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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, April 12, 1987

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 12, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas Opinions Dave Kramer. Editor and Publisher Jim Webre. Managing Editor Page 4A MerakFZeftung. New Braunfels. Texas Sunday April 12,1987 EditorialTort reform question of money and emotion Texans Against Tort Reform advertisements on television show a little girl about to be run over by a tractor-trailer rig driven by an apparently intoxicated driver and suggest Florida’s experience with tort reform has not been good. The irony of tort law and tort reform is that it pits insurance companies and lawyers against one another. Insurance companies want to limit the amount of money they pay out for punitive or exemplary damages. Lawyers, who often derive a lot of money from these punitive damages, of course want to continue our system of awarding whatever a jury says is fair. A point to consider in tort reform legislation is that no one involved wants to limit actual damages. Tort reform certainly won t prevent drunk driving and one can only wonder what this child is doing in the truck s path, alone and after dark in the first place No fair person would want to limit actual damages that can be awarded in court, i.e. lost wages, medical expenses, lifetime income on a projected earning potential. There is no limit on what a plait iff can recover if they can prove they could have reasonably been expected to make. say. $4 million in their lifetime had it not been for someone else’s negligence. One part of tort reform is whether to limit the amount juries can award for punitive or exemplary damages commonly called pain and suffering. To say that on top of any reasonable proved actual damages, lawyers and their clients should also be able to sue for any, absolutely any amount for intangible pain and suffering is a tough question How much is the loss of a child or spouse worth Juries may not realize that the plaintiff s lawyer stands to get in some cases half of the punitive damage award That $5 million for pain and suffering will mean $2.5 million goes to the plaintiff who has already recovered, perhaps, a lifetime income and expenses associated in any way with actual loss. The lawyer will get the other $2.5 million for convincing a jury that somehow financially breaking a company or governmental entity is the right thing to do because an individual suffered anguish or pain. perhaps permanently but also temporarily. Of course, insurance companies should have to prove that ratepayers are making up for true losses and not for those companies’ bad investments Insurance companies, the lawyers say. should have to make public their profit and loss statements before being allowed rate increases Some say juries are smart enough to not bankrupt a city or industrial employer and can be counted on to act fairly in awarding punitive damages. Maybe so. but when we assess responsibility based on w ho has the deepest pocket, the real cause of an accident or injury may be ignored in the interests of having somebody, anybody, pay for it. The concept of joint and several liability means that a city found one tenth of I percent responsible for a motor vehicle accident can be held liable for all damages awarded Never mind that a drunk driver an individual’s own poor judgement or even an act of God was the primary culprit in someone’s loss It’s a complicated issue, to be sure But surely it shouldn't be decided on the kind of advertising Texans Against Tort Reform are using Its an argument waged over money but obviously intended to elicit an emotional response, the very thing the anti-tort reform side says juries should be counted on to sublimate w hen they decide who should payForum LETTER POLICY The Herald Zeitung welcomes correspondence All letters should be sign ed and include an address or telephone number The newspaper reserves the right to edit Letters should be sent to Forum, New Braunfels Herald Zeitung. P O Drawer 311328. New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328. or brought to our offices at 186 S Casten New Braunfelsers apathetic Dear editor I can't believe that anyone would not want to vote in sornehing a im portant as city ouncilelection We should cherish the right and freedom to vote The future of our city is important and we all have the right to vote for the persons who make the final decisions We were all given chances to hear the can didates at two different forums and plenty of literature on each can didate The city and each candidate goes through a lot of expense in arn election the least we could do is get out and vote I ve talked to people about why they don’t vote and it’s really sad some of