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Big ideas? 

Big ideas?

Congratulations on asking our fellow Arkansans to Think Big! It is absolutely amazing what people can come up with when no limits are placed upon their thinking!  Many of the ideas deserve to be put into action, and this truly would be a better place to live!  Also, I loved the two ideas already in  action — the helping game has the potential to make some real changes in the world, and as an educator, I was thrilled to read about the plans for the new children's library. Unfortunately, I came back to earth with a big thud on the next page as I read about the DREAM deferred. How can people be so small-minded?  Why should children be punished for the actions of their parents?  How much more could these young people contribute to our state and country?  For shame!

Sara Jane Luckey

Little Rock

It was with great anticipation that I picked up your latest issue, to see if you were wise enough to select one of the eight great Big Ideas I submitted. Alas, no such luck. Actually, I feel like we were grossly misled. You said you wanted Big Ideas, which I took as a call to the masses to help save our street, block, town, state, nation or planet. You were going to select entries from both civic/business leaders and entries from the rest of us. But why bother asking the rest of us to limit our ideas to 300 words or less when you didn't print more than 30 words from the rest of us?  And come on!  Which staffer really thought that a new Trader Joe's and a ping-pong based theme bar was a Big Idea or worthy of mention at all?  So, being the generous kind of person that I am, I'm giving you a chance to make amends. I want you to take every Big Idea you received and forward it to the appropriate public agency that can make it happen, and request that agency respond to the originator. Granted almost every one will be "Can't do that at this time", but at least the rest of us can feel that our voices have been heard.

Gary Bortz

Little Rock

Police pensions

Retired Little Rock Police officers, their spouses, and the widows of those who have passed on, need your help. The help you can provide is very simple. Take some time to read the information available to the public at littlerockpolicepensionnews.com, a website created by one of the retired officers to keep the other retirees informed. If you have some time, attend the Little Rock Police Pension Fund meetings or at least read the minutes of their meetings, located at www.littlerock.org/citydepartments/police/pension/.

What I believe you will learn is that city and state officials who have responsibilities that can affect the health of the Little Rock Police Pension Fund are not doing their due diligence to take all measures available to them that would improve the health of the fund.

Once you learn these things like I did, take a few moments to call or write the appropriate officials and let them know how you feel.

I left the Little Rock Police Department in 1987, looking for better pay and benefits, and what I thought at the time, might be big-time excitement in the federal government. While that move has benefitted me in many respects, I can safely say now that the best law enforcement job I ever had was as a Little Rock police officer. There's simply no comparison. I owe everything to the training and experience I received there, and the friendships I made there.

The people of Little Rock should also know that I have worked with federal agents of all types, state and local investigators, detectives and uniformed officers in cities of all sizes around the country. If you stay in one locality your entire career, one might believe that people doing the job in another department or agency in another city are better police. I can now safely say that the men and women with whom I worked at LRPD could have held their own, and in most cases, have done much better, than the people with whom I've worked since.

Any of the now-retired Little Rock officers could have done what I did, but they chose to stay where pay and benefits are not up to the level they are elsewhere, and serve the people of Little Rock.

I know that states and municipalities around the country are under fire right now for having created exorbitant pension systems for their employees, having good reason to know they would never be able to fund them. But the pensions these retired Little Rock police officers receive are very meager in comparison, the retirees generally don't qualify for Social Security, and most of them still work other jobs to survive. They should not have to worry from month to month whether their pension system will stay afloat.

Joe Isom

East Amherst, N.Y.

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