Parking lot plan risks arts center's success
Regarding the proposed cultural arts corridor by the city of Fayetteville, the Cultural Arts Survey No. 3 through the city's "Speak Up Fayetteville" is a 70-page report of a survey of patrons who attend Walton Arts Center events and are familiar with the area, the arts center and the pros and cons of the parking situation. In that report, the word "parking" as a concern by patrons appeared 207 times, averaging almost three times per page. That's certainly an indication that parking is a primary concern of the voters.
The passing margin of the arts corridor vote was slightly more than 54 percent, the lowest margin of all bond issues on the election, indicating something less than 100 percent support for the cultural arts corridor as proposed. I believe we are at a critical juncture with this issue and must be careful to make the right decisions.
I support the arts corridor and think it could be beautiful, but not at the expense of giving up the Walton Arts Center parking lot, which would be disastrous for the entire area of Dickson Street. Therefore, let's collectively seek another solution that would be the best of both worlds. Preserve the present WAC lot and improve it with a sculptured brick wall with open arches. Then build the cultural arts corridor on top of the WAC lot, saving money and creating a superior development, both practically and visually. It could be called the sky garden or something similar.
As a reference, please Google "Mandarin Project -- Green Roof Garden on a Parking Garage." There are several photos of this principle successfully executed. The Razorback practice field parks 272 cars underneath, with a football practice field above it, and was built at a cost of $9 million a few years ago.
Why would we want to close the Walton Arts Center lot, worsening the parking and convenience experience, buy new land and build an expensive parking deck on it, less convenient to use with round and round, up and down, finding it full, then coming back down and looking for another place to park? Frustrating and bound to negatively impact the arts center, our jewel of Fayetteville. What kind of good sense is that? At the very least, get an estimate on preserving the arts center lot with a sky garden above it. An estimate, then make a decision.
Few people today defend justifications for slavery
Slavery is so disreputable in the modern age that loyal Southerners, including friends and family from Arkansas, find it impossible to dwell on the fact that slavery was the chief economic engine of the South and that southern leaders risked what became a civil war in order to protect it. But no one doubted this during the secession crisis of 1860-1861. Original documents published in every state, Arkansas included, at the time of secession made this abundantly clear. Here is a sample from a few states, in the words of those who took their states into the Confederacy:
Georgia: "For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security ... and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property."
Mississippi: "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery -- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth."
South Carolina: "A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery."
Texas: "She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery -- the servitude of the African to the white race ... the servitude of the African race ... is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified ... and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations ..."
There were many good people who believed these things in 1860. Fortunately, in 2019, few now defend these sentiments.
How'd we get here? Ask ancient Greeks
Many of us are growing weary of the divisive partisan politics in Washington. We keep hoping our elected leaders will compromise on something, and we are frustrated about how we got here in the first place.
One clue might be found in one of the ancient Greek myths. The story of Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus. Prometheus is the one that went against Zeus and stole fire from Mount Olympus to bring down to humans so that they could warm themselves. Most people know this part of the story but maybe not the other part. The reason he had to carry the fire down is because Epimetheus had exhausted all the earth's resources creating the animals. No fur or feathers were left to clothe man. Prometheus means "forethought" and Epimetheus means "afterthought."
If we apply the brothers' story to our two political parties, it is easy to see which is which. The Republicans would be the backward thinkers. Why? Because they don't want to face change. They just want to dig their heels in and keep the status quo. They follow blindly a dangerous leader who calls heroes horrible names and tries to discredit anyone who stands up to his backwards agenda, one that gives the nation's top polluters tax breaks and incentives, that deregulates the banking industry and Wall Street but ignores the middle class and poor.
The Democrats are the forward thinkers, introducing plans to combat climate change and to fix our train-wreck of a health care system. The Republicans are not doing this. They only want to berate those who are. Giving tax breaks to America's most wealthy used up all the government's financial resources that could have been applied to programs that actually help people move forward. When it comes to climate change and foreign policy, we have lost three years looking backward because of this arrogant president.
Yet, the Republicans in Congress keep supporting him. We put them there to represent us. I don't think that all Republicans here in Arkansas feel that defending the president is the right thing to do anymore. And if not, they need to ask their representatives in Congress to stop doing it. They won't listen to Democrats because they know they aren't going to get our vote anyhow for this very reason of supporting an unstable and dangerous president.
We are at a crucial time in history that needs forward-thinking people, not people that cling to power, but those that advance our nation because they care about it. It is now time to vote, not on party affiliation, but for those leaders who will help our country and the world move forward, not backwards.
Trump's character flaws create plenty of problems
There are people who will never admit to making a mistake. They have to protect their enormous egos and admitting to failure is not an option. Quite often they blame someone else for their transgressions. If you fall into this category you probably have few friends. Why would anyone want to associate with such a person?
Often, this flaw is coupled with another defect, that of lying. One would think having both of these qualities would prevent a person from being successful, yet we know today we have a president who never believes he is at fault and is also a chronic liar, accusations that are beyond dispute. When you further consider evidence he is using his office as president to increase profits in his own business ventures, you have an extremely flawed person. How he was elected will be a topic of discussion for years to come. It may be simply that he is one of the best con artists of all time and his opponent was unpopular.
All of the above explains why so many of his White House appointees' terms in office have been short. One might be able to put up with such an employer for a while but before long you find that you hate to go to work each day, dreading what new unpleasantness is waiting. It doesn't take long to find out that the president really isn't interested in your feedback on an issue, which means you are only drawing a paycheck. Sometimes you continue on the job hoping conditions will change, but you know this is only wistful thinking. However, you worry that if you quit, he will bad-mouth you when you attempt to land another job. You know if you accept the appointment there probably won't be a good ending, so why take it, other than it looks good on paper?
Another problem with working for the president is the public will assume you agree with his policies and support the way he conducts himself. If that's not the case, remaining in his employ too long may blacken your reputation and damage your chances of finding future employment.
You know other foreign dignitaries are aware of the president's shortcomings and fully exploit them. For example flattering him, which feeds his enormous ego, causes him to agree to almost anything. Putin is the master of this ploy. You know our enemies will pray that he will be re-elected, and have him around for another four years so they can continue to do their dirty work.
Those who continue to support Trump must think having a reputation of never admitting to a mistake, lying and increasing his personal fortunes while in office makes for a good president. If such is the case, they have got their man. However, it appears Trump's popularity is beginning to slip, and he must be concerned about having another television show sometime in the future.
Commentary on 12/02/2019
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