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Not yet a destination

I recently took exception to the claim by some that Little Rock has acquired genuine "foodie destination status" due to its recent mention in a national survey.

Thursday morning's paper was full of accolades for a new Mugs Cafe in Pulaski Heights where a "Cuban" sandwich was recommended as a good choice for $12.50. This is a perfect example of why, in my opinion, Little Rock will never be a real foodie's destination city. It's too dominantly WASP demographically. Even a burgeoning Mexican population tends to modify its food for overly squeamish American taste buds. Case in point: a real Cuban served at La Carreta, one of many popular Cuban restaurants in Miami, is not only packed with more meat and cheese and piled onto authentic Cuban bread (which is sold everywhere down there for a buck a loaf) but goes for a paltry $6.75. In Miami, no less! And it's outstanding.

My point is that foodies in the know seek out and are heartily rewarded by eateries in ethnic neighborhoods where the dominant population works hard at keeping their culinary craft authentic and affordable to their own, while welcoming any outsider who might visit in search of great authentic food.

Little Rock's attempts at expanding its culinary horizons is commendable on one level, but that these ventures typically come at such bloated price points is disheartening to anyone who knows better what's available in larger, more diverse cities.


Little Rock

Politics not involved

Re retired Justice Robert L. Brown: While I agree with much of what you opined in your recent column regarding the need for prison reform, I take massive offense at your cheap and baseless assertion that politics plays any role in my or my colleagues' discharge of our oaths as prosecuting attorneys. You cloak yourself as qualified to make such an unfair assertion on your one year as a prosecutor nearly 50 years ago.

Back in those times, maybe politics mattered: You served under a young and ambitious prosecuting attorney who clearly had political ambitions and later ran for and was elected to several offices including attorney general, Congress, and governor. He only served two years as prosecutor so, yeah, the office was political when you were there.

Justice Brown, you make the flat assertion that "Prosecutors want convictions and prison time." Really? The truth of the matter is that my colleagues and I take our role as ministers of justice quite seriously. Would you care to explain how politics affects prosecutions in the Sixth Judicial District (Pulaski and Perry counties) where only about 35 percent of felony-level defendants are sent to prison and the other 65 percent get what I believe to be the merciful, second-chance side of the criminal justice system? Would you care to visit my office and review the case files of those 35 percent and explain to me how politics came into the decisions to incarcerate murderers, sex offenders, spouse batterers, serious and habitual felony offenders, etc.? And why didn't you bring all this up while you were still on the bench?

I have long supported criminal justice reform, sometimes in conflict with my colleagues in other judicial districts. I have advocated for a system of restorative justice whereby offenders may be restored to full citizenship. Has politics gotten in the way of criminal justice reform? Yes. Do politics play a role in Arkansas prosecuting attorneys doing their jobs? No. I know. I am one. And have been one about 28 years longer than you were.


Little Rock

Larry Jegley is prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Sixth Judicial District.

Bureaucratic idiocy

I have had TSA/Pre-Check almost from its inception but recently applied for the upgrade to Global Entry. There is nothing in the process that advises that during the three- to six-month pendency for approval of Global Entry that your TSA/Pre-Check will be suspended, but that has been the case for me.

Why should applying for an upgrade invalidate the prior approval?

Is this the type of bureaucratic idiocy that we want expanded under increased government involvement in every aspect of our lives? One party advocates for that increased involvement and one party opposes it.


Little Rock

Will they applaud?

The first time I saw Donald Trump was at his long-ago defunct casino in Atlantic City. I had gone to catch a performance by a second-tier singer in a venue that turned out to be cold aluminum bleachers inside a cavernous void with wretched acoustics.

Before the show, Trump and his bodyguards happened along. Several people applauded. He waved. Some cheered. I questioned--still do--what dolt would applaud someone who had just suckered us, simply because he ambled across a bare concrete floor.

The second time I saw Trump was in New York City; he was keynote speaker, introduced by radio personality Larry King. Trump led us on a rambling tour through his imagined genius, his greatness, his self-adulation; a painful assault that by several accounts drew record complaints. Time rescued us. A young woman, a university senior from a student chapter, stepped onto the stage to present Trump a thank-you for having mutilated humility. As she approached, he verbally demeaned her as a sex object, leaving her clearly shaken.

A friend who sat next to me in that packed room did not remember that episode when I mentioned it during the 2016 presidential campaign.

As we stumble our way into 2020 and see our democracy, our republic shaken, I wonder if Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman will apply independent reasoning or if they'll prove political lambs who whistle and applaud Trump as he tromps his sullied trail, defying U.S. law, history, our Constitution, our relationships with allies we've stood by for decades.

Or will they set aside their fealty to Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party to proceed in an actual, real and somber trial to determine the president's culpability in violating his sworn word to defend our laws and our cherished Constitution?



Editorial on 01/04/2020

Print Headline: Letters


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