Great Public Theater


Have you ever attended a meeting of the Jonesboro Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (JMAPC)?

If not, you should.

It’s great public theater and offers the audience a little comedy, a dose of tragedy and no small measure of drama.

First, the meeting is held in a sanctuary.

Attendees sit in pews.

Years ago, Huntington Avenue Methodist Church occupied this facility.  I know because I was a member of this Church and served on its Board.

The choir area has been replaced with a large dais that extends from one side of the altar area to the other.  Behind the elevated dais sit the Commissioners staring down at the congregation…excuse me, members of the public who have come to favor one land use issue or another and who make their case from a small podium situated directly in front of and facing the Chairman.

The Chairman sits in the middle of the dais, his fellow commissioners seated to his right and various city officials to his left.

Directly above his head, as I recall, used to hang a larger than life crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  He looks down at the audience and they, in turn, look up to him.

Get the picture?

The stage is set.

When I was there last evening, I was witness to one presenter who proposed a change in his current RI Zoning status due in large measure to a meteorological phenomenon known, in lay terms, as a double rainbow.

I’ve seen many a double rainbow in my lifetime and can testify to their exhilerating beauty; furthermore, the fact that the secondary rainbow arises in the same arc as the primary bow is caused from two internal reflections as sunlight exits a raindrop at an angle of 50 degrees rather than the 42 degree angle for the red primary bow.


Let’s move on.

A short time later I witnessed one Commissioner, from his elevated perch, skillfully and deliberately recall two witnesses to the presenters podium where he was able to effectively side track the discussion of the evening, i.e., land use, which is why most of us were there, to one that is highly personal and painful to him.

There was applause from the pews followed by an admonition from the Chairman to those applauding.

At this moment, I had the strange feeling I was attending the wrong meeting and expected an offeratory was imminent.

Few things in life delight me more than watching embarrassed attorneys try to defend themselves and their incompetent ways.  Apparently, when conducting a title search on real estate property, these attorneys ignored using an abstract company having fresh data and, instead, relied on dated and grossly incomplete county record files.  This blunder caused them to send a required letter of notification to a gentleman who passed away 28 years ago.  His heirs were present and one had to take the podium and advise the Commissioners that the deceased would be unable to attend.

You can’t make this stuff up.


Harry Herget

2705 Bloom Meadow

Jonesboro  AR  72404