Have you noticed the large numbers of large apartment buildings going up in Little Rock in the last few years?You may have thought that this was a sign that our community was rapidly growing, with all of the good and not-so-good things that increasing population brings to the area. You would have been wrong. What you're actually witnessing is a slow-motion degradation of our city.
How so? Consider that the population within the city limits has actually declined slightly since 2016. Moreover, the Little Rock metropolitan area has one of the highest rental vacancy rates in America. Pulaski County alone in 2019 had a 12.9 percent rental vacancy rate.
What this means is that new housing development in Little Rock is now a zero-sum proposition. Construction of a new house or apartment often means that an older unit will be emptied or devalued. If you're wondering how things could get so bad in your neighborhood, one place to look would be the developers that are building the shiny new apartments that are draining resources and money out of your area, and the Little Rock elected officials that are allowing it to happen.
Rot doesn't happen overnight. It's the slow accumulation of neglect over years, house by house, street by street. At some point the city has to not only recognize the problem but actually do something about it that works. Reining in these over-large, unplanned, unrestricted, unneeded mega-apartment developments will help to slow the win-lose dynamic that has plagued Little Rock. The next step would be to establish a master planning strategy that will make our city a better place to live not just for some but for everyone, one small step at a time.
No interest in helping
Arkansas ranks near the bottom in education, health care, and family income. Arkansas ranks near the top in child poverty and poverty overall. Despite these facts, our Republican state legislators passed laws limiting voter rights and laws discriminating against transgender youth. Obviously these lawmakers have no interest in improving the lives of the citizens of Arkansas.
My only question is how do these fascists keep getting elected? Wake up, Arkansas!
Split up Republicans
I believe the peaceful transition of power, unaccepted by Donald Trump, has destroyed the Republican Party. He retains a blind and ignorant following of people who will go where he goes.
Trump's hold on the Republican Party is that if he leaves, he promises to split the party. The internal revolution of starting a third party will happen, and I'm sure Fox News will support it. Fox will support Trump's new party because of the advertising revenue. It tried changing its stance a short time back and lost audience. Advertising money drives a network philosophy, and Fox News summarily lost revenue during that short time. Trump will successfully split the Republican Party. Fox News will be a major vehicle of support.
It seems the Republican Party has decided to stay with Trump because it does not have an answer to his strategy.
Two things need to happen. The leadership of the Republican Party needs to unite, as a bloc, against Trump. It would be nice to have the right leadership to replace him, but that person has not emerged. Secondly: The public who still support Trump need to understand the Trump history involving the many court cases that have been ﬁled against him, the endless lies and misstatements he is famous for, and the facts behind the two impeachments. These two things won't happen speedily or easily ... if at all. Maybe the tables would turn if the Southern District of New York would indict and convict Donald Trump for tax evasion.
A dream I have is that Fox would balance reporting facts and news, in a way similar to that which ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC do.
Hot Springs Village
While many of us are very troubled by the wholesale effort by Republicans to block the investigation into the insurrection on Jan. 6, it seems there is a parallel in our ongoing history that closely mirrors the caustic underbelly within our society. It has been there eating away at our collective patriotic health for a long time. Jan. 6 was just the eruption, and if the causes are not rooted out, it will surely happen again.
The parallel I am speaking about began at the courthouse in Bolivar, Tenn., in 1867 and was followed by eight more by 1880. To this point in our society we have over 1,503 public monuments, 718 of which are statues commemorating Confederate philosophy as being patriotic, although they truthfully memorialize the insurrection and all it represented.
I believe to not investigate Jan. 6 is to continue erecting future insurrection memorials that will eventually destroy our democracy, no matter which side you are on.
Make some lemonade
The Canadian company behind the Keystone Pipeline has pulled the plug on the project. This has left a lot of folks happy and others miffed. Among the happy are landowners who did not want a foreign corporation taking land by eminent domain and environmentalists who did not want an oil pipeline passing over the land where the Ogallala Aquifer recharges.
Those who are sad about the decision include a lot of our congressional members, the governor and the company who made the pipe. Sorry your side lost, but you can't win every time. Instead of sulking about the loss, why aren't you trying to make lemonade out of your lemons?
There are hundreds of miles of existing pipelines that need replacing as they are aging out. One of those lines is at the back of Lake Maumelle that is over 80 years old. Why not use the pipe there? Hire those folks out of a pipeline job because Keystone is dead. Areas out west need water; use the pipe there.
In other words, quit bellyaching because your cash cow was killed. Get your thinking caps on and find projects that can use the pipe and hire the pipeline workers to do it.