The week that was March 30-April 5 

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … HOMECOMING. The last members of Arkansas’s 39th Infantry Brigade left the Middle East for home after a year in Iraq. STUART THOMAS. The 27-year-veteran of the Little Rock Police Department was named as the new police chief. FISCAL SANITY. Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped the push for a billion-dollar highway bill. Since nobody wanted to raise taxes to pay for it, the only option was to rob schools, prisons, health care, etc. Wise choice. IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR … SCHOOLS. There’ll be no cost-of-living increase for schools next year. Only a pittance for needed construction. Millions more dollars are headed to quasi-private charter schools and maybe “virtual” charters, too. And tax breaks, from TIFs to timber getaways, are poised to bleed more school revenue. Send the legislative clowns home. The HUCKABEE ADMIN-ISTRATION. Federal inspectors say the state misspent $1.2 million on workforce training and lease of unused office space. This is on top of money the Huckabee administration misspent establishing a Washington office. So much for law and order. ASA HUTCHINSON. Ron Fields, Hutchinson’s old friend and top aide at both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Homeland Security Department, has been on Hutchinson-granted leave since last summer over a federal drug investigation. Time may prove there’s nothing there, but a leave since last summer? PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY. Because of pressure from the University of Arkansas, the legislature agreed to make it all but impossible for the public to find out anything about operations of “private” foundations that raise money for the UA and other public institutions, such as the Razorback Fund. The foundations can cut deals for gifts and the public need never be the wiser about promises made by public officials.

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