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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 15, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas Opinions Dave Kramer. Editor and Publisher Jim Webre. Managing Editor P*Q«4A    Hankd-Zattung,    New    Braunfels,    Texas    Sunday,    February    15,1987Forum Editorial misses mark Rarely am I so annoyed as when a person or institution enjoying wide public respect and trust, misleads the public with hypocrisy and spurious demagoguery. Let us inspect the Herald -Zeitung's February IO Editorial exhorting City Council and our community to stamp out any cries of protest and jump on the sign ordinance bandwagon. Start with the (editorial’s) statement, “New Braunfels needs some sort of sign control,...” It offers no facts, no reasoning, and no explanation; apparently we are supposed to suspend our own thinking powers and blindly accept whatever the editorial decrees. The Editorial neither explains what danger is posed by unanchored portable signs, nor inquires whether this danger (whatever it is) can be alleviated by some means other than banning the signs outright. But the real prizewinning comment in the Editorial is the line. "There is no restraint of trade involved in protecting the health and safety of the citizenry,...” This pompous declaration gives boundless dictatorial power to any government; under the guise of protecting health safety, government can do as it pleases! No effort has been made by the press to discern the reasons proponents desire a sign ordinance, or the grounds for opponents fighting it. The press has neither analyzed the agruments nor explored the common sense of the debaters. Of all that has been said about the sign ordinance, how much is true? Can the city afford to spend money enforcing and paying for a sign control ordinance while ou rpolice and fire departments, and school crossing guards, suffer inadequate funding? What evidence is there that tourists don’t like signs? What evidence is there that signs impair our quality of life? Is it proper for government, whose duty it is to protect individual rights, to be confiscating and restricting our property rights.'' These are questions which an aggressive, independent press would ask and insist be answered. A diligent press aspiring to inform and lead its community would publish thoughtful, objective, thorough evaluations of debates over such stormy issues. But we are treated to the spectacle of our press becoming government’s obsequious cheerleader, chortling on the sidelines while urging the seizure of everyone else’s property rights. But imagine the press’ reaction if the tables were turned a bit! What if government declared, “New Braunfels needs some sort of press control....''" What if city council decreed that protecting our health safety required banning “dangerous” articles or “useless and poorly written” columns? What if censors warned “...but this town is too nice a place to let it fall into utter media cheap-chic on the basis of malignant reporting''” We would then see a frantic and outraged press leaping into the fray. demanding their Constitutional rights be observed Well, where is the press now? Our Constitutional property rights are threatened, and the press is leading the attack against us! That seems inconsistent and misguided to me 1 propose that the advocates of a sign ordinance, and especially city council, publicly answer these three simple questions I. What result do you wish to achieve with a sign ordinance'' 2 Why do you believe this result is desirable? 3. Do you believe the citizens of New Braunfels would, or would not. voluntarily accomplish this same result without a sign ordinance? A sign ordinance will take away some of our freedom, and will expand the scope and cost of government at a time of severe budget problems. It seems to me that the very least demanded by honor and courtesy is (or council to explain why you want the sign ordinance. And then sponsor to UKTTO BW A BIRTH ANNOUNCE* a thorough debate on the merits of those reasons. Steadfastly yours, Davis Jackson New Braunfels EDITOR'S NOTE: It appears that this letter writer’s understanding of our Editorial confuses a 150-pound unanchored portable sign flying through a windshield or blocking the view of moving traffic with the guarantee of the U.S. Constitution to print or say virtually anything one time only. That's the first point. Second point:    This newspaper carried a complete text of the proposed sign ordinance then and does so again in this edition, which offers the ai os I definitively objective coverage possible. Letters and staff written stories adding up to well over 300 inches in length triton if you consider the wider columns used tor sorne stonesI iii re published about sign control, pros and cons, within th* last six months alone. We also ran a survey. Third point: The writer asks no fewer than IO unanswered if nest ions. fourth point: If government has no right to restrict land use, then it also has no right to levy taxes, provide for the common defense, ensure peace and tranquility, require competency in the practices of driving, medicine, dentistry, accounting, engineering and a host of other professions. If some of these words sound familiar, they are rights granted either specifically or through scholarly intl