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Remember Nate Steel 

Remember Nate Steel

The car wreck that is the Republican primary runoff election between Leslie Rutledge and David Sterling has become hard to watch even for comedy's sake. The candidates' arguments have lately focused on matters almost wholly irrelevant to the office. Who loves guns more, for example. Or who has less regard for same-sex couples seeking equal rights under the law? Rutledge doesn't miss an opportunity to mention Sterling's legal work for a seller of online porn. Sterling doesn't miss an opportunity to mention Rutledge's occasional votes in Democratic primaries back in the day when there was little at issue in Republican primaries. Sterling is the worst candidate for his refusal to repudiate dark money support for his advocacy of a Kill the Witness (Stand Your Ground) law for gun homicide protection, but that doesn't make Rutledge worth rooting for.

Quote to remember

When Kenton Buckner, the Louisville assistant police chief who was hired last week to become Little Rock's next chief, was in town for interviewing for the job, he talked of seeking out partners in the churches, the community, social service agencies and schools to address crime roots. At the public meeting at which he spoke, he touted work he'd done in Louisville in community policing. City Director Ken Richardson, who represents a neighborhood with a high crime rate, where a rising police substation on 12th Street could be a game-changer for the neighborhood, spoke highly after the visit of Buckner's remarks on targeting at-risk kids and getting offenders back into productive roles.

Buckner, who is black, also addressed the unhappiness in some parts of the black community about police tactics. He said he was a leader who'd admit mistakes and work on the healing process. "You hold me accountable," he was quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

That all sounds promising. Clip and save for later.

Still for alcohol

Anybody who grew up out in the wilds of Arkansas knows that the only people "dry counties" benefit are bootleggers, county line liquor store owners, and the police departments who get to make DUI stops of those on the mass, 15-minutes-to-midnight Saturday night exodus to Schlitzburg. People who want to drink are going to drink, end of story, and our social experiment with Prohibition should have died with Eliot Ness and Al Capone. Instead, Arkansas is still a crazy quilt of wet and dry counties, a reality that serves no purpose other than to enrich a few and enforce the will of a mostly long-dead teetotaler minority that's still imposing their Bible-ribbon-thin view of morality from the grave. A group spearheaded by Little Rock lawyer David Couch is currently collecting signatures on a petition to put a measure on the ballot that, if passed, would make alcohol sales legal in all 75 counties in the state. Sign it if you get the chance. It's time.

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