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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 18, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas 4A Q HerakJ-Zeitung □ Thursday, December 18,1997 Opinion ■ To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220. erald-Zeitung Opinion Onlivto contact ■To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung’s address is QUOTABLE “Books are like vitamins. When you walk into a library, you tend to pick, almost instinctively, the intellectural or the emotional vitamins you need.” Clare Booth Luce journalistCisneros indictment: How mean, sorry and sad EDITORIAL CISD bond opponents should help board now Comal Independent School District taxpayers voted down the Nov. 8 bond issue and basically said no to CISD’s proposals for handling overcrowding on its campuses. Those same voters who said no to the new high school and elementary schools as well as renovations and expansion at current campuses should plan to attend tonight’s CISD board meeting. Tonight, CISD trustees will pick up the pieces and try to figure out how their constituents want the overcrowding problem solved. The options now before the board include: ■ Realigning attendance zones to balance enrollment at Smithson Valley and Canyon high schools ■ Conducting another bond election to expand the two high schools ■ Buying additional portable buildings and/or leasing space ■ Increasing class sizes ■ Implementing year-round, multi-track schools or split schedules (as a last resort) So many critics of the bond issue said they could not support it because the school board lacked credibility. We encourage those critics to attend tonight’s meeting and tell board members exactly what it is they want. The question of overcrowding never was an issue in the election: Most voters were aware of the growing population in the schools and how tight space has become there. At the same time, these school trustees are not given crystal balls with their oaths of office, and they do not always know what the voters want — unless the voters tell them. Tonight s meeting is a perfect opportunity for these taxpaying residents to fulfill their duty to the school board and tell their elected representatives how to solve the overcrowding problem. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will take place in Bill Brown Elementary, 20410 Texas 46 West in Spnng Branch. (Today's editorial was written by Herald-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson.)Write us Fhe New Braunfels Herald /eaun^ welcomes tellers on any public issue The editor reserves the nghi lo correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Lenin should be kept bt 250 words. We publish only original mail addressed lo (he New Braunfels Herald /euung bearing the writer's signature Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication. must he 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 IO days. Mail letters to: Letter* to the Editor clo tire Sew Braunfels Herald Zeitung P O Drawer 311328 New Braunfels. Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (830)625-1224 New BraunfelsHerald -Zeitung Editor and Publisher, Ext 301................... Managing Editor, Ext 220    ..................... Director of Marketing, Ext 208 ................. Classified Advertising Manager, Ext 214 Business Manager, Ext 202 .................... Circulation Director, Ext 228 .................. Doug Toney Margaret Edmonson  Jason Bor char dt Karen Remmger Mary Lee Hall Carol Ann Avery Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Frvhy by the New Braunfels Herald/ettung (USPS 377 880) 707 Lank St., or P O Chawer 31132*, New Braunfels, Comal County, Tx. 78131 -1328 Ptnothcal postage paid by the Alew Braunfels Herald-/etlung in New Braunfels, Texas. Canter 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 martha, $30.30; bx months, $55; one year, $103 50 Mail outside Texas: six months, $78; one year, $118.25. Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 pm Tuesday through friday or by 7:30 a m. on Sunday may call (830) 625-9144 or by 7 pro. weekdays or by 11 aro. on Sunday. Postmaster: Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald-Zettung, P.O. Chewer 3! I 328, New Braunfels, Tx. 78131 -1328 AUSTIN — How pathetic. How ridiculous. How mean, sorry and sad. After a three-year investigation that cost taxpayers more than $4 million, Henry Cisneros has been indicted on 18 counts for failing to confide the details of his private life to the FBI. He now faces 90 years in prison. This is a man who served so honorably and so effectively in public office that even Republicans in Congress who had wanted to dismantle the Department of Housing and Urban Development were won over. He took what had been a demoralized and scandal-racked agency, notorious for its arrogant way of dealing with local governments, and made it into a model of efficiency and integrity. According to syndicated Washington columnist Neal Pierce, Cisneros reduced the staff of HUD by more than half (from 13,300 to 7,500), saved the government $1.3 billion by selling off defaulted multi-family mortgages and made tremendous progress in replacing decayed and dangerous public housing. The worst public housing projects, places that breed crime, drugs and isolation, are already gone, replaced by mixed-income communities, and another 100,000 units will be replaced by 2000. Cisneros said when he first came under investigation, "I regret any mistakes that I have made but affirm once again that I have at no point violated the public's trust." He is accused of lying to the FBI, not a good thing to do Ninety years in prison? Did Cisneros turn a blind eye while his staff was giving contracts to his friends, like President Reagan's HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce? No. Did he have three Molly Ivins undersecretaries and an executive assistant all convicted of influence-peddling, as happened under Pierce? No. According to the indictment, Henry Cisneros did not tell the FBI how many extramarital affairs he had had. And while he did tell the bureau he was making payments to his former mistress, he did not tell it the correct amount he had paid her. The obvious question is: Why was the FBI even asking about such things? Why did it need to know? What did the answers have to do with Henry Cisneros’ qualifications to serve as secretary of HUD? Twice this past weekend, I heard "journalists" refer to Cisneros’ payments to Linda Jones Medlar, with whom he had an affair in 1987, as "hush money." Texans will recall that Cisneros acknowledged the affair in 1988 amid a storm of publicity. All the papers carried the story, Texas Monthly gave us an in-depth account of the whole mess, and Cisneros came out of it saying he just wanted to keep his marriage intact. He and Mary Alice are still married. There was nothing to hush up; there was no secret. Cisneros agreed to help Jones financially, and that is their business. Not many men would have done as much. Linda Jones Medlar has since sold tapes she made of conversations with Cisneros to a trash tabloid TV show, sued Cisneros for not giving her more money and, after originally having received immunity from prosecution from the special counsel, now stands accused of having altered the taped conversations. She has been indicted on 26 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering and obstruction. All those stem from die purchase of a house she bought with her sister and brother-in-law, who are accused of having acted as "straw purchasers.