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Chamber blows it 

Jay Chesshir of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce writes in a recent Arkansas Democrat-Gazette letter that we in Arkansas should "ignore the rhetoric" regarding concerns related to the natural gas industry in the documentary "Gasland." Once again, the Chamber of Commerce demonstrates its total disregard for the average citizen of Arkansas. Don't misunderstand, I am a small business owner and believe in robust business enterprise but the benefits of business should be balanced against the real cost of business.

It is a shame that a state as rich in natural resources as Arkansas has to succumb to the will of a few powerful industries. The reality is natural gas production comes with a hefty price tag and the average citizen is being asked to pay this cost while receiving little if any benefit. What is the quality of our water worth? What is the value of our land that is being impacted daily worth? What about county and state roads and highways? How many of those $60,000 salaries are going to citizens of Arkansas? Or is the majority of this high salary going to those hundreds of individuals living in travel trailers all up and down the highway and sending the majority of their earnings back to Texas or some other location? What the facts reveal is the industry, which has faced minimal regulations, has had a significant impact in diminishing the quality of life for many communities and families in Arkansas.

I fully understand natural gas is a reality in our short-term energy practices. However, if we are to extract a resource from below the ground appropriate safeguards such as mandatory best management practices must be part of the discussion. If the Chamber of Commerce is truly interested in a prosperous Arkansas they need to help protect the very attributes attract so many tourists and visitors to our state. If the Chamber wants to be serious about a healthy business climate that moves Arkansas as well as the nation forward, they need to speak out in favor of a Clean Renewable Energy Policy for this country and to tackle head on the realization of climate change and what it means to those who live in all our communities.

Mark A. Robertson

Little Rock

Still a hero

Thanks for the excellent Arkansas Blog posts on the death of Jefferson Thomas of the Little Rock Nine.  Jeff, affectionately known in our neighborhood as Jabo, was a hero and larger-thanlife figure for those kids behind him.  As a seventh-grader during those difficult days I listened to conversations between Jeff and my father as he returned home from school. 

He was a neighborhood hero before Central High because he was bright, could run like the wind and was popular with the girls.  For boys my age at that time, what more did you need? With Central High he became even more of a hero as a brave, strong warrior, fighting for his beliefs and for us.  When just a few years ago some of those neighborhood "kids" had lunch with Jeff at Community Bakery I was as impressed as ever with him because we were still just the neighborhood kids discussing old times.  What many don't realize, because of his quiet manner, is that Jeff had a sense of humor that could have you laughing out loud.

He's still my hero and although he couldn't run track at Central he still ran a great race.

Henry Jones

Washington, D.C.

(Henry Jones is a retired federal magistrate who recently moved from Little Rock.)

Words have meaning

Words still had meaning when I attended journalism school more than 30 years ago. Unfortunately, many of today's editors allow for the rampant misuse of words. So was the case with your Sept. 2 editorial asking for the Fayetteville City Council to consider some way to "honor" Dr. William Harrison. All I know about Dr. Harrison is what your editorial states. He "... bravely provided abortions for thousands of desperate women ..." Does such a work item provide for the opportunity to live up to the definition of honor? Are the actions of one who performs abortions those that we would attribute high respect, esteem and special merit? Do they bring a good name and reputation or a title conferred for achievement? Are such actions indicative of nobility of mind, integrity and dignity? Is it a line of work you would encourage your child to pursue? It's certainly legal according to the law, but it isn't a line of work that allows one to live up to the definition of the word honor. As editors, you should know better.

Gregg Patterson

Little Rock

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