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Smart Talk, July 8 

NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT: This stretch of Lousiana Street between 4th and Capitol will remain one-way.
  • NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT: This stretch of Lousiana Street between 4th and Capitol will remain one-way.

Caution: Arizona ahead

In a news release that reads a little like a State Department warning about travel to an unstable foreign country, the Arkansas affiliate of the ACLU has put out a warning about travel to Arizona on account of its "racial profiling" law. The law, which the ACLU is challenging, allows cops to stop and ask for papers from people they think might not be authorized to be in the U.S. The ACLU said profiling is already rampant in parts of Arizona.

Ever helpful, the ACLU warned people who "look foreign" that they are more likely to be stopped for minor infractions like jaywalking. To help, the ACLU has prepared English and Spanish materials (what about us Lithuanians?) on individual rights, plus a downloadable card with instructions on coping with vehicle stops and questioning. The information can be found at acluarkansas.org.

Christians at work

Secure Arkansas barely cleared the minimum signatures required by the July 1 deadline for constitutional amendments with its proposal to prohibit public benefits for undocumented immigrants. It gathered about 800 more than the 77,468 required, though it's still not known whether all those are valid signatures. A conservative religious group, the Family Council, helped put the drive over the top with a call to members of its conservative religious/political group to pitch in on petitions. Leader Jerry Cox urged his followers to seek petitions at church and Sunday school classes, among others.

Jesus, undoubtedly, would have similarly urged a vigorous effort to prevent extension of shelter, food, medical or other public services to needy foreigners. Cox also helpfully circulated reasons from "our friends" at Secure Arkansas why the measure was important. One was that Arkansas has the fastest growing Hispanic population in the U.S. And why is this a bad thing? We'll leave that to your imagination and the explanations of Christians Cox and his friends at Secure Arkansas.

Downtown traffic change nixed

The e-Stem charter school at 3rd and Louisiana found a traffic change, after many, the city wouldn't go along with. Louisiana Street between 4th Street and Capitol Avenue won't become two-way to accommodate expansion of the school into high school grades in the old Federal Reserve building at 3rd and Louisiana. It opens July 19.

Owners of the parking deck between 3rd and 4th on Louisiana objected to continuation of the two-way pattern already provided for e-Stem two blocks to the north. Steve Beck, the city's public works director, said engineers will work to relieve any traffic problems the one-way flow creates for the school.

The school had built a foundation for a new traffic light and bought the pole, arm and light. The city probably will buy the fixtures for use elsewhere.

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