Against Jacksonville millage
It's very sad and unfortunate, but on Feb. 10 many Jacksonville residents on fixed incomes will wake up to find a small group approved what's being called a 14 percent to 19 percent hike in their property taxes in a special election that they were not expecting nor had they been aware of, since the March 1 SEC primary is just down the road.
Early voting started Tuesday, Feb. 2, ahead of the Feb. 9 special 7.6 mills property tax increase election for the new Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District that doesn't take over from PCSSD until July 1.
The "Forward! February 9" slogan sounds like the marketing campaign for a new high-tech store and not an election date!
It's an election pushed by the Chamber of Commerce types — business leaders, city aldermen, school board members and the leaders of the Jacksonville Education Corps. They want voters to pay more taxes so the district can build a $60 million high school that they are pegging their hopes of economic growth in Jacksonville on.
There is a lot opposition on social media and around town to the tax grab. In fact, the election is becoming a referendum on the direction of the district, the perceived lack of transparency by the Education Corps and school board, who won't admit how much they are paying an election guru and spending on the campaign.
There is also the perception that the board and district leaders don't care about current school employees and the little people in town.
Opponents feel the school board and Education Corps leaders just want the little people to pay more taxes so they can continue to make money but not give back to the community, which has led to the current economic disaster for the city.
Most people agree Jacksonville High School and other schools should have been condemned years ago by city officials, which is part of the problem.
A lot of people have unaddressed issues with the tax increase. If you haven't been keeping up, then check out the Jacksonville area social media groups so you can decide if this is the right time to pay more taxes or the wrong plan at the wrong time pushed by the wrong people!
Barring unforeseen acts of God, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president. However, the groundswell of support among young voters for Bernie Sanders might be used to Clinton's advantage in the general election. Hopefully she won't miss this opportunity to win the support of Sanders' voters. If Clinton is smart, and by all accounts she is, just ask certain Arkansas Times contributors, then she'll find a way to communicate with young voters. If Clinton takes the nomination, then turns her back on young, white, educated voters she'll lose a significant block. The way Clinton can win Bernie's supporters is to bring him on as her running mate in the general election. This would assure the continued involvement of Sanders' supporters working for the Clinton-Sanders race to the White House. It's interesting to think what might be accomplished with both of these strong liberal/progressive leaders occupying the executive office.
Young people should vote in Arkansas
The lack of young voters in our state is appalling. Many in Little Rock are not aware of this, as Pulaski County has the highest youth voter turnout in the state. On average, only 20 percent of Arkansas's youths aged 18 to 25 shows up to vote at presidential elections, with even less showing up to [vote on] state government issues.
There are efforts that have been put into place by the government and state political groups. However, these are mostly focused in Pulaski County and have mostly been directed at those who have voted in the past, such as political phone calls made by volunteers from the Democratic Party of Arkansas or Republican Party of Arkansas, and seldom aimed at those who will be voting for the first time. Having worked briefly with the DPA in the past, I am aware of many of their efforts, such as running stations at Riverfest allowing people to register to vote. However, I have yet to see any efforts as such in the more rural areas of Arkansas.
If our state government passed a law requiring all eligible voters to register to vote, the voter turnout would almost inevitably increase, especially among young people. Requiring all youths to register within the month of their 18th birthday would hopefully encourage them to vote and become politically aware. This would not cost the state much money, and might even generate money if tickets were issued to those who failed to register.
Hanah Chilton Streett
From the web:
In response to Ernest Dumas' Jan. 28 column, "If Trump, Bernie are nominees":
If Bernie and The Donald are the nominees, the rest of us are going to be royally screwed, again, again and again, with no foreseeable end in sight!
I know everyone at the Times loves the Clintons, but we count on you guys to do better than the other news sources. The Times has been as bad as any other news source, including Fox, at disparaging Sanders' views, repeating the word "socialist" as though Sanders' view is the same as Stalin's. I've heard otherwise reasonable people say they would like to vote for Hillary, but if Sanders wins the primary, they'd vote for Trump, because "I could never vote for a socialist."
If that comes to pass, will the Times take any responsibility for its part? Will you be able to backpedal enough to convince your readers to give Sanders a chance after all? Will you endorse Trump, too?
In that regard, I would suggest that Ernie Dumas write a column pointing out just what Bernie Sanders' "democratic socialism" means.
So far, democratic socialism has worked just fine: Social Security, Medicare, national highways, monuments, parks, forests, civil rights, strategic oil reserves, FAA, SEC, FCC, urban renewal, post office, telecommunications and so on.
Up here in Chickenopolis, locals love democratic socialism so much they went whole hog and let people vote on city taxes financing a professional baseball stadium. Then they got some federal democratic socialism to put in nice streetlights and extend the runways of the local airport. Chickenopolis loves some socialism.
In response to Gene Lyons' Jan. 28 column, "For Hillary":
Hillary Clinton is the best candidate if you want to see the problems in this country managed. Managing the problems keeps the status quo firmly in place and allows those at the top to continue the economic division of the haves and the have nots.
Bernie Sanders wants to identify the problems and actually do something about them. He may not be able to do a lot about actually fixing them, but they have to first be identified, and Hillary simply isn't going to identify them, much less look for solutions.
I'll agree that Hillary is, by far, the most complete candidate in the race. No doubt, she could handle the job on day 1, hour 1.
I do wish she wasn't as hawkish as she is, though, and I wish she was much less cozy with Wall Street.
I know, wish in one hand and do something in the other and see which fills up faster.