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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 12, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — HERALfc-ZEITUNG — Sunday, August 12, 2001Forum Contact Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson at 625-9144 ext. 220. New 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 Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Brian Grant, News Editor (830) 625-9144 EditorialPlan a good base on which to build New Braunfels' river management plan is drawing rave reviews from many folks in the community, and that's good news. A year ago, a number of residents initiated a petition drive to ban alcohol on the rivers within the city limits. Rather than sending the matter to a referendum, council approved the ordinance requested by the petitioners and forwarded the plan to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. TABC, while sympathetic to the plight of residents tired of rowdy behavior on the rivers, declined to approve the plan and sent it back to the city. The river management plan implemented this summer was the result of months of work by the city’s river activities committee and efforts by city officials, residents, outfitters, police and volunteers. The plan includes new umbrella covers at the last public exit, designated pick-up places for shuttles, more trash cans and police presence on both rivers.    T,.' Helping to pay for the program is a $1 fee charged to tubers who rent equipment from outfitters. At least one outfitter has asked whether the tubers are getting their money's worth, and another has questioned whether the plan has made the rivers any cleaner. And some tubers say they aren’t even aware of the added police presence. They suggest police meet the tubers at the outfitter locations to explain what behavior is appropriate for the river and won’t put a damper on their fun. Well, when you behave like children, you get treated like children, so the best advice we can offer is: grow up. The plan is not perfect, some city officials say. That is to be expected in the first year, and New Braunfels is not yet near the end of the tourist season. Tubers will be coming here through September, so the final results will not be available until late September or early October. However, despite changes that might need to be made, the river management plan has made a difference. Grateful homeowners praise the work of the New Braunfels police, and families are making their way back to the rivers. Rome was not built in a day, and perfection is an elusive goal. New Braunfels made a strong first step toward addressing rowdy river tubers, and it is a good foundation on which to build.Today in History —- By The Associated Press Tbday is Sunday, Aug. 12th, the 224th day of 2001. There are 141 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History-' On Aug. 12, 1851, Isaac Singer was granted a patent on his sewing machine. On this date: In 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. In 1898, the peace protocol ending the Spanish-Ameri-can War was signed. In 1898, Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States. In 1944, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England. In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb. In 1960, the first balloon satellite — the “Echo One” — was launched by the U. S. from Cape Canaveral. In 1972, the last American combat ground troops left Vietnam.Letters Policy- The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung encourages letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included for confirmation purposes. Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor c/o the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: [email protected] 2002 Defense Bill: Challenges and opportunities For much of this year, we on the House Armed Services Committee have been hearing about the need to make dramatic changes in our military, from base closures to large reorganization of our missions. The Pentagon continues to work on these issues, largely in secret, and we continue to wait to see what Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld plans to propose. We continue to face the ongoing challenge of providing our troops with fair pay, quality facilities and the best training we can offer to meet these and more traditional threats. Last week, the House Armed Services Committee completed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, HR 2586, paving the way for more than $343 billion dollars in federal investment in critically needed military readiness and personnel improvements. Among other important provisions, the defense bill includes the largest military pay raise in two decades, more than $10 billion for construction on facilities in which military personnel live and work, and substantial funding for operating, maintaining, and training America’s military forces. The Administration, like the previous one, continues to press for another round of base closures, though resistance in Congress remains strong. Claiming excess capacity of roughly 25 percent, the Pentagon has proposed another base closure round for 2003. In the House Armed Services Committee, I joined a clear majority in speaking out against another round at this time, and none was included in the bill. I continue to argue that we need more time to evaluate the success of past rounds, account for and include the cost of environmental remediation, and explore other innovative and less disruptive options. San Antonio has become a national model in developing innovative ways to help the Department of Defense drive down the cost of maintaining military infrastructure while not decreasing the support of military missions. Brooks City Base, the first and only public-private base partnership, employs more than 4,000 local area residents and pumps $560 million into the Alamo City’s local economy. This pioneering partnership isCIRO D. Rodriguez expected to reduce costs to the military, enhance military efficiency, and promote economic development. The good news is that the Pentagon proposal, dubbed the Efficient Facilities Initiative, would make the City Base Concept available nationwide with Brooks as the model of success. One of the early successes at Brooks City Base is the Brooks Energy Sustainability Lab (BESL), a project that successfully works to improve the efficiency of energy consumption in large buildings and complexes at facilities around the country. With my help, the recently-enacted supplemental appropriations bill included more than $5 million in funding to allow BESL, in partnership with the University of California, to reduce energy consumption by at least IO percent at California military facilities as ordered by President Bush. In addition, the 2002 Defense Bill would grant another $3 million to help the lab expand its efforts to reduce energy usage at military, federal, state and local government facilities. While reducing the cost of operating the facilities, the lab’s efforts will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of workplace environments. