New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 14, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung □ Friday, July 14,1995 □ 3Clinton signs base closure measure, promises to save some Kelly
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Clinton’s military base closure decision makes two key promises that mn in opposite directions: Save defense jobs in California while saving billions of dollars for taxpayers nationwide.
Skeptics questioned both of these assurances Thursday after an openly angry Clinton approved a base closure commission’s recommendation to shut down 79 military bases across the nation and realign 26 others.
Clinton said the closures hit California and Texas too hard. But he approved the list after Pentagon advisers hastily put together a plan to delay for five years the closure of two big bases in those politically important states.
“Is there a way to accept (the closures) and minimize the economic loss in the areas where I think it is plainly excessive?” Clinton said. “That is what we have been working on.”
‘I am tired of these arguments about politics. We have twice as much base capacity as we need ... for the size of the military force we have. That is the national security interest and that is my first and most important duty.’
— Bill Clinton
Wendi Louise Steele, a member of the base closure commission, questioned the administration’s assurance that jobs could be spared without reducing savings to the taxpayer.
“On the face of it I don’t see how you could save the same amount of money under those assumptions,” Steele said. “It concerns me that the White House is buying votes at the expense of readiness and the confidence in the process of all other com
munities impacted by base closures. They have a right to wonder why he doesn’t privatize their closing shipyards or training schools or distribution
California lawmakers, on the other hand, were far from reassured by Clinton’s promise to delay the closure of McClellan.
“I view this decision with great disappointment,” said Sen. Dianne Fein-stein, D-Calif. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-
Calif., said she had “grave doubts” about the plan to save jobs.
Several factors drove Clinton into a comer: Republican leaders said that if he rejected the closure list he would be simply trying to improve his re-election chances; members of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission said he was threatening to upset the integrity of the closure process; and his own Pentagon advisers kept telling him that the military must shed overhead.
The president vented his frustration in a finger-pointing, lectern-pounding outburst in the White House Rose Garden.
“I am tired of these arguments about politics,” he said. “We have twice as much base capacity as we need ... for the size of the military force we have. That is the national security interest and that is my first and most important duty.”
Under the plan approved by Clinton, California, the biggest electoral prize in next year’s presidential election, would lose McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento. All told, almost half the jobs lost in this year’s base closure round would come from California, even though only 15 percent of the military is stationed there.
Texas would lose Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. Of the 18,000 employees at the base, 61 percent are Hispanic. Clinton said that “could virtually wipe out the Hispanic middle class” in the city.
Both McClellan and Kelly are Air Force maintenance depots.
At a Pentagon briefing, Deputy Defense Secretary John White said Clinton ordered the military to delay the outright closure of McClellan and Kelly for five years. White insisted the delay would still enable the government to save nearly $20 billion over
two decades from this year’s base closures.
During the five-year period, about
16.000 Defense Department employees at Kelly and 8,700 at McClellan would remain on the job. After that, the two bases would close. The Pentagon estimates that 4,000 to 5,000 workers at McClellan and 10,000 to 11,000 at Kelly would still be doing Air Force-related work after the bases close — most of them as employees of private contractors.
McClellan alone accounts for some
11.000 of the nearly 20,000 military and civilian jobs California would lose under the base closure plan. That is almost half of the 43,742 jobs that would be lost nationwide under the base closure plan.
Texas would lose 13,381 military and civilian jobs and 19,476 indirect jobs, according to the commission.Questions raised about payroll at Whitmire’s office
’ AUSTIN (AP) — Several members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee say they don’t know a Houston attorney who was on the state payroll for $5,000 a month to be staff'attorney for the panel and for State Sen. John Whitmire, the Austin American-Statcs-man reported today.
The newspaper said Pat Williams, the 36-year-old Whitmire aide, was in Houston on Thursday, running Whitmire’s district office while practicing few on the side, both for himself and for Whitmire, D-Houston.
• Williams is paid $60,000 a year, partly for his services dunng the recent legislative session as staff attorney for the Criminal Justice Committee.
But several members of the committee told the Amcrican-Statesman that they took their legal questions to a $4,000-a-month lawyer hired as a consultant by the committee.
The law prohibits state employees from doing outside work — for themselves or for their bosses — on taxpayers’ time.
His arrangement with Williams, Whitmire says, is “totally, IOO percent all right."
In exchange for his annual salary of $60,000, Williams is expected to put in at least 32 hours a week, Whitmire ; said.
Disclosure of the arrangement comes amid scrutiny of Whitmire’s private and public affairs.
Whitmire, 45, is being investigated by Hams County prosecutors for col-
Edward Christian George «lr.
Edward Christian George Jr. passed away in New Braunfels on Tuesday, July 11, 1995 at the age of 77.
Mr. George was a native Houstonian and made New Braunfels his home after retirement. He was the treasurer of Petro Tex when he retired after 32 years of service.
Mr. George was a member of Park Place Masonic Lodge #1172. He received a Purple Heart for service in
‘You can’t always go by what’s on paper.’
— State Sen. John Whitmire
leering more than $80,000 in consulting fees from the local probation department, an agency partially funded by the state and affected by decisions of his Senate committee.
Before that, reports had questioned whether another Whitmire employee, Israel Galvan, had done enough work for his $5,000-a-month consulting contract.
Williams joined Whitmire’s staff in January 1991, shortly after graduating from the University of Houston law school, as a fulltime legislative aide at $27,600 a year.
A year and a half later that included several raises, Williams’ hours were trimmed from 40 to 32. He was paid $48,000 as a part-time employee.
In January 1993, Whitmire was appointed chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, a powerful panel facing the task of rewriting Texas’ criminal laws.
