New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 25, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
6 ■ Herald-Zeitung ■ Tuesday, April 25,1995City faces legal challenges if Amendment I fails
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
The proposed Amendment I to the ^New Braunfels Charter is garnering some opposition. The amendment would change the way New Braunfels elects its mayor to an at-large (whole city voting) plurality. In the plurality mayoral election a candidate wouldn’t need over 50 percent of votes to win, just the most votes.
The amendment would also change the city council districts to six singlemember districts, elected by majority.
Opponents say that a plurality election for a three-year term mayor is against the Texas Constitution. Article ll, Section of the Texas Constitution does state that for any term of office more than two years, the vote must be by majority.
But — the federal Doctrine of Preemption says that federal law pre-emptsAnalysis
state law. A 1983 federal court order given to New Braunfels created the three at-large plurality city council seats that the city now has. That same court order gives federal courts continuing jurisdiction over the New Braunfels voting system.
So, according to the court order and the Doctrine of Preemption, an at-large mayor must be elected by plurality.
New Braunfels is not an isolated case, City Attorney Jacqueline Cullom said. The Justice Department has required plurality elections for mayor and at-large council seats before. “In my opinion, no court, either state or federal, would uphold the state law over the federal law,” Cullom said.
Charter Amendment I would bring another big change — the city’s voting districts would be redrawn to six single
Early voting off to fast start
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
Early voting is going well, City Secretary Veronica Sarkozi said. Three hundred fifteen early votes had been cast by lunch last Friday, more than usual for the first week, she said. No votes will be counted,
however, until election day.
Those wishing to vote early may do so at the Comal County Courthouse until May 2,1995. For wheelchair access, park on the second floor of the parking garage and take the elevator to the third floor. Signs will be posted with directions to the polling place.
member districts. The council members from these districts would be elected by majority.
Opponents find two basic problems with redistricting.
The first reason for opposition to redistricting is a loss of choices per voter. Under the current system each voter gets to choose four of the seven members of city council — three at-
large and one in his own district. Under the proposed amendment each voter would only vote for two — the mayor and the council member in his own
In the current system, however, the voters do not elect the mayor — the city council chooses the mayor from among its own members.
The second reason for oppostion is
cost. Professor David Guinn, an expert in voting law, estimates that the cost to redistrict would be about $17,000 to $18,000. The one-time cost of redistricting would be replaced by the possible repeated cost of runoff elections each time a mayoral candidate did not win by a clear majority. Each runoff election costs from $2,000 to $3,000, according to City Secretary Veronica Sarkozi.
If the charter amendment on the May ballot doesn’t pass, the city will be faced with legal problems in the future. “The date for the lawsuit is May 8,” David Wallace, Charter Review Committee chair, said. “If we don’t pass this on May 6 we will be sued on May 8.”
New Braunfels resident Cristina Aguilar-Friar presented the city with a “friendly lawsuit” at last night’s city council meeting. The purpose of the suit is the ensure the passage of
Amendment I. “Surely city council knows that the present at-laige scheme of electing members minimizes the individual voting rights of minorities,” she said. “This ultimately violates rn) rights as an American citizen.”
By flying in the face of federal law, the city would leave itself open to lawsuits. The 1983 suit against the city alleged that the voting system of the time “was adopted and maintained for the discriminatory purpose of diluting, minimizing and canceling out Mexican American voting strength.”
Guinn advised the Charter Review Committee that single member districts, as well as an at-large majority mayor, would be in violation of the ) Voting Rights Act. If the city does not adopt single member city council districts a lawsuit is also inevitable, Wallace said.
A recent redistricting suit against San Marcos cost about $68,000. ISchoch says he is a consensus builder
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
C. Ray Schoch will challenge incumbent Mary Serold for the Dist. 2 city council seat May 6.
Schoch, 65, is self-employed as a certified public accountant. He is married and lives on Cardinal Drive. Schoch graduated from San Antonio College and St. Mary’s University with a BBA in accounting, magna cum laude.
