Luke Skrable again swears he'll fight Little Rock City Hall lawfully. But fight he will. | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 31, 2017

Luke Skrable again swears he'll fight Little Rock City Hall lawfully. But fight he will.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 10:36 AM

LUKE SKRABLE: Show in one of his earlier efforts to petition City Hall over grievances.
  • LUKE SKRABLE: Show in one of his earlier efforts to petition City Hall over grievances.
I recounted Sunday the city of Little Rock's refusal to give Luke Skrable access to City Board meetings for at least six more months despite a federal magistrate's ruling that his extended ban (more than 30 months) from City Hall was unconstitutional. Skrable, a Southwest Little Rock resident, has complained about poor code, zoning and police enforcement in his neighborhood for 15 years. Until he was banned, he spoke often at City Board meetings and papers City Hall with FOI requests. One email he wrote was taken as a threat by City Manager Bruce Moore, who pressed and won a terroristic threatening conviction against Skrable that produced a two-year ban as part of a probationary sentence.

Moore tried to extend the ban for a year, Skrable sued and won. But the judge's direction to work something out only produced a reduction of the ban to six months and a promise to review its continuating based on Skrable's good behavior in in the interim. He's done nothing objectionable and broken no rules since ejection from a 2015 board meeting that led to his note that night to Moore.

I mentioned Sunday, and included Skrable's dispute of, City Attorney Tom Carpenter's contention that an email Skrable had written sounded like he planned to go to a board meeting Tuesday night despite the city's unwillingness to lift the ban.

Skrable has written Carpenter today, his former attorney, Ed Adcock, to reiterate he intended no such thing and to say he'll abide by the ban for six more months. The letter that set off Carpenter alarm bells is posted in full on the earlier post. I think Carpenter exaggerated the meaning of Skrable's sometimes jumbled prose.

Skrable's note today said, in part:

I will operate under the restricted 4th ban until 2-14-18 and then the ban will be off for good. I got time, I am retired, and you never know after I crank the first book out if I get jacked again before I leave I can do what I know and do best just get on a soapbox with a Bible in one hand and the truth on my lips under the protection of God’s hand. I have taken everything the city has dished out so far, I guess they don’t believe in the power of God in the hands of his strongest believers can work miracles. Besides attending a local NA [neighborhood association] meeting and attending the monthly SUPs [Southwest Unlimited Progress] meetings, I will opt for the one political platform to help the abused in my neighborhood and SWLR Community the most and just sit here at the keyboard and type out the truth backed up by the pictures forthcoming and past, and all the proof I am surrounded by to protect me when I speak the truth in print now. 
Yes, the printed word is a First Amendment right, too. But, as we've already seen in Skrable's case, City Hall found a way to make that into a criminal act sufficient to keep a civic activist out of its physical presence for what will be three years. Also: as Skrable's attorney has already pointed out, the people who prosecuted him, Mayor Mark Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore, have unilateral power to decide whether Skrable is well-enough behaved to be allowed readmittance beyond the city's new required ID rule. Who's to say they won't find a potential for trouble in his writings between now and then? Or perhaps by the tone of his voice at the meetings he is now allowed to attend in city buildings so long as they are not any "downtown."

I've stipulated that Luke Skrable is a pest. But something about the city manager putting a pest under a peace bond that he controls just seems wrong to me.

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