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Sunday’s Letters to the editor

OPINION by Mark Gregory | September 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

'Top' priorities

Dear editor:

Our city manager has identified as a top priority making the neighborhood near 109 Hobson, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, unsafe by placing a "Community Resource Center" there.

The bureaucrats intend to attract hundreds of homeless alcoholics, drug addicts, sex offenders and mentally ill (some of them are afflicted with all these problems). Previously the facility was being referred to by most as a "Homeless Resource Center," and now the city manager is calling it a "Community Resource Center" and proposes to spend $4,500,000 and has placed it on the city's needs priority list as number 4. Obviously substituting "community" in place of "homeless" makes it sound attractive, but the operative word to describe it is dangerous.

The issue is the homeless will be attracted to the neighborhood daily. There is much confusion and uncertainty as to exactly what services the city will be providing and how many addled homeless alcohol and drug-addicted mentally ill people will be wandering around in the neighborhood, accosting elderly, adults and children and grandchildren. Some services include cooling and warming services, daily meals, possibly beds/overnight facilities (but not in the beginning), kennels for their animals, etc.

Please contact your city director and tell them you don't want a "Homeless Resource Center" in your neighborhood by any name. If you don't live in the neighborhood, call your city director and tell them to not force hundreds of homeless people with drug and alcohol problems and more into the neighborhood near Ouachita Children's Home, First Step Facilities, an after-school program for children and near the Majestic baseball park.

Lastly, our bureaucrats either aren't very bright or they just so badly want to get the homeless off the Gateway (Malvern Avenue) they are willing to sacrifice the safety of the citizens in the area of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

George Pritchett

Hot Springs

Golf Classic a success

Dear editor:

Despite the lightning delays and rain, CCMC's Golf Classic on Sept. 8 was a fun day that benefited the mission of Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic -- to improve life for those who are underserved and under-resourced!

We're grateful to our presenting sponsor, CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, 1st Security Bank, 1st Choice Realty, Levi Hospital, Reliance Bank, Zeiser Wealth Management, Les Warren, and Seiz Signs for their sponsorships. We appreciate our Golf Committee -- Dr. Stuart Fleischner, Justin Nicklas, Scott Burton, and Kyle Clem, and Hot Springs Country Club -- for their work to make this event possible.

Sallie Culbreth

CCMC executive director

Separation 'nonsense'

Dear editor:

I'm amazed that those who have a "pile-it-higher-and deeper" degree are so ignorant of the basics of our Constitution. So, what is separation of church and state?

The Constitution clearly defines this issue as not permitting the government to create a state religion. Amendment 1 states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion." This was a rejection of the British system in 1800 where the king was head of the church and secular state.

Recently several writers argued the Arkansas LEARNS act violates the First Amendment by allowing funds extracted from them via taxation to be returned via vouchers and spent on schools which, horrors of horrors, teach religion as one subject. This is not creating a religion simply because a school independent of the government teaches religion.

Now, folks, I have a shock for you. None of our governments have any source of income, except taxation! Any money extracted from the citizenry can returned to them if the government chooses. All tax money, often badly spent, comes from the citizens and is misnamed when called public money. Mismanaged money is a better term.

Dennis Bosch

Arp, Texas

Opaquely transparent

Dear editor:

In 1967, then-Gov. Rockefeller championed the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. And it has served Arkansans well ever since, making our state government's actions among the most transparent in the nation. Then, a couple of weeks ago, some pesky attorney named Matt Campbell thought Arkansas taxpayers deserved to know how much of their money new Gov. Sarah Huckabee, her family, and an extended entourage spent using a state jet to fly to Europe.

Campbell forgot Huckabee learned at the lap of the master of taxpayer grifting, Donald Trump. The new governor wasted no time in calling a special session and effectively turning the current law into what I now call the Arkansas Fascism Over Information Act. And the lack of transparency started before the new changes were ever voted on. I went to several different state websites to attempt to read SB10, and all said "Text not available." Apparently, regular taxpaying citizens weren't even entitled to read the proposed legislation. On Thursday, I finally found House Bill 1009. In what appears to be another attempt at subterfuge, a nearly identical proposal was filed in the House. That text was available, and it basically consisted of five pages of vague word salad that could be interpreted as the attorney general's office sees fit when dealing with FOIA requests.

Huckabee said the gutting of the FOIA was needed to protect her and her family. I'm not sure how obtaining travel and expense records after the fact could endanger anyone, and as I followed this story, I was disappointed that no one in an obedient media corps asked her that question. Because no institution is going to be affected more negatively by these changes than our media, who we as citizens rely on to shed a light on the activities of those who govern us.

As I write this, the Senate has passed SB10, giving Huckabee the sledgehammer she requested to swat away annoying citizens and dodge and deflect media outlets who might be curious about how her administration spends its time, money, and resources the taxpayers provide her. As I read the vote results, for some curious reason, our local state senator, Alan Clark, was listed as "excused," meaning he didn't show up to vote. I'm sure there was a good reason. As of this writing, it's a pretty safe assumption that our local House Reps. Bruce Cozart, Richard McGrew, and Les Warren will be the go-along-to-get-along guys they've proven to be for Huckabee and bend the knee to the governor.

In the end, this was a win for Huckabee and big, hidden government. One of her press releases actually had the gall to state that by diminishing the FOIA, it would make Arkansas government "more transparent." If anyone bought that, I'd be willing to wager one song they've never heard would be George Strait's "Ocean Front Property." In Arizona.

Anthony Lloyd

Hot Springs

Myopic middle class

Dear editor:

Is the middle class myopic, naive, or stupid? Probably some of all of these.

They naively bought into the trickledown economics that only helps the rich. This was started by Ronald Reagan -- his tax cuts for the rich started the national debt spiraling at warp speed. This was followed by 40 years of Reagan Republicans, including George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who shoveled $51 trillion from the middle class to the wealthy. This dropped 40 million of the middle class into the lower class.

Now these Reagan and Trump clones are again cutting taxes for the rich and throwing out token peanuts to the ignorant masses as an appeasement. Are you too myopic and see that any tax cuts for the rich will be debts that the middle class, the only ones that are really paying taxes, will have to pay? The rich controls Congress, many judges, the economy, the supply and demand, and causes the suppression of human rights, voter rights, women's rights, equal rights, environmental health, and adds to the rapid depletion of natural resources.

Arkansas' governor, representatives and senators have pledged not to cut taxes for the wealthy which continues to add the burden to the middle class. They've now passed the third tax cut in 13 months and considered gutting the FOIA to hide activities.

Are you blind to what is happening?

Jerry Davis

Hot Springs

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