Schoch recently served on the city’s
Chartei Review Committee. “My work
.on the Charter Review Committee
I proved to me more than ever that the
J city needs more consensus building,
| and less promoting of private agen-
»das," he said.
• • ,
• Streets and drainage are of prime
i importance Schoch. “That 1/8 of the
I new sales tax might not be enough to
I fix the streets,” he said. He would like
J to see another 1/8 percent of the tax
| used for street repair.
' Concerning needs in the West End,
i Schoch said, “Again streets and
! drainage is a primary concern.”
The city must support the Summer Work Program for youth, said Schoch. “Every summer my office has been vandalized until Rtxjue’s program started two years ago," he said, “We need to make sure that thing functions.”
Schoch was a member of the San Antonio City Water Board for 17
City Council District 2‘Streets and drainage is a prima
years. The Edwards Aquifer Authority votes must not be based on population, said Schoch. “If the level drops below 590 in San Antonio there will be water seeping into the Edwards,” he said, “It’s dangerous.”
Schoch wants to work toward greater understanding and cooperation between the city and NBU. “From what I see, NBU is doing an excellent job,” he said. Schoch is not in favor of using NBU funds for city programs.
As an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. Schoch invited every city council member to last sum
mer’s Leadership New Braunfels workshop, he said. There were no takers. Schoch sees a need for better cooperation between city council and the Chamber. “I’ve never worked with a harder working group of people than the Chamber,” said Schoch. “There isn’t a group in town that is better organized.”
Schoch has served as president of the Downtown Association and worked toward downtown revitalization.
As president of the Mental Health Mental Retardation board, he negotiated with the New Braunfels Builders Association to construct the MHMR building at a cost of materials only.
Schoch’s list of involvements includes the Chamber of Commerce 1994 Leadership New Braunfels program. He was president of the Breakfast Lions Club and chaired the Chamber Business/Education Partnership Committee when the Perfect Attendance Card (PAC card) program began.
Serold says she made city government more open
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
Mary Serold plans to fight to keep her city council seat in the May 6 election. Serold has held the Dist. 2 seat on the city council since January 1994.
Serold was bom and raised in San Antonio. Her family moved to Canyon Lake when she was 16. “I graduated from Canyon High as assistant editor of the Canyon newspaper. Serold, 44. is married to New Braunfels native Dennis Serold. They have two children: a son, 24, who is in the U.S. Air Force stationed in New Mexico, and a daughter, 20 who" is a junior in college.
Accessibility is Serold’s best achievement on city council, she said. “I’ve had my meetings every Saturday prior to council,” she said. “The citizens have said, ‘if you don’t run, who’s going to have these meeting?”’
“We’ve had several locations where school zones were put in place,” said Serold, “the school zone on Comal Street — those citizens had tried in previous councils unsuccessfully.”
Serold held neighborhood meetings with Tumbleweed and Gardenia residents on the Wal-Mart expansion, she said. Serold was in on the meetings addressing the concerns of
Sycamore Avenue residents. “The city manager and police attended that one,” she said. Stop signs were added on several downtown streets as a result.
“I’m not going to lie to people — we have a divided council,” said Serold. “Let’s just call a spade a spade and be done with it.” But the city council has accomplished much in spite of the differences, she said. “They’re all independent thinkers,” she said.
The city council is addressing sev-
City Council District 2
eral of the West End’s needs, said Serold, but more could be done. “At some point we’ll have to address some kind of organized youth pro- J gram,” she said, “we may have to \ extend the summer work program to employing youth year round.” Serold praised the Summer Work Program and D.A.R.E. program.
“Maybe we need something like a neighborhood clinic,” said Serold. “It would be for those who cannot afford to go to a doctor on their own.” The clinic could serve the elderly, give pre-natal and well baby care, and deal with such issues as birth control and HIV. “We are situated between two very large cities, and sooner or later it’s going to crunch us,” she said.
