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Angered about vets 

Angered about vets

I have never written a letter to the editor before, but I am incensed at the recent article in the Arkansas Times ("Vets on Main," March 21). It suggests that the downtown neighborhood's stance against a proposed clinic on Main Street working with veterans psychiatric issues and addiction is tied to whether or not veterans get quality care.  Especially abhorrent is the reference to the 1957 school desegregation crisis as a comparison to the current issues with where the VA clinic is located by the current VA treatment center director, Estella Morris. To raise this as a racial issue is to suggest that only black veterans have problems with drugs, alcohol and post-traumatic stress disorder. The recent murder of 17 Afghanis certainly belies this and demonstrates why we would be concerned!

Secondly, to suggest that the hard-working people who have been willing to risk everything to restore this wonderful neighborhood are gentry? Are Jimmy Moses or Rett Tucker guilty of gentrification because they brought revitalization into the River Market District and ran out the homeless, black and white? Did the demand that "Our House" move from Main Street a few years ago so Main Street between Third and I-630 could begin redevelopment, be considered racist? Should the demand by the Pettaway Park neighborhood to not allow the City's Homeless Center in "our" neighborhood be considered a racial statement?

In an era of government reduction doesn't it make sense for government programs to work together? Why wouldn't the VA want to save money and work with the City in their new homeless day center?

Historically, the best way to defeat an issue is to confound and confuse. Wars have been won by confusion. The only defense for such blatant and outrageous claims is for educated people to stand up, just as our veterans have, for the truth. The truth is, the downtown area has been the moral conscience of Little Rock for over 30 years. With no real research, we have identified 18 social service facilities for people in need within a one mile radius of the Governor's Mansion. We in downtown refuse to continue to be the victim. Give our veterans the best care possible. But don't destroy a neighborhood going through rebirth while you're doing it. 

Sharon Welch-Blair

Little Rock

Distasteful doesn't equal illegal

I am glad that the Arkansas Supreme Court brought our antiquated views about sex into the 21st century. Though 38-year-old high school teacher David Paschal's sexual relationship with one of his students may have been distasteful and immoral it was nonetheless lawful, as it was consensual and the student, who was 18 when the relationship occurred, is an adult. This case clearly shows that not all distasteful things in life are illegal.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Tuition hike

As a proud alumnus of UA, I was surprised with the speed with which the UA Board of Trustees just rubber-stamped another tuition increase. For the Fayetteville campus, where I will have two children next fall, the increase was 5.3 percent. With a 4.8 percent increase for the 2010-2011 year, that is more than a 10 percent increase in 2 years. Other than perhaps health care, in what other area has there been such inflation in the midst of such tough economic times?  My question to the administration and board is: please identify one expense you have cut in order to avoid such increases? The obvious answer, sadly, is "none." This confirms my suspicion that the only beneficiary of the lottery scholarships will be the UA System, not the students or their tuition-paying parents.

Michael J. Emerson

Little Rock

Kays House significant

Regarding the destruction of the Kays House, the idea shows a profound lack of vision and an amazing disregard for history. You can drive down any street in any city or town and see something ugly. To see a building that is architecturally lovely is a feast for the eyes and lifts the spirits. That it also has significance to the university's history should be enough to demand its preservation. You can't press "replay" and bring it back.

Kay Darwin

Coppell, Texas

From the web

In response to "The medical marijuana push in Arkansas" (Arkansas Reporter, March 28):

I'm an Arkansan who spent the first 32 years of my life in the natural state. I attended public schools and received my BSE from a public university in the state. I hold an Arkansas teaching license and have worked in a professional capacity for 10 years while paying taxes. My family is in Arkansas. It's a place I love dearly and I hope I'll be able to return soon. The reason I picked up and moved to Colorado last November is because of their medical marijuana laws.

When I visited my doctor for a prescription I waited in a room with people of all ages and races. The doctors see people for all ailments, not just MMJ prescriptions. Two of my friends have been turned down when they cited extreme pain because there was no medical history and no observable issue. The process isn't perfect, but it's working. I was able to prove extreme pain due to a documented back injury I suffered in an auto accident. The doctor looked at my MRI and wrote a prescription. It took about 20 minutes, about what it took my physician in Little Rock to talk to me and issue a prescription for Oxycodone.  I have two dispensaries within 100 feet of my house. Both are well kept and operate professionally. When I first visited my dispensary, I had to complete several pages of paperwork and deem them my "caregiver," allowing them to grow six plants for me and provide me with medicine. There is a limit to what I can buy and possess and I must show my license and my MMJ card every time I enter the premises. These businesses are incredibly well regulated. To illustrate how well the industry is currently regulated, the city attorney for Boulder recently admonished the U.S. Attorney for intervening in a city matter involving dispensaries. This Tuesday, I have an interview with the state of Colorado's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED). I'm applying for a worker badge so I can work legally in the MMJ industry. I have to provide tax returns for the last two years and undergo a federal background check, just like when I applied for a teacher's license in Arkansas. In fact, this background check is more extensive and included IRS clearance in addition to criminal background checks. The people who work in this industry are for the most part educated, law-abiding citizens taking advantage of a booming industry. The only other booming industry in our country right now is natural gas and I'd say marijuana is a lot less harmful than fracking fluid.  I can't wait to return to Arkansas. I love Denver, but my heart is in the Ozarks. If Arkansas passes this legislation I will return without hesitation. I just don't want to live somewhere where growing a plant can get me prison. I don't want to live in a place where treating my pain without the use of narcotics that can kill me can get me locked up. I want to live in an Arkansas that allows me to treat my pain in a way that I, along with my physician, can support and live with.

calmwriter

Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203 or via e-mail to arktimes@arktimes.com. Please include name and hometown.

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