New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 6, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
A □ Herald-Zeitung g Sunday, July 6.1997
I To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-)144, Ext. 220.
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■ To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the newspaper's address is NBHZeitungOAOL.com.
“The press is the living jury of the nation.”
James Gordon Bennett newspaper editorTaxes should not be used to restrict access
McKenna represents best of New Braunfels
When someone considers moving to a new city, that person usually wants to know about the city’s quality of life, and nothing exemplifies the quality of life than the community’s health care provider.
In New Braunfels and Comal County, McKenna Memorial Hospital stands as the hallmark of health care. With a professional staff of doctors, nurses and specialists, the hospital cares for a community that is growing at one of the fastest paces in the state.
McKenna also represents the sense of the community. In the 1950s, after bond elections for a new hospital failed, a group of residents and employers got together and sought donations to bring McKenna to life.
And keeping it alive has been a tribute to the community as well. The 32-bed facility has grown to the current 116 beds. At the same time, McKenna Memorial Hospital has branched out, offering services to residents who might not always have the resources or the ability to makethe trip ipto Nj BrffttftfSTfc*
spent on indigent patients who need medical care
but do not have the money to pay for it.
Almost everyone who has lived in New Braunfels or Comal County has been touched by the work of McKenna Memorial Hospital. And every year, tourists who visit this city oftentimes have to make use of the services provided by our hospital.
McKenna Memorial Hospital represents New Braunfels at its best — the self-sufficiency and quality work that this community has long cherished.
(Todays editorial was written by Herald-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson.)
TTie New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. 'The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 260 words.
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Letters to the Editor do the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung
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New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328
Fax: (210) 625-1224
Editor and Publisher, Ext. 301........................................Doug Toney
Managing Editor, Ext 220................................Margaret Edmonson
Marketing Director, Ext. 308....................................Jason Borchardt
Classified Advertising Manager, Ext. 214...............Karen Reininger
Business Manager, Ext. 202........................................Mary Lee Hall
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The 75th session of the Texas Legislature is over. That’s the good news. The bad news is that about 200 of the 5,000 bills that were filed tried to close or restrict the public’s access to government.
Regrettably, this effort to thwart the public’s right to an open government is not unique to this Legislature.
What makes this situation so perilous is that most of this assault on the public’s rights comes from lobbying organizations for cities, school boards and lawyers.
If an award existed for the group that initiated the greatest assault on die public’s access to government, this year’s plaque would go to the Texas Municipal League.
Runners-up to this award would be The Texas Association of School Boards, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association and the University of Texas Board of Regents.
Some of these groups receive tax dollars to support efforts to limit the
public’s access to government via dues and fees charged to cities, or school boards or the county government . The use of tax dollars to lobby for closing up access to government doesn’t pass the smell test.
The Texas Municipal League lobbied for a bill that would have removed accident reports from police logs. Gov. George W. Bush vetoed a stand-alone version of die bill, but it was attached as an amendment to another bill and became law.
Senate Bill 308, by JeffWentworth, R-San Antonio, would have closed a loophole in the Texas Open Meetings Act that allows staff members to brief governmental bodies behind closed
doom This allows councilmembers and school board members and county commissioners to be given information dud the public does not hear.
The TML, the TASB and the University of Texas Bpaid of Regents all opposed the bill in its original form, liien, the school board association and the UT regents had amendments ' attached that exempted school boards and UT.
Fortunately, the bill died on a point of order.
The number of other efforts these groups made to restrict access to government decision-making are too numerous to mention.
In case you are wondering, the city of New Braunfels belongs to die TML. Both die New Braunfels Independent School District and the Comal Independent School District are associated with the TASB.
The Comal County government, via die district attorney’s office, has some money going to the Texas District and
County Attorneys Association.
Most of the bills that attacked the public’s right to know were defeated, either in committee or on the floor or in some political, point-of-order trick.
That’s good news.
But the bad news is that some bod bills were passed and became law aid local tax dollars went to organizations that lobbied for these new restrictions on the public’s access to government.
Sure as the sun rises in the east, some school board member or city staff or councilmember or someone from the county government will counter that these organizations actually do much good with the dollars they take from taxpayers.
That might be true.
But not one cent of anyone’s taxes should go tp these organizations as long as they devote a single minute to thwarting a citizen’s ability to hold our government accountable.
(Doug Toney is editor and publisher of the Herald-Zeitung.)
NATO’s empty gesture and how to fix it
It’s been 50 years since President Truman dispatched Secretary of State George Marshall to Europe to rebuild that continent for the remainder of the century. Recently, another U.S. president, Bill Clinton, declared the unequivocal success of the Marshall Plan, and called for a new U.S.-European relationship. Central to his plan is the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Simply adding new members to NATO hardly seems like bold leadership. We must assess the very nature of the alliance, including a new mission for NATO that is based on the threats we expect to face into the next century. But even before meeting that formidable challenge, the alliance must perform some serious housekeeping.
