Sometimes you never know what you might hear of interest on an early morning run to the people’s gym, the War Memorial Fitness Center. For example:

* SUPREME COURT: Filing opens next week and races in March include two open seats on the Supreme Court. Associate Justice Courtney Goodson is so far unopposed for chief justice and Circuit Judge Shawn Womack of Mountain Home is the only announced candidate for another seats.

Two things: Trial lawyers are laboring mightily to find a candidate to oppose Womack — a Republican Chamber of Commerce tool, homophobe and self-admitted to be without experience in criminal cases. A Court of Appeals judge leads speculation.

Also, Circuit Judge John Dan Kemp of Mountain View is going to meet with a group of politically active people in Little Rock tonight. At last word he had not made a decision on entering the chief justice race against Goodson. I’d say a trip to Little Rock on a work night might indicate he’s nearing an affirmative decision.

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* INTERSTATE 30: The Arkansas Highway Department has apparently been caught flat-footed by the heated and rising opposition to its plan to build a higher Berlin Wall of concrete and decay along the Interstate 30 route through the heart of Little Rock. Their PR at public hearings has been non-existent and haughty. They’ve counted on support from local politicians that they DO NOT have. It is not surprising. There’s nothing good for the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock in this plan. The Highway Department can’t see it because the director, Scott Bennett, lives in Bryant and made it clear that he can see why people want to flee Little Rock.

Indeed. It’s time for Frank Scott, the black Highway commissioner from Little Rock, to have a talk with Rep. John Walker and review the history books. This project is just the latest state expenditure accelerating segregation in Little Rock and, thus, in its schools. The record is replete with divisive Interstate 630 and a succession of expensive projects to speed more traffic, faster, to White and Lonoke Counties, Saline County and Faulkner County. And the state provides free parking and even skywalks between parking decks and offices so the commuters need sully themselves minimally with contact with Little Rock soil.

61 years after Brown v. Board of Education and not long after the end of the Little Rock portion of the desegregation case, the state is back up to its old tricks with a plan to spend billions to further divide the city and further encourage people to live elsewhere. If it isn’t a part of Walker’s lawsuit over racial considerations in the state takeover of the school district, it should be. The record of interchanges, freeways and widening projects are just fact. They are among the social issues, by the way, that MUST be considered in environmental impact statements.

Again: Work is needed on I-30. But not this project. Tear it down and build a park.


See what Leslie Peacock wrote earlier about Dallas. Laughing at the notion of tearing down a freeway is another example of Highway Department cluelessness. It’s mired in yesterday. There ARE different ways to do things.