New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 28, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
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A New Jryrir Braunfels
New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 92-No. 20 16 Pages
January 28, 1983 25 cents
(USPS 377 880*Economic gauge records hefty surge
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a new sign of recovery, the government said today its main economic forecasting gauge jumped 1.5 percent in December, the eighth gain in the last nine months and the biggest increase in more than two years.
The Commerce Department reported the increase in its Index of leading Economic Indicators, a compilation of IO separate statistics, including forward-pointing information concerning unemployment, production, prices and business conditions in general.
Meanwhile, the report said an accompanying Index of Coincident Indicators — designed to measure current conditions — dipped 0.1 percent in December, indicating that the long recession may well have been
continuing, though at a slow pace.
In the past, gains in the leading indicators have foreshadowed recovery for the economy as a whole, though recovery usually arrived sooner than nine months after the indicators turned up. Index gains prior to past recoveries also were bigger than most recent increases, indicating to many analysts that the economy’s 1983 rebound will be only moderate.
The December gain was the biggest since the 2.8 percent in September 1980 as the economy was pulling out of that year’s steep but short recession. Such gains of 2 percent or more have been common at the start of previous recoveries.
In contrast, the index rose just 0.2 percent in November of last year — revised downward
from the original estimate of 0.8 percent and 0.3 percent in October, today’s report said.
Since the performance of several index components was announced earlier this month, it had been widely assumed the leading indicators would be up for December. President Reagan reinforced that assumption when he told reporters Thursday night they could expect “some good news’’ when the report was released today.
In December, the report said, six of the IO available leading indicators showed improvement, led by a gain in new orders for plants and equipment and a drop in initial claims for unemployment benefits an indication that layoffs were slowing.
Also showing improvement in December were the nation’s money supply, building
permits for future house construction, stock prices and orders for new consumer goods and materials.
Three indicators gave negative economic signals in December: total business liquid assets, prices of sensitive raw materials and speed of deliveries. There was no change in the average workweek.
More and more in recent days, private economists and administration officials have been saying that at least modest recovery is probably already under way. But the new increase in the leading indicators was still a welcome sign that conditions are likely to continue to improve in the next few months.
The strength and length of that recovery are in much greater question.
Testifying before Congress on Thursday,
Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said, “The stage appears set for sustainable recovery in business activity, bringing with it the higher levels of employment and real income that we all desire.”
However, he added, looming federal budget deficits of $200 billion or more could threaten that recovery.
“The bigger the deficit, the more pressure there will be on interest rates,” he said. And high interest rates “will work against growth in business investment and housing,” hampering recovery.
Also on Thursday, private economist Henry Kaufman said in New York that Reagan’s State of the Union address did not convince him that the deficits would be coming down rapidly.
The issue at large
Council, citizens disagree on majority-vote
By DYANNE FRY Staff writer
City Councilman Joe Rogers says the council changed just “one little thing” in the Districting Charter Review Committee’s recommendation. But Councilwoman Barbara Tieken calls the change “significant.”
MALDEF and the local Committee for Justice agree with Tieken, who, with Max Winkler, was on the losing side of a split vote Monday night.
“The City Council, with the exception of Mr. Winkler and Barbara Tieken — they’re just faking it,” said Christina Zamora. “I don’t feel that they represent the Mexican population at all.” Zamora’s husband. Aguinaldo Zamora, heads the group that asked City Council to look into a new election system.
Rogers, on the other hand, thinks the council made the best decision possible in view of the facts. And he thinks most New Braunfelsers — German, I^atin or
otherwise — would agree.
“From what the people I’ve talked to have said, this is exactly what they wanted us to do.” said Rogers.
The council approved the charter committee's plan for a 4-3 council: four members to be elected from geographical districts, and three at large. The difference is in how the at-large members are to be elected.
The original plan called for a plurality vote, but City Attorney John Chunn found a clause in the Texas Constitution that forbids this. So council decided the at-large members should run for specific seats, and be chosen by majority vote.
That’s the way all seven of the present council members were elected. And some think this eliminates all chance of a minority representative getting any of those seats.
“If we don’t have the plurality vote, we don’t have
See MALDEF, Page 16
Texas Constitution tripped up first proposal
The clause that threw a monkey wrench in the MAI.DEF-approved plan for City Council elections was added to the Texas Constitution in 1958. But attorney Judith Sanders-Castro says MALDEF has never come in contact with it before.
Perhaps that’s because the third paragraph of Article XI, Section ll applies only to cities which have council terms longer than two years. Apparently, such cities are comparatively rare in Texas.
