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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 17, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas ,4A Q Herald-Zeitung □ Sunday, August 17.1997 . 'irtiT&s \    -..... /    : ' Opinion ' ■ To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220. H e r j l o I t u n g v >’ I-"-' rn.,- Onfln* contact ■To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the newspaper’s address is QUOTABLE“Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” Karl Marx philosopher EDITORIALChafin represented what trustees should be New Braunfels Independent School District board of trustees bid farewell Tuesday to board member Leo Chafin. Chafin, who served two terms on the board from 1991 to 1997, decided not to seek re-election in the Aug. 9 election. He left the board after one of the most difficult years the NBISD board has faced in recent history. But however difficult the past year has been, Chafin’s commitment to education and children was apparent. “The last 365 days have not been much fun,” he told trustees Tuesday. “I don’t want you to just forget the past... I want you to remember the past and don’t make the same mistakes.” The board also would do well to remember Chafm’s interest in educating the children of the district. Before he served on the board, Chafin spent 17 years at New Braunfels High School serving as the vocational adjustment coordinator. During his time on the board, Chafin served as board president in 1995-96 and vice president from 1993 to 1995. Trustee Carlos Campos said, “One thing you learn from worina&Jwith Leo is that ha has a great love of this district antffRfThiTdrefrbflhis district ” County Judge Carter Casteel had just one piece of advice for the board members she had sworn into office Tuesday night. “I only hope that you can follow the example of Leo Chafin and his wife, Nancy,” Casteel said. Serving on a school board can be trying at best, and oftentimes trustees are challenged to stand behind that which they believe, even if it is not the popular stance. A trustee truly interested in serving for the good of the children will place them first and all of the other political issues aside. Chafin represents what all good trustees should strive to be: solid, dependable and committed. That is what the voters should want. (Today s editorial was written by Herald-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson.)Write us The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. We publish only original mail addressed to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung bearing the writer’s signature. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included. Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned. Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor clo the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Beware of elected officials with mandates New BraunfelsHerald-Zeitung Editor and Publisher, Ext. 301.......................................Doug    Toney Managing Editor, Ext. 220.................................Margaret Edmonson Marketing Director, Ext. 208....................................Jason    Borchardt Classified Advertising Manager, Ext. 214...............Karen Reininger Business Manager, Ext. 202........................................Mary    Lee    Hall Circulation Director, Ext. 228....................................Carol Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman, Ext. 205............................................................. Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tucsday through Fnday by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (USPS 377-880) 707 Lands St , or P O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Comal County, TX 78131-1328. Periodical postage paid by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas. Carrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties: three months, $20.50; six months, $37; one year, $66. Senior Citizen Discounts by earner delivery only . six months, $33; one year, $62. Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas: three months, $30.30; six months, $55; one year, $103.50. Mail outside Texas: six months, $78; one year, $11825. Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 p m. Tuesday through Friday or by 7.30 a.m. on Sunday may call (830) 625-9144 or by 7 p.m. weekdays or by 11 un. on Sunday. Postmaster: Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 3 ll 328, New Braunfels, Tx. 78131 -1328. Onlookers at the New Braunfels Independent School District board meeting Tuesday night were able to watch a relatively smooth transistion. A passionate, and at times eloquent, farewell speech by retiring board member Leo Chafin evoked both laughter and tears from the crowd that was packed into the meeting room on Mill Street (See the editorial on this page.). ‘ After the swearing in of re-elected and new board members, many in the audience, and probably board members as well, were braced for a possible bloodbath over who would be elected president of the board. A year ago, Carlos Campos and Steve Weaver were elected to the school board. They quickly formed an alliance with board members Sylvia Sanchez and Jaime Padilla. After the dust cleared, Superintendent Charles Bradberry and a majority of administrators and principals were gone, many by their own choice. A week ago, Sanchez was re-elected in her district, along with at-large incumbent Bette Spain, who opposed nearly all the actions put in motion by the Campos/Weaver/Sanchez/Padilla voting block. Joining Spain as an at-large representative is Don Bedford. Many, if not most, of Spain’s backers were also stumping for Bedford during the campaign. So Bedford joins Spain and board member Anne Miller as the polar opposite of the Campos/Weaver/Sanchez side of the board. Doug Toney That leaves Bill Biggadike, who was elected to fill die remaining year on Padilla’s term. Biggadike now has the most powerful vote on the board. So when it came time for electing a board president, the tension in the room was obvious. Acting president Campos turned it over to Superintendent Ron Reaves. Weaver immediately nominated Campos for president. But Campos declined the nomination, making a pitch for unity. Spam was nominated and then Campos asked that the nominations be closed and Spain be elected by acclamation. Don Bedford was elected vice president and Anne Miller elected secretary, all unanimously. Campos also declined a nomination for vice president. Some in the audience murmured and tried to dimminish the act by saying Campos knew he didn’t have die votes. That might be true, but Campos’ decision was the right move and his gesture seemed well-intended. The only acrimonious moment from the board came when Weaver, a Certified Public Accountant, was nominated for treasurer. Bedford voted against Weaver. Atte* the meeting, Bedford told a reporter that he campaigned on opposing the then-majority on the board. He said, “Two-thousand five hundred people voted forme, and I won by almost a two-to-one margin, I think I have a mandate.” Whoa, pardner. A mandate? The election night count was 7,954 vbtes in the two at-large races. Each voter could cast two votes in the races. That means