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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 12, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page HERALDZEITUNG Sunday January FORUM IContact Managing Editor Gary IE Maitland 1 6259144 ext 220 NEW BRAUNFELS HERALDZEITUNG New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852 New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Doug Toney Editor and Publisher Gary E Maitland Managing Editor 830 6259144 Editorial Be an active part of legislative process The 78th Texas Legislature convenes Tuesday and many political observers believe this biannual session will be one of the most difficult since the end of World War II For the first time since Reconstruction both the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representa tives will have a Republican majority Hopefully that will help build consensus as lawmakers face the difficult task of overcoming a projected bil lion to billion budget shortfall Legislators have 140 days to take care of the business That leaves precious little time for partisan politics especially in a climate where money is short and public demands are increasing Besides balancing the budget youll hear a lot about public school financing property taxes water rights and insurance We encourage all residents in Comal and Guada lupe counties to stay abreast of whats happening in the Legislature this session The better informed you are about the issues the better able you are to address concerns with your state senator or repre sentative Each day we will publish the addresses and con tact numbers for your state lawmakers Use that information during the session to make calls to your lawmakers or send them faxes This is espe cially important before votes on major issues Good government stewardship doesnt end on voting night Be an active part of the legislative process this session Today In BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Today is Sunday Jan 12 the 12th day of 2003 There are 353 days left in the year Todays history highlight On Jan 12 1773 the first public museum in America was established in Charleston S C On this date In 1519 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died In 1915 the US House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote Policy In 1932 Hattie W Cara way became the first woman elected to the Senate In 1942 President Roose velt created the National War Labor Board In 1945 during World War II Soviet forces began a huge offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe In 1948 the Supreme Court ruled that states could not discriminate against lawschool appli cants because of race In 1964 leftist rebels in Zanzibar began their suc cessful revolt against the government Letters To The Editor Demand reform from legislators Not too long ago a woman won a huge lawsuit judg ment against a business because she fell and broke her ankle in their establish ment Was this just Further examination of the facts reveals the reason she fell is she tripped over a child The child she tripped over was her own uncontrol led undisciplined child Why then was the business lia ble Because greedy trial lawyers loot our economy at every opportunity for their own personal gain Every product you buy has an inflated price because of the greedy lawyer tax creat ed by bogus lawsuits Home insurance rates have sky rocketed One hundred counties in this state have no doctors Auto insurance climbs Many counties have no neurosur gical services This is because of greedy trial lawyers Law yers coined the phrase mold is gold in home insurance That should tell all of us WriteEm Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison RDallas Room 284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington 20510 202 2245922 Fax 202 2240776 Congressman Lamar Smith RSan Antonio Room 2231 Raybum House Office Building something Now we have a chance to fix this problem The Demo crat Party which is in the pocket of sleazy trial law yers no longer controls our Legislature Write your legislator Demand reform I suggest the following reforms End legalized jury tam pering by lawyers Lawyers admit their case is won or lost in jury selection Their selection is not based on what is fair or right but rather only on winning their case In the federal system impartial judges select the jury not lawyers who are only interested in winning their case at the expense of justice We should do the same Put a reasonable cap on jury awards This is not a lottery Huge irrational jury awards affect the price and even availability of every product or service you buy Lawyers have even degrad ed your ability to be immu nize against deadly diseases Lawyers and plaintiffs who file bogus lawsuits should be prosecuted for a felony just like any other criminal who attempts to commit fraud Lawyers and plaintiffs who lose should be required to pay all legal fees of the defendant The plaintiff has no fees That is wrong Enact strict require ments for filing a suit There should be a real wrong not an imagined one in an attempt to win money Above all never vote for a lawyer for a state or feder al legislative position for the same reason we dont want child molesters in charge of day care centers The proba bility of legislative miscon duct and conflict of interest is entirely too great In Texas a convicted rapist was able to sue his victim for the indignity of him having to go to jail for his crime The only reason that happened is we have too many sleazy lawyers in the Legislature that pass laws that allow those asi nine lawsuits to occur This must stop Write your legis lator Donald Baker Lampasas Washington 20515 202 2254236 1100 NE Loop 410 Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Governor