rpretation of the same Constitution and laws under which iei live our lives day by day. To carry this letter n riter’s premise to its logical conclusion, a neighbor objecting to an adjacent house incorporating open seuuge lines. un vaccinated animals roaming free, wood burning stoves vented through unshielded wood rafters covered by nonfire resistent roofing, etc., would have to enforce his desires through whatever measures he alone could manage. It remains unclear if the "us" the I enter portends to represent would find such a system worth the "freedom” of doit-yourself land use management and health and safety voile enforcement. Liked Up With People As usual, Deryl Clark did a fine job with his three photos of the Up with People performers (Feb. IO). Those of us who were host families could talk on and on about the welcome diversion from bad news that the group provided in these tunes of little but depressing stories and pessimistic attitudes. We feel that these bright, happy and outgoing young people represent all that’s positive in this world. The performance was great and the exuberance of the cast had everyone in the audience clapping hands, singing along, dancing in the aisles and generally having a good time. Anyone who saw all the hugging, kissing, waving and talking that went on Wednesday morning as all one hundred-plus kids said goodbye to their temporary families couldn't fail to draw the conclusion that a good time was had by all. Sincerely, Loyce Dunker New Braunfels PMA BABU Sal J Malaise lh / James Kilpatrick Clean water local government's burden WASHINGTON • With a whoop and a hoUer and some crocodile tears, the House and Senate last week voted to override President Reagan’s veto of the Water Quality Act of 1987. Poor old Reagan! He suffered what the papers are calling a “humiliating defeat." Maybe so, but the president will survive the experience. He has tile satisfaction of knowing that he stood on principal, always a wobbly platform in this town, and the next few years will confirm his judgement. Reagan termed this $20 billion bill a pork barrel budget buster. That’s about the size of it. The best that can be said of the act is that it will phase out the indefensible practice of federal grants for local sewers. In another five years, unless Congress succumbs to political temptation, the outright grants will yield to loans. A revolving fund will be created, primed by $8.4 billion from the federal treasury, and as local loans are repaid the fund will be replenished. Reagan's chief objection to the act was based upon one of the bedrock principles of American government, the principle of federalism. This principle holds that certain responsibilities, such as national defense, are properly the business of the federal government. Other responsibilities are the business of local governments. Until 1972, no one ever dreamed that the construction of a local sewer line was anything but a local responsibility. Then came the water pollution control amendments, providing federal grants of 75 percent of construction costs, and Andy Rooney the gravy boat sailed down the river. The 1972 act gave localities all the fun of spending money without the pain of raising it. Fifty billion dollars later, our waters have improved but the principle has suffered. Reagan also objected to the bureaucratic expansion this act will demand. The law vests immense regulatory and discretionary powers in the Environmental Protection Agency. Cities of more than 100,000 population will find themselves tediously involved in offical permits for the discharge of stormwater. New programs are to be established for “non-point source pollution." Industries will keep their lawyers busy defending “fundamentally different factors" that make their pollution exceptional. The act bristles with timetables and deadlines, many of which cannot possibly be met. This is a bureaucratic monstrosity. The president’s sensitive nose quivered at the unmistakable smell of pork. The act provides a grant of $100 million toward cleaning up Boston harbor. Why isn’t this the business of Boston? The act provides $50 million for sewage treatment in De Moines. Why isn’t this the business of Des Moines? The village of Lena, 111., is singled out for a grant of 75 percent of its sewerage costs. What’s so special about the village of Una. IU.? AU kinds of raisins are in this oatmeal. There's money for a demonstration project at Beaver Lake in Arkansas, and thank you. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt. There's money for testing the waters of Uke Houston, and thank you, Rep. Jack Fields of Texas. One of the floor managers of the bill was Rep. Robert Roe of New Jersey. Whaddya know? The aquifers of the Rockaway River area will get special attention. A grant of 75 percent of coast goes to Wanaque, N.J. What’s so hot about Wanaque? California’s delegation brought home some bacon for Orange County, Avalon and San Diego. The gentlemen from Arizona took care of Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz counties. Walker and Smithfield Townships in Pennsylvania get special benefits. The act smiles upon five counties in Connecticut and two counties in New York. Under Sec. 213 (c) there’s a $250,000 raisin for Taylor MUI, Ky. For the record, Taylor Mill (pop. 4,509) is off 1-275 in Kenton