It's Thursday and another chance to fire off a few thumbs about some of news developments in our neck of the worlds and elsewhere:
[THUMBS UP] It's good to see at least one Northwest Arkansas city recognizes the limits of its reach: Springdale's City Council declined to turn people who don't pick up their pets' poop into criminals. Council Member Kathy Jaycox twice made a motion to put an ordinance on this week's council meeting. No other council member provided the necessary second to force a vote on the matter. No one likes having to worry about what's left behind by pets who have inconsiderate pet owners. It's simple responsibility for pet ownership, and we understand that some people don't live up to those responsibilities. But it seems unwise to turn city officials into the poop police. We admire people who step up to take care of furry sidekicks, but they need to take care of their neighbors, too, by respecting their properties not because of a law, but because it's what good neighbors do.
[THUMBS UP] Legislative leaders approved $2 million in replacement funding for the state-run mental health crisis stabilization units, one of which operates in Fayetteville. These units, considered to be pilot projects, are designed to give communities an option other than jail for people who are in a mental health crisis best addressed by medical attention rather than incarceration. But the economic upheaval visited upon Arkansas by the covid-19 situation forced state reductions in anticipated revenue and spending. This move restores some of the funding. After all, who can suggest there's less need today for critical mental health services than there was before the pandemic? Will crisis stabilization units find their place within the judicial system, law enforcement and health care for the long term? We don't know, but that's what pilot projects are designed to find out. It's wise to continue funding this effort so that the state can discern whether these units should be expanded elsewhere, maintained as is or, perhaps, even dissolved if they do not prove their worth.
[THUMBS DOWN] It's certainly worthy for media outlets to note the lack of a massive crowd at a Donald Trump rally, such as the one he held in Tulsa last Saturday. But it is astonishing to see so much time, effort and resources devoted over the last several days to the head count. When the real issue is who the leader of the United States will be over the next four years, does anyone believe the number of people at a rally in June 2020 will matter? Promoted, in our view, by incessantly simplistic cable news coverage, are such issues going to matter a year from now? What about the issues facing the nation and policy responses to them? Granted, that's not just the media's fault. The candidates help drive that, and Donald Trump doesn't seem to have much of an agenda for his campaign far other than worrying about how he's perceived. He had an agenda in 2016. Granted, many didn't embrace his agenda, but he offered policy suggestions from building walls to expanding infrastructure and immigration changes. So far in 2020, Trump has focused little on policies for the next four years other than the promise of more incendiary tweets. Trump will be Trump, but reporters and editors have choices about what they focus their energies on. The size of Trump's rally crowds isn't a matter of lasting significance.
[THUMBS UP] Sebastian County justices of the peace thankfully refrained from embracing a push to create a "Bill of Rights sanctuary." The campaign is a thinly disguised gun rights measure broadened to include the rest of the Bill of Rights. So who can be against the Bill of Rights? Well, if it were a simply statement in support of those constitutional amendments, there would be no problem, but these sanctuary movements assert some sort of false local powers to ignore or counteract state or federal laws that local officials determine to be constitutional violations. It's simply a power that survive scrutiny, but it could cause all sorts of problems if local officials try to implement their vision or interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The measure is unneeded -- if something is constitutional, it is constitutional, and can be defended as such regardless of what local officials say. We're glad Sebastian County officials voted 9-4 against the measure.
Give’em a thumb
Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at [email protected]