Mr. Millsap begins his letter by charging the “A Vote for Growth Committee” with distortion of information. He should be careful in this regard because his letter itself distorts certain facts.

In citing the “drysharpcounty.org” Web site for his proof that wet counties do not grow, he presented incorrect statistics. I bothered to check the Web site, which gives a reprint of an article from the Villager Journal of Cherokee Village, Ark., of Aug. 14, 2008.

To the Editor:

I should like to respond to the letter in the Jan. 20 issue written by Forrest Millsap concerning the wet/dry issue in Clark County.
Mr. Millsap begins his letter by charging the “A Vote for Growth Committee” with distortion of information. He should be careful in this regard because his letter itself distorts certain facts.
In citing the “drysharpcounty.org” Web site for his proof that wet counties do not grow, he presented incorrect statistics. I bothered to check the Web site, which gives a reprint of an article from the Villager Journal of Cherokee Village, Ark., of Aug. 14, 2008.
The 22 percent growth of dry counties reported in that article was a misprint. It should have been 2.2 percent. The article goes on to cite statistics for growth of wet/dry counties using the U.S. Census Bureau figures: Average growth of 2.31 in wet counties as opposed to 1.71 in dry counties. I suggest that when Mr. Millsap cites statistics in the future he be more accurate, and not purposely distort the facts. I called the editor to verify the article of Aug. 14, 2008 and to verify the actual statistics reported in that article. Calling others on the carpet for distortion when he distorts material himself is sheer hypocrisy.
The argument of those for a dry county remaining dry is often full of distortion, based on fear, ignorance, and a lot of hypocrisy. Mr. Millsaps’s argument for the dry side of the issue says that Hot Springs is growing more than Arkadelphia because it has more industry and better roads coming into it. Better roads do contribute to growth of an area, but at one time Clark County had a great deal of industry and it had nothing to do with roads or the county being dry. Being wet may or may not bring more industry, but it can make a difference from the point of view of the company officials looking for a site. Good schools, good roads, accessability to marketing and social outlets all play a part of getting more industry.
Fearmongers, like Mr. Millsap, however, do not want to look at the matter objectively. They argue their point of view mostly from fears that may or may not exist. Is alcohol the real cause of most crime these days? I suggest that if one looks objectively at cities like Arkadelphia and Hot Springs he will discover that the drug culture is the one thing that has caused the crime rate to soar in most places. Arkadelphia is not immune from that. If one reads the police and sheriff report weekly in Clark County, he will discover many more arrests for hard drugs than for alcohol. In the Monday, Jan. 18 issue, for example, there were six arrests for hard drug use and only two for abuse of alcohol. I suggest that Mr. Millsap take a monthly tally for a few months.
His argument that a wet county will bring more violent crimes and more AA programs is interesting but false. Out of the 30 reports made locally in the Jan. 18 issue, seven concerned violent crimes unrelated to alcohol. Several others were for thefts of a various nature, but no mention of alcohol.
The most interesting argument Mr. Millsap put forth is that a wet Clark County would cause Ouachita Baptist University, my undergraduate alma mater, to move. What a laugh! Perhaps Mr. Millsaps does not know that OBU (orginally OBC) was founded in the late 19th century and served Arkansas for many years when Clark County was wet. It was here long before the county went dry in 1942, not in 1943. And the reason that it did, along with many other counties in Arkansas, was not due to violent crime: It was due to drunk people walking the streets and often causing fights.  I witnessed that as a boy growing up at Ashdown in Little River County. Clark, along with Little River and about 20 more counties, were voted dry during and after the war years because most men who went to the beer joints were serving in World War II, so the women voted the counties dry.
The arguments of Mr. Millsap are very much the same that were used in the 1990s when the old Holiday Inn at Caddo Valley applied to the ABC for an alcohol permit. The original building had a bar built in with the hope back in the 1960s that a permit would be granted. It never was until the 1990s. Then a convention center was added to serve the entire county. That convention center provided something Arkadelphia now does not have.
When the Holiday Inn changed hands, the new owners were not interested in retaining the center or the bar. Loss of industry since then has not provided a stimulus for anyone else to seek a permit.
There have been several attempts in the last 20 years to return Clark County to being “wet.” Let us hope that no hypocritical technicalities are found anymore to keep it off the ballot. One of the marks of being in a democracy like ours is to allow folk to vote on an issue whether one agrees with it or not. Refusing to sign a petition suggests to me a strong fear that the majority might win. We ought to finally allow this county to vote on the matter and make a decision once and for all, and if the majoirty says “wet,” so be it. That is the democratic way.
 
John W. Crawford
Arkadelphia