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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 3, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4 — Herald-Zeitung — Thursday, February 3, 2011 FORUM Our Opinion Bill puts fox in charge of public notice henhouse Idi tor's note; lx)ngview News-Journal contributed to thus editorial. Legal notices, those columns of small type? that have long appeared in newspapers across our nation, have a serious purpose: informing the general public of how elected officials are spending — or planning to spend — their tax dollars. I hey are published in newspapers because the medium offers the most effective, most reliable method of bringing important information to taxpayers and because newspapers provide a permanent, legal record. Though the system has worked well for decades, a state representative has introduced a bill that would work mainly to keep taxpayers in the dark by allowing such notices to be published on governmental websites rather than in official newspapers and their websites. House Mill 507, sponsored by State. Hep. Angie Chen Button, a Richardson Republican, would allow c ities, counties and school districts in Texas to publish competitive bidding notices on their own websites. Button said the bill is designed to save cities, counties and school districts money by eliminating the cost of buying space in newspapers. The newspaper industry is heavily invested in the Internet and virtually every notice that appears in a Texas newspaper is also on the paper’s website at no extra cost. In addition, the Texas Daily Newspaper Association and the Texas Press Association have collaborated to establish a website,, that provides a searchable database for public notices that appear in all Texas newspapers. So anyone who wants to find a public notice online already can do so, while those who are more comfortable with a printed version still have that option. Would the state invest to match that system? Newspaper public notices, !>oth in print and online, provide a third-party system to verify that information about governments’ activities is reaching as many taxpayers as possible. Publishers are required to provide an affidavit that the information was published for the required time period, which would not happen with a government Internet site. To do the same job newspapers already do, governments would have to spend thousands of dollars for secure servers, programming, posting and auditing. Beyond that, the public knows the newspaper is its source lor legal notices and other information about their governments. Moving them to a govem-ment or government-contracted site would inevitably result in the public knowing less about what governments are doing. Notices could easily be hidden on these websites. And rather than having a single stop for notices, interested readers would have to wade through multiple sites to find information now available in one place. last month, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung website had 549,746 page views by 167,192 unique visitors. We doubt there is a government website in (hmal (xjunty that could match that. That access is above the 10,000 or so printed copies the Herald-Zeitung distributed daily across Comal and Guadalupe counties. Readers know from experience that government officials pick and choose what information they want in the public eye. Herald-Zeitung reporters regularly tight for access to documents or information considered public information. HB 679 would put the fox in charge of the public notice henhouse. Today in History Today is Thursday, Feb. 3,2011. Today's Highlight in History: On Feb. 3,1959, rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, RitchieValens and J.P "The Big Bopper" Richardson died in a small plane crash near Clear lake, Iowa. In 1811, American newspaper editor Horace Greeley was born in Amherst, NT 1. In 1865,1»resident Abraham Lincoln and Confederate Vice 1 »resident Alexander H. Stephens held a shipboard peace conference off the Virginia coast; the talks deadlocked over Southern autonomy. In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, was ratified. In 1924, the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington, D.C., In 1930, the chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft, resigned for health reasons. (He died just over a month later.) In 1943. during World War II, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester, which was carrying troops to Greenland, sank after being hit by a German torpedo; of the more than 900 men aboard, only some 230 survived. In 1959, an American Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed into New York's East River, killing 65 of the 73 people on board. In 1966, the Soviet probe Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the moon. In 1971, NYC police officer Frank Serpico, who had charged there was widespread corruption in the NYPD, was shot and seriously wounded during a drug bust in Brooklyn. In 1991, the rate for a postage stamp rose to 29 cents. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfrlt and ( amai Centntf nnee 11152. 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 Editor and Publisher Managing Editor Circulation Director Business Manager Advertising Director Doug Toney Autumn Phillip« Jeff Fowler Rosie Willingham Timothy Tergeoglou Mining the social issues In 1994, when Rick San tom m was a second-term Pennsylvania congressman seeking a U.S. Senate seat, a columnist asked him how he was going to win. "Guns," he replied serenely. Pennsylvania's legions of deer hunters do not use assault weapons, which President Bill Clinton was trying to ban, but the hunters suspected that this, like Clinton's wife's health care plan, reflected a pattern of assaults on liberty. Santorum, then 36, won by 87,210 votes — 87,210 hunters? — out of 3,384,172 cast, becoming the first conservative elected senator from Pennsylvania since 1952. "Never," he says today, "underestimate the power of the social issues." He probably will test that power—and the theory, which he rejects, that economic anxieties have marginalized those issues — by seeking the Republicans' 2012 presidential nomination. Santorum had one of the Senate's most conservative voting records and was floor manager of the most important legislation of the 1990s, the 1996 welfare reform, which Clinton vetoed twice before signing. In 2000, Santorum won a second term with 52 percent, and was elected third-ranking Republican leader in the Senate. In 2006, a miserable year for Republicans, he lost 59-41. How can he, having lost his last election, run for president? Isn't he a spent political force? Well, was Richard Nixon defunct after losing the California gubernatorial race in 1962? Santorum has made nine trips to New Hampshire, where he has hired a chairman of his state political action committee and a state director, and