New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 6, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol, 148, No. 34 16 pages in 2 sections January 6, 1999
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Clinton’s impeachment trial to begin ThursdaySenate leaders unclear on length of trial or if witnesses will be called
WASHINGTON (AP)—President Clin-tonls impeachment trial will begin Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Tuesday, although agreement eluded party leaders on the length of the proceeding or whether witnesses will be summoned to the Senate chamber to testify.
“It has to be done not only expeditiously, but fairly” Lott said after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and Chief Justice William H. Relinquish who will preside over a trial unlike any other in the past 130 years.
With the 106th Congress scheduled to convene Wednesday, fresh criticism surfaced among Republicans over a bipartisan proposal for a truncated proceeding as short as a week, and the likelihood grew of a longer trial.
The uncertainty persisted as the Senate’s senior Democrat, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, said that on the final vote on the articles of impeachment, “I could go either way based on the evidence as I’ve seen it or heard it. And I’ve followed it pretty closely,” he added in an interview on C-SPAN.”
Byrd’s comments represented the first
indication that any of the 45 Democrats in the Senate might vote to convict Clinton and remove him from office.
Despite efforts to create an atmosphere of bipartisanship in the first presidential impeachment trial since 1868, there were clear differences between the parties.
According to Senate sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, Lott said in closed-door meetings during the day that following Thursday’s largely ceremonial events, he wants opening arguments presented the following Monday by representatives of the House and the White House.
Separately, Sen. Larry Craig, R-ldaho, a member of the GOP leadership, said he envisioned giving each side three or four days to present its evidence. Each could then submit a list of witnesses for the Sen
ate to subpoena, subject to a vote.
“I am not at all worried about a two-to-three week process that could take us into mid-February,” Craig said.
But Daschle, who agreed the ceremonial opening was likely for Thursday, told reporters his preference was for no witnesses.
He also said that simply starting the trial without a defined plan for proceeding would be an “invitation to a prolonged process that would take weeks if not months, probably months.”
Still, it was a measure of the uncertainty surrounding the historic event that Daschle told reporters at days’ end neither he nor Lott would be presenting formal proposals in separate closed-door caucuses of Senate Democrats and Republicans.
U.S. Sen. Trent Lott. R-Miss., said Tuesday that hearings on the impeachment would begin Thursday.
School voucher issue sailing quickly toward showdown in Austin
By Heather Todd
Supporters and opponents of taxpayer-funded school vouchers are bracing themselves for a fierce battle when the 76th State Legislature convenes its session next Tuesday.
With students’ futures and public education dollars at stake, proposed voucher bills are shaping up to be the most hotly debated and closely watched issue of the legislative session.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Teel Bivins, R-Amar-illo, is making another attempt to pass a limited voucher program that would test the effectiveness of taxpayer-funded school vouchers for private school tuition in six large urban counties.
The voucher bill outlines a five-year plan that would allow economically disadvantaged students or those who attend low-performing public schools in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio school districts to use a taxpayer-funded voucher to attend any public or private school of their choice.
New Braunfels Independent School District Superintendent Ron Reaves said the argument that school vouchers would save taxpayer dollars was a misconception that caused confusion within the public.
“We need to ask ourselves, do we want to use tax dollars to pay for educating students in public, private, and home schooling situations?’’ Reaves said.
Jim Windham, chairman of Texas Business Leaders for Educational Choice and vice-chairman of the pro-voucher group Putting Children First, said the voucher proposal was aimed at improving the quality of educa-
don in public schools.
“One way to help improve public education is to introduce competition and force public schools to respond to the loss of students. Schools will be forced to make the necessary corrections and elevate public education to a position of excellence,” Windham said.
However, Carolyn Boyle, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Public Schools, an organization opposed to school vouchers, said a voucher program of any kind would hurt more than help Texas students.