** Both of them have also been indicted on numerous counts. Cisneros does stand accused of one violation of the public trust: According to the indictment, he asked two former employees at a private company he ran to lie about his extramarital affairs and promised them government jobs in exchange for doing so. Both followed him to HUD, and both former employees have also been indicted on conspiracy charges and face heavy penalties. lf true, that is a grave matter. How are such things judged by the courts? Well, former Interior Secretary James Watt was charged with lying to a federal grand jury and Congress about his alleged use of HUD contacts to influence lucrative housing contracts during the Reagan administration. Watt was allowed to plea-bargain 18 felony counts down to a misdemeanor charge and given 500 hours of community service. Three years. Four million dollars. It seems safe to say Henry Cisneros will never serve in public life again. (Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. You may write to her care of this newspaper or via e-mail at '®oddoMje.w\ MBWM 10 Wane gar ■amm.Letters to the EditorNoapltal naads ptdiitfian walkways Editor. I was at the hospital on Nov. 18, 1997. The block between the hospital and parking lot is dangerous. I am 74 years old, and I cannot run across the street to keep from gening hit by a car. People driving could care less Why can’t the city paint yellow stripes in that block and put up pedestrian walk way signs? lf H-E-B and Wal-Mart have them in front of their stores, why can’t the hospital have them ’ Everyone who feels like I do, let someone know. Martha Huffman New BraunfelsNital ivies workers paragons of potlonco Editor In this busy season I must take time to say a great big “thank you” to each of the portal clerks at our post office I have been in twice the last few days and while standing in line, I observed their smiles, patience and helpfulness. They took extra time to help people with improper wrapping etc. and never lost those smiles. I wish each of them a Very Merry Christmas and a good rest Mary Waite New Braunfels lf you can’t say something nico... Dear Editor: I am still very upset, unfortunately I missed the letter that was written about one of our gentlemen in the post office. How dare somebody try to criticize any of these gentlemen? They are absolutely wonderful, always helpful and friendly. You feel when conning into the post office that you are surrounded by friends. We arc living in a free world, and how we dress is our own business. As long as the person is clean, we have no right to speak up. Of course we all have dif ferent tastes. Think what it would be like when we all would be wearing the same clothing, haircut, etc. To wear one earring is the fashion. What is wrong with it? What is wrong with the tie? Nothing, I am sure children enjoy looking at it. I did! You better look in the mirror and check out you and your clothing. One thing is sure, people here don’t like you criticizing good people. I know that it is your opinion, but why don’t you (think before you) criticize everybody whose appearance you don’t like? I am sure there must be many. I have seen people dressed in ways I would not dare to leave my house or with haircuts which are absolutely hilarious. So what? That is the privilege in a free country. But to attack a specific person only because you don’t like what he is wearing is unfair. I have asked children if they like that gentleman and they all said he is a nice man. That shows you that our tastes are different. Lieselotte Mourn New BraunfelsToday in History By The Associated Pro— Today is Thursday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 1997. There arc 13 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. IS, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect. On this date: In 17S7, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. la 1992, Tchaikovsky ’s "The Nutcracker Suite’’ publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia. bi 1940, Adolf Hider signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. (Operation "Barbarossa" was launched in June 1941.) In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanesc-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained. In 1956, Japan was admitted to the United Nations. In 1957, the motion picture "The Bndge on the River Kwai" premiered at the RKO Palace Theater in New York City. In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the hist nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went online. (It was taken out of service in 1982.) In 1969, Britain’s Parliament abolished the death penalty for murder. la 1972, the United States began the heaviest bombing of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 12 days later.) In 1980, former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76. Ten years ago: Ivan F. Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street’s biggest insider-trading scandal. (He served about two years of his sentence.) Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was married in a traditional Islamic ceremony to businessman Arif Ali Zardan. Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council unanimously denounced Israel’s deportation of more than 400 Patesrinians and demanded their immediate return. Kim Young-sam was elected South Korea’s first civilian president in three decades. One year ago: FBI agent Earl Edwin Pitts was arrested, accused of selling secrets to the Russians. (Pitts was sentenced rn June 1997 lo 27 years in prison after admitting that he’d conspired and attempted to commit espionage.) Aides to President Clinton dildoscd that Asian-American businessman Charles Yah Un Trie, who delivered $460,000 in questionable donations to die Clintons* legal defense fund, had been to the White House at least 23 times since 1993. Today’s Birthdays: Actor Ossie Davis is 80. Fenner U S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is 70. Ador Roger Smith is 65. Blues musician Lonnie Brooks is 64. Rock ririger-musician Keith Richards is $4. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is SO. ;