New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 26, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
Dallas, Texas #75?-
Mi cropI ox, Inc. Como,
•ct: m it ch wobble
r.U. DOX ^5436
Dnllas , iv 75?/^5
TUESDAY April 26,1983 25 cents
New Braunfels, Taxes Vol. 92 - No. 82 14 Pages (USPS 377-880)
Staff photo by John Sen tarNew prosecutor wanted for cases
By DEBBIE DeLOACH Staff writer
District Judge Robert Pfeuffer holds the key to the possible appointment of a special prosecutor to handle three remaining involuntary manslaughter cases against a Fort Sam Houston private.
But Pfeuffer indicated Tuesday he’s not opening any doors with that key until "something is formally filed. I don't go willy-nilly grabbing in the air for something to rule on. Nothing's been presented to me, and until there is, there will be no action on my part.
"And when there is action to be taken. I feel some kind of a hearing would be appropriate,” Pfeuffer said in a telephone interview from Lockhart, where the judge is presiding over a civil damage case. "Any decision on a case that’s stirred up as much controversy as this one has, should be in a hearing .and not in my chambers, outside the public’s view.
"And before you ask. when that hearing will be I don’t know That will depend un if, and when, anything’s filed for me to consider.’’
William Dale Savage was placed on IO years probation and fined 15.000 April 14 by a Comal
County jury for the involuntary manslaughter of Ruben Sauceda Sr. on Oct. 30. Also killed in the traffic accident were Sauceda’s pregnant wife and their two small children.
On April 15, four Comal County Jail inmates went on a hunger strike to protest the probated sentence. A group calling itself "The Committee of Justice for All" has picketed the Courthouse since, and conducted a march from the accident scene to a rally on Main Plaza Monday afternoon without incident.
Before the rally. District Attorney Bill Schroeder met with Mack Martinez. Virginia Pacheco and several others to discuss the possibility of naming a special sprosecutor. Martinez is an Austin attorney serving as legal counsel for the Committee and represents the Sauceda family. Pacheco heads the committee.
At that meeting. Martinez told Schroeder that the Committee wanted Savage prosecuted again. "That’s not going to be," Schroeder replied. Martinez then said, "We’ve talked to the Attorney General’s Office, and if you and the district judge were willing, they would send a special prosecutor.” Schroeder said he would think about it.
See prosecutor. Page 14 Protesters make their way up West San Antonio StreetProtest march comes off without incident
A protest march that paralyzed downtown New Braunfels for over two hours Monday ended at Main Plaza as peacefully as it had started two miles away.
‘ We’re pleased it went as smoothly as it did.” Police Chief Burney Boeck said Tuesday, adding, "We didn’t have any more officers out there than it usually takes to seal off Main Plaza."
As they chanted “What do we want? -Justice." and "When do we want it0 — Now." the marchers’made their way from Peach
Street down the right side of Spur and San Antonio streetsto Main Plaza with full police escort. Crowd estimates ranged from 250 by a participant to a police count of 356
The protest was in conjunction with a hunger strike by four Comal County Jail inmates. who began fasting on April 15 — one day after William Dale Savage was sentenced to IO years probation for the death of Ruben Sauceda Sr Sauceda’s pregnant wife and two children were also killed in the Get 30 traffic accident.
One of the fasting inmates, Richard Willis. was released from jail Monday on a $1,000 bond for unlawfully carrying a weapon on licensed premises, another $1,000 bond for failure to appear, and $182.50 for two traffic warrants and one failure to appear. As he walked from Hie courthouse, carrying his box of belongings, he said he was going home to eat a steak
Int utiler three inmates — Juan Lopez. Margarito Maldonado and Gilbert Gonzales — were given a clean bill of health by a physician
Monday. They have been getting a steady liquid diet of orange juice, soft drinks, coffee, tea and water since April 15.
The protest march was organized by the Committee of Justice for All, which had been picketing in front of the Courthouse in a show of support for the hunger strikers.
Various speakers rallied the Main Plaza group, including the mother of Ruben Sauceda Sr. She wept as she told the group she had great pain in her r.eart tor the family who had died, and added. "I hope justice is done.”