County, up arrand Covington, about three miles from the Licking River. Maybe Taylor MUI has poUution problems so distinctive, so remarkable, so indubitably unique, that they require federal attention. But if the feds take care of Taylor MUI, who is to look after the needs of nearby Sugartit, Rabbit Hash and Big Bone? It is plausible, under the Commerce Clause, to discover a federal interest in cleaning up the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay and certain major rivers that flow from one state to another. The goal of clean waters, waters that are fishable and swimmable and drinkable and pleasant to look upon, is a goal that has great appeal. Everyone shares that happy vision, but Reagan was right: This act is a poor boat for getting there. People Andy Rooney doesn't care for Uberace left me cold. It was always a mystery to me how he maintained his popularity for as long as he did. He seemed like a one-joke performer and, for me at least, the joke was over and I was tired of him the first him I saw him. The fact that he made $400,000 a week during one period in his life and that he had a bedroom in his block-long palace in Las Vegas with a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling on his ceiUng. did nothing to further endear him to me. You never Uke to hear of anyone’s death, but Liberace’s was nothing more than a matter of news interest. It has been reported, although not officiaUy, that he died of AIDS. There was no doubt Uberace was an active homosexual. Playing the stereotyped role of the homosexual was part of his act. Even those Americans who accept homosexuaUty as a fact of life, don’t generaUy approve of homosexuals as a group, but Liberace’s sexual orientation never lessened his appeal to middle America. It was always a mystery to me. The mystery was hither complicated by the fact that Liberace’s greatest appeal was to women. Why, please? It was no surprise that Uberace attracted a crowd in Las Vegas where he Uved and performed most often. But last year, in his return to the Radio City Music HaU in New York, and appearing before a quintessential middle-American audience, he was a smash hit, breaking all kinds of box office records there. I remember reading about it and being puzzled by his abiUty to attract such crowds. From the things I've read about the man since his death, it seems as though I was typically too quick in dismissing him. He was undoubtedly a better performer and a better person than I had resized while he was alive. You can’t always trust what people say on the occasion of someone’s death but Uberace must have been a pretty good piano player, too. Frank Sinatra was quoted in the papers as saying “he was one of the finist human beings I’ve known." Sinatra seemed sincere in his comment even though he leaves himself open to some bad jokes with it. Danny Thomas said Uberace was "a brilliant pianist, a greater entertainer, a tremendous showman and a good friend." On the strength of the testimony, I'm willing to revise my opinion of Uberace. I wouldn't go to the window to watch him or open it to listen if he were playing across the street but he must have been a more interesting and attractive person than he appeared to me in his $300,000 blue fox coat with the 18-foot train. Uberace isn't the first entertainer whose talent has escaped my notice. Elvis Presley seemed personally dislikable and professionally untalented. Obviously he had something that attracted millions of fans that didn't attract me. I'm curious about what it was. And there are others: Elizabeth Taylor never seems very beautiful to me in the newpaper pictures I see of her in which she is described as "beautiful." On television, I fail to be stirred by Jaon Collins. I don’t find her pretty, sexy or attractive in any way. Unda Evans I find pretty, sexy and attractive in every way. Madonna doesn’t captivate me, as a woman or a singer. Phyllis Diller has never made me laugh. Buddy Hackett has made me laugh but I don’t enjoy him. I never understand why people found the loudmouthed Martha Raye funny and it seems to me she's found her real level on the entertainment scene doing commercials for some kind of glue that keeps her false teeth stuck to her gums. And what talent is it that Dick Van Patten has that makes him worth a car company buying his services to sell their product? It’s likely I'm wrong about some of these people, just as I was apparently wrong about the character and talent of Uberace. Your Representatives Gov. lill Clements Governor's Office State Capite! Austin, Texas 71711 U.S. Rep. Lamar Smite United States House of Representatives let Cannon House WasHinfton, DX. 2051$ U.S. Sen. Lloyd Remsen United States Senate Room 240, Russell Ride. Wastiinpten, DX. 20S10 U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm United States Senate WashinRten, DX. 20510 State. Sen. William Sims Capital Station P.O. Rex 12000 Austin, Texas 70711 State Rep. Kdmund Kuempei Texas House of Representatives P.O. Rex 2010 Austin, Texas 70700 State Sen. Juditti Zaffirlni Capitol Station P.O. Rex 12000 Austin, Texas 70711 U.S. Rep. Mac Sweeney (Guadalupe County) United States House of Representatives 1712 Lenpwortn House Office Ride. Wasliineten, DX. 20511 The President of the United States TRO White House 1000 Pennsylvania Ave. Washinpten, DX. 20500 ;