Rick Perry State Capitol Room Box12428 Austin 78711 800 8435789 Texas State Representative Edmund Kuempel RSeguin Box 911 Seguin 78155 830 3798732 Fax 830 4635896 Texas State Senators Jeff Wentworth RSan Antonio 1250 NE Loop 410 Suite 720 San Antonio TX 78209 The HeraldZeitung en courages the submission of letters Letters must be 250 words or fewer and the HeraldZeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions An address and telephone number which are not for publication must be includ ed so authorship can be con firmed Mail letters to Letters to the Editor HeraldZeitung Drawer 311328 New Braunfels TX 781311328 Fax 830 6063413 email Contact Em City Council Mayor Adam Cork 6082100 city hall 6091958 home firstname.lastname@example.org District 1 Sonia MunozGill 6082100 District 2 Larry Alexander 6091242 home District 3 Debbie Flume 6292496 District 4 Robert Kendrick 6431177 home 281 6867480 work District 5 Lee Rodriguez 6294901 work District 6 Ken Valentine 6257384 home email@example.com Comal County Judge Danny Scheel 1 SON Seguin Ave New Braunfels TX 78130 6205501 Fax 6082026 Precinct 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson 6205504 830 8992948 home Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Millikin 6205509 home Precinct 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora 6205503 6069208 home Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady 6205508 830 6256739 home Keep an eye on municipal league lobby work The Texas Legislature is gear ing up and the onslaught of thou sands of bills is under way The 78th Session begins this week Two years ago more than bills or resolutions were filed More than of these laws and resolutions were passed The corridors and rooms are already transforming into dens of dealmaking Lobbyists invade by the hun dreds hired by special interests for two general purposes Stop any legislation that hurts their interests and promote and push legislation that can help their interests Road builders restaurants teachers farmers ranchers man ufacturers even television and radio stations and newspapers district attorneys lawyers and convenience store owners the list goes on and on Influence and connections are the names of the game Its how the system for better or worse operates One such group that should be of particular interest to taxpayers is the Texas Municipal League DOUG TONEY The TML is an organization with offices in Austin that lobbies on behalf of municipal bureaucra cies and the people who are appointed and elected to run them The TML in The Handbook of is purported to represent 98 percent of the urban popula tion of the Texas and more than Texas cities and towns The TML is very influential in the Legislature City and county governments such as Comal County govern ment and the city of New Braun fels take some of the taxpayers dollars they collect and give it to TML to lobby at the Legislature And thats why this group should be of interest to you as a taxpay er Here are some examples how the money taxed from your pock et is used These legislative ini tiatives were taken from the TMLs internet site The TML plans to support leg islation that will Increase from 8 to 10 percent the amount local government could raise your property taxes without triggering a rollback vote Authorize public school im pact fees This sounds like anoth er Remove from the general law city annexation statute that por tion that allows for annexed resi dents to petition to be disannexed Prevent citizens from having access to audit working papers of auditors of political subdivisions Maybe they can get some unem ployed former Enron employees to Require fire sprinklers for all new homes So much for afford able Exempt the purchase of art and interior decorations from the competitive bidding process Allow government bodies to receive and question sales tax information behind closed doors excluding public participation and scrutiny Now heres a partial list of ini tiatives that TML will use your tax dollars to stop The TML is Against any effort to enact any substantial property tax exemption Against any effort to enact a ceiling on the amount of property taxes that could be assessed against the elderly Against any effort to raise the standard 20percent home stead exemption Against any effort to reduce the 10 percent annual cap on appraisal increases Against any effort to weaken a citys power to annex Against any effort that would require the value of natural resources to be included in calcu lating the value of private proper ty that the government is con demning for public use Against any effort to allow residents of an extra jurisdiction al territory the right to vote on any ordinance that would affect them Allowing local governments to divert local tax dollars to a lobby ing organization that promises to fight for more taxes and oppose tax breaks just is not right If you would like to review TMLs legislative agenda heres the web site The TML organization per forms many appropriate and helpful services to local govern mental agencies and the benefits to taxpayers through these pro grams are probably significant But local government agencies should not be allowed to take tax dollars from their communities and pool them together through TML to lobby for tax increases and against tax breaks Tax dollars also should not be used to lobby the Legislature to further limit the rights of citizens to examine observe and question the operations and deliberations of local government What the TML seems to think is in the best interests of local governments is not always in the best interests of the citizens themselves Doug Tbney is editor and pub lisher of the HeraldZeitung
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