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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 6, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas                                4A g HeraldZettung o Sunday July Opinion To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonsori about the Opinion page call 625 9144 Ext 220 Q U O T A B L The press is the living jury of the James Gordon Bennett newspaper editor D I T O R I A McKenna represents hest of New Braunfels When someone considers moving to a new city that person usually wants to know about the citys quality of life and nothing exemplifies the quality of life than the communitys health care provider In New Braunfels and Comal County McKenna Memorial Hospital stands as the hallmark of health care With a professional staff of doctors nurses and specialists the hospital cares for a community that is growing at one of the fastest paces in the state McKenna also represents the sense of the commu nity In the 1950s after bond elections for a new hospital failed a group of residents and employers got together and sought donations to bring McKenna to life And keeping it alive has been a tribute to the com munity as well The 32bed facility has grown to the current 1 16 beds At the same time McKenna Memorial Hospital has branched out offering ser vices to residents who might not Always have the resources or the ability to make the trip into New spent on indigent patients who need medical care but do not have the money to pay for it Almost everyone who has lived in New Braunfels or Comal County has been touched by the work of McKenna Memorial Hospital And every year tourists who visit this city oftentimes have to make use of the services provided by our hospital McKenna Memorial Hospital represents New Braunfels at its best the selfsufficiency and qual ity work that this community has long cherished Todays editorial was written by HeraldZeitung Managing Editor Margaret Write us The New Braunfels HeraldZeitung welcomes letters on any public issue The editor reserves the right to correct spelling style punctua tion and known factual errors Letters should be kept to 250 words We publish only original mail addressed to the New Braunfels Her aldZeitung bearing the writers signature Also an address and a telephone number which are not for publication must be included Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the pre vious 30 days Mail letters to Letters to the Editor the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Drawer 311328 New Braunfels Texas 781311328 Fax 210 6251224 New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Editor and Publisher Ext Toney Managing Editor Ext Edmonson Marketing Director Ext Borchardt Classified Advertising Manager Ext Reininger Business Manager Ext Lee Hall Circulation Director Ext Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman Ext Parnell Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Friday by the fkraMZeiiuiig USPS 377880 707 Landa or Drawer 311328 New Braimfcls Coma County TX 78131 1328 Periodical postage paid by the Naw Braunjels HtHiiUZeiiung in New Braunfels Texas furrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties three months six months one year S66 Senior Citizen Discounts by carrier delivery only six months one year Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas three months six months one year Mail outside Texas six months one year Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by Tuesday through Friday or by on Sunday may call or by 7 weekdays or by II on Sunday Pi i MAS I IK Send address changes to the New Braunfels HttraMZeitung Draw er 31 1328 Sew 781311328 Opinion Online contact i To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet or to simply contact staff members the newspapers address is Taxes should not be used to restrict access The 75th session of the Texas Leg islature is over Thats the good news The bad news is that about 200 of the bills that were filed tried to close or restrict the publics access to gov ernment Regrettably this effort to thwart the publics right to an open government is not unique to this Legislature What makes this situation so per ilous is that most of this assault on the publics rights comes from lobbying organizations for cities school boards and lawyers If an award existed for the group that initiated the greatest assault on the publics access to government this years plaque would go to the Texas Municipal League Runnersup to this award would be The Texas Association of School Boards the Texas District and County Attorneys Association and the Uni versity of Texas Board of Regents Some of these groups receive tax dollars to support efforts to limit the publics access to government via dues and fees charged to cities or school boards or the county government The use of tax dollars to lobby for closing up access to govern DOUCJ ment doesnt pass the smell test TOney The Texas Municipal League lobbied for a bill that would have removed accident reports from police logs Gov George W Bush vetoed a standalone version of the bill but it was attached as an amend ment to another bill and became law Senate Bill 308 by Jeff Wentworth RSan Antonio would have closed a loophole in the Texas Open Meetings Act that allows staff members to brief governmental bodies behind closed This allows councilmembers and school board members and county commissioners to be given informa tion that the public does not hear The TML the TASB and the Uni versity of Texas Board of Regents all opposed the bill in its original form Then the school board association and the UT regents had amendments attached that exempted school boards andUT Fortunately the bill died on a point of order The number of other efforts these groups made to restrict access to gov ernment decisionmaking are too numerous to mention In case you are wondering the city of New Braunfels belongs to the TML Both the New Braunfels Independent School District and the Comal Inde pendent School District are associated with the TASB The Comal County government via the district attorneys office has some money going to the Texas District and County Attorneys Association Most of the bills that attacked the publics right to know were defeated either in committee or on the floor or in some political pointoforder trick Thats good news But the bad news is that some bad bills were passed and became law and local tax dollars went to organizations that lobbied for these new restrictions on the publics access to government Sure as the sun rises in the east some school board member or city staff or councilmember or someone from the county government will counter that these organizations actu ally do much good with the dollars they take from taxpayers That might be true But not one cent of anyones taxes should go tp these organizations as long as they devote a single minute to thwarting a