest rating the EPA can give a water utility for the last 12 years. It is incredible that the Little Rock city directors, the Chamber of Commerce and the current water commissioners seem so short-sighted that they would compromise with Deltic Timber and allow houses to be built on the ridge above the intake of Maumelle. If indeed they do, the credibility of the utility and its board will be gone. There is no plan to enforce any covenant agreements that might be signed and human habitation that close to the lake will cause pollution to seep into the water. With no enforcement, it may be sooner rather than later. Then, any tax dollars gained from the houses built on that ridge will not help pay for treatment. I hope all water drinkers will contact city board members and water commissioners and members of the Arkansas House of Representatives to urge opposition to housing developments around Lake Maumelle. Nancy M. Wood Little Rock Being called “arrogant” is a really difficult pill to swallow, especially when actions and facts show differently. Central Arkansas Water has to be one of a few utilities, public or private, that will change a policy if customers or, in some cases, even one customer makes a case for change. Our policies are much more customer-oriented than most utilities’. In our most recent consumer surveys, customers mention our chief executive officer, Jim Harvey, by name and commend him for his leadership and the utility’s delivery of quality service and low rates. In 2002, we introduced a schedule of system development charges to help with financing community growth. In 2003, we began enforcing a state public health regulation that applied to residential sprinkler systems. In both cases — because of strong customer concerns — we stopped to listen and were responsive to a differing perspective. Now, the issue is protecting Lake Maumelle, the primary source of drinking water for 12 cities and communities in Central Arkansas Water. Again, we have listened and offered to compromise by allowing land development in areas other than near the intakes where we first draw water for treatment. We all must be fair to others and ourselves and remember that listening does not necessarily mean giving the other side what it wants. It’s giving due consideration to the other point of view. Our water bill is one of the lowest utility bills that we pay and our drinking water is of much better quality than required by federal or state standards. Another pill that we simply cannot swallow and that we challenge is an accusation that water rates are artificially low. That’s a supposition made elsewhere in print by another newspaper and it is nothing more than a l-o-n-g stretch to find criticism. We also have been challenged to make a stronger case for having no future land development near the intake structures. What stronger case is there than protecting our drinking water supply? I believe that standing firmly by the conclusion that land development near the intake structures of Lake Maumelle puts our drinking water source at risk for increased pollution does not make the utility “arrogant.” It does mean we are “cautious.” Our drinking water is a serious matter. When a utility is responsible for such an important aspect of public health and the associated costs for 360,000 people, the proper label should be “responsible.” Marie A. Crawford Central Arkansas Water Hillcrest teardowns Your article on Hillcrest teardowns states that “almost everyone in favor of creating the historic district who talked to the Times mentioned that much of the opposition was under the mistaken impression that residents would need a commission’s approval for things as small as paint color.” If the Times had talked to anyone involved in that opposition, you would know that the opposition was centered on the fact that the proposed historic district, unlike most such efforts across the country, had no set standards and would have vested standardless discretion in a commission to exercise authority over all sorts of homeowner decisions. Little Rock saw how this works in 2000 when, in the MacArthur Park Historic District, we witnessed the shameful arrest of poor Betty Deislinger for leaving the security bars on her windows. The more limited idea of a commission-regulated standard for demolitions and new construction in a “conservation” district is interesting, but the devil is in the details, which I believe would need to be precisely spelled out and debated before Hillcrest residents would approve. I would note also that there are many original Hillcrest homes that occupy a large “footprint” relative to the lot. It will be interesting to see if supporters of such a district truly can resist their temptation to impose architectural restrictions as well. By any standard, Hillcrest residents have been extraordinary stewards of their neighborhood for decades. I do not believe that most residents see the few new or extensively remodeled houses in Hillcrest over the last couple of decades as threats to our sensibilities or anything other than reasonably well executed additions to an architecturally diverse neighborhood. I have not seen any “big box” construction against which there is so much railing, with the exception of the wholly new construction on Edgerstoune Lane hanging off the side of a steep hill, which nobody seems to mind too much. Somehow Hillcrest has managed to flourish over the past few decades with huge homeowner investments without harming the integrity and charm of the neighborhood and without the government ordering folks what to do with their homes. John L. Burnett Little Rock The Bush administration The “Social Security has got to go” chants of the Republicans outside the meeting place at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where Rick Santorum was holding a Social Security forum, were absolutely uncalled for. These chants pretty well tell me that this is exactly what Bush’s camp is setting out to do in the near future. Privatizing is only the beginning. I am not wealthy and cannot invest money for my retirement and am counting on the Social Security I have worked years and years to earn. Brenda Word North Little Rock
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The dark roots of 'America First'

    Donald Trump employed the phrase "America First" in his inaugural speech and it's now featured prominently in a list of initiatives on the new Trump White House website. (Gone from the website are Obama-era references to "climate change."
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • The Trump presidency begins with populist themes

    Donald Trump took office as president with a ringing appeal to populism, a theme not well-represented in his cabinet. But policies are to come.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • Room on the mall

    Crowd for Donald Trump's inauguration? Not huge.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • Outsourcing state government

    As a citizen, I don't get to choose not to pay taxes because I don't like what the Arkansas state government is spending state and federal money on, such as paying a Chinese company, Sun Paper, approximately $1 billion to build a paper mill in Clark County.
    • Sep 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Letters

  • Taking on trainers

    As our legislators return to work this week, they will take up House Bill 1040, preventing athletic trainers from practicing in nonclinical settings and severely restricting what they can do to provide assistance to students.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Ride it out

    Before the JFK assassination and the dawn of conspiracy theories, we trusted our government to tell us what was what. Ike might hold back a few facts in the interest of national security, but he would never flat-out lie to us.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • For gun sense

    Since the attack at Ohio State University, lawmakers have offered solutions they believe would prevent such scary events.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Plant of the year

    The legalization of medical marijuana was Arkansas's most significant news of 2016.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • I have been diagnosed with COPD for over 7 years. A couple of months ago…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • There is plenty of studies out there, which fill in the holes in this story…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Plant of the year

    • The only dope I see in this is that Kleiman, talking about things he is…

    • on January 19, 2017
 

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