Week of infamy 

None of that “best of times, worst of times” business last week. “Worst” was a clear winner.

Every day brought a new outrage: Rats gobbled up food meant for the poor people of southwest Arkansas. A Mexican woman was locked in a Washington County jail cell without food, water or a toilet for four days. A convicted sex offender in North Little Rock sneaked his way onto the ballot as the only candidate for a state legislative seat. The Republican state chairman, and legislators of both parties, continued to oppose a much-needed increase in the severance tax on natural gas even after the gas producers who'd pay the tax agreed to support it.

Nor was there retribution, at least not immediately. In one case, things took a turn for the worse, as much as there was room to do so. The destruction of food for the poor proved only the tip of the rathole in Garland (Miller County). Legislative auditors also found that town officials can't account for $45,000 supposedly spent on fire equipment, that the same officials have received more than $8,000 in unearned payroll advances and undocumented travel reimbursements, and that the town owes $160,000 to the IRS.

To his credit, the Democratic state chairman is trying to prevent the election of his own party's unopposed candidate for state representative in District 39. Former Rep. Dwayne Dobbins gave up the seat in 2005 as part of a plea bargain after he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fondling the breasts of a 17-year-old girl. His wife replaced him in a special election and was expected to file for re-election this year. Instead, Dobbins filed at the last minute. While most are horrified, Dobbins' mentor, state Sen. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock, suggests that Dobbins is being criticized unfairly, and that only the people of the 39th District should have a say in the matter. But the members of the body that makes state law are everybody's business, and cheaters can't complain of unfairness. Dobbins could have run for the seat openly; an honorable man would have.

Tracy Steele's mentor is state Sen. Bob Johnson, D-Bigelow, who vows to resist the severance tax. Special interests don't like fair taxes, and no one serves the special interests more devotedly than Johnson. He's so accustomed to betraying the public interest that he does so even when his patrons don't demand it.

Someone is sure to ask, can we blame George Bush for this mess? Not exclusively. (Though the Little Rock daily and other Clinton-haters like to blame the former president exclusively.) Bush sets a bad example, certainly, but Johnson, Dobbins et al didn't have to follow it. Most Arkansans don't. At the moment, that's our only comfort.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: 'T & A Talk'

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen talk about all the things...winter rescue, being kind...you know, all the things. Thank you for listening!
    • Oct 19, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: 'T & A with Guest Dr. Racher, the Ninja Gyno'

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen are joined by Dr. Racher, the ninja Gyno. They talk about all the things that come with transitioning— at any phase of the spectrum and all of those special people in their lives who live through this transition with them.
    • Oct 11, 2018
  • New episode of Rock the Culture podcast: 'Real Recognize Real'

    In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on Issue 2, the voter ID ballot initiative, the rules in the event there is a run-off in Little Rock’s Mayoral Race, and West Central Community Center’s tutoring program.
    • Oct 2, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Elizabeth Warren, still a contender

    • And I quote: "They will call her shrill. They will call her crazy." No, they…

    • on October 22, 2018
  • Re: The mob

    • Investigator, I wouldn't be too hard on poor Kate. She isn't much more than your…

    • on October 19, 2018
  • Re: Elizabeth Warren, still a contender

    • Perhaps, but she sure does cling to a lie with the same shameless derangement, though…

    • on October 19, 2018

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation