Yet again, certain members of the Pine Bluff City Council — when called upon to address profound dysfunction — have lapsed into predictable habit. The present issue concerns the hyper-politicized and arguably broken Parks and Recreation Commission.
As recently reported by the Commercial, Mayor Debe Hollingsworth has expressed her intention that the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Commission be disbanded. Given that its primary function appears to have been as buffer between the rules for parks department employees and certain favored individuals, Hollingsworth’s decision is laudable and sound.
Of course nothing in Pine Bluff politics is ever simple. Lacking the will to just do what needs done, the council’s Public Works Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend that the commission be given a nine-month grace period to show it can satisfy its council-mandated requirements to the city.
To this we would ask one question: What is it in their long record of dubious decisions and oversight that suggests this parks commission has the constitution to suddenly reform in the next nine months?
Is this not eerily similar to previous suggestions that former Chief of Police Brenda Davis-Jones should have been given time to prove her abilities under the new mayor?
In short, this is just magical thinking — with little connection to reality. As a city we don’t have time for a bunch of “mulligans” just because certain members of the City Council lack the intestinal fortitude to slaughter sacred cows.
We’ve heard their protests. They’re always couched in giving these failed ventures “time.” As a city we don’t have that luxury.
Sadly, they are obviously blind to it; and to their blindness, we would ask that they remember Matthew 18:9, “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”
In Homer’s Iliad, the poet admonishes us about the wages of meddling — as certain members of this council are wont to do. The gods of Homeric epics frequently involve themselves in the affairs of mortals. More often than not, they do so with the intention of doing kindness to one mortal — failing to recognize that this undue favor typically means somebody else will suffer.
In Book 5, two gods, Diomedes and Ares, fight over their favored mortals. About their opposing favors, Ares says, “We everlasting gods … Ah what chilling blows we suffer — thanks to our own conflicting wills — whenever we show these mortal men some kindness.”
It would be one thing if these grace periods and other unwise governance only wounded the council “gods,” but they don’t. Just as in the Iliad, the imbalance means many of us mere mortals also suffer. Until the council finds a way to unify, the suffering will continue.