IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
LYING. President George W. Bush kept telling 20-year-olds that Social Security will be bankrupt by the time they’re eligible. No matter how often government experts say this isn’t true, Bush keeps telling the lie.
ATTORNEY GENERAL MIKE BEEBE. He threw a wrench in runaway plans for tax increment financing in Arkansas by saying most school property tax couldn’t be diverted from schools to private development, as many cities had hoped to do.
ASSESSOR JANET WARD. A private company is building privately-owned housing on the Little Rock Air Force Base and Ward said, properly, that the private property will be subject to the same property tax other private property owners must pay.
MAJOR NEWSPAPERS. Wal-Mart began spending big bucks (and the company has them) to buy newspaper advertising to answer critics of its labor and business practices.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE. He made a big pronouncement about endorsing a committee’s general recommendations for healthier kids. But the devil was in the details. The Huckster urged his Board of Education NOT to limit candy machines and soft drink sales in schools (important lobbies involved, see?) and also wouldn’t back daily P.E. for older kids (too expensive).
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. It has become a joke. The governor has put everything in his office and Mansion off limits to public eyes. City officials are trying to do the same with numerous law changes to allow more secrecy in city government.
WILD RIVER COUNTRY. State revenue officials closed the water park in North Little Rock for failure to pay back taxes, the first closure under a new state law to get tough on tax scofflaws.
NUDITY. A nude jogger was arrested in West Memphis. In Ozark, it was announced that a deputy sheriff was fired in late 2004 for posing his nude wife next to his patrol car. Something about unauthorized use of equipment.
The Koch Industries PAC spread a lot of money around in September, including significant sums in state legislative races around the country. All politics is local when you have a big polluting industry to look after.
Glass artist Ed Pennebaker's 13-foot-tall sculpture of tall, multicolored glass panels was chosen for temporary installation in the Carrie Remmel Dickinson Fountain in front of the Arkansas Arts Center.