The constitution states that in cities of this sort, council members must be elected by a majority (more thae 50 percent of those voting). If several candidates vie for one spot, and no one gets a clear majority, then a runoff election must be held.
This knocks out the New Braunfels charter committee’s plan to elect three council members at large by plurality vote, with the top three candidates getting the seats regardless of percentage or winning margin. But it wouldn’t have applied at all if New Braunfels hadn’t been a home-rule city with three-year council terms.
"There is virtually no legal history on Article XI, Section ll,” Sanders-Castro told City Council Monday night. Meaning it hasn’t come up in many court cases since 1958.
She and City Attorney John Chunn both said their office books didn’t offer much background on the
amendment. But the two lawyers have their differing opinions on how it might have come to be.
That 1950s Legislature might have felt that if council members were going to serve a long time, they’d better not be elected by a slim margin of votes, Chunn thinks.
“That makes a certain amount of sense to me," he said, lf a large number of candidates ran in a plurality election, the vote could be split a number of different ways.
Sanders-Castro thinks the date of the amendment might be significant. During that time period, she says, there was much controversy about segregation in the legislature. A number of laws were passed at this time which have later been found to restrict minority rights.
She said that if this plan is submitted for approval to the U.S. Department of Justice, MALDEF will oppose it — constitutional or not.
But the election plan has a long way to go before reaching the Justice Department. It takes a public election to change the city charter, and that election has been set for April 2.
Sanders-Castro was vague about the possibility of direct legal action against the city. If the voters don’t approve the new election plan, she said, “we
See LAW, Page 16Today's Weather
Comal County forecast calls for partly cloudy this afternoon, clear and cold tonight, and fair and warm Saturday. No rain is in the forecast. Winds will be from the south at 15-20 mph today, shifting to the northwest at 10-15 mph tonight. Sunset will be at 6:05 p.m., and sunrise Saturday will be at 7:22 p.m.Royalty Time
The 1983 Texas Junior Miss pageant arrives at its climactic moment Saturday night — the crowning of a new Junior Miss. The pageant begins at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center.
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The preliminary winners have been named, and the main event now takes the stage Texas' 1983 Junior Miss will be crowned Saturday night at the Civic Center The program begins at 7. Winners in
Stdft photos bv Canty Ru tuinlsnm
Thursday prelims include (top) Kelli McGonagill (number 27), poise and appearance; Cindy Michelle Angelcyk, talent; and Catherine Ellen Cassell, youth fitness.
Utilities signs contract for Canyon hydro project
By DEBBIE DeLOACH Staff writer
Proposed hydroelectric power at Canyon Reservoir has generated a lot of words — some truth, others misconceptions. Thursday night, Utilities trustees attempted to clear the air, and approved a contract resolution with the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority to purchase that power.
Now on its way to City Council, the contract resolution provides for the
purchase of power by Utilities from a proposed hydroelectric facility to be built and funded at the Canyon Reservoir by GBRA. The project is proposed to be on-line by late 1986.
The substantial benefit to Utilities customers is in future savings from the hydro unit, compared to what the lx>wer Colorado River Authority anticipates its cost 20 years from now. “After all the bond payments are made, the price of power will drop from five cents to less than one cent at Canyon,” Utilities
manager Bob Sohn said in an earlier interview. “So after 20 years, we’ll be buying power for less than one cent, while LURA will be selling it for 21 cents in the year 2000.”
Projected cost for the project is $9 million. Utilities began working with GBRA on the contract in early 1981, after hearing about the project as early as September 1981'
The scenario went something like
See UTILITIES, Page 16
Officials see 'get-tough' stance once new jail complex is built
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
I ,aws will be more stringently enforced once a new criminal justice center is built, County Judge Fred Clark noted at the first meeting of the eitzens’ jail site selection committee.
Because our facility “is now inadequate,” said Clark, “there is a certain attitude of not incarcerating people (prisoners) due to lack of lack of space.
“I think you’ll find that the laws will be better
enforced...that the law enforcement people will not be as reluctant or as liberal (in arresting people),
Agreeing with Clark’s comments, Precinct 4 Commissioner W.N. “Bill” George said, “That’ll be a good public selling point...if people think that justice w ill be better served” by the construction of a new jail.
Clark, George and Precinct I Commissioner J.L. “Jumbo” Evans joined IO members of the jail site selection committee Thursday night at the Courthouse.
The 11-member committee was appointed by Commissioners Court Jan 17 to study land site
See JAIL. Page 16