the excuses people give I’m to old don’t care don't trust politicians, it all boils down to lazy complacency A letter Wednesday in Forum complained al>out the hard ships of having to go to thr**** whole different plac es to vote A couple of years ago in Kl Salvador a few hun dred people were killed going to and from the {Mills because they wanted to vote Now that s a hardship In a town the size of New Braunfels there should be a turnout of more than 10,000 for any election Next election let s get out and vote Thank you, David C Smith New Braunfels Qiu/U/ycy Ukji Sift c^ouCa/n'T We're sorry, but you are not one of the finalists to be Ann Landers’ replacement. J V/aKS up and Smell the basement James Kilpatrick GOR unfaithful may fry in their own grease A simple thank you Dear editor This letter goes out to the couple that stopped to help me and my two sons > and I years old on Sunday April i when my car stalled in heavy traffic between Selma and New Braunfels They drove us to the nearest phone and waited to make sure I reached someone to come and pick us up They told me they were from New Braunfels This is to say thank you to them I did not get their name hut they were in a grey van I believe And to tell New Braunfels what kind and fine people they have (iud bess you Mrs Boh Martel IxK'khart, Texas Simple message To the editor After reading David May s article on James W Unmans which as pubished April 7, I have some in formation regarding writing the Parole Board in Austin I have ob tamed their address, it is 8810 Shoal Creek. P O Box 13491, Capitol Station, Austin. Texas 78711 When writing you must refer to his full name and his birth date, which is I 2261 Thank you, Colette Horn See FORUM, Paqe 11A WASHINGTON To 1«m>k .it last k > dismaying roll call in the Senate overriding the president s veto of the highway bill i" to recall one of Browning s better poems I birler: Republicans refused to sustain then i* ,id**t J .*t for a 65 limit they left him JU"? {ut .• k *•. , denied him a vote Consider the circumstance Herr vc.j' ( Republican president, str lggline ’ r« the wounds of the Iranian arm a::.ut ’ . '.tm*. to re establish his leadership role Here was a bill indefensibly lar rn ! ,v ?r. {**>- k barrel politics Packed into tin p ut: p u u • were scores of demonstration pi -J*    »,    >: them to Im* financed with fedora, fund va : them .subject to rigorous examination !<    - .1 And here was the president vet- ! v- r authorizes funding levels of yr. t h- r \<■    .. years Sin I billion more than my orig.i t* quest and more than is brought in by highway user taxes It represents a failure to const: .un federal ''pending, especially {Mirk barre spen ding Some of the unaffordable proc i-ion nu . :• add on funding for I >2 special interest project" The five year federal tost of the I . higl a. projects is estimated to tx* $1 4 billion nearly $‘XX) million of tins amount is not subje* t to any spending controls The total t ost to compleh these projects is estimated to I* '    . bilhor and they have not even been selected through tfa-established mechanism that relies on the exper Use of state and local off icnils The president had other valid objet ’iou Guest Column Massachusetts would t*enefit unfairly at the ex {lense of all other states through expansion of the Boston interstate highway system Los \ngeles would get up to million for its metrorail system Kiev en cities would gobble up Ho percent of the fund" tor mass transit For these and other reasons he returned the toll w ithout his signature With a defiant whoop and a lusty holler the lh use at one** voted to override Republican leaders notably Bot) Michel of Illinois were in the vanguard of the mutiny I heir desertion can In* explained if not excused It is more im nediately important to representatives than to senators to tiring home a few {M>unds of flacon Die senate s final vote to override arouses what scorn Contempt Incredulity I'hirteen Republic an senators herd a {M*rsonal plea from the president tagging them to stand with turn Nof one not one would come to his side SOHU* cif th** debs thins Aer** ex {un ted Not one drop of party loyalty Boas in the veins of » on nettle ut s lowed Wen ker any man of integrity given tils views would move his chair across the aisle and 1**1 the Gill* say gcMMt riddance to had rubbish Cete Wilson of < alifornia conies up for re election next year it would have been hard for turn to vol*- against a bill that rewards < alifornia so richly Hee tit of Nevada and I »ui»*ntx*i gel of Minnesota also face the voters in bott the*»> mil*' authorization wa" important to them What of th*- others Kit Bon and John Danforth of Missouri who earlier had voted to override Reagan > veto til th* clean Aater bill again refused to sup{*ort the president John Heinz