A review of recent ups and downs
It’s Thursday and it might be fair to accuse us of being all thumbs. Why not? Here are a few: For elected officials, it can be tough and, sometimes, downright uncomfortable to ask constituents to speak up about what they want in gov- ernment. Constituents don’t always fully appreciate the complexities involved with budget limitations, the competing interests of constituent wishes or the legal restrictions that influence decision-making. Not that elected officials need sympathy — they asked for their role. But those factors can discourage them from promoting open exchanges with the public.
That’s why it’s impressive that Benton County Judge Barry Moehring has scheduled town hall-style meetings — the first was in Gentry Monday night — to field questions and hear what county residents have to say to their county representatives. Other town halls are set Monday in Sulphur Springs, Aug. 7 in Rogers and Aug. 21 in Garfield.
Moehring is in his first year at the helm of county government, so some might assume it’s natural he’d be enthusiastic about hearing from residents as he continues formulating plans for the future. But let’s not pretend every first-year county judge is so interested. Moehring deserves credit for creating a mechanism to specifically invite residents to get engaged in discussion about what county government ought to be doing.
Will every town hall meeting draw the 45 or 50 people last Monday’s meeting did? Maybe not, but there’s value in the process even if five people show up.
Plenty of people complain that government doesn’t listen. In Benton County, that can’t be said of Moehring. It’s up to residents to speak up if they want to be heard.
It’s impossible to know whether President Trump is using impetuous tweeting without thought or care as to the impact or if his use of social media is a calculated, almost-daily effort he believes will help achieve his goals, but this we know: It’s diminishing hope for those who want him to be an effective president.
What the American people get when Trump engages in his unfiltered tweets is an image of a petulant child. Sure, people elected him because of a certain irreverence and unconventionalism, but at some point, he has to play well with others. Where’s the master negotiator, the man who sold himself as the only one who could get this country on the right track? Nobody will find that guy in Trump’s tweets.
The nation needs a serious problem-solver in the White House. It seems even those who counted a defeat of Hillary Clinton as the chief goal have to be disappointed that the man in charge appears to be his own worst enemy.
Trump, who visited the Boy Scouts’ National Jamboree the other day and gave a putrid speech, would do well if he simply tried to live up to the Scout Oath, on his honor, to do his best to do his duty to God and country, to help other people at all times and to keep himself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
The schools of the Arkansas Activities Association will vote Monday on a plan designed to improve its classification system as they try to balance the competitive needs of school teams with the limited time and resources that influence how far teams should be traveling for contests. It seems the association is constantly shifting its system, and that’s because there are no easy answers to the varied interests of big, heavily populated schools and smaller schools with comparatively tiny populations. Monday’s proposal seems it’s a step in the right direction, but don’t expect everyone to be happy with it.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has filled two recent vacancies on the quorum courts in Benton and Washington counties. Fred Rausch, 59, of Springdale will serve out a term in Washington County and Mike Jeffcoat of Rogers will take the oath of office tonight in Benton County. We wish these gentlemen well in their efforts to serve the people of their districts and counties and commend them for their willingness to serve. As they get up to speed on county issues, we have a reading recommendation: The Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook. (http://www.arkansaspress.org/?page=foihandbook)