Charter school questions 

I noted that the state's daily did an article on the e-Stem Charter Schools in a very short time after my letter was printed in your paper. I also noted no racial breakdown was given concerning the faculty or administration of the schools. The School Board memberships never alluded to the races of the members. There was no reasonable explanation given for the disparity in salaries, and no reference was made to the salary of Roy Brooks being higher than it was at Little Rock School District when the number of students enrolled is considered.

It is evident that the school is misnamed, since it is pretty much financed (read owned) by Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman and the Waltons. Anyone over 10 years old is familiar with the old adage, “the one who pays the fiddler calls the tune.” It has always been true that whoever pays the bills will have the most authority and influence.

One other issue weighs heavily on my mind these days. That is just why people are appointed to college boards who don't know the law called the Freedom of Information Act. Either the University of Central Arkansas Board members are ignorant as hell, or they are equally guilty of the transgressions President Lu Hardin has been justifiably excoriated about. If they had not bought the whole scheme and colluded with him and one another to deceive the taxpayers it could not have occurred as it did. Nor could it have remained secret after the fact for so long.

Who has brass enough to expose them and their backers for what they are — well-heeled good ol' boys with good political connections and very little integrity?

Karl Hansen

Women in chains

Hannah Dreier did a great report in the Aug. 21 issue of Arkansas Times. It is evident none of the people who made the decision to use shackles were women nor had they seen a woman in labor and give birth. So they have now changed from chain shackles to “soft restraints.” Well big bleepin'deal! Ask any woman who has gone through labor and delivery and they will tell you that during labor, delivery, and for a while after delivery, they could be restrained with a rubber band. Then there is Dr. Paul Hergenroeder! Now there is someone the medical profession can look up to! I would like to see a woman doctor give him a proctoscope without medication, and she could sit there and say, “Just relax Doc, it won't hurt long and the more pain you have the more you will value what comes out later.”

George Gatliff
Little Rock

Review a lemon

My wife and I have the luxury of living in Hillcrest. Granted, we probably live in the smallest apartment in the neighborhood, but what a great area! Luckily, there are numerous places to eat and hang out. Lemon has been open for only a short time now. I don't know the exact numbers, but to successfully open a new restaurant is quite an undertaking. I know the failure rate is quite high in the first year of business. With that said, I am perplexed as to why you would write a review on a new restaurant and focus on the prices? Not only focus on the prices, but make an otherwise positive review completely unreadable. What was with the (ouch!) after the prices? If prices were that big of a deal, why are they not exploited in other reviews? I worked at one of the top steak houses in the city where the prices were absurd and the food was average at best. At Lemon, the food is very good, the owner and staff are professional, and yes, the prices are higher than IHOP. My question to you is would you rather pay less money for mediocre food, or pay a couple of dollars more for really good food? I think this is a no brainer. Good food and service is extremely rare in this city. Take advantage of it when possible. 

Eric Rucker
Little Rock

Lack of respect

I want to express the disgust I felt when while driving to work Sunday morning I heard Bill Vickery talking on Radio KABZ about the loss of Bill Gwatney. While he was saying nice things about him he did not have the common courtesy to refer to him as chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Instead he chose to refer to him as chairman of the Arkansas Democrat Party, a non-existent entity.

I realize that for some reason Republicans feel compelled to use the word Democrat as a slur. But why even in moments like this he still felt compelled to do so I will never understand.

I am a black man and I get the same visceral reaction every time I hear one of those bozos say Democrat Party instead of Democratic Party that I got growing up in the 50's and 60's hearing a white man saying Nigra instead of Negro.

I don't know how this country will ever be able to get out of the multitude of messes the Bush Administration has gotten us into if Republicans insist on being so disrespectful and insulting even in the most solemn of circumstances.

I hope that Vickery will apologize to the Gwatney family and maybe even do a little soul searching. We are all Americans.

I called Bill Vickery's show Sunday to voice my opinion and when his call screener heard the reason for my call he hung up on me.

Stan Wilson
Little Rock

Review PSC

I would like to see an investigation of the state Public Service Commission's recent decision about how to distribute $9.8 million from the purchase of Arkansas Western Gas by SourceGas LLC. Their decision to make the distribution to “customers” has left me and others very upset. They distributed the refund based only on the August 2008 gas usage of their customers. My normal monthly gas usage is a high of 706 CCF this year and a low of 10 CCF, with a 522 CCF average over the 8 months of 2008, including the 10-CCF month when my business was shut down for equipment maintenance. The $2.50 per CCF credit for me was $25. In an average month, the credit would have been over $1,100. I'm sure all the residential customers who use gas to heat their homes are also very upset by this arbitrary decision. Even the people at AWG said they told the PSC that the refund should be distributed differently. It seems to only benefit the highest usage manufacturers. I would be very interested to know what a full investigation of the PSC's decision would uncover and if it would do anything to change the way this large amount of money could be redistributed to be more equitable to all customers.

Ed Pennebaker



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