citizens ability to hold our government accountable Doug Toneyis editor and publish er of the NATOs empty gesture and how to fix it Its been 50 years since President Truman dispatched Secretary of State George Marshall to Europe to rebuild that continent for the remainder of the century Recently another presi dent Bill Clinton declared the unequiv ocal success of the Marshall Plan and called for a new rela tionship Central to his plan is the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Simply adding new members to NATO hardly seems like bold leader ship We must assess the very nature of the alliance including a new mission for NATO that is based on the threats we expect to face into the next century But even before meeting that formida ble challenge the alliance must per form some serious housekeeping 1 question whether the alliance is ready for expansion and my skepti cism has nothing to do with particular concerns about any of the prospective new members Rather it seems the alliance is avoiding the really tough work of changing the NATO charter to account for broader membership To date the NATO expansion debate has centered on how to address Russias concerns and the recent signing of the Founding Act ends that debate Regard less of the relative merits of the Found ing Act itself though I am concerned that we have spent so much time fig uring out how to avoid a clash with Russia over NATO expansion that takes place We have the experience Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Sunday July 6 the 187th day of 1997 There are 178 days left in the year Todays Highlight in History On July President Truman signed an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom On this date In 1483 Englands King Richard HI was crowned In 1535 Sir Thomas More was exe cuted in England for treason Kay Bailey Hutchison of Greece and Turkey to caution us that members with historic bor derrelated ten sions can create a difficult problem of alliance man agement Free of the bonds of the Cold War defense against a hostile enemy allies might one day be adversaries as the result of such ten sion At the heart of the NATO relation ship is Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty which states quite simply that the members agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be con sidered an attack against them On the Clinton Administrations present course over the next few years we will offer NATO membership to coun tries with border disputes that are long standing and serious To do so without modifying the North Atlantic Treaty accordingly would be a disservice to the American people who will pay the price and bear the burden of expanding Americas security commitments Specifically the alliance should agree to a process for resolving disputes between members These conflicts are inevitable as membership grows Fixing the problem now will keep the United States from being drawn into regional conflicts in Europe that will sap our own strength and weaken the American security umbrella and the alliances guarantee of mutual selfdefense To do so I propose the alliance establish a dispute resolution process and write that process into the NATO treaty We might even model our efforts on the mechanisms for dispute resolution and binding arbitration that we use in American labor law In that process disputants select arbitrators who collectively select a third arbi trator to air views on both sides and propose a resolution that is binding on the parties In the case of NATO countries in a dispute would each select an ally the two of which would select a third disinterested ally to nego tiate a settlement and if necessary impose a binding solution on each of the disputants We would encourage a hasty reso lution to the dispute by also suspending disputants from Article Five mutual defense protections until they reach a resolution and ratify it This will offer member states an incentive to work agreements out quickly before they reach the binding arbitration stage Also this process would retain alliance integrity by keeping dispute resolution within NATO It will not be easy to amend the North Atlantic Treaty which is substantively unchanged in the nearly halfcentury since it was written Adding new mem bers has been relatively easy by com parison weve done so on three occa sions in the same amount of time This is not unlike our own history Recall that weve added some three dozen new states to the American union since the Constitution was ratified but have only found it necessary to amend the Constitution itself 27 times Another factor to consider par ticularly by those countries wishing to join is whether NATO membership is even in the best interests of the emerging east European democracies In assessing their own security threats are the Czech Republic Hungary and Poland more vulnerable to invasion from Russia or economic stability IF their governments believe that strength ening their economies a higher priority then are the billion of dollars a year in defense spending required to meet NATO force standards really appro priate Wouldnt such funds be better spent on infrastructure such as roads and water treatment systems or on investments in manufacturing and agri culture than to buy tanks and modern ize their armies With the end of the Cold War its time for a new NATO charter not just new NATO members I for one accept the Presidents challenge to conjure up the spirit of the Marshall Plan and bold ly face the Europe of the 21st Century Kay Bailey Hutchison is a Sen ator representing In 1777 during the American Rev olution British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga In 1885 French scientist Louis Pas teur successfully tested an antirabies vaccine on a boy bitten by an infected In 1917 during World War I Arab forces led by Lawrence captured the port of Aqaba from the Turks In 1928 a preview was held in New York of the first alltalking movie fea ture The Lights of New In people died when fire broke out in the main tent of the Rin gling Bros and Bamum Bailey Cir cus in Hartford Conn In 1957 Althea Gibson became the first black tennis player to win a Wim bledon singles title defeating fellow American Darlene Hard In 1967 the Biafran War erupted The war which lasted more than two years claimed some lives In 1989 the Army destroyed its last Pershing 1A missiles at an ammu nition plant in Kamack Texas under terms of a 1987 treaty Ten years ago The first of three massacres by Sikh extremists over two days took place in India as gunmen attacked a bus with Hindu passengers Seventytwo people were killed in the attacks in Punjab and Haryana Five years ago The Group of Sev en industrial nations opened their 18tb annual economic summit in Munich Germany One year ago A Delta MD88 jet liners left engine blew apart during an aborted takeoff from Pensacola Fla   

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