We never thought feeding prisoners kept in a local jail would amount to headlines. But there it was in Saturday's newspaper. Before that news broke, we might have thought it would rank down there with reporting on the number of planes that took off and landed safely at Grider Field. Of course, inmates are going to be fed. As weird as things can get, we are not going to keep people behind bars and not offer support for them, although we will let jailers beat and injure inmates without much in the way of retribution, but that is another story.
This all goes back to an ongoing squabble between Jefferson County's sheriff, Lafayette Woods Jr., and the county judge, Gerald Robinson. And you know it's bad when those two aren't actually the ones doing the squabbling, but instead they now let their attorneys lob salvos at the other party.
The end result has become ugly, finding its way onto TV station newscasts. We can hear the exaggerated murmurings. What? They're not feeding the people locked up in jail? What kind of community does that?
And at this point, that is mostly the point. Again, inmates are going to be fed. No one is doubting that. But in a game of chicken, the specter of starving inmates becomes a good talking point to show how awful one side or the other is in this equation. If it matters, Woods says Robinson isn't paying the bills for food, and Robinson is saying if Woods would only submit the paperwork in a proper way, all would be fine. Well, again, their attorneys allege as much.
As Pine Bluff goes to some lengths to try to burnish its image, perhaps it could include hiring someone to hold an intervention with these two guys. The city of Pine Bluff isn't technically caught up in this mess, but in the way of perception -- which is everything -- the city is. Whatever brush is being used to paint the county with also flicks and splatters negativity on the city.
To have this go on in our midst is an unnecessary embarrassment. Robinson and Woods may not like each other -- although they used to. But that shouldn't matter. What matters is that they efficiently carry out of the people's business. We challenge these two to park their beef with each other and become a lot less newsworthy by simply doing what needs to be done. They are both elected officials. The public didn't vote them into office to create turmoil and bring bad press to themselves, the county and the city. We all deserve a lot more than that.