Editor, The Commercial:
On Monday, February 27, 2012, Earl and I read an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette regarding the plans to convert buildings into halfway houses for violent parolees and sex-offenders. As we discussed this issue with others, we determined that many of the citizens of Pine Bluff were just as concerned as we were and wanted to voice their dismay about the decision.
As a result, Earl and I decided to host a public forum about the issue. We ascertained approximately 700 signatures that were not in favor of the halfway house and contacted Senator Stephanie Flowers’ office for assistance to organize a forum after our attempts to communicate with the Department of Community Correction (DCC) and their board members failed. Ms. Flowers’ assistant returned our call, and we explained our concerns to her as well as give her the time frame by which we were working in. Because Senator Flowers’ office did not follow up with us within the time frame, we sought help from other people and were told to contact Rep. Efrem Elliot.
Earl and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Rep. Elliot for responding to the citizens’ cry for help. Although we were not in his area, he did not hesitate to reach out and help us. Additionally, we would like to thank St. Andrew A.M.E. Church, Pastor Marcia Burns and church family for hosting thee forum. We would like to thank Watson Chapel School District for letters of support and the alderman and city attorney for working behind the scenes assisting us in this matter and to the citizens of Pine Bluff for signing the petition.
Ora and Earl Mays