Here’s the Sunday open line. A couple of issues:
* FELONIOUS FAYETTEVILLE: The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce continued its campaign against the city civil rights ordinance on the ballot Tuesday with misleading advertising in the local newspaper. A lot of it is bunk. The legal irony is rich, given that Steve Clark, convicted of a felony for state expense account abuse as attorney general, is the point man as chamber leader on fighting civil rights protection for people who simply want to work, live and eat without being discriminated against on account of who they are. Maybe they can get the holy spirit and win a pardon for their sins from the Huckster, as Clark did.
Anyway, one thing in the bunk particularly stands out: The chamber’s ad says other Arkansas cities will be rushing to compete against Fayetteville for business by noting that Fayetteville has a civil rights ordinance and they do not. Let us imagine:
Google: We’d like to open a facility in Northwest Arkansas, Bentonville or Fayetteville.
Bentonville mayor: We allow legal discrimination against queers. Our legislative delegation is adamantly supportive of this. Fayetteville, well, check it out.
Fayetteville Chamber President Steve Clark, the pardoned felon: Sorry, we have an ordinance that could provide minor penalties if you discriminated against anyone on account of age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. I really can’t encourage you to come to a city that welcomes diversity and the creative classes.
Google: That cinches it. We’re moving to Bentonville.
This is wholly imaginary. After Tuesday, legal discrimination likely will again be the law of Fayetteville. The return of the status quo will still leave Fayetteville as a city somewhat more progressive than most in Arkansas, but where you don’t have to look far to find people who have been and will continue to be victims of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. That’s too bad, though no different than the rest of the state, including Little Rock, which has, to its shame, made no gesture about equality. What’s worse is that a return to status quo will be a large net loss for equality. The defeat in Fayetteville will be waved as a proud banner by the outside hate groups that led the charge, along with putative “Christians,” to panic the citizenry about a largely symbolic statement.
EVEN FAYETTEVILLE, they’ll say, doesn’t believe in equality for gay people. EVEN FAYETTEVILLE, thinks it’s good for business to allow legal discrimination. And they’ll be right.
UPDATE: So it appears the UA official, Danny Pugh, who shut down the shuttle has a family member who signed the repeal petition. Nobody would dare argue, would they, that he spent state money (his salary) to exert partisan influence on the Tuesday election by blocking rides to the polls offered on a non-partisan basis because he happens to oppose the ordinance? I’ve asked him. I note he’s a supporter of Shiloh Christian, aligned with the conservative religion-political movement in NW Ark. that is working hard against the Fayetteville ordinance.
Despite Pugh’s unilateral shutdown of a graduate student shuttle on shaky legal grounds (to date the UA insists Pugh acted on his own without pressure or legal guidance), volunteers have lined up to take students to the polls.
* ARKANSAS’S JUNIOR SENATOR: Rep. Tom Cotton, heading for the Senate, is marked with a bullet as they used to say about Top 40 songs. He’s heading to the top along with Ted Cruz as an outspoken proponent of a U.S. war posture. I think he’d be proud of it. Others aren’t so impressed, but they don’t vote in Arkansas much. Nonetheless a moveon.org petition has been started to urge Cotton to reconsider his support for ending talks with Iran. In that course lies more war in the Middle East they say.
* HOMICIDE: Little Rock police say the body of an unidentified man with a gunshot wound to the head was found in a carport at 2221 Howard Street shortly before 4 a.m. this morning. Officers were responding to an alarm. Little else is known at the moment. It would be the 41st homicide of the year in the city.