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I worked to include language within this year’s defense bill that will enhance these innovative projects, promote the redevelopment of KellyUSA, and increase the productivity of our local South Texas bases. The bill, for example, would provide critical environmental protections for the Brooks City Base Project that will protect the City of San Antonio and other City Base tenants from Air Force environmental liability. This same protection is given to bases, such as Kelly, that are closed, and now this authority will be available for the city base program as well. For KellyUSA, I included language that will allow the Air Force, now a large and long-term tenant on what was Kelly AFB, to pay common area maintenance charges, like other tenants. This change will provide at least $1 million in additional income to KellyUSA per year. Without this important provision, private tenants at the former base would be forced to subsidize the government’s remaining presence at KellyUSA, limiting San Antonio’s aggressive redevelopment efforts. San Antonio is fortunate to have two premier military hospitals, each of which is a Level I Trauma Center providing critical emergency care to civilians involved in traumatic injuries. The defense bill includes a provision I requested which would enable both Wilford Hall and Brooke Army Medical Center to collect reasonable rates for trauma care provided to civilians covered by private insurance. Current rules shortchange the hospitals millions of dollars per year. The increased funding would help preserve the unique military medical training programs at the two military hospitals while strengthening the area’s trauma system. Finally, the bill includes $30 million for Department of Defense assistance to school districts that serve large numbers of children of military personnel. A quality education is a critical issue for military families and this funding will benefit the schools which currently serve Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, and Ft. Sam Houston. The Defense Bill goes far in providing our troops with the support they need to execute their primary mission: the protection of our national security. We face new threats and challenges, which we must meet. I am proud that San Antonio has taken the lead in creating innovative, cost-saving programs to enhance the military mission, promote efficiency and expand economic development opportunities. Our nation will benefit from the creative thinking developed here in South Texas as we continue to serve as a model for creative base development. (Ciro D. Rodriguez represents District 28 in the U.S. House of Representatives.)Multiculturalism does not seem to work in today’s world You might recall that the Tamil Tigers raided Sri Lanka’s airport recently. They did a pretty good job. Knocked out about half the national fleet and shut the airport down for a number of hours. Scared the stew out of all the tourists, too. Well, Sri Lanka, which used to be called Ceylon, has no national or security interest for us at all, so we needn’t worry about it. On the other side of the world, NATO has been trying to get v, „• Macedonians    to kiss and likewise, baa Uh''6€foSy|l6or national-security interest for us. Don’t need to worry about that, either. Nevertheless, from both places we can learn a valuable lesson. Multiculturalism doesn’t work. In both places you have keen hostility between two ethnic groups of people. If you will just lookCharley Reese around the world, you will see that the most politically and socially stable countries are those with the most homogenous populations. The multi-ethnic countries are either in a state of war cdr have a strong central government to keep the lid on ethnic rivalries. Despite what you hear from our urban liberal pals, people are a great deal more tribal than liberals want to admit. You can tell the Macedonians and the Albanians that they're practically just alike until you’re blue in the face, and they won’t buy it. You can even tell them that 97 percent of their genes are probably identical. Doesn’t matter. It’s the 3 percent difference that counts. That’s true, too. Even if a Chihuahua and a Doberman share 97 percent of the same genes, the 3 percent they don’t share is one whopping difference. I’ve notice d that American liberals keep trying every which way they can to sell the notion of the common universal man, as socialists have been trying to do for a couple of hundred years now. It won’t fly. There is no such creature. The fact that all humans have two feet doesn’t mean that they’re willing to park them under the same table. Just look at the killing going on today and at the killing that’s been going on for the past 50 years. Nearly all of it is tribal or ethnic conflicts. Our little people in pinstripes just make fools out of themselves, scurrying about and telling people who hate each other’s guts to just get along. George Bush has made another blunder by not pulling our troops out of the Balkans, as he definitely hinted he would do. They can sit there 50 years, and the day they leave, all the ethnic groups will dig up their weapons and resume their wars. Tile only thing that works with ethnic rivalries is separation, but for some strange reason, we are insanely committed to forcing Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Serbs and Croats to live in one multiethnic state. Never going to happen. Now we seem determined to force the Albanians and the Macedonians to live together happily ever after. Never going to happen. You would think that by now, the U.S. government would have figured out that the troublemak ers in the Balkans are the Albanians. Their population has exploded, and they are looking to create a greater Albania using most of Kosovo and a big hunk of Macedonia. That seems as plain to me as a donkey at a faculty tea party. This is going to be an ongoing, long-range conflict, and we have no business getting involved in it. Bush ought to tell the Europeans: “Look, if you want to keep meddling in the Balkans, be our guest, but our boys are going home. Right now.” It ought to be written in stone that we should never, ever intervene militarily in any ethnic conflict or territorial dispute outside our own borders. But, as John Wayne was fond of saying, “That’ll be the day.” (Charley Reese is a syndicated columnist) ;