aru \rlen sp*** ter of Pennsylvania similarly defected XI D \matoof Nev* york succumbed ’ th*- lure of subway money It battles understar, ding to know why Thad Cochran of Mississippi Larry Bressler of south Dakota and Mitc h M* Connell of hentu* kv would not answer the pres dent s plea \nd what of Steve Symms Of Idaho X es h;s constituents prof ably would like a *> > mile per hour limit on parts of the highway from Bois* t, ben atello Put could that have justified hi" vote to override symms wa" just re elected in larg part tan of Reagan s energetic campagi n in his t*ehalf I nder the unwritten rules of th* game Symms owed Reagan a favor in return When symms refused to budge Reagan mig!,1 have recalled a Im** from King Lear How sharper then a s**rjx*nt s t*«oth it is to have .* thankless c hild Some of the reporters and »*ditoriji writers have described the Senate vote as a humiliating ut stunning defeat for the pres dent Th** des* rip!ions were quite wrong My guess is that t ti** It ret ** 11 lolls Republic ans wili suffer whatever humiliation may tx- spread around Reagan bunsen will tx*ncfit from the admit.* Hon that gtxs to u Lghtei a ta) fights the g, i f tight against overwhelming odds lh** president emerges as a man of conviction His complaisai colleagues emerge as men of expedience only Texas Growth Fund bill a business venture By JUDITH Z AFF IR INI State Senator District 21 Economic development and education ar** the key to a better future for our state and par ticularly for South Texas Recognizing this as a priority Senator Chet Edwards < I) Duncanville and I have recently in troduced Senate .Joint Resolution IO which would establish the Texas Growth Fund a venture capital program, which would help Creal jobs Because our proposal deals with the Penna nent Cmversity Fund the Permanent School Fund, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and the Employees Retirement System of Texas a constitutional amendment is required ll the joint resolution passes the amendment will Im* placed on the Nov 3 ballot Texas voters then will have the opportunity to vote for the future of economic development The amendment would encourage the directors of the four above mentioned entities to invest up to one percent of their total funds in the venture capital program The Texas Growth Fund would provide money for investment in new small businesses The fund could also ta* used to invest in businesses with rapid growth potential in applied research and organizational activities leading to business formation and in opportunities involving new or improved proc**"".*** or pr<Kiucts V enture capital investments can {ais** a higher risk hut they can also yield higher returns thus making th** opportunity attractive to many money managers Despite the feasibility of such a plan the state has yet to establish any program for matching new business ideas with potential investors, SJR IO would do just that Un** of tti** major la*n**fits of this legislation would la* to promote the creation of jobs par ticularly a Im*>h to poverty stricken South Texas several counties in our senatorial district <21 are among th** South Texas counties which are consistently among those with the highest unemployment rates Starr County traditionally has the worst unemployment rate in the nation The most up to date figures show Starr County ’s unemployment rate as 46 4 percent Maverick 14 2 percent Zavala 2U H percent, Dimmit 20 2 percent Webb. 18 3 percent and Zapata. 16 9 percent By comparison, the statewide rate is 9 2 percent th** national rate is 7 2 percent These South Texas counties would benefit greatly from effective us** it the texas Grows Fund SJR specifically requires that all in vestments of the fund shall In* directly related to th** creation retention or expansion of employ merit opportunity arui economic growth in texas The Texas Growth Fund if approved could make as much as $254 million available to new and small businesses This figure could tx* near Iv doubled for the resolution calls for securing matching funds for al least 90 percent of th** funds available SJR Hi provides safegaurds for investors as well as the opportunity for high returns With venture capital available and more funds available for investment in construction expan sion and modernization of business and in dustrial facilities. Texas can once again take a leading role in the country’s economic growth The state must become involved in stimulating economic development in all areas of the state As legislators we must do our part in providing a means by which economic development can become reality It then will be up to the voters to join hands with their elected representatives by approving the constitutional amendment and demonstrating their commitment to a batter future for all ;