That summer, Whitmire named Williams — then licensed as a lawyer for less than two years — as general counsel for both the committee and his Senate office. His $60,000 annual salary was split between the two.
Under Senate rules, all committee employees are supposed to live in Austin. Williams remained in Houston.
Europe dunng WW1I. He also received 3 bronze service stars and a WWII victory nbbon. Mr. George is a graduate of John Reagan High School and the University of Houston. He is preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Evelyn George.
Mr. George is survived by his daughter, Elisa Corinne Reid and husband Mike; son, Edward Chnstian George 111 and wife Linda; sisters, Mary Ward and Betty Hernandez; and 8 grandchildren.
To get around the rule, Whitmire admits, the address of his Austin apartment was listed as that of Williams. Both men acknowledged Williams never lived there.
“It didn’t make any difference because Pat was back and forth to Austin all the time on Senate business,” the senator said. “He was doing what I needed him to do. He was doing his job.”
Besides, he added, “it’s a silly rule anyway.”
In May, Whitmire admitted that a similar address switch had been done so he could hire Galvan, a Houston-area computer specialist, as a consultant for his committee.
When Senate leaders enforced that rule, after the legislative session ended in May, Galvan was not rehired, and Williams’ entire salary was moved to the budget of Whitmire’s office.
The false Austin addresses for Williams and Galvan were not the only problem with Senate paper work, however. Whitmire acknowledged that Williams’ job title was misleading.
“He was not a general counsel, really. He was a legislative aide,” Whitmire said. “But when I took over the committee, there was a general counsel slot in the budget so we put his name there. You can’t always go by what’s on paper.”
To underscore that point, he noted that Williams is listed on Senate personnel records as African American. He is white.
Visitation for Mr. George will be Friday, July 14, 1995 from 9 a m. to 8 p.m. at Forest Park East Funeral Home, 21620 Gulf Fwy., Webster, TX 77598. Funeral services will be Saturday, July 15, 1995 at 1:30 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow in Forest Park East Cemetery. Officiating will be Pastor Henry Engeling from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Braunfels.
Forest Park East, Webster, Texas
Stay Granted for Pam Perillo, Convicted in 1980 Murder
GATESVILLE, Texas (AP) — A preliminary stay of execution has been issued for Pam Perillo, who has been on death row longer than any other woman in Texas.
The stay was issued Thursday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Ms. Perillo’s two-point appeal, which charges her attorney had a conflict of interest while representing her at trial.
The stay halts all preparations for the execution until the court examines the case more closely. The panel then could halt the execution.
“We’re all pleased,” said Gerard A. Desrochers, Perillo’s attorney in Houston.
The Texas attorney general’s office reserved comment on the matter and how it would proceed until after officials there had seen a copy of the order. The attorney general could appeal the stay.
Moses: Education a Competition
AUSTIN (AP) — Texas Education Commissioner Mike Moses says public schools must recognize they’re in competition for students and work to ensure youngsters can read and classrooms are safe.
He told the Texas Classroom Teachers Association Leadership Conference Thursday that public schools have the best in educators but “if we don’t understand that we are in competition for the right to educate, then I think we will be left behind."
Moses cited home schools, private schools and an unsuccessful push in the last legislative session to allow students to use public funds to pay pnvate school tuition.
Public schools should work to ensure children can read by the rime they leave third grade, he said, thereby preventing frustrated learners, discipline problems and dropouts.
Test scores have shown about a quarter of third-graders haven’t mastered reading skills, Moses said.
Crews Find Shipwreck They Believe From 1686 Le Salle Expedition
PORT LAVACA, Texas (AP) — State archaeologists are ecstatic about retrieving a bronze cannon they believe is more than three centuries old and from a ship lost by the famed explorer La Salle.
A team from the Texas Historical Commission capped a 17-year search Thursday when they pulled the gun from the shipwreck in Matagorda Bay.
The bronze cannon, crusty with mud and shellfish and stones after spending more than 300 years on the sea floor* came into sunlight for the first time since it was lost in 1686.
“This is tremendously exciting,’ Bar-to Arnold, state marine archaeologist with the Texas Historical Commission, said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a archaeologist to locate a site of this historical importance, this cultural importance. It’s every archaeologist’s dream to find a highly decorated bronze gun like this. It’s just a tremendous thrill.”
Southwest Makes Foray Into Florida
DALLAS (AP) — Analysts say the Sunshine State could be a bright spot on Southwest Airlines Co.’s horizon.
The nation’s sixth-largest carrier, Southwest announced Thursday it will start flying to the Flonda cities of Tam
pa and Fort Lauderdale next January and Orlando in April. «
The no-frills airline plans to fly to * Tampa and Orlando from points in the Midwest, South and its lone Northeastern city — Baltimore. At least initially Fort Lauderdale will have direct flights only to and from Tampa and Orlando.
Dallas Committee Miffs Doctors
DALLAS (AP) — The director of * the Dallas County health department says he’s upset by a citizens’ committee’s statements that AIDS can be transmitted via saliva.
A member of the department’s Literature and Program Review C .nmit-tee, a citizens’ group that is charged with making suggestions about pamphlets and other materials the department distributes, said Thursday he and other have questions about infection by mouth.
“I would say that the majority (of committee members) at least have some question about it,” said Wes Smith, a Carrollton businessman.
At the meeting, he distributed copied passages from a book titled “AIDS: What the Government Isn’t Telling You,” by Dr. Lorraine Day. The selections detailed two cases in which the fatal disease appeared be transmitted via saliva.
But Dr. Randy Farris, the director of the Dallas County Health Department, said that later tests found that the people turned out to test negative for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
“I can go out L.id publish a book that says anything,” Fams said. He said Smith should examine peer-reviewed medical journals on the subject.
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