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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 16, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, July 16, 2005 FORUM Our Opinion Vote on courthouse served taxpayers well T Taxpayers] deserve a govern- j meat that will I work to stretch j their money as I far as possible, j Tuesday, theI commissioner^ i decision did just j that. I he Comal County Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously Tuesday to renovate the county courthouse to its 1929 standard — without the jail. Contrary to some reports, the move was not a money-saving measure. Regardless of whether the courthouse was restored with the jail or without it, the county would have to pay just over $5 million for the restoration project and additional construction nearby. Instead, the county made the decision for two purposes. First, the state, which will pay for 85 percent of the courthouse restoration project, preferred the option without the jail. The state wanted the jail removed because the buildings it restores need to be returned as close to the original use as possible. The second reason was more practical. If the county kept the jail, the space would be used for storage. By removing it, the county will pay the same amount but will gain additional space to store records and other important documents. Playing nice with the state is important because the state has agreed to cover much of the cost. But the biggest positive is the county chose an option that will provide the most bang for the county’s buck. Taxpayers deserve a government that will work to stretch their money as far as possible. Tuesday, the commissioner’s decision did just that. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Saturday, July 16, the 197th day of 2005. There are 168 days left in the year. Today’s I lighlight in I listory: On July 16, 1945, the United States exploded its First experimental atomic bomb, in the desert of Alamogordo, N.M. On this date: In 1790, the District of Columbia was established as the seat of the United States government. In 1862, David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the United States Navy. In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II, his empress and their five children were executed by the Bolsheviks. In 1935, the first parking meters were installed, in Oklahoma City. In 1951, the novel “The (batcher in die Rye” by J.D. Salinger was first published. In 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from C^ape Kennedy on the first maimed mission to the surface of the moon. In 1973, during the Senate Watergate hearings, former White I louse aide Alexander P Butterfield publicly revealed the existence of President Nixon’s secret taping system. In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq. In 1980, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Detroit. In 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died when their singleengine plane, piloted by Kennedy, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Ten years ago: William Baboon and David Dalib-erti, the two Americans who were imprisoned in Iraq for crossing the border from Kuwait four months earlier, were released. Herald-Zeitung Serving Ne*' Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis ^ lewft oi)p £i(>e VV) v\oT MAK© 'fetas ^ .<j*. on Me/\p// Hotline ^ t»e<N'T FRlSoNeK WITH Heflin. T.r mr GUESTCOLUMN ‘Planned giving’ is a way to donate to organizations throughout year While nonprofits welcome gifts of cash, stock or real estate, there are other types of gifts that help donors achieve financial goals for their families while also supporting their favorite causes. The term “planned giving” refers to charitable gifts that require some planning before they are made. Through planned gifts — including charitable gift annuities — it is possible to make a tax-deductible gift to charity while retaining the right to use the asset or to derive income from it. Planned gifts can provide valuable tax benefits and income for life, while giving donors an opportunity to make a contribution to the fight against cancer. A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract between the donor and a charity in which the donor exchanges cash or securities for guaranteed regular payments for life and a tax deduction. The rate of return is determined by the donor’s age at the time the gift annuity is created, and it remains fixed for the lifetime of the donor. (The establishment of a gift annuity should not be construed as an investment.) Benefits of charitable gift annuities include: ■ Fixed payments for life or for the lifetime of designated beneficiaries. The investment is as secure as the organization that issues the annuity. The amount invested is usually placed in a separate fund. ■ Higher payment rates than are available on CDs and many other secure investments because the donor is making a gift of the assets. Payment rates on gift annuities have recently ranged from 6.0 percent for 65 year olds to 11.3 percent for 90 year olds. ■ Immediate income-tax deduction. ■ A portion of each annuity payment may be tax-free. ■ Additional favorable tax treatment if the gift includes appreciated property. Any longterm capital gain is prorated over the life of the annuity if the donor uses appreciated stock to fund an annuity. ■ Many payment options — monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. ■ Possible estate-tax savings. ■ A married couple can fund a “two-life” contract designed to make payments for the lives of both a husband and wife. The rate is somewhat lower than the rate for a single-person annuity. In addition, donors may establish a gift annuity and take advantage of the tax deduction, then defer payment until they need the income. The longer the deferral, the higher the annual rate. I work closely with the financial and legal advisers of our donors to determine what type of planned gift will work best for each person. When donors decide to invest in a cancer-free future, the American Cancer Society commits our people and resources to structuring a planned gift that fits the donor’s charitable giving objectives. For information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. MARY ANNA TURNER Mary Anna Turner, J.D, directs charitable planned giving for the American Cancer Society Mail letters to: Letters to Editor do Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- HOW TO CONTACT United States miinimillll Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 Toll Free: (866) 687-4961 Fax: (830) 627-8895 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800Different cases show inconsistency in protection MOLLY IVINS Molly Ivin is a columnist for Creators Syndicate. She abo does occasional commentary for National Public Radio and the McNeil/Lehrer program. AUSTIN—As the judge in the Judith Miller-Matt Cooper case said, it just gets “curiouser and curiouser.” For starters, Judy Miller of The New York Times, who never wrote a word about Valerie Plaine, is in prison, while Robert Novak, who broke the story and printed the name, may be weekending at his posh house on Fenwick Island, Del. Meanwhile, a truly phenomenal case study in the art of spin has been launched on behalf of Karl Rove, aka Bush’s brain, now that we know he was Cooper’s source on the Plame affair. We have long known that Rove made the repulsive statement to a reporter that Plame, a former CIA undercover operative, was “fair game.” Rove was out to smear her husband, Joseph Wilson, who told the truth about Bush’s phony claim that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium in Niger. What. A. Mess. According to The Washington Post: “Republicans mounted an aggressive and coordinated defense of Karl Rove Tuesday, contending that the White I louse’s top political adviser did nothing improper or illegal when he discussed a covert CIA official with a reporter.... The emerging COP strategy — devised by (Ken) Mehlman (chair of the Republican National Committee) and other Rove loyalists outside the White House — is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove’s ouster, play down Rove’s role and wait for President Bush’s forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans.” Actually, Rove and the White House got into trouble in the first place by trying to discredit a critic of the administration. They might want to rethink this strategy. For one thing, the spin is so factually challenged it makes your head hurt. For example, Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal editorial on the subject consists of one stunning misstatement after another. And these are the people who have been given their own program on PBS? A consistent theme of the spin is that “no crime was committed," that outing Plame as a CIA agent meant nothing since she was then working as an analyst in Langley. Unfortunately, Plame spent years overseas for the CIA working for a civilian firm without benefit of a diplomatic passport, meaning that she was especially vulnerable, could have been executed if caught and showed special courage. True, she was not working undercover when Novak named her in his column. However, as many CIA officers have pointed out, the outing left her former company and colleagues vulnerable. That this was done for petty political revenge is unforgivable. It is a result of being so focused on your political opponents that you take them more seriously than you do the country’s real enemies. Frankly, it reeks of Rove — and it is what’s wrong with much of politics today. If the prosecutor cannot prove a crime, Rove should still be fired, not just because Bush said he would fire anyone involved in the leak, but also because what Rove did is ethically disgusting. Many of my colleagues in the media are having trouble getting a grip on all this. Some have abandoned Judith Miller because she did so much bad reporting on WMD before the war. As the Times itself later admitted, much of its pre-war coverage consisted of “breathless stories built on unsubstantiated ’revelations’ that, in many instances, were the anonymity-cloaked assertions of people with vested interests.” But that, friends, is a different case. Of course a reporter does not have an absolute right to shield a source — even lawyers don’t have such a right. But many other professionals have limited rights to confidentiality, including preachers, psychiatrists and counselors. A journalist’s limited right to protect confidentiality is recognized by 31 state and the District of Columbia. Look, reporters come armed with a notebook and a pencil. They do not car ry guns, they do not have the power to arrest people, they do not have subpoena power, they cannot force people to talk by holding them as material witnesses, they cannot sneak into their homes and read their computers. Gene] ally speaking, if the law can’t make a cas without help from a reporter, they’re incompetent. Miller is not protecting a noble whisht blower who dared to go to the press because his sense of integrity had been outraged by official misconduct and he had no other option. That would be you basic Deep Throat. She is, we can assume, protecting some politically motivated hatchet-man who was part ol the smear campaign against Plante’s lim band for telling the truth. And that, too, i irrelevant to the principle involved. The larger point is that journalists have a constitutionally protected responsibility to find and publish the truth (as dubious as many of our efforts are). Particularly in covering governmer and politics, that purpose is often serve* by protecting slimeballs, or at least people with questionable motives. Just because Karl Rove has forgotten about the public interest is not reason for Judy Miller to do so. ;