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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - Page 4

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   New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 15, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas                                 4 I Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | herald-zeitung.COM  OPINION  Needed: Someone passionate about quality education  seat sits empty on the Comal Independent School  Z-,i District Board of Trustees and no one in the com-I I munity seems willing to fill it.  The seat was vacated by Carolyn Miller on March 30 after her career took her in a different direction.  The district put out a call for candidates. Days passed. Weeks passed Now the deadline is looming — less ____ than a week away at 5 p.m. Monday.  It's a terrible time for a leadership vacuum. The students of Comal ISD need someone looking out for them more than ever — now that it's certain the state legislature is not.  Districts across Texas are looking at $4 billion in public school funding.  Projections forecast Comal ISD to lose $5 million in 2011-12.  That means larger classes and fewer teachers. It means more competition for fewer resources.  And it means board members will need a clear vision for the district and a passion for quality education.  Surely, that person is out there. Where is the advocate to speak up for the children of Comal ISD 7  Where is the volunteer willing to give up one night a month to attend school board meetings and to learn the issues and listen to constituents on the days between meetings 7  Miller's unfinished term expires in May 2012 T he new board member's first official meeting will be in July. This is less than a year commitment.  As of Tuesday, no one has filed an application for the District I seat.  Applications are being accepted at the CISD Support Services building. 1404 1-35 North, through 5 p.m. Monday Applicants must live within the boundaries of District I. have been a resident of Texas for at least one year, a resident of the school district for at least six months, be a U.S. citizen, a registered voter, and at least 18 years old.  Applications must include a letter of interest and resume. Download an application at www.comalisd.org . For more information, call (830) 221-2064.  AT ISSUE  No one has applied for the empty District 1 seat on the Comal ISD board.  OUR VIEW  Comal ISD needs leaders more than ever Applications available at the Comal ISD office.  T()1)A\ IN HISTORY  The Associated Press  Today is Wednesday, June 15.  On June 15,1215, England's King John put his seal to Magna Carta ("the Great Charter") at Runnymede.  In 1219, forces led by King Valdemar II of Denmark defeated the Estonians in the Battle of Lyndanisse.  In 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.  In 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state.  In 1849, James Polk, the 11th president of the United States,  died in Nashville, Tenn.  In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground, which became Arlington National Cemetery.  In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York's East River.  In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.  In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.  ONLINE EXTRA:  CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS  Contact information for of all your elected officials — local, state and national — can be found at herald-zeitung.com  HERALD-ZEITUNG EDITORIAL BOARD  Publisher and Editor Doug Toney  Mmymy E*tor Autumn PWbpi    Ocutstton    Di'telo'    Jtfl Fowl«f  Atst Mtnigtfij Itfdsf Sti«m l**u    Cow    *<Mo* Ksts Item»*  LETTERS POIJCY  The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters up to 250 words and guest columns of up to 500 words. Guest columns must be accompanied by a photo. The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit or reject all submissions. All submissions must include an address and telephone number so authorship can be confirmed.  Submit letters  • By e-mail to:  news@herald-zeitung.com   • Online at: herald-zeitung.com  • By mail to:  Letters to the Editor, Herald-Zeitung  P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78130 •Byfax: (830)606-3413  • In person: 707 Landa St.  HZ  Ryan plan shifts costs to senior citizens  Jan Kennady can't keep her lies straight in the same paragraph. First she says of the Ryan budget: "This plan does not turn Medicare into a voucher system.” Then she says, "For people 54 and younger, Medicare would be saved by providing retirees with choices from a menu of government-supported options."  That's a lie by omission since what she fails to mention is that the "government support" is a fixed amount of money that the government would pay the insurer, that’s a voucher according to Republican Herman Cain.  On top of that, there is no cap on the premium that the insurer can charge and more importantly no guaranteed benefits. So if you need more care than the basic voucher plan covers guess who pays the difference in the premium?  But wait, it gets better. Under the Republican plan, the government contribution toward health insurance premiums would grow only at the rate of inflation, even though health care costs have grown faster than inflation for decades - a trend that will almost certainly continue.  Again, guess who pays the difference?  So the modest income received by the vast majority of seniors would be stretched further to cover ever-increasing insurance premiums. That’s not Medicare as we know it. That’s Voucher-care.  If Republicans like Lamar Smith really wanted to save Medicare as they claim, they would work to control costs, which would benefit us all not just seniors.  The Ryan plan does nothing to control costs, it just shifts them to seniors.  Shelia Angerer New Braunfels  Gilbert and Sullivan operetta worth seeing  If you are a fan of musical theatre and comedy, there is an exceptional  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR  blending of both in the production of "The Pirates of Penzance" that will continue next Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Brauntex Theatre.  The New Braunfels Theatre Co. has done a tremendous job of staging this difficult operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan. You will miss out on an enjoyable couple of hours if you are not able to attend.  Joyce Marcos Member, New Braunfels Arts Council  Use credible source when discussing health plans  In response to Mr. Brehm's letter of June 10 stating that recent letters about the Ryan plan are uninformed, I would like to know where he is getting his information. His statement that Obama's health care reform plan would cut Medicare benefits by $500 billion is misinformed.  