is returning soon. He has been that many times to two other early delegate-selection states, Iowa and South Carolina, and has other trips to those states scheduled. Seven reasons why he has not committed to running are his children, ranging in ages from 19 to 2. The Santorums take parenting very seriously: All but their youngest child have been partially home-schooled. The youngest, Bella, is severely disabled withTHsomy 18, a condition caused by a chromosomal defect that prevents more than 90 percent of its victims from reaching their first birthdays. About his presidential run, he says, "My wife is sane, therefore she doesn't want me to do this." But both she and he are passionately right-to-life, and dedicated to trying to reform today's abortion culture that is increasingly comfortable GEORGEWILL George Will's e-mail address is [email protected] with treating inconvenient lives, including those like Bella's, as disposable. Santorum appears four to six times a week on the Fox News and Fox Business channels, which are watched — particularly the former—by much of the Republican nominating electorate. And for three hours every Friday he hosts William Bennett's nationally syndicated radio program, which also has a mostly conservative audience. Santorum does not ignore economic issues, but as a relentless ethicist, he recasts those as moral issues: "What is European socialism but modern-day monarchy that 'takes care' of the people?" He is, of course, correct that America's debt crisis is, at bottom, symptomatic of a failure of self-control, a fundamental moral failing. The first event of the nominating process, Iowa's Republican caucuses, are, Santorum says, a bifurcated event. One part concerns born-again and evangelical Christians, who are 60 percent of caucus participants. The other part involves everyone else. T his is why Mike Huckabee won Iowa in 2008, and why in 1988 Pat Robertson finished a strong second to Bob Dole and ahead of George H.W. Bush. Three people who might have competed, or still might compete, with Santorum for voters intense about social issues include Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, who has decided against running. And Huckabee, who is doing well as a Fox News contributor. And Sarah Palin, another Fox luminary, would have the most to lose financially from running. Santorum thinks "the left is trying to goad her into it," hoping she would be weak among the independent voters who decide most elections. l im Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, a state contiguous with Iowa, is running hard and has published a book with a strong religious theme, but Santorum doubts that Pawlenty has the passion requisite for connecting with "values voters." That is a Santorum theory. Here is another: If unemployment is still above 9 percent in 2012, almost any Republican can win, and if there is a convincing recovery the party had better nominate someone who can energize its base. That is only a theory, but this is a fact: Social conservatives are much of that base, are feeling neglected and are looking for someone like Santorum. Letter to the Editor Reader offers up some Super Bowl trivia As the Super Bowl approaches there may be a few facts you could use to prove you are smarter than the average viewer. At one time, there was a variety of spelling of U.S. cities ending in "burg.” Many had added the "h" at the end because their founders came from lower Saxony by the Tuscan village near the river Burgh (OK, I made that up). But it is true that some U.S. city names ended in burg and others in burgh. It was the U.S. Postal Service that told, for the sake of simplicity, the burgh cities they had to change to burg. All complied except the largest. The Pennsylvanians told the USPS they (the city) would not. The postal service relented. So that is why Pittsburgh is spelled as it is, and it is the only one in the country. Now to the helmets. Most of the NFL teams put on emblems. One could not. The Cleveland Browns were named for their successful coach: Paul Brown. What could they do? A picture of him? His signature? Nothing .made sense so they remain the only team with no emblem. Back to the Steelers. On one side, and only one side, they have the logo of the steel industry. The team owners assumed that the United Steelworkers union would insist their logo be placed on the other side. They, unbelievably, did not. They still haven't. So the one side remains naked. Use this knowledge on Sunday to your advantage — and pretend you knew it all along. Star Carey New Braunfels LETTERS POUCY I Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mall letters to: Letters to Editor do Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- United States Government PRESIDENT ■ Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvanie Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE. 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2409 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site. SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Téléphoné: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 615 E. Houston St. San Antonio 78205 Téléphoné: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR NOW TO CONTACT Texas Government ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Doug Miller EXT E 1.216 P.O. Box 2910 Austin TX 78768-2910 Telephone: (512)463-0325 Fax: (512)463-5896 ■ Edmund Kuempel Rm. CAP 3N.06 Austin TX 78701 Telephone: (512)463-0602 E-mall address: edmund.kuempel @ STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 925 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: 888-824-6984 E-mail address: jeff. wentworth NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL 424 S. Castell Ave. RO. Box 311747, New Braunfels, TX 781 SI-1747 (830) 221-4000 ■ Mayor Bruce Boyer bboyer @ Telephone: Extension 4507 ■ Dist. 1 Councilor Richard Zapata rzapata @ Telephone: Extension 4501 ■ Dist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner [email protected] -elf '    -    « Telephone: Extension 4502 ■ Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra mybarra @ Telephone: Extension 4503 ■ Dist. A Councilor Sandy Nolte snolte @ Telephone: Extension 4504 ■ Dist. 5 Councilor Kathleen Krueger kkrueger @ ~ ' phi Telephone: Extension 4505 ■ Dist. 6 Councilor Steven Digqes [email protected] Telephone: Exten sio ni 4506 Comal County Commissioners Court 199 Main Plaza New Braunfels, Tx 78130 (830) 221-1100 ■ COUNTY JUDGE DANNY SCHEEL [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1105 ■ PCT. 1 COMMISSIONER DONNA ECCLES0N [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1101 H PQl 2 2 COMMISSIONER* JAY MILUKIN [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1102 ■ PCT. 3 COMMISSIONER GREG PARKER [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1103 ■ PCT. 4 COMMISSIONER* JAN KENNADY    §§ [email protected] * Telephone: (830) 221-1104 ;