New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 18, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas
Dave Kramer. Editor auld Publisher Jim Webre. Managing Editor
Pa9« ** Hera\6 Zeitunfj, New Braunfels, Texas Wednesday, February 18.1987Forum
LETTER POLICY The Herald-Zeitung welcomes correspondence. All letters should be signed and include an address or telephone number. The newspaper reserves the right to edit.
Letters should be sent to Porum, New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328, or brought to our offices at
186 S. Caste!!.
Greetings from Rhodes
To the editor:
As the new chief appraiser of the Comal Appraisal District, I would like to say, “hello! and thanks for the opportunity to become a member of this excellent community.”
To the people who make up the district, the entities which serve the communities, and the boards and councils which guide the entities, I would like to express my most sincere desire to lead and to serve the district in the most effective manner possible.
In order to accomplish this goal, it is imperative to have an open dialogue with the public and to achieve an atmosphere of mutual respct and cooperation. I want you to understand that the district needs and seeks your suggestions. We will always find the time to listen to your opinions and to investigate your problems.
In the weeks to come, I will be meeting many of you at various civic meetings and as you come in the office. Please make the effort to say hello, express any concerns you may have and let me know how the district may best serve you. Again, hello and thanks; may our association be* a long and comfortable one.
Sincerely, R. Richard Rhodes Jr
League rules ridiculous
To the editor:
I would like to thank you so very much for publishing the ridiculous rules of the American league and National league in the Feb. 12 column of Stamintisch (The American league is for kids born in even-numbered months — those born in other months play in National league).
Four years ago, we moved here and when the time came, we registered our son in Uttle league — no one told us of the differences in the two leagues. It was not until two years later that my husband and I were told that our son had been playing in the wrong league. Our son had played ball well in two other cities since a youngster and we wanted him to continue playing because he loved playing.
But our son was refused to play positions that he was qualified to play because he was in the wrong league. I must say, we liad a very hurt, disappointed son that summer’s end because the rules were never given to us.
I have written this to alert those volunteers who register those kids —
Please know the rules and also tell the parents the differences in the two leagues so that maybe another kid could be spared the hurt, disappointment and anguish that my son had. My son’s baseball career ended prematurely that summer because we, his parents, were uniniformed and he was placed in the wrong league.
And it hurt so, because he loved the game and his dad and I enjoyed participating in the league.
Lloyd won’t ran
To the editor:
I have decided not to seek reelection to the district 3 seat on the New Braunfels ISD board of trustees. My reasons for not seeking another term are that I believe nine years is long enough and that someone else should have the opportunity to serve a wonderful and very special school district.
My three terms were filled with rewarding experiences. I .and was purchased on County line Road and Memorial Primary was bud. Schools on all other campuses were updated and expanded to meet the gorwing needs of the district. Land for a future school site was bought and paid for in the OakRun Subdivision. The old high school building on Mill Street was renovated and houses the education center, which encompasses most all central administrative functions.
Other improvements included an expanded curriculum for college-bound students; a master plan for micro-computer utilitzation; new evaluation programs for all school personnel; increased student attendance, a tough stand against drugs on the campuses; and increased length of the school day for .students on a voluntary basis, to mention a few.
With the retirement of O.E. Hendricks (Pete) in 1983, I was privileged to serve on the three-member committee to look for a new superintendent. We were fortunate to bring Charles Bradberry to New Braunfels from Jasper, Texas, to take over the reins as superintendent. Charles has exceeded our expectations and continued to improve what was already a fine school.
As for the future, Wanda and I have a daughter. Jodie, who is a freshman in high school. We will continue to be active Unicom supporters and I will always have a heartfelt concern for the betterment of education in New Braunfels.
Sincerely, Garland LJoyd
Gov. Bill Clements Governor's Office State Capital Austin, Texas 78711
Lamar Smith United States House of Representatives 509 Cannon House Washington, D.C. 20515 U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen United States Senate Room 240, Russell Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510 U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
State. Sen. William Sims Capitol Station P.O. Box 12068 Austin, Texas 78711
State Sen. Judith Zaff irini Capitol Station P.O. Box 12068 Austin, Texas 78711
U.S. Rep. Mac Sweeney (Guadalupe County)
United States House of Representatives 1713 Longworth House Office Bldg. Washington, DX. 20515
State Rep. Edmund Kuempel Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78769
the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
THG FOLLOWING fRRfNWKW HAS BKN RATED ®. CHILDREN UNDER17 u
SHOULD BEMUSK? s TO WATCH.
What’s a member of Congress worth?
By SANDY JOHNSON Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The presidential pay commission that recommended members of Congress be paid $135,000 ran up against an old dilemma : How do you quantify the duties of a lawmaker?
“We were unable to get information from the government. We gave up on it,” said consultant Andrew Klein, who supplied salary data to the panel.
That’s because it doesn’t exist. There is no job description for a senator or representative, other than to make laws. How do you assign a value to attending endless rubber chicken dinners or satisfying a single constituent’s request for a veterans’ disability adjustment?
Or how do you rationalize spending millions of dollars, little or none of it your own, to win election to a job that pays (now) $89,500?
President Reagan whittled down the $135,000 recommendation for Congress to $89,500, a figure the lawmakers grabbed. Through a series of shrewd parliamentary maneuvers, Congress allowed its $12,100 pay raise to take effect while
appearing to vote against it.