The Main Plaza gathering broke up by 3:45
p.m.. then transferred to nearer the accident scene at Eikel Park. There, a Committee of Justice for All spokesman, Esequiel "Cheque” Torres said, "We decided to keep on picketing the courthouse, but we’re going to do it different. Personally, I’m tired of walking. So we decided, instead of eight hours a day, we’re only going to picket for one or two in the morning every day. We want to give the people a break "
Council not enthused about new exemptionInside
ByDYANNEFRY Staff writer
The optional 40 percent homestead exemption may not get much support from City Council in the next property tax year.
Councilmember Barbara Tieken brought it up Monday when City Manager E N. Deiashmutt introduced his proposed budget. The budget calls for a tax rate of 24 cents per $100 The city will be using the Comal County Appraisal District’s updated roll for the first time in fiscal year 1983-84. With those new values. Deiashmutt said, the 24-cent rate will bring in approximately the same revenue as the current 38-cent-per-$100, though there may be wide variations on some individual properties.
Because of their different taxing schedules, Comal County and the Comal Independent School District put the new roll into effect last fall. Both took the 40 percent homestead exemption allowed by a 1981 amendment to the Texas Constitution, and Tieken asked the council to consider this as well.
"I would hope the council would take a long, hard look at what Mrs. Tieken is suggesting," said Delash-
Donnie Seay looked, and didn’t seem to like it.
"If we do that, we’ll have to raise the tax rate. So ifs six of one and half a dozen of another," he said.
"No, it’s really not," said Tieken, explaining the rationale behind the 40-percent amendment. Before the Peveto Bill went into effect, commercial and industrial properties were usually re-appraised more often than residences. Thus, their values on existing rolls were more up-to-date when the central appraisal districts came in and put everything at fair market value. Whereas the appraised value of some homes more than doubled.
The 40-percent exemption lessens the shock for homeowners, and puts more of the tax burden on business and industry Tieken pointed out that several cities m the Texas Municipal League had recommended the exemption.
Mayor O.A. Stratemann Jr. didn t like it either. "You can continually take from the top, and take from the bottom, and put it on the middle. That middle group is going to be paying one
See BUDGET, Page 14Today's Weather
Comal County forecast calls for partly cloudy and warm this afternoon and Wednesday, with clouds returning tonight and Wednesday morning. Winds will be from the south at 15-20 mph and gusty today, shifting to the southeast at 10-15 mph tonight. There will be a 20 percent chance of showers tonight and Wednesday morning. Sunset will be at 6 53 p.m., and sunrise Wednesday will be at 8 04 a ni.Elway In Pinstripes?
The Baltimore Colts, as predicted, took Stanford quarterback John Elway as the first pick in today's NKL draft. But also as predicted, Elway said he'd play baseball for the New York Yankees before he'd don a Colt uniform See Page 7.Peace Journey
United States Secretary of State George Shultz started an important round of Middle East peace talks today by conferring with Egyptian Premiere Hosni Mubarak. The talks went well past the scheduled time limit, giving hope that some progress is being made. See Page 6.
Court eyeing Texas case
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is considering a case that may yield a life-and-death timetable for some 1,200 condemned murderers nationwide.
The justices are expected to use a Texas case argued before them today to decide, by July, how federal appeals courts should handle emergency appeals from death row.
At issue is what standard those 12 appeals courts should use in deciding whether to postpone the execution of a death row inmate who lias filed a new appeal with them.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, has adopted a policy of denying postponement requests unless the death row inmate can show the underlying appeal likely will be successful.
Other appeals courts use a much less
demanding standard, granting execution delays if the underlying appeal is not frivolous.
The standard the Supreme Court selects could result in months, even years, of added court proceedings and execution delays.
Also at issue in the case of Thomas Barefoot, sentenced to die by lethal injection for the 1978 murder of a Texas police officer, is whether psychiatrists should be allowed to testify about a convicted murderer’s “future dangerousness.”
Juries now hear such testimony in choosing between the death penalty or life in prison as an appropriate punishment.