at least 3,975 people voted for the at-large candidates. Bedford received 2,449 votes, or about 61.6 percent of the votes. That was the largest plurality of votes for any candidate, narrowly edging out Biggadike’s 60.2 percent advantage in his district 4 race. But the voters registration office said 18,302 voters were eligible to vote. • That means 13 percent of the eligible voters elected Bedford to office. We can blame only the voters for the low turnout. But one thing is for sure: The low number of votes cast were not enough to create a mandate for any candidate. The last thing this school district needs is another board member, aimed with a self-proclaimed mandate, opposing any idea, no matter how good it might be, as long as it comes from his self-determined nemises on the board. Differences of opinions on issues should and must be publicly debated. But what most citizens probably want are board members with open minds who will listen to all viewpoints before determining how they will vote. Debate the ideas. Ponder the positions and seek solutions together. Without public debate and respect for other viewpoints, the board loses its ability to compromise or, better yet, to create through consensus an even . better solution than previously offered from either side. Only a year ago, newly elected school board members arrived with their own mandate. The school board and community continue to be bruised from the manner in which they sought those changes. If a real mandate had existed last year, it stands to reason that this past election would have turned out differently. Last Tuesday night, it seemed that everyone on the board except Bedford realized the time for chest pounding and posturing for the sake of political grandstanding should end. Bedford and all public office holders should remember that the only mandate they have from the public is to consider die views and needs of all their constituents, not just those who voted them into office. The voters do not want or expect a bunch of 7-0 votes. What we expect is a thoughtful debate of the issues in which all reasonable views are considered. Votes should be about issues, not grudges. Until we learn to debate and i our differences with civility, wet move forward. (Doug Toney is editor and publisher of the Herald-Zeitung.) IO iovWJ ■>!A fr? ' Iv/il • »t I Bikers get freedom of choice — and guess who gets bill By JOHN KANEUS Associated Press AMARILLO — Texas motorcyclists soon will get to shuck their helmets and let their hair fly in the wind as they cruise down our highways. Ah, freedom of choice. We get to use our own good — or bad—judgment on whether to protect ourselves against serious head injury. There will be a price, though, for those who choose to follow their libertine instincts. The 1997 Legislature — in a penny ante sop to those of us who dislike the notion of allowing cyclists to ride sans helmets — said that the helmet-less motorcyclist must purchase a $ 10,000 health insurance policy to help cover the cost of caring for serious injury. Or, the cyclist can have the insurance requirement waived by taking a motorcycle safety course. Just how much financial security would the insurance policy provide?Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Sunday, Aug, 17, the 229th day of 1997. There are 136 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Aug. 17,1807, Robert Fulton’s “North River Steam Boat” (popularly known as the “Clermont”) began heading up New York’s Hudson River on its successful round-trip to Albany. Virtually none! Then what? Well, we’d all better be ready to pay through the nose for those rendered permanently disabled because they think riding without a helmet purely is a matter of personal choice. A Baptist St. Anthony’s Hospital official in Amarillo snickered when asked about the time it would take for a serious head-wound patient to run up a $10,000 tab as a result of an accident. You have surgical costs. You have room rates that often exceed $1,000 a day. You have lab fees. You have medication to fight pain and to ward off infection. Just how quickly does one use up $10,000? In a proverbial heartbeat. Then, after the insurance runs out, the motorcyclist likely would become a ward of the state. Then the careless biker becomes OUR burden. Yours and mine! The Department of Public Safety tried this year to counter the argument On this date: la 1863, Federal batteries and ships bombarded Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., harbor during the Civil War. la 1896, a prospecting party discovered gold in Alaska, a finding that touched off the Klondike gold rush. la 1940, President Roosevelt and Canadian Prime Minister William Mackenzie King met in Ogdensburg. N.Y., where they agreed to set up a that helmets actually cause more injuries than they prevent by citing National lntiitutet of Health drta showing that people are many times more likely to suffer a serious head injury without a helmet than with one. That didn’t wash with dump-thc-helmet lawmakers who said that helmets inhibit people’s peripheral vision and impair their hearing. It was a creative campaign, perhaps the fin! in the history of civilization to portray motorcycle helmets as a hazard! Doctors, police officers and social service workers* testified to the contrary. Lawmakers — led by state Sen. Jerry Patterson, R-Pasadena, persuaded enough legislators and the governor to enact a law that ultimately is gong to cost people their lives and, make no mistake, their livelihoods. And when it comes to people’s ability to make s living, th*’s where we nil should get concerned. Because every Texan who must go on public assistance because of a debilitating head joint defense commission. In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily wu completed u U.S. and British forces entered Messina. In 1962, East German border guards shot and mortally wounded 18-year-old ran rcciwcr* who noes socir^picci lo cross over the Berlin Wall into the western sector. In 1969,248 people were killed as Hurricane Camille hit die Gulf Coast. injury — caused by the absence of a helmet — is going to cost us all. It will cost us in increased health insurance premiums. It will drive up the costs of emergency room care. It will require more social service money that will have to come from somewhere. But heck, we’re Texans. We who don’t like government telling us we HA VE to do something stupid — such as wear a motorcycle helmet while we Maze down the road unprotected at TO mph or faster. We have the right to do something EVEN MORE STUPID, by golly, which is lo operate a motorcycle without a helmet. Bikers who decide ifs just as safe to ride without a helmet as it is to ride with one should know that I’ll be praying for their good health. I’ll also say a prayer that I won’t get stuck with the bill when tragedy strikes. (John Kanelis is editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News.) Distributed by The Associated Press In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair concluded near Bethel, N. Y. In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle ll outside Paris. Ten years ago: Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at a Berlin hospital near Spandau Prison at age 93. ;