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Occupy Chamber of Commerce 

Occupy Chamber of Commerce

I read in the Democrat-Gazette that City Director Gene Fortson wants the city of Little Rock to evict the Occupy Little Rock people camping in the unused parking lot at Capitol and Ferry.

I think he's right. The city should evict them. After all, the Occupy people don't represent all of us. Only about 99 percent of us.

Yes, throw the rabble out of the city-owned parking lot. But first, before doing that, put an end to the city's annual subsidy to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. That organization represents only a small minority of our fair city's citizens.

Bill Shepherd

Little Rock

Give Clarke the heave-ho

Everybody in the state of Arkansas knows who Sam Walton was and why he is famous.

Many of us know something about Daisy Bates, J. William Fulbright, Johnny Cash and Winthrop Rockefeller, and we recognize their accomplishments. Other personalities from Arkansas history are likely to be known to those with similar interests or careers, such as Albert Pike and Hattie Caraway (politics); Edward Durrell Stone and E. Fay Jones (architecture); William Grant Still and Sarah Caldwell (music), and Isaac Parker and Uriah M. Rose (law). Then there was James Paul Clarke.

James Paul Clarke?

In 1864 the U.S. Congress passed legislation that invited each state to send statues of two of its citizens to be placed in the newly created Statuary Hall. When a new House of Representatives wing was added to the Capitol, the space in which that body had previously sat became free, and the room became Statuary Hall. In 1917 Arkansas presented a statue of Uriah M. Rose, a partner in Little Rock's Rose Law Firm and a founder and early president of the American Bar Association. In 1921, the state presented its second allotted statue, one of James Paul Clarke. Clarke had served without particular distinction both as governor and as U.S. senator. In 1933, Statuary Hall became so crowded with statues and so stressed with the weight of so much stone that Congress provided that some of the statues could be removed to other places in the Capitol. Rose's statue remains in Statuary Hall, while that of Clarke has a new home in the Capitol Visitor Center.

In 2000, Congress provided a way for states to replace one or both of their statues.

The state's legislature must pass and its governor must approve legislation calling for the replacement of a statue. The request is reviewed by the Congressional Joint Committee on the Library. After the library committee's approval is secured, the state must agree to oversee the creation of the new statue and to cover all expenses. The statues must be gifts from the states, not from individuals or groups of individuals. Consequently, action by the state legislature is a necessity. The new statue must represent a deceased person. Thus far three states have replaced one of their statues. Alabama replaced J. L.M. Curry with Helen Keller, California favored Ronald Reagan over Thomas S. King and Kansas now is represented by Dwight D. Eisenhower rather than George W. Glick.

Nine decades, a span more than half the total years of our state's existence, have passed since the presentation of the Clarke statue. Many men and women have contributed to the state's advancement in those decades since 1921, and the contributions of some Arkansans who lived before 1921 have been re-evaluated. The time has come to select a more illustrious Arkansan to replace James Paul Clark.

Richard A. Bland

Rogers

Vote yes for library bond refinance

I've taken some time to educate myself about the upcoming vote on March 13 concerning central Arkansas libraries, and I want to encourage Little Rock voters to vote yes for the bond refinance. A yes will allow our library system to add thousands of books and other materials to our libraries, expand and improve many of the branch libraries and the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, buy more computers, increase Internet services, build an auditorium for children's and adults' programs at the Main Library downtown and add new parking spaces there too.

How much is all of this improvement to our libraries going to raise our taxes? Not at all! In fact, a yes vote will lower our millage rate for years to come. 

My children and I are frequent patrons of our libraries, and we know that we are fortunate to have a wonderful library system. I welcome the opportunity to make it even bigger and better with my vote. I hope Little Rock voters will join me and vote yes for our libraries on Tuesday, March 13.

Jill Curran

Little Rock

The weird bunch

Pity the poor old-line country club Republicans, sports-fans! Their choices this cycle are staggeringly weird, and more exposure to any of 'em in those debates must make the tweedy good ol' boy brigadiers flinch in horror. Baby Pope Rickie and Moroni's Buddy vie for belief systems combining superstition and Savanarola for a race into our bedrooms. Ayn Rand's devotee, the nutcracker-jawed Doc Paul, almost looks normal these days. Since this is basically a family paper, let's don't get into Newt. Please. So where's a nice descendant of the old Eisenhower days gonna go this coming November? If my Uncle Ralph is any indication, they're gonna go to Poland for the beauty pageant. I'm OK with that.

Elizabeth Harris

Evening Shade

Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is arktimes@arktimes.com. We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include name and hometown.

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