Lawmakers begin collecting their bigger paychecks at the end of the month, although opponents have said they’ll try to repeal the pay raise when Congress returns this week.
Chandler van Orman, the pay panel’s executive director, said the commission arrived at $135,000 as “being fair. There was no formula.”
The commission essentially backed into its conclusion by means of a variety of factors that included inflation and comparable worth.
Looking at inflation since 1969, the commission noted that congressional salaries rose by 77 percent while the cost of living increased 224 percent.
In real income, lawmakers suffered a 40 percent loss since 1909 while the average federal employee lost 5.7 percent to inflation, Ute commission said. It noted that during this same period, auto mechanics gained 34 percent and electricians 41 percent despite inflation.
Comparable worth was more difficult.
The commission turned to Klein, whose employer, the Hay Group, is known nationally for its compensation studies. But with no specific job descriptions and with a wide range of
positions involved, even Hay had trouble.
In the overall federal pay scheme, Congress is on a par with 72 “Level II” employees in the executive branch: the deputy Cabinet secretaries and top agency heads.
Some examples include Secretary of the Navy John Lehman Jr., who oversees 334,000 civilian employees and 583,000 military personnel with a budget authority of $95 billion; or James Fletcher, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration administrator who is in charge of 22,300 employees and a $10 billion budget; or Veterans Administration head Thomas Turnage, with 241,000 workers and a $27 billion budget under his direction.
The Hay Group used examples such as these rather than Congress for its analysis. It decided that the entire “Level II” group was roughly comparable to second-tier corporate management — not the presidents or chief executive officers of a company, but the subsidiary heads or division chiefs.
These people will earn this year a range of eye-popping salaries from $225,000 to $575,000, Klein concluded. But such salaries would be inconceivable for members of Congress, given the general public outcry over $89,500.
Money, food and a congressman’s ear
WASHINGTON - The recipe, so it was said, called for a layer of scrambled eggs, topped by three strips of bacon, topped by more scrambled eggs. The lobbyists were expected to eat the eggs. One day they could expect to bring home some bacon.
This was Eggs Bentsen, named for the senior senator from Texas, who briefly proposed to sell his culinary concoction to 40 friends who would pay $10,000 a year for the privilege of having breakfast with him once a month. The distinguished host, incidentally, is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
The genial gentleman from Texas was nothing if not obliging. If more than 40 customers signed up, he would hold two breakfasts a month. The check could be paid in installments, $5,000 now, $5,000 by June I. The guests would talk about “matters of trade and taxation and anything else anyone wants to raise.” He would be relying upon his guests for advice and assistance. The proceeds would go into a fund for his re-election in 1988.
For a couple of days it looked as if Bentsen might have to hire a hostess to seat the crowd, but then the story of his remarkable invitation got out. Suddenly it was no fun any more. The senator penitently disbanded his breakfast club, returned the payments and confessed that “when I make a mistake, ifs a doozy.”
Well, ex malis moribus, and all that. Maybe good laws will spring from bad practices.
Maybe. It is possible, barely possible, that public reaction to Eggs Bentsen may provoke some
serious action on the whole business of financing congressional elections. If I sound pessimistic, it’s because I am pessimistic. Republican senators John Chafee of Rhode Island and William Roth of Delaware expect to continue their $5,000 clubs. Majority Leader Robert Byrd at West Virginia reportedly will carry on his little intimate society. IJoyd Bentsen’s mistake was not a mistake in kind, but in degree. It was the IO grand that done him in. They do things big in Texas.
I know the senator as a fine, decent and honorable man. Why did he get himself in this embarrassing mess? It is because the astronomical costs of a senatorial campaign drive even the best men to acts of desperation. Tbs same unhealthy situation obtains in the House. Members no sooner take their seats that Ump Bust begin worrying about their
not eamMffs. Money is tbs mother's milk of peMllm. titans? buys TV spots and newspaper tilt BBSf hups dtrecbmail solicitations; money taps MMI and money pays rent; and snespt for these fortunate members who have no intthepolls, money becomes an ob-
Whitdethobig-monoy boysbuy? Not eggs, ■nlr. Asp buy terne. It is as simple as that. The system may have apparent aspects of prmfaMsn or bribery, but the appearance is deceptive. If anyone were to offer Uyod Bentsen MMM to vote for a specific tariff on tectiles, would throw the bum out. Bentsen’s
vote is not for sale. But his ear is for rent.
Nobody likes the situation. For members, the incessant hunt for campaign contributions is stultifying and degrading. For the big donors, the constant dunning gets expensive. The voting public reads of breakfast clubs and political action committees and its cynicism deepens.
A hundred proposals for election reform have been advanced. Last August the Senate voted 69-30 for a bill sponsored by David Boren of Oklahoma. The measure would have imposed tight ceilings on the sums that political candidates go after. The Senate then voted 58-42 for an amendment sponsored by Rubdy Boschwitz of Minnesota. His bill would have limited contributions to political parties. Nothing came of either proposal.
Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin favors public financing of House and Senate campaigns. The idea is gaining favor. Proponents argue that public financing would cure the evils of breakfast clubs and political action committees. One version of public financing would cost the taxpayers an estimated $87 million a year for House campaigns, $49 million a year for Senate races. These are affordable sums.
At some point, reform plans run headlong into the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees every citizen a right of free speech, a right he can back with his money. No reform plan yet has cracked the problem of limiting a free society. The problem may well be insoluble. When money talks, a congressman listens.