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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 24, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Thursday, April 24, 2003 — HERALD-ZEITUNG — Page SAForum Contact Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland 625-9144, ext. 220 Nkw Braunfels Herald-Zeitung 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) 625-9144 Other views Bryan-College Station Eagle on a state income tax: The way Tbxas funds public education Is like an old tire, worn and patched so many times that it barely holds air. And like that old tire, it Is time to replace the property-tax dependent system with something new that will last a long time. Although most people are afraid to say it out loud, the best, most equitable replacement is a state income tax dedicated to education, with a concurrent elimination of local school property taxes, at least as they are now imposed. At first blush, the idea of a state income tax certainly is unpopular. Yet, it is an idea whose time must come if Texas Ls to overhaul its no longer working school finance system. If Texans would stop and consider the ultimate fairness of a state income tax for education, they would come to that conclusion. It is clear that school finance reform isn’t going to happen in this session of the Legislature. Perhaps a special session will be called, but probably not until next spring. The governor remains silent on the issue, saying only that he would sign a school finance bill he agrees with — whatever that Ls. That Lsn’t leadership, Gov. Perry. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst... has proposed increasing the state sales tax by 2 cents to 3 cents to raise money for public education. At least that is an idea of how to address the problem, even if it is a terrible idea. A sakis tax Ls regressive, hurting low-income families the most. An income tax devoted to education would broaden the tax base considerably. Now, many Texans pay literally little or no property taxes, meaning the rest of us have to pay more. An income tax would ensure that virtually every adult Tbxan contributes to funding public education. By spreading the load among many more people, the tax responsibility on each of us becomes less. Of course, ii* we are to have an income tax devoted to education the legislature must also eliminate local property taxes as a method for providing basic educational needs. Many people claim — erroneously, we believe — that an income tax would hurt Tbxas, sending prospective business elsewhere. But Tbxas is only one of seven states without some form of an income tax, along with Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. Businesses wishing to relocate will continue to look to Texas because of its climate, location, abundant and relatively inexpensive utilities, work force and quality of life. In fact, many businesses might appreciate not having an oppressive local property tax to pay and they certainly would be attracted to a well-educated work force throughout the state. Perhaps a state income tax devoted to public education, with an accompanying elimination of local school property taxes, isn’t the way to go — although we strongly believe it is. It certainly should be one of the topics for discussion and debate. iwewwere innouWe\ 'tm he starred cauinq % jNeapoft of mast dewiiooi" Policy The Herald-Zeitung encourages the submission of letters. Letters must be 250 words or fewer, and the Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. No letter will run until it is verified. An address and telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to; Letters to the Editor c/othe Herald-Zeitung PO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: newsC^ Letters To The Editor Who’s behind those antiwar protests? Now that U. S. Marines have soiled Saddam’s prayer rug and showered in his palaces, it is abundantly clear that the handwriting is on the wall, even though the campaign is not. Yet even today we hear the braying of so called “antiwar” protesters. In reality, a substantial number of these malcontents are not antiwar as they claim, but anti-American, and some are just plain dupes or out for a good time. I speak from first hand knowledge, having observed this kind of street behavior when I lived on the left coast. We used to refer to those ubiquitous demonstrators as the “Berkeley Renta mob” because the local colleges and underground newspapers would actually advertise for participants for the current demonstration djour. These street soldiers would be composed of drug erip-pk;s, street rabble, retreads from the ’60s, left-wing college professors, college students(out for a good time) and occasionally sprinkled with Hollywood pretenders. There is no doubt that the spokespersons in these rallies are the more articulate left wing “true believers,” such as the college instructors and make believers from the movies. What is rarely, if ever, mentioned are the organizers and financiers behind these demonstrations. The big time media people would probably blanch if Today In History one of the talking heads reported the true nature of these folks, but I will. The major anti-U.S. government demonstrations are organized by people such as The Workers World Party, a selfdescribed Marxist organization. They have been at this sort of thing for over 30 years. International Answer, a noisy belligerent anti-American organization, is a surrogate for the International Action Center, which is a front for the previously mentioned WWP Both are sponsors for some of these rallies. Finally, “Not In Our Name” is financed by the Interrelations Foundation for Community Organization, which supports Fidel Castro and has been charged by our government with fund-raising for Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad. This information is available if one is willing to search a little bit. C. V. Sledd Shearer New Braunfels What’s the difference in tyrant, democracy? April 16, in the morning, I was listening to PBS’s “Meet the; Press” interviews with Gen. Peter Pace and Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Paul We1-fowitz. “Wed like to see changes in many places,” they said. But I was wondering: Why do we worry about the world and a small country of 20 million people? “We want to help the Moslems to fight for democracy. The Iraqi troops should do the honorable thing and surrender.” Is it ever honorable to surrender, although it seems necessary at times? Then I heard, “If Saddam Hussein had accepted our conditions IO years ago, we would have been satisfied!” Dictator or not? The president, the secretary of defense and his deputy and many others in Washington: Have they had any military service? It seems so easy to send brave men to fight thousands of miles away from the homeland, but w<* will pray for these Americans and shed our tears if they lose their lives. Let us see what Plato (427-397 B.C.), the Greek philoso pher, pupil of Socrates, said when he compared a tyrant and democracy: “A tyrant can be intelligent or a fool, virtuous or criminal, a blessing for his subjects or a curse, everything is possible, even the perfection. The democracy, however, is always and of necessity a catastrophe. Athen turned out to be like the people who govern it, and our politic has assumed the character of a dixirkeeper’s wife, greedy, quarrelsome, petty and contradictory. Our allies as our enemies are united in hatred against us, and for all that we have to thank the Democracy.” Think about it! Mrs. Gorda Koch Barker New Braunfels ^.ETTERS ^U|M' In the linal weeks leading up to the May 3 elections, the Herald-Zeitung will observe Ihe following policies regarding letters to the editor: ■ Letters or columns that endorse or rail against candidates involved in the municipal or Comal ISD school board races will not be published ■ Letters or columns that deal with the propositions appearing on the election ballots will be published but any references for or against candidates will be deleted from those submissions ■ Election-related letters and columns will not be published after Apnl 30 By The Associated Press Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th duy of 2003. There are 251 days left in the year. Today’s history highlight: On April 24,181X1, Congress approved a bill establishing the I jbniry of Congress. On this date: In 1877, federal troops were ordered out of New Orleans, ending the North’s post-Civil War rule in the South. In 1898, Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America’s ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba. In 1915, the Ottoman Turkish Empire began the brutal mass deportation of Armenians during World War I. In 1916, some 1,600 Irish nationalists launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites in Dublin. (The rising was put down by British forces several days later.) In 1953, British statesman Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.‘Person under law’ at issue in Peterson trial The arrest of Scott Peterson by Modesto, Calif., police on charges that he murdered his wife, Lad, and their “unborn child” presents some interesting legal questions beyond his guilt or innocence. Prosecutors say Peterson is being charged with double murder so they can seek the death penalty. Th© California Penal Code lists “special circumstances” murders, defining that to include the murder of more than one person by the same individual. The definition of “murder” is “the crime of unlawfully killing a person” (Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary). Definitions will be important in this case. No one would deny that Lad Peterson was a person under the law. But what about the unborn chil d/baby/fetus/product of conception she was carrying? In order to make the “special circumstances” part of the law stick and allow the state to seek the death penalty under its provision, Cal Thomas that entity I^aci Peterson was carrying would have to be deemed a “person” under the same legal definition that applies to her. It is here that the dictionary and the law part company. The dictionary defines a “person” as “a human being; individual.” But the Supreme Court has rewritten that to assign personhood (and thus the law's protection) only after the redefined baby is born and takes its first breath. There are some who wish to withhold personhood until the child can be given certain tests to make sure it “measures up” and has the potential for contributing to, not taking from, society, But that will come later, after the proper social conditioning has been achieved Din Peterson was eight months pregnant when she disappeared last Christmas. Nearly all babies can survive outside the womb at that point in their development. The last few weeks before birth allow the baby to increase in size. Police say when she and the baby wert; found, the baby (already named Connor) was apart from his mother, though the umbilical cord was still attached to hun. By some legal definitions, Connor should then be considered a person because he was outside the womb, or at least “viable.” By others, he might have been required to take a breath before the law would protect him. In reporting Scott Peterson’s arrest last Saturday, the Associated Press found itself in a rhetorical conundrum. At first it used the generic word “bodies” to refer to Lad Peterson and the child. Then it referred to “infant son” and later “fetus” and “biological child” and, still later in the story, “the couple’s baby.” From the statements of family members, Did Peterson wanted her baby, but her desire did not confer personhood on the child, according to court rulings. A woman can legally kill her baby until the child’s body has fully emerged from her body. But if Laci Peterson wanted her baby, can the law be on her side and impose the ultimate penalty on the one who illegally took that child’s life? The answer to that question will make this trial compelling beyond whatever other facts emerge. The Peterson case is going to Im* a tough one for the pro-choice lobby. They have a special interest in limiting the definition of “person” to those already born. Any jury is likely to be sympathetic to the dead woman and her dead baby and reject a political argument. The pro-choice lobby will jump into this case at its peril. More than two dozen states, including California, have adopted “fetal homicide” statutes. Prosecutors have often sought double homicide charges when an unborn baby is killed. An indication of the predicament faced by pro-choicers came from the head of the National Organization for Women’s Morris County, N J., chapter, Mavra Star, who said, “If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they should call it murder.” Some do, but the law doesn't, though it once did. If Scott Peterson is convicted of double murder and sentenced to die, that will mean a California court will have determined that the second victim in this case was, in fact, a person before the law. Ste what I mean about this being an interesting case? (Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.) ;