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On July 14, Little Rock voters have the opportunity to lower their annual property tax by 0.1 mill in exchange for agreeing to have the Central Arkansas Library System reissue bonds at a lower interest rate and extend the life of these bonds by 3 to 5 years. This is the same thing many homeowners do when mortgage interest rates fall and we refinance to lower our monthly note payment. If voters approve, the library will realize approximately $15 million. The money will be used to purchase thousands of new books and eBooks, buy more computers for better Internet access and expand three branch libraries: Dee Brown, Thompson, and Fletcher.
It would be difficult to find another public library system in a city our size with comparable resources that has a better track record for using taxpayers' money to create innovative programming and inspiring public spaces. Little Rock and Central Arkansas have reaped cultural and economic dividends from the new Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center and the Ron Robinson Theater. CALS has enriched us with special projects like the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture and the Arkansas Literary Festival. While doing all of this, CALS has skillfully navigated the demanding challenges libraries face in a new era by providing access to digital content while maintaining the core functions of traditional libraries.
To help ensure that CALS continues to serve citizens of all ages, interests and neighborhoods, I urge Arkansas Times readers in Little Rock to vote "FOR" the proposed library bond refinance. The actual cost of the investment in our community will be about $3 per year over the life of the bonds for a taxpayer with $150,000 in real property in the county. Given CALS' successes and many services, this is a great bargain.
An open letter to Sen. Jason Rapert
Asa Hutchinson is a career politician who's been around for a long time. He knows how this farce of a government works. As a Republican governor he will pay lip service to the right-wing religious base in this state. He knows, like you, that will get him votes. However, while you are a young state level politician who seems to actually believe the excrement you spout, Asa has played this game on a national scale. He knows that an extreme stance such as yours might please a few demagogues back home, but won't do much for the bottom line. While you claim to be speaking for God, Asa will bow to the real deity of the Republican Party, the almighty dollar.
From the web
In response to "The Banned Old Flag" (July 2):
Here's the thing. Yes. Arkansas Flag and Banner owner Kerry McCoy has the right to sell the flags. And, yes, those who have experienced the impact of racism and all that comes packed in that word firsthand, they have a right to ask her to no longer sell the flag.
The building that McCoy houses her business in was once known as Taborian Hall.
In 1918 it housed a number of black-owned businesses. The clubs at the hall hosted some of the most famous black entertainers of the time: Cab Calloway, Dizzy Gillespie, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan and Nat King Cole, et al.
Taborian Hall was built in a time that black people were forced to establish their own resources. The legendary black entertainers of the time could not walk through the front door of the establishments they worked in. If they were headlining at a hotel they couldn't eat in the dining room or sleep in the hotel.
McCoy is cognizant of this history and has done an incredible job to preserve it.
And it is exactly because of the building's history that it seems so offensive to sell and profit from the very flag carried into battle to defend the institution of slavery.
That flag was the battle banner for men who started a bloody war that killed 620,000 Americans in an effort to keep slavery.
It was the banner of the KKK as it became the enforcement arm of Jim Crow laws and terrorized, brutalized and lynched black people across the South. It is because of the KKK's activities that the first anti-terrorism laws were enacted.
This same flag was resurrected in the 1940s by the Dixiecrats who opposed integration and President Truman's proposed anti-lynching laws. Over 4,000 (almost all black) were lynched between Reconstruction and the 1960s. No anti-lynching law was passed due to the obstruction of Southern legislators.
The flag was then raised by Southern governors and legislatures as an act of defiance as they fought the civil rights movement tooth and nail.
The flag has been taken up by the vast majority of white supremacist groups in the nation who violently ascertain their intent to dominate, if not eradicate, people of color, especially black people.
This is the heritage of this flag.
Because of this history I believe McCoy should reconsider selling the flag and to stand in solidarity with those whose history lies in the bones of her building.
I am an amateur historian, so I have spent a lot of time studying the use and origin of Confederate flags.
First, the use of the Confederate flag or "poorly hidden versions" of the Confederate flag should not be flown or used as official government symbols. The argument in regard to heritage is B.S. If heritage is the case, why is South Carolina not flying the Union Jack, given it used to be a British colony?
Second, the modern use of the Confederate flag would probably make most pro-Confederate ancestors turn in their graves. Not only is the wrong flag being worshipped — the flag that is so popular now is a battle flag, not the Confederate national flag — most people who display the battle flag don't know the first thing about the history or heritage they claim to support.
I do worry about the knee-jerk reaction, including putting pressure on private citizens and vendors to stop selling or displaying the flag. The pressure to erase Confederate history entirely is extremely alarming.
In the case of Kerry McCoy, she has every right to sell the Confederate flag without being harnessed. If you don't like it, don't buy from her.
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