Some other items from a resumption of news after the long holiday:
* LR COP RACKS UP OVERTIME: KATV continues it reporting on extraordinary overtime charges in the Little Rock Police Department.
Traffic cop Natasha Sims reported 2,224 hours of overtime in 2012, 700 hours more than the next closest officer, worth $91,473 in overtime pay, on top of $52,646 in regular pay, for a gross of $144,119 in a year in which she wrote hundreds of tickets. Chief Stuart Thomas explained the overtime by saying she’d been subpoenaed to appear in court 369 times on the tickets, appearances that all required overtime. My question: Does traffic court actually sit in session almost 43 hours every week for 52 weeks a year, which would have been necessary to generate the hours that Sims reported?
* NLR TO SETTLE TIF SUIT: I suggested back in November that new North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith should extend a hand to the North Little Rock School District by giving up Mayor Pat Hays‘ fight against the school district to preserve the Tax Increment Finance District he tried to create to annex school property taxes for downtown development. The TIF district was created improperly and Hays didn’t stand a chance of winning the suit, but he had stubbornly refused to give up on it. Smith announced at his swearing-in yesterday that he would settle the lawsuit and had school people on hand to sing kumbaya on the new era in Dogtown. Good for Smith.
* EASE OFF THE FIRST AMENDMENT OR WE’LL KILL YOU: The New York newspaper that posted a map showing where pistol permit holders lived has hired armed security guards to protect its offices on account of “negative reactions” to the article. Yes, been there. My experience after linking the state’s public list of concealed handgun permit holders (no map, however) included specific violent threats in anonymous phone calls to home and office and threatening messages on the Internet. But … there was no physical followthrough, if that’s any consolation to the people at the West Nyack, N.Y., Journal News.
UPDATE: Now it develops a county intends to flout the open records law and refuse access to its permits because it doesn’t like how the newspaper used the information from other counties. The newspaper will go to court. AND MORE HERE on unhinged reactions by the gun nuts.
SPEAKING OF GUNS: Gene Lyons’ column this week is on the subject of the NRA. It’s on the jump and deals with the NRA’s demonization of people with mental illness.