She wants to see the mayor elected at-large, “the true democratic way, by all the people, not just seven,” she said. Serold setjs protecting the environment as an issue of the utmost importance.
Serold hopes voters pass the half cent sales tax. “It will allow us to come into the 20th century in this town,” said Serold, “to almost triple the street department is amazing.”CISD School Board Candidate Profiles
Served the past three years as a CISD board member, treasurer, and secretary of the board Two years were served on the building committee, the last as a chairman, in formulating the district's building plans. Dunng this period, I have become knowledgeable of the district's needs, weaknesses, and strengths. A key point of my qualification is a strong desire to contnbute to the process of making this school district the best in terms of an educational outcome for the students without incurring an unreasonable tax rate. In this respect, the tax rate has remained stable for the past 3 years while the educational process has improved.
TOP GOALS: First and foremost is the goal to provide the very best education possible. I define education as the total product required to graduate students who are mentally, physically, socially and competitively prepared for the demands of further academic or technical training and/or interaction and success in an information-oriented world environment. There are 3 accompanying goals required to attain the main goal: Fiscal Balance and Integrity; Student Body Discipline; and Strategic Planning for the Future.
OCCUPATION AND RELATED EXPERIENCE: Currently, Chief Financial Advisor to TESS Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals Inc., a developing drug company with one osteoporosis, one infection, and 5 cancer treatment drugs in various stages of development. Poor to this, a total of 35 years of management in the U.S. Air Force, international oil drilling, and Defense contracting. Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas AAM (1953) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in B A. from George Washington University (l%8).
FAMILY INFORMATION: Married to Judy, a Registered r Nurse, for 35 years. Two children: a daughter Lisa, who graduated from MacArthur High School in San Antonio; and a son, Nathan, who graduated from Canyon High Schixil in New Braunfels.We’re Meeting
I have lived in the CISD for over 8 years. My wife and I have been very active in the schools, having 3 children. For the past 2 1/2 years, I have been on the Long-Range Planning Committee and I am currently on the Canyon Intermediate School Architectural Committee. I feel that I can best represent the school district since I ani involved with these committees and since I can represent other parents with children in the schools. My children will be in the schools until the year 2003.
TOP GOALS: (I) Constant monitoring of the growth of the district is a major priority! The growth is exceeding projections. We must address this problem as it is not going away! (2) Excellence in education will always be a major goal. We must address student discipline problems; problems with curriculum given to students; problems with some teachers that may not be teaching properly; and being alert with future issues regarding sex education, clock scheduling, etc. (3) Staying on top of the budget and making sure the taxpayers’ dollars are spent properly. Being a businessman, it is important to run the district with a good business sense and aptitude for making the proper decisions financially.
OCCUPATION AND RELATED EXPERIENCE: I have been a golf professional for 23 years. I have owned my own golf shop since 1980. Since 1986,1 have been the General Manager and Director of Golf at Northclifle C ountry Club. In 1991, I formed a group of investors arid purchased the country club.
FAMILY INFORMATION: I have been married to Debbie Wright Clay for 21 years. We have 3 children: Johnny (16), Kimberly (13), and Jaclyn (9). We live in the Garden Ridge area and have been in the CISD since 1987. My wife is currently on the Comal Child Welfare Board and we are both active in all three of the schtxils our children are attending.
Robert K. Loop
QUALIFICATIONS: First and foremost, I care deeply about the children of our community. I know that they are the future of our society and I have worked to help them develop their full potential.
I am currently co-chairman of the Smithson Valley Area Intermediate School Architectural Committee, which has been working hard to provide our community with a quality school on schedule and within budget. Last year, I chaired the CISD Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee that helped develop the CISD Master Plan. I have worked with children and appreciate the special challenges that teachers face each day. I have been a Sunday School teacher for 7 years and was the Education Chairman for 2 years at the Bulverde United Methodist Church. I am a coach for youth soccer and Little League softball.
