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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 28, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, July 28, 2001Forum Contact Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson at 625-9144 ext. 220. New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung 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. Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Brian Grant, News Editor (830) 625-9144 Editorial Teen driving restrictions on the right road The trucks stop here Motor vehicle crashes are the No. I killer of Texas teens. The crash involvement rate for teens is more than double that for all other Texas drivers. More than 40 percent of teens’ fatal crashes occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Any of these facts from the Texas Senate Research Center would be reason enough to support Texas’ recent passage of a new law placing restrictions on teen drivers. Under the new law, which goes into effect Jan. I, drivers younger than 18 will not be allowed to drive between ll p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or older. The restriction is in place for six months after the driver secures his license. The measure was supported by Texas AAA and Texas Parent-Teacher Association — and for good reason. In 1998, more than 320 teen-agers between 15 and 18 died in motor vehicle crashes. More than 40J)(J0 suffered injuries. New Braunfels driver education teacher Walter Schulle said many young drivers do not pay attention to the rules of the road until they have a close call with another vehicle. Comal County sheriff’s deputy Tim Kolbe said, “Young people tend to make more mistakes and take greater risks than mature drivers.” Many teens mistakenly believe that they are immortal. The deaths of local students in recent years remind us all that death and harm can come to you, even when you are young. While the new law places new restrictions on young drivers, the rules steer Texas in the right direction.Today in History- By The Associated Press Tbday is Saturday, July 28, the 209th day of 2001. There are 156 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On July 28, 1945, a U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York’s Empire State Building, killing 14 people. In 1540, King Henry VHI chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed, the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. It's no news to most Texans that the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, has been a driving force in our state's strong economy. NAFTA is the most productive trade alliance in the world, with nearly 400 million people producing close to $10 trillion worth of goods and services — and Texas has benefitted greatly from being situated at the very center of that whirlwind of economic activity. By 1999, the value of Texas exports to Mexico had reached $41.1 billion, up from $23.8 billion in 1994. In fact, 47 percent of all U.S. exports to Mexico originate in Texas. This has brought us thousands of highly skilled, well-paid positions in electronics, high technology and other industries. However, the trade agreement's potential has yet to be realized in its entirety. Under the 1994 accord, Mexican trucks and drivers were given access to border zones in 1995. By 2000, foreign-owned trucks were to have full access to all U.S. highways, which hasn't happened because NAFTA does not and cannot require the United States to admit vehicles that don't meet American standards. Concerns over safety and other issues have postponed full implementation of NAFTA's trucking provisions. Texas is at the center of the ongoing NAFTA truck debate, as well. Nearly 70 percent of current truck traffic coming from Mexico KAY Bailey HUTCHISON into the United States enters Texas, impacting our