New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 23, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas
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Harald^Ze/fung, New Braunfels, Texas
Dave Kramer, Editor and Publisher Jim Webre. Managing Editor Friday, January 23,1987
Editorial_And the race is on
Candidates are coming out early for the upcoming election to decide three at-large seats on New Braunfels City Council. That’s great.
Early filings and announcements give voters more of a chance to find out the positions of candidates on crucial issues facing our community. Issues such as drainage improvements, city finances, sign control, growth and planning, city service levels in general are important things to property owners and rental property occupants as well.
Candidates to date have been vague about some of these items, which is to be expected. The urge to run for elected office often is sparked by civic concern in general rather than specific desires for change.
To the extent that candidates state their desire to represent “all the people”, the people should make their desire to be represented known as well. When the obligatory public forums occur later in the campaign, let us hope as broad a cross section as possible of New Braunfelsers show up or at least are represented.
A high a voter turnout will show where support for or against specific positions taken by candidates came from. That the three seats to be decided are at-large offers us even more of an opportunity to interpret this election in demographic and ethnic terms. In short, we stand to learn something about our city if more people show up at the polls in the aftermath of sign control and budget shortfalls.
lf early announcements are any indication, we may see a crowded field. The more the merrier.
It's the government's right to test for drugs
WASHINGTON - Getting back to this business of testing certain federal employees for tfit* use of illegal drills: A couple of opinions have come alonn of considerable interest. One <>| them condemns tin* pending program nit of hand. The other suggests a sensible way to preserve it.
Tile president s program, which has Net to co into effect, would require the mandatory testing In urinalysis of federal employees iii "sensitive" positions. For these workers, an all-clear test would lie a condition of employment The program would apply particularly to tin* State Dei apart meat, the Department of Defense, the several law enforcement agencies and to air traffic controllers, hut no attent \ would be entirely exempt
F.voii before the White House flouted its proposal last year, several federal agencies land quite a number of states and municipalities! and had begun programs of their own. many of these have been challenged iii court. In Plainfield. NJ. a court nullified the surprise testing of firefighters In Passaic. N J., a court last June forbade the random testing of persons iii the county sheriffs department without a showing of reasonable suspicion. But iii Newark, the testing of the police narcotics squad passed muster.
The most recent ruling that I know of came last Novemebcr from the U.S. District Court iii New Orleans. The case involved a challenge to the Customs Service for demanding a positive urinalysis of customs employees seeking promotion to "covered positions. District Judge Hubert F Collins not only threw out the service s program; he put on combat boot and trampled all o\ cr it
Iii Judge Collins’ view, the bureau's drug testing plan "constitutes a full-blown search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment." For government to test bodily wastes "is even more intrusive than a search of a home." The bureau’s "dragnet approach, made without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion," would violate the workers’ legitimate expectation of privacy. The plan also would violate the employees’ Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. The whole procedure "so detracts from ; human dignity and self-respect that ; it ‘shocks the conscience’ and of-I fends this court’s sense of justice."
; Besides, the process is fraught with
the danger of mishaps and false-positive readings. The plan is "utterly repugnant to the Constitution." The court had no choice hut to order it halted. In brief, the judge didn’t like it.
Judge Collins did make one concession. He acknowledged that the government has "a legitimate interest iii a drug-free work place and work force." This was nice of him. Of course the government has such an interest! It is absud, to borrow one of the judge’s favorite adjectives, to suppose that the government cannot protect itself from drug addicts in the FBI. the Secret Service, the CIA and the code rooms of our embassies. The problem is to find a constitutional w ay to test workers iii these sensitive positions.
Writing recently in the National Law Journal. John F. Banzhaf III advanced a proposal that might satisfy everyone’s concerns. Ban-/baf is professor of administrative law at the National l.aw Center of George Washington University. He makes the point that the law recognizes a clear distinction between "criminal searches” and "facilitative searches."
Judge Collins, in the New Orleans case, clearly was thinking only in terms of criminal searches. When a criminal search or seizure is undertaken. the object is to produce evidence of a crime. But this is not the object of the pending federal program. A facilitative search has an entirely different purpose. When a fire marshal inspects a building for fire hazards, his object is not to make an arrest but to serve the public interest by making the building safe.
Banzhaf believes that governmental testing can be constitutional, even if the urinalyses are intrusive, and even if the absence of reasonable suspicion, if certain conditions are met. The government must satisfy a magistrate that a reasonable need exists for nondiscriminatory testing. One criterion nught involve the sensitivity of the positions. Technological safeguards must be provided to prevent error. In the event of positive findings, a due process hearing must be assured.
This approach makes good sense. Governmental workers in sensitive positions certainly have rights of privacy that the government cannot capriciously invade. What civil libertarians too often ignore is that the government has rights as well.
SWORTON, HOW 10N6 P0 YOU T^HK HEIL KEEP US IN IWS WAITING R)0IW?Washington Today
Kennedy practical in Democrat Senate
An AP News Analysis By DONALD M. ROTHBERG AP Political Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - In his heart. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy remains a liberal, but he is a practical politician with a sense of the times in which he is shaping an agenda that seeks progress with minimal impact on the federal budget.
Ifs been a long six years in the minority for Kennedy and other Senate Democrats. Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory swept the Republicans to power in the Senate in i960.
Nowhere was that shift better demonstrated than when Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina replaced Kennedy as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But the Democrats came roaring back in 1986, and now they control the Senate again by a margin of SS to 45.
Once again, Kennedy is a committee chairman, this time choosing to head the panel on Labor and Human Resources.
Moving quickly to establish his agenda, he has held hearings on a range of issues, including health, education and the federal minimum wage.
During an interview in his office, he talked about all those issues, as well as about how the Senate has changed.
His office walls are filled with pictures that remind a visitor of other times when Democrats talked of a New Frontier and Camelot, days when there were no problems so great they could not be attacked with the unlimited resources of the federal government.
There were pictures of brothers John and Robert and of the youngest in the famous family, Teddy, who presumed to run for the Senate at age 29, which prompted an opponent to mock,
"If your name were Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy your candidacy would be a Joke."
But the voters of Massachusetts knew the name and sent him to the Senate to work with his brother, the president.
That was nearly 25 years ago and Kennedy now is a Senate elder, a committee chairman who ranks seventh in seniority among the IOO members of the body.
Often viewed as the last liberal In the age of Reagan, Kennedy stunned many of his supporters by voting for the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction bill.
As the Senate’s strongest advocate of national health insurance, Kennedy opposed for many years legislation that would provide a program of coverage for catastrophic illness. Kennedy reasoned that enactment of catastrophic coverage would ease the pressure for a far broader program.
Now he supports catastrophic coverage.
"I’m etui for national health.” he said. ”1 feel
strongly about it. But I think you’re going to have to try and do what you can do.”
The tone was similar when he talked about Introducing legislation to increase the federal minimum wage, which has been at $3.35 an hour since January 1961.
He thinks it ought to go up at least $1.25 an hour and quickly notes, "It would have no budgetary impact.”
Kennedy also sits on the Armed Services Committee and like most members of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, he won’t buy the administration’s proposal for a $32 billion increase in the defense budget.
He has taken himself out of the 1988 presidential race, but he had a prediction about the Democrats who make the run.
"I think when you sit down in Iowa a year from now and those Democratic candidates ate asked do they support two aircraft carriers, I think the answer of all the Democratic candidates will be no,” he said.
He gave no sign he feels any yearning to Join those candidates in Iowa. He was eager to talk about the Senate and what the Democrats could do with their new majority.
“I think there’s a teal sense,” he said, "that having worked together as the party out of power, it behooves us to work together when we’re back in power. If there is any silver lining in the fact that we were out, it Is that rtfimmt of discovery, which should have been self-evident, but was not.”Mike Royko
Beating the winter doldrums
We’ve entered the dullest, most depression time of the year in Chicano. People suffer from the post-holiday bialis. The miserable weather keeps us indoors. Election excitement is over. Football is winding down and baseball hasn’t started. Wallets have been tapped out by Christmas spending and Social Security bite.
So the question we face is how to glide through January, February and March as painlessly as possible; how to find a way to brighten our spirits and keep busy and make the time fly by until spring arrives.
I’ve talked to several experts in the fields of psychology, social work and recreational therapy, and they’ve helped me put together a list of things to do that will help you through these long, gray months until the sun and the muggers come out again.