TOP GOALS: (I) Provide strong leadership in enrollment projection and facilities planning in this era of rapid growth. (2) Continue to improve educational standards and curriculum for all grade levels. (3) Use intensive long-term planning to help solve budgetary concerns, rather than relying excessively on taxation (4) Continue improvement ol Loop procedures and standards for all support areas such as personnel, hiring, food service and busing. (5) Manage teacher pay and benefits in order to be competitive with other comparable schools. (6) Provide an effective voice to the administration for citizen concerns.
OCCUPATION AND RELATED EXPERIENCE: I am an engineer at Kelly Air Force Base. I have been involved in a number of building and construction projects. I am also a partner in Demographics For Schools, which, as a free community service, provided demographic projections for CISD. Additionally, I am the owner of Altair Investment Management Company.
FAMILY INFORMATION: My wife, Jeanne, and I have been married for 16 years. She is a dietitian, teaching at UTS A and working part-time at the Texas Headache Institute. She has also been an active volunteer in our schools We have two daughters: Kim, age 11, and Melanie, age 9. They both attend Bill Brown Elementary School. Kim, our soccer player, and Mel, our softball player, both enjoy reading and playing the piano.
James Marvin Kellam
QUALIFICATIONS. Just good common sense.
TOP GOALS: Unity of board and community to get the job done.
OCCUPATION AND RELATED EXPERIENCE: Sales and public relations. FAMILY INFORMATION: Happily married.
New Braunfels Great Books Discussion Group meets (rom 2 p m to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays each month at Victona Bank and Trust meeting room. Interested people always welcome. For information call 625-4184.
The Canyon Cougar Class of 1980
is having a 15-year reunion. Please contact Kathy Vicknair at 625-1011, Karen Saur at 629-2537 or Tim Zunker at 629-3935 after 5:30 p.m.
New Braunfels High School Graduates of 1935 will hold a class reunion
June 24 at Schwamkrugs Steakhouse. Happy hour from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner at 3 p.m.
The monthly dinner meeting of the New Braunfels Class of 1942 will meet May 12 at Krauses Cafe. For information, call Jim Rheinlaender at 625-5445.
The next meeting of the Comal County Caring for Children Committee will be held at 5:30 p.m. at 493 South Seguin Ave., Thursday, April 27. All members of the committee are asked to attend. Anyone interested in
this program is welcome to attend.
The New Braunfels Conservation Society April meeting will be Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forke Store. “Archive Awareness" will be the topic discussed by Jane Jackson, manager of the Archives, and Skipper Isleib. They will educate you on anything you ever wanted to know about the Archives. New members are welcome. For information, call 629-2943.
The Comal County Cancer Support Dialogue Group, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, will meet
at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 27, in the north building of Victoria Bank and Trust, 1000 N. Walnut. Call the ACS at 629-5717 or Marian Hicks at 629-1763 for more information.
Lioness Council 2-S-3 will meet Saturday, April 29 in Bastrop from 9 a m. to 1 p.m. members planning to attend should meet at the New Braunfels Factory Stores in front of the Lennox Store at 7:30 a m. Wear your vest.
Tuesday May 2 from 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m., Hospice New Braunfels will
begin a five-week Bereavement Support Group for adults who have lost a friend or family member within the past two years. The group will meet in Frank’s Haus, the rock house behind the office of Hospice New Braunfete.613 N. Walnut. For information, call Elaine Craig at 625-7500.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles *2999 Auxiliary first reading of a by law change will be May 2 at 7:30 p.m. Second and third readings will follow kl subsequent meetings.
The Comal County Genealogy
Society wiH meet May 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Archives, 200 N. Seguin. This will be a joint meeting with the Seguin Genealogy Society. The speaker will be Mrs. Karen R. Thompson who is an author and historian from Austin. She will talk about organizing to protect cemeteries. Guests welcome.
Alzheimer and Dementia Family Support and Information Group
meets at 6 p.m. May 4 at Colonial Manor. This is the group’s first meeting. Future meetings are planned the first Thursday of every month.