“Voucher programs would take away money from public schools for tuition at private schools and would force public schools to cut budgets and programming when they are already under-funded,” Boyle said.
Boyle said voucher programs introduced an important public policy issue by giving tax dollars to schools that discriminate against students.
“Private schools can discriminate against who they admit, and it’s not appropriate to provide tax money to schools that can pick and choose,” she said.
Although voucher propositions have focused mainly on large metropolitan areas, many local educators aff iliated with both private and public schools have joined in the fray.
There are 350,000 students in private or parochial schools in Texas and 150,000 students are home schooled throughout the state, which would result in $1
Television...........................7AGarden Ridge grapples with cable television service tonight
By Heather Tooo Staff Writer
Garden Ridge City Council will consider tonight the pros and cons of transferring the city’s existing cable television franchise from TCI Communications, Inc. to Time Warner, Inc.
Council will meet during a regular session at 7 p.m. at the Garden Ridge Municipal Court Building, 8357 Schoenthal Road. Time Warner Inc. representatives were sched-Meeting
Who: Garden Ridge City Council
What: Consider approval of resolution to transfer the city’s existing cable television franchise When: 7 tonight Where: Municipal Court Building, 8357 Schoenthal Road.
uled to talk about how the transfer would affect cable service.
Garden Ridge residents currently are served by TCI Cablevision of Texas, Inc., based in San Marcos.
Mike Castro, city administrator, said TCI recently merged with Time Warner Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based cable franchise, in November 1998 after several months of merging with other cable operators.
Castro said (he two cable operators were in the process of swapping cable systems within various communities as a result of the meiger.
‘TCI agreed to swap cable service with Time Warner, but they need the city’s permission to switch the cable system to Time Warner, Inc. ownership, so it’s being brought before the council,” Castro said.
The city of New Braunfels, which also is served by TCI, will consider renegotiating its contract with Time Warner in the next few months, said Mike Shands, New Braunfels city manager.
“There has been no discussion
of rate changes, but if renegotiating with Time Warner is advantageous to cable system users and the city, then we’ll probably stay with them,” Shands said.
“It would be nice if we had some kind of competition against Time Warner to consider, but it’s hard to find someone who will come rn,” he said.
Shands said the city had not beenSee CABLE/5A
Officials want county’s rivers ready for recreation by April I
By Chris Crews
Local leaders hope to have the Guadalupe and Comal rivers cleared of debris by April I but are waiting on word about when clean up will begin.
New Braunfels and Comal County have entered into agreements for the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service to contract and administer cleanup of river channels and banks.
Under the agreements, the federal government will bid the contracts for the projects and pay 75 percent of the costs. The city has committed $500,000 to the projected $2 million project while the county will spend $250,000 and the federal government will contribute $750,000.
County Engineer Tom Homseth said, “Most (cities and counties) choose the NRCS because they have more experience in this area and have people working nationwide on projects like this.”
Homseth said NRCS had worked on flood and hurricane recovery projects and was more familiar with the equipment and the companies capable of doing the work.
Homseth and New Braunfels City Manager Mike Stiands said they waived the normal 30-day bidding period to expedite the process of getting the rivers cleaned. Both said the last word they got from the federal agencies was that bids would go out in mid-January and awarded near the end of the month.
“We should have the contracts signed sometime this month,” Homseth said.
A 60-day period from the first of February
A doser look at the Guadalupe River reveals large sections of metal which are dangerous to tubers.
to the end of March should be adequate to get the work done, he said.
“That may require the contractor to have multiple crews working cm different sections of the river,” Homseth said.
Shands said two separate public safety issues made a timely clearing of the rivers a critical need. One issue is the safety of tubers, waders and swimmers possibly being injured by
The Guadalupe River rushes past debris and uprooted trees just below the second crossing along River Road. In the foreground, pieces of metal can be seen in shallow water, while a picnic table rests inside one of the trees. Local leaders said they hoped to have the river cleared for recreation by April 1.