Date of our founding
Lately we've been having a raging debate on whether our country was founded in 1619 or 1776. Both dates are incorrect.
Yes, we declared our independence from Great Britain in 1776. But declaring something doesn't make it so. We achieved independence when Congress ratified the preliminary articles of peace (what would become the Treaty of Paris) on April 15, 1783. We know April 15 as Tax Day, which is one reason not to make the switch.
Let's stick with Independence Day 1776 and address the issues that are keeping Arkansas at the bottom of the national food chain. Education would be a good start.
Citizens of Pine Bluff: I understand that you are trying to bring the old Pine Bluff back. This is my perspective from an outsider.
I used to go to Pine Bluff to Lowe's, restaurants and even doctors. I recently had a doctor's appointment in Pine Bluff; I had been seeing this doctor for many years and considered him one of the best. As I left his office in west Pine Bluff, the foul smell of one of your paper mills was in the air. I made a decision at that point to not come back to Pine Bluff until that problem is eliminated.
You as citizens of Pine Bluff have been taken advantage of by the mills for too long. These types of factories come into an area and post jobs and better pay. As I hear some say, it smells like money. Look at some of the other areas that have these mills, and what has happened to them. These mills not only pollute the environment around them, but they affect all aspects of the community. Look at your schools that are having to consolidate to stay open. Your town is decaying around you. They use huge amounts of your great underground water.
I live about 20 air miles from Pine Bluff. I always worry when the wind comes from the southwest; that's when we start to get the odor. Whatever they are doing out there happens after midnight. No one wants to live in that kind of environment.
I remember the old Pine Bluff where people were on your main street, restaurants, movie theaters and many other positive aspects of your city. I would leave you with these thoughts. First think of the children and what effect these fumes are having on them. Then I would ask: What about the health of previous and retiring employees?
In the eyes of history
Senator Boozman and Senator Cotton, on February the 13th, you were weighed and found wanting.
Helping workers save
Kudos to Sen. Les Warren for introducing House Bill 1349, The Every Arkansan Retirement Plan Opportunity Act. This was explained in Sarah Catherine Gutierrez's column recently, whereby small-business owners can offer a retirement plan to their employees. This will enable them to save while they are working.
I hope this bill will have strong support and soon be enacted. Thanks, Senator Warren, and your constituents.
ELLEN M. GRAY
I think it would be a very good bet that a lot of the folks in attendance or viewing Angela Davis' lecture at the U of A (for which she is receiving $20,000) believe the GOP to be harboring domestic terrorists. As usual, it seems Democrats accuse Republicans of what they themselves are guilty.
New rules for voting
It is time to re-examine voting rules for Arkansas. That veteran newspaperman Rex Nelson has called our current General Assembly the worst in about 50 years shows that we need change. Hence, I propose the following new qualifications necessary for intelligent voting.
First, in order to register to vote, you must show that you pay state taxes: income, personal property, or real property. Second, you must present evidence that you have a high school diploma or its equivalent. If not, you can opt to take a test on Arkansas government and history that had been prepared by a panel of experts headed by Hendrix Emeritus Professor Jay Barth. Third, you must present evidence that you have been vaccinated against covid-19.
Adopting these simple and practical requirements will rid us of the deplorables and inaugurate a new era of progress and prosperity. We urge immediate action adopting this plan.
MICHAEL B. DOUGAN
Airing dirty laundry
A lady on a bus in London once asked me, "Why do you Americans always want to air your dirty laundry?"
When we all knew what the outcome was going to be on both impeachment attempts to convict Trump--that the Democrats would vote to convict and the Republicans (always toeing the party line) would vote for acquittal--why did we do it? Groupthink rules in our political system. If Nancy Pelosi tells the Democrats to vote one way, they will. The same with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans, with a few outstanding exceptions.
We could have saved a lot of time, energy, and money spent on a farce that was fodder for the media and entertainment for many which only succeeded in airing our dirty laundry.
F. RICHARD JORDAN
North Little Rock