New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 5, 1984, New Braunfels, Texas
4A New Braunfels Hera\frZeitung Sunday, February 5,1984OpinionsHerald-Zfitun$Dave Kramer, General Manager Robert Johnson, EditorJames KilpatrickConfidence in Congress goes bankrupt
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Congress always winds up near the bottom of those polls that measure confidence in public institutions. Even the much maligned press ranks higher than the Congress, and only lawyers and labor unions rank lower.
Why the lost esteem? Observers offer several reasons. The high cost of political campaigning leave an impression that many members are bought by their big contributors. Congress takes long vacations, and members seem forever to be junketing abroad. An occasional scandal stains the image of integrity. All these this matter, but my own thought is that the people are
disgusted with Congress for one overriding reason: Members will not do the work they are well paid to do.
Many examples of ineptitude could be cited. Let me dwell upon only one — reform of our bankruptcy law. It is not the sexiest subject ever addressed, but it is of critical importance to the 551,000 persons and firms (and their creditors) who went into bankruptcy last year. Moreover, Marne for the mess rests squarely upon Congress.
This is the situation. In 1978, after IO years of study, Congress made comprehensive revisions in the then-existing bankruptcy system. The 1978 act abolished the old bankruptcy “referees” and provided new
bankruptcy “courts” in their place. The courts were to be presided over by “judges,” and the law spelled out the terms and conditions under which the judges were to sit.
Now, Article III of the Constitution seems to be explicit on the matter of federal judges. They are to serve, in effect, for life. They can be removed only by impeachment. Their salaries never can be reduced. But Article I of the Constitution also appears to permit the creation of certain specialized courts of limited jurisdiction, and by inference it may be supposed that the judges of Article I courts may be differently treated.
The judgeships that were created under the 1978 act had none of the
protections provided by Article III. Bankruptcy judges were to serve for terms of 14 years; they could be removed by judicial councils; their salaries were to be adjusted under general law. Yet the new courts were to have broad jurisdiction over everything related to a bankruptcy proceeding. They were granted all the “powers of a court of equity, law and admiralty.” The judges could issue writs of habeas corpus, and they could punish for contempt of court.
Congress was abundantly warned at the time the 1978 bill was pending that the judgeship provisions could be held unconstitutional. So it turned out. On June 28, 1982, in what is known as the Northern Pipeline case, the Supreme
Court ruled 6-3 that the bankruptcy judges had been granted the powers of Article III judges but had been denied the protection due them. A key section of the act was held void.
The high court acknowledged the hardship and confusion that would be created by its decision. Therefore the court stayed its order for four months, until Oct. 24, 1982, so that Congress could amend the law, either by restricting the powers of the new judges or by giving them full protection under Article III.
Congress wasted the opportunity. In October the court reluctantly granted another stay. Again Congress dawdled. Attorney General William French Smith pleaded in vain that
congressional inaction was creating an intolerable situation for those involved in bankruptcy cases. Members could not have cared less. Democrats were unwilling to give President Reagan a chance to nominate 200 Article III judges. Various special interests wanted changes in other parts of the act. Thus all of 1983 passed into limbo.
That is where bankruptcy law stands today — in limbo. Most of the old referees still are sitting as judges under an emergency rule, but it is anyone’s guess if their decisions are valid. The situation invites chaos. But will the incoming Congress do its job anytime soon? Don’t hold your breath.
10 years ago today
It will tx* a hotly contested Precinct 4 county commissioner’s race in the May Democratic primary, as three last-minute filings Monday brought the number of combatants to seven. Democrats seeking to succeed retiring John Karbaeh are: Bodo Dietert, county road administrator; Harold Snider, presently Precinct 4 Peace Justice; Orville Heitkamp, a remodeling contractor; Roland Burkhardt. former deputy sheriff and now a contractor; Rubin Adams, owner of Adams Auto Sales; Osier Soeehting. a stock farmer; and Gregorio Coronado, a lawyer.
Warning against anti-military attitudes which cause a decline in national defenses, U.S. Rep. O.C. Fisher set the tone for the two-week National Security Seminar. Making his keynote address in the Civic Center before a crowd of about 375 people. Fisher stressed that efforts to build military' defenses to a level comparable with those of other world powers are suffering from minority opposition.
Longtime civic leader E.P. “Pete” Nowotny received Die city’s highest
honor last Wednesday when he was named winner of the Besserang Award at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet at the Civic Center. Mrs. Irene Nuhn, Fred Ohelm and Frank DePasqual received their plaques for being inducted into the Hall of Honor, and President’s Award winners DePasqual, Rochette Re Ina re and Edgar Brecher were also honored.
Albert MeKinnis sparked a fine team effort with a 25-point performance as the New Braunfels Unicorns shaded the towering Sam Houston Cherokees, 56-54, Saturday night in Alamo Stadium gym. The Unicorns, who have won eight of their last ll starts, are now second in district with a 6-3 record, three games back of the 94 Highlands Owls,
The Canyon Cougars dropped 14-AAA games to Cuero and Gonzales this week, and fell to a 3-6 record in district and 17-10 on the season. Paul Walker scored 22 points in a 76-68 loss to Cuero, while Mike Soeehting scored 28 points in a 98-78 loss to Gonzales.
25 years ago today
The City Commission last week authorized City Attorney Calvin Riedel to file complaints against property owners who have not compiled with the city plumbing and sanitary code. Eight property owners were notified of violations by City Inspector J.T. Bright
Five New Braunfels men were named to committee chairmanships at the first Guada-Cotna Boy Scout District Committee meeting Monday at I .ake Breeze Ski Lodge. They are Merlin Birdsong, Dr. B.C. Schumann, County Judge C.W. Rice, Elliot Kuox and George Now oiuy
Spirited debate over the installation (rf automatic pinsetters at New Braunfels Social Club rocked a special called meeting Wednesday night to discuss the matter, as heated arguments both pro and con were blocked to a * no decision" by the chair. Main objection to the automatic pinsetters is that they will almost certainly bring an end to the tune-honored and traditionally popular sport of nine-pin bow ling.