Factcheck.org states the $500 billion savings would come from reducing the rate of future growth in spending over the next 10 years and would only reduce the Medicare Advantage (enhanced benefits) plan. In fact, Obama's plan prohibits any cuts to current Medicare benefit packages. As for his statement that the Ryan plan would save Medicare,  I would ask "How can you save a plan by eliminating it and replacing it with a voucher for $8,000, which would leave seniors to make up the $12,000 per recipient cost and put them at the mercy of private insurers who would likely deny them coverage due to pre-existing conditions? There would be no guaranteed coverage because the Ryan plan would eliminate the protections given by the Obama health care reform.  Also, Ryan's plan gives another $4 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthy, therefore making no impact on deficit reduction.  As stated in a previous letter, if the last 10 years of Bush tax cuts really created jobs, where are they? It's very important for people to have credible sources of information!  Brenda Witt New Braunfels  What exactly are 'values' of Republican Party  Lately, I’ve heard from quite a few well-meaning people that say they vote Republican because the party generally espouses their values.  These conversations have led me to wonder to which values they're referring.  Do they mean carving a hole in education budgets across the state such that a whole generation of Texans receives an inferior education?  After all, Texas already spends less per student on education than almost every state but Mississippi.  Do the values of these well-meaning people require such extensive cuts to the state's Medicaid program that seniors, in need of daily medical care, which their families are unable to provide, be thrown out on the street in the name of low taxes for millionaires?  While one may argue over when life begins based on one’s interpretation of the Bible or science or some combination thereof, are the values of these well-meaning people really such that making abortions almost impossible to get for low-income women more important than the non-abortion related women’s health care services provided by Planned Parenthood, which are 97 percent of its budget?  Are the profits of Halliburton and other energy companies valued more highly than the lives and health of people who live near virtually unregulated gas drilling sites where you can ignite the water from your kitchen faucet with a match?  All these and more are brought to us by the Republican Party of Texas whose values you say align more closely with yours, I’d like to know if you're sure about that?  JC Dufresne CMMo  Texas education, health care funding bills head toward passage  AUSTIN — Republican majorities in committees and in the full House and Senate pushed toward the governor’s desk an assortment of high-stakes legislation in the first 10 days of the special session.  To smooth the way, House leaders used Senate bills as vehicles to carry the budget-related. Medicaid, congressional redistricting and public education finance issues Gov. Rick Perry ordered the 82nd Texas Legislature to address.  Senate Bill I, the fiscal matters bill that controls the ebb and flow of funding in the 2012-2013 state budget, now moves back to the Senate with 96 House amendments.  One of those amendments, by Rep Diane Patrick, R-Arlmgton, would put a two-year shelf life on the funding formula that resulted in $4 billion in cuts to public schools across Texas under the new state budget.  a  ED  STERLING  COLUMNIST  Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austm, successfully attached an important "amendment to an amendment" to SB 2, the supplementary appropriations bill for education in the 2012-13 state budget.  Howard's amendment would take any revenue above the $6.5 billion projected for the state’s Rainy Day Fund in 2012-2013 and use it to fund enrollment growth in prekindergarten through grade 12. SB 2 now moves back to the Senate with 18 House amendments.  Another education-related bill. SB 8 by Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Dallas, offers teacher furloughs and salary cuts as means to help school districts cope with losses of  funding losses.  Passed by the Senate last week and now headed to the House for consideration, the bill would allow districts to give teachers unpaid leave on non-instructional days.  Shapiro said her bill also removes the current salary floor for teachers and does away with the "last-in-first-out” policy when terminating teachers. The bill, if passed in its current form, also will void the contract of any teacher who does not keep up to date with state certification requirements.  Medicaid, the second-biggest piece of the state budget pie behind public education, was addressed and tentatively approved last week by the House in the form of the omnibus health care bill. SB 7 by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton.  SB 7 would amend current laws regulating administra  tion, quality and efficiency of health care, health and human services and health benefits programs in Texas.  Among its objectives is the creation of health care compacts to function as a substitute for federally managed health care. The bill also removes a provision of law prohibiting the state Health and Human Services Commission from providing Medicaid using a health maintenance organization in Cameron County, Hidalgo County, or Maverick County.  Redistricting bill moves ahead  SB 4, legislation redrawing U.S congressional districts, tentatively was passed by the Senate on June 6 and by the House on June 10.  The bill by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, plots lines for Texas’ 36 congres  sional districts, including the four added because of the state’s 20 percent population growth as recorded in the 2010 U.S. Census. A majority of the growth between 2000 and 2010 was in the Hispanic population.  House and Senate Democrats protested the proposed new boundaries for districts in far west Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, and the Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin areas.  Complaints were brought mainly over the division of communities of interest and the failure to create more minority opportunity districts in which Hispanics of voting age or Hispamc-surnamed residents, or African-Americans could elect candidates of their choice.  State Sen. Kirk Watson protested the cracking of Austin into oddly-shaped slivers instead of mapping it as a compact, contiguous com  munity of interest.  But Seliger and Solomons defended their redistricting job, claiming that it is defensible under the Voting Rights Act. Lawmakers in opposition predicted that the matter will have to be decided by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Justice and courts.  Perry sets prayer day  Gov. Perry, through his official web site, proclaimed Aug. 6 as a "day of prayer and fasting for our nation to seek God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation."  Perry plans to appear on that day at a public event titled “The Response,” a Christian prayer meeting at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Texas families and the governors of other states are invited.   

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