Here are some of their ideas:
Drinking: Getting roaring drunk has always been a remedy for the doldrums, especially in parts of the world that have long, cold winters.
In Finland, for example, so many people use this means of fighting off the blahs that the government provides free hangover stations to administer oxygen and massive vitamin doses. So you might consider throwing a log on the fire and becoming absolutely stinko. Every so often, throw on another log, bite the top off another jug and before you know it, April will be here, all the loudmouthed birds will be chirping and you can take a bath, shave off your three-month growing bread, throw all the empties out in the alley, stagger outside for a breath of fresh air, and walk down to the neighborhood saloon for a drink.
Brooding: Brooding is so often overlooked as an absolutely great way to pass dull time. And it's something you can do any time by yourself. Just pick out all the things that you hate about yourself; or think back to all the terrible mistakes you’ve made with your life, things that make you feel guilt and shame. Or think about all the cruel and thoughtless ways your friends,
relatives, co-workers and neighbors have ever hurt your feelings. Then sit in front of the fire or a dimly lit room and dwell on them at length. Go over them time after time, reliving each awful and shameful detail. The hours will just fly by. i You can combine your brooding with drinking and have one heck of a time. I
Change lifestyles: By that I mean, you say to your wife or husband and kids: "I have cabin fever, I’ve got to get out of the house for a while." Then clean out your bank account, move into a high-rise apartment, join a racquetball club, hang out in urban cowboy bars, take a loveboat cruise, run amok with your credit cars, and carry on with some attractive but shallow and empty-headed young thing. And in the spring, return home looking dazed and tell your loved ones, “Quik, give me Volume A of the encyclopedia. I’ve got to look up amnesia!"
Winter sports: Cross-country skiing has become very popular, and downhill skiing is still growing. There are also winter camping clubs, and ice fishing. But I don’t recommend any of these. They can give you a heart attack, frostbite or broken legs. The best winter sport is shooting pool. You meet really fascinating people in pool halls or bars that have pool tables. You gamble and swear and get into fights and buy and sell stolen merchandise. And even if you’re not a good pool player, don’t worry. You can play the pinball machines or just hang around. Something is bound to happen.
Correspondence: People don’t write letters anymore, and they should. It’s a wonderful form of human contact. And it’s an inexpensive but constructive way to fill empty time, especially by writing hate letters. So make a list of the IO or 20 people you hate most and write them long, totally honest letters telling them why you hate them in vivid detail. They don’t have to be famous people, although that’s always fun. Friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and old flames will do. If you have illegible handwriting and you don’t type, then consider cassettes. With a Cassel tie, you can growl, snarl, hiss, shriek,
weep and say any obscene old thing that pops into your head.
Novels: You might consider writing an obscene novel. Make yourself the hero or heroine. You might be surprised at how well you write and the colorful ideas you can come up with. Your book could even be published. And even if it isn’t, later in the year you can give it to someone, a friend, a loved one or a stranger to whom you are attracted, as a birthday or Christmas gift.
Binoculars: Powerful binoculars are great fun for high-rise dwellers whose windows look out al other high-rise dwellers. If the binoculars are strong enough, you’re bound to find someone whose drapes are open. You can watch other people eating, sleeping, talking to each other, having sex, exercising, murdering each other and all kinds of other things. Or you and a friend can open your drapes and pretend to murder each other, and if the police show up, you’ll know somebody was watching.
Holding someone hostage: Usually, husbands take their wives and kids hostage, although boyfriends occasionally seize their girl friends. Whatever the case, it’s a lively wintertime activity. Just fling a chair or lamp through the front window, scream some crazy threats and in no time the police will have your place surrounded and will show up, so after an hour or two, or even longer you can surrender to a TV reporter. You might wind up spending a couple of weeks in a nuthouse, which could be a surprisingly interesting way to get through the winter doldrums. And when it's over, you’U have you very own videotape of the police dragging an hysterical you to the paddy car.
Those are just a few of the things the experts recommend. If you have any pet ways of fighting off the winter blahs, just send them in and I'll be glad to share them with the other readers.
But, please, don’t suggest the old reliable "send out for a cheese-and-sausage pizza.” Ifs loaded with cholesterol and I don’t like to recommend anything dangerous.