Barefoot was to die last Jan. 25, but less than 12 hours before his scheduled execution the Supreme Court ordered that he be kept alive and that his emergency
The iron is hot
Market good for bonds—Wester man
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
The bond market is in better shape than it’s been in several years, which means now is a good time to be selling bonds, financial consultant Floyd R. Westerman said Monday.
Equally in good shape financially are the New Braunfels Independent School District and Comal County, said Westerman, executive vice president of the San Antonio investment firm of M E. Allison & Co., Inc., who serves as financial consultant to the two groups.
Both the county and NBISD have scheduled bond elections within four days of one another in May. The county's is set for May 7 and NBISD’s for May 3.
NBISD’s $8.85 million bond package is needed, according to district officials, to construct a new elementary school and renovate and expand current facilities.
The district’s package — which is split into three propositions — asks voters to approve funds for the new construction and renovation ($6.5 million); to air-condition all schools ($2 million); and to build a new central administrative office ($350,000).
School officials say the bond package is necessary to meet the district’s growing population, which they expect will reach 5,255 in IO years.
The county, on the other hand, is calling for its $3.9 million bond election to build a new county jail, which must be ready for occupancy no later than August, 1985 according to a federal lawsuit set
Dropping interest rates in the bond market make now an attractive time to be calling for bond elections, Westerman noted in a telephone interview.
"The bond market has is as strong as it’s been rn a number of years and it’s been improving steadily,” he said.
Equally as strong are the financial conditions of both NBISD and the county, he said.
The school district’s current rate of bond indebtedness is slightly over $5.2 million, which is left over from the district’s 1977 bond election, NBISD business manager Lonnie Curtis said.
According to law, NBISD could be rn debt up to IO percent of its total assessed value, which is now approximately $432 million. This means that legally the district could owe $43 million, Westerman noted.
If the school district’s entire bond package passes, the district would be in debt approximately $14 million — which is still considerably lower than the $43 million allowed by law, Westerman said
likewise, the county is also in good financial shape in that it does not have a tremendous amount of outstanding debt, he pointed out.
Currently the county owes $570,000, left over from flood-control bonds issued in the early 1970s and from certificates of obligation issued in 1980, County Auditor Bate Bond said Tuesday. After June I, however, the county will make payments on these debts and then owe $530,000, he said.
The county’s total estimated assessed value is
See BONDS, Page 14
appeal be made a test case.
Barefoot was convicted of the Aug. 7, 1978 shooting death of Carl Levin, a Harker Heights, Texas, police officer who had been investigating a night club fire.
Barefoot’s case attracted considerable unsolicited advice for the high court.
The Legal Defense Fund, a civil rights group active in representing death row inmates, and the American Bar Association, the nation’s largest organization of lawyers, opposed the 5th circuit court’s standard.
"A stay should be granted unless it can be determined on the face of the available documents that the inmate’s claims are frivolous,” ABA President Morris Harrell argued.
But the conservative Washington Legal Foundation urged the justices to uphold the 5th circuit court’s standard.
San Antonio airman drowns while trying to swim cove
By SANDRA JACKSON and DEBBIE DeLOACH Staff writers
Canyon l^ake claimed its first victim of 1983 Saturday, when a 19-year-old military man drowned while swimming near the Fort Sam Houston Retreat.
Thomas E. Biddle, a dog handler stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:20 p.m. Saturday by Precinct 4 Peace Justice Howard Smith.
County officials declined to release the name or details of the drowning Saturday night since next-of-kin had not been notified. Biddle was from Duncanville, Penn.
Smith said the body had been in the water 20 to 30 minutes before being pulled out by divers
from a local diving club. Clad in cut-off jeans, Biddle, who had been at the lake on a day-long outling, apparently attempted to swun across a cove at the retreat and didn’t make it, his friends said.
Deputy Steve Stapleton said in his report that Biddie was on the beach area and decided to swim to the marina. Biddle had about 20-30 feet to go when he began having problems. Four men entered the water, and reached Biddie as he went underneath the water’s surface for the last time.
"One of the men said he felt Biddle’s hand on his ankle, and then felt it slip off," tile report stated.
No autopsy was ordered. The body was taken to Zoeller Funeral Home and later transferred
See DROWNING, Page 14