Agreement in principle with the proposed legislation setting up the Edwards Underground Water District
was voiced by members of the Comal County Farm Bureau Thursday night following an explanation of the program. but considerable dissatisfaction about the manner of choosing directors on the district was heard.
Building construction — often considered a leading barometer for business — took off like an intercontinental ballistic missile in New Braunfels in January to the tune of $262,160 Biggest rocket for the 1959 performance was the issuance (rf a building permit to Mission Valley Mills for a $150,000 second-floor addition to its second-floor shipping room.
I .oyer Wurst, 15-year-old 4-H girl whose Hereford calf was judged champion fat steer (rf the 1959 Comal County Youth Show Saturday, is the only 4-H club member ever to take grand champions in both homemaking and livestock divisions in the same year.
50 years ago today
Cancellation of the approval of the gym project for Hie New Braunfels High School was received Monday by Mrs. C.C.S. Flat/, local relief administrator, from CWA headquarters in Austin. The gym was approved a week ago and plans had been made to begin work on the day that the cancellation was received.
A prisoner being field ui Comal County jail facing an attempted burglary charge walked unnoticed from the jail Monday morning. The jail adjoins the district courtroom. It was believed that the door was left unlocked during the noon recess and the prisoner walked out.
“I consider the Beautiful Yards Contest sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce as the moat constructive campaign ever undertaken to beautify our home grounds and improve the appearance of our entire city,” said Mayor H.F.
A Tacky Dance will be held by the New Braunfels Country Club on
Saturday, Feb. 17, to be enjoyed by members and their out-of-town guests The entertainment committee has only one suggestion to members — “Be a sport and dress tacky — let’s all have a good time.”
Foil tax payments for Comal County showed a gain for 1934 over 1933 of 322, Wesley Rosenberg, County Tax Collector, stated this week. Poll tax payments for 1934 closed last Wednesday with a total of 2,994 payments.
Miss Joyce Forke, senior foods major from New Braunfels, has been elected house president of Fitzgerald Hall, senior dormitory at Texas State College for Women (C.I.A). Miss Forke is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Forke, 560 Market, New Braunfels.
RNJ#'TO ATOWtt IS tWINfr TUE'NORID SHW, BLW' MINUTO 'WUffE'S YOUR SIMPLE, CWtP-UKE RUEF?
Deciding between action, watching can create tension
Choosing how to spend your time seems like a simple enough thing to do, but sometimes ifs the most difficult. I’m often torn between doing somthing and watching something.
I was reading a story the other day about an artist who said that a lot of good art is lust because artists have to make a living. I’m skeptical (rf that statement. I think most artists find a way to get what art they have in their system out of it, one way or another.
It might be truer to say that the rest of us miss seeing, reading or appreciating a lot of good art because we’re too busy living. We don’t stop and listen to good music, go to a museum, go to a movie or read a good book as often as we’d like because we won’t take the time. We’d like to, but living takes so long to get through most days that we can’t find the tune to spend appreciating literature, drama, music and painting. That’s where art is lost
I feel terrible every week not reading all the Sunday newspaper. There are always interesting articles in it on cultural subjects. At some point around 9:30 Sunday morning,
though, after a long paper-reading, coffee-drinking, Charles Kuralt-watching breakfast, I have to make a decision Do I spend the whole day enriching myself or do I get at doing a job?
We all have something we ought to be doing most of the time, and the choice between watching someone else do it on television or doing something ourselves, is tough.
I offer my woodworking hobby as an example. (You probably have your own tiine-consumer.) In my workshop I’m in the process of Hulking a chair. I’m not much good as a woodworker but it’s my hobby and I like it.
I .ast week we were watching television after dinner and Bill Moyers appeared on PBS with his new series, “A Walk Through the 20th Century.” I almost always like anything Bill Meyers does. This program was about his hometown of Marshall, Texas. It was an hour and a half long
I watched for 20 minutes and it was excellent. I was really ejoying it, but I noticed my mind was wandering to
“How can I set that leg into the arm (rf my chair?” I though to myself as Bill was interviewing a former teacher of his. Pretty soon and with great reluctance, I got up and said to Margie, “I’m going downstairs for a little while.” I left Bill talking with this teacher. I hope he didn’t see me sneak out (rf the room.
“A little while” turned out to be two and a half hours. I missed most of a good television show and botched up one leg of my chair. The next day everyone was talking about Bill Moyers. I couldn’t participate and, of course, no one wanted to talk about my chair. I’d made the wrong choice.
That’s the way it goes. We’re always having to m^jie that tough decision between doing it and watching it. We live second-hand through television, movies and fiction too often, but they do it so much neater
than we do — whatever it is — that it’s always a temptation to sit down and watch. Everything tuts a beginning and an end in art, unlike real life, which is usually inconclusive.
It’s popular to say we watch too much and participate too little. The trouble is, there’s so much good stuff buried among the junk, to watch and listen to. Our lives have been enriched like the lives of people of no other civilization in all history by the things we are able to experience secondhand.
Call it living vicariously, say I’m sitting around watching someone else do something when I should be out doing something myself. I don’t care what you say. On Sunday I’ll be the all-American male idiot glued to his television set.
This Sunday, art and odd jobs be damned
Rap. Edmund Kuo rn pal Tunas Houm of Repreeerv tatives
P O . Box 2910 Austin, Tsxas 78769
Sen. John Traeger Texas Senate
Capitol Station Austin, Texas 78711