I question whether ihe alliance is ready for expansion, and my skepticism has nothing to do with particular concerns about any of the prospective new members. Rather, it seems the alliance is avoiding the really tough work of changing the NATO charter to account for broader membership.
To date, the NATO expansion debate has centered on how to address Russia’s concerns, and the recent signing of the Founding Act ends that debate. Regardless of the relative merits of the Founding Act itself, though, I am concerned that we have spent so much time figuring out how to avoid a clash with Russia over NATO expansion that takes place. We have the experience
Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Sunday, July 6, the 187th day of 1997. There are 178 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On July it 1945, President Truman signed an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom.
On this date:
la 14S3, England’s King Richard III was crowned.
In 1535, Sir Thomas More was executed in England for treason.
of Greece and Turkey to caution us that members with historic border-related tensions can create a difficult problem of alliance management. Free of the bonds of the Cold War defense against a hostile enemy, allies might one day be adversaries as the result of such tension.
At die heart of the NATO relationship is Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states quite simply that the members ’’agree that an armed attack against one or more of diem in Europe or North America shall be considers! an attack against them all.” On the Clinton Administration’s present course, over the next few years, we will offer NATO membership to countries with border disputes that we longstanding and serious. To do so without modifying the North Atlantic Treaty accordingly would be a disservice to the American people, who will pay the price and hew the burden of expanding America’s security commitments.
Specifically the alliance should agree to a process for resolving disputes between members. These conflicts are inevitable as membership grows. Fixing
the problem now will keep the United States from being drawn into regional conflicts in Europe that will sap our own strength and weaken the American security umbrella and the alliance’s guarantee of mutual self-defense.
To do so, I propose the alliance establish a dispute resolution process, and write that process into the NATO treaty. We might even model our efforts on the mechanisms for dispute resolution and binding arbitration that we use in American labor law. In that process, disputants select arbitrators who collectively select a third arbitrator to air views on both sides and propose a resolution that is binding on the parties. In the case of NATO, countries in a dispute would each select an ally, the two of which would select a third disinterested ally to negotiate a settlement and, if necessary, impose a binding solution on each of the disputants.
We would encourage a hasty resolution to the dispute by also suspending disputants from Article Five mutual defense protections until they reach a resolution and ratify it. This will offer member states an incentive to work agreements out quickly, before they reach the binding arbitration stage. Also, this process would retain alliance integrity by keeping dispute resolution within NATO.
lf will not be easy to amend the North Atlantic Treaty, which is substantively unchanged in the nearly half-century
since it was written. Adding new members has been relatively easy by comparison; we’ve done so on three occasions in the same amount of time. (This is not unlike our own history. Recall that we’ve added some three dozen new states to the American union since the Constitution was ratified but have only found it necessary to amend die Constitution itself 27 times!)
Another factor to consider — particularly by those countries wishing to join — is whether NATO membership is even in the best interests of the emerging east European democracies. In assessing their own security threats, are the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland more vulnerable to invasion from Russia or economic stability? IF their governments believe that strengthening thor economies a higher priority, then are the billion of dollars a year in defense spending required to meet NATO force standards really appropriate? Wouldn’t such funds be better spent on infrastructure such as roads and water treatment systems, or on investments in manufacturing and agriculture, than to buy tanks and modernize their armies?
With the end of the Cold War, it’s time for a new NATO charter, not just new NATO members. I for one accept the President’s challenge to conjure up the spirit of the Marshall Plan and boldly face the Europe of the 21st Century.
(Kay Bailey Hutchison is a US Senator representing Texas.)
In 1777, during the American Revolution, British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga.
bi IMS, French scientist Louis Pasteur successfully tested an anti-rabies vaccine on a boy bitten by an infected
bi 1917, during World War I, Arab forces led by T.E. Lawrence captured the port of Aqaba from the Turks.
In 1928, a preview was held in New York of the first all-talking movie feature, “The Lights of New York.”
In 1944,169 people died when fire
broke out in the main tent of the Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford, Com.
la 1957, Althea Gibson became the fust black tennis player to win a Wimbledon singles title, defeating fellow American Darlene Hard 6-3,6-2.
la 1967, the Biafran War erupted. The war, which lasted more than two years, claimed some 600,000 lives.
la 1M9, the U.S. Army dctfroyed its last Pershing IA missiles st aa ammunition pl—* in Kamack, Texas, under terms of a 1987 treaty.
Ten years age: The first of three massacres by Sikh extremists over two days took place in India as gunmen attacked a bus with Hindu passengers. Seventy-two people were killed in the attacks in Punjab and Haryana.
Five years ago: The Group of Seven industrial ratoons opened their 18th annual economic summit in Munich, Germany.
One year ago: A Delta MD-88 jetliner’s left engine blew apart during an aborted takeoff from Fla.