Leader Blues

Saturday, October 31, 2009

EDITORIAL >> Tax dollars at work

Yesterday, the refurbished and expanded communications office of the Arkansas House of Representatives put out a three-page release to Arkansas newspapers and broadcast stations. The breathtaking news?

The manager of the city pound at Little Rock and a fellow lawmaker heaped praise upon Rep. Pam Adcock of Little Rock for sponsoring a dramatic law last spring that is going to revolutionize the handling of stray animals. The law, Act 692 of 2009, lets people buy a decal for their license plates that says “Support Animal Rescue and Shelters.” The proceeds of the decal sale, if there are any, will be divided among cities that have animal shelters.

You didn’t know that, did you? The newspapers carried only a brief mention of the bill at the time, leaving the citizenry uncognizant of the majestic leadership of their lawmakers in this critical area.

There will be many more such pronouncements. House Speaker Robbie Wills fired the House’s longtime press officer in September and expanded the little communications office so that the people of Arkansas will get a better picture of the great work that their legislators are doing.

In addition to the staff, the House pays a $5,000 monthly retainer to Little Rock public relations man Craig Douglass to help promote the legislators. Douglass’ company lost out on the advertising contract for the Arkansas lottery. The taxpayers owe him something all right, but see what they’re getting for their dollars.

—Ernie Dumas