Saturday night sorrow UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday night sorrow UPDATE

Posted By on Sat, May 3, 2008 at 6:46 PM

What a disaster for Eight Belles.

I didn't see it, I'm happy to say.

I was at the fund-raiser for Arkansas Families First, the grassroots coalition formed to oppose the ballot initiative to make it more difficult to adopt or be a foster parent.

Work proceeds apace. About 50 people donated $250 to be sponsors of the event and dozens more paid $100 each. They got a small taste of the campaign that is being developed with the help of public opinion polling. That polling, by the way, apparently offers encouragement to the notion that Arkansas voters have commonsense. Defeat of this initiative, which is driven by animus toward gay people, could be a national watershed.

Talking point: "We oppose the initiative because it works against the best interests of children who need loving homes."

There will be lots more to come on this subject if the Religious Right crowd succeeds in placing this initiative on the ballot. Presumably, petitions are available to sign in select churches this Sunday.

UPDATE: Andrew DeMillo's weekly political column happens to talk about the Family Council's church-based efforts on bashing gays, immigrants and gambling.

On an unrelated topic: Central Arkansas Library System Director Bobby Roberts was in the crowd. He says if a suit isn't filed shortly over a legal question that has arisen over the library's new property tax increase, approved in December, he'll file one himself to get the issue resolved.

The Democrat-Gazette has raised the question of whether taxes approved after November can take effect in the next calendar year, as is the case with this tax. I went to the polls expecting the tax to appear on my bill this year. Roberts acknowledges the argument against adding millages after November (a provision in the law seemingly meant to give counties time to put new levies on the books), but said the library acted on advice from multiple attorneys that it was not prohibited.

Roberts said the issue doesn't jeopardize the building program to be financed by the bonds, though the loss of collections in 2008, on top of a delay in bond issuance, could be costly. The key issue is the half-mill for operations, which will produce $1.5 million this year. He's hired 15 new employees expecting that income. He's already frozen hiring, cut book orders and taken other steps to be sure the budget balances if the money isn't forthcoming.

So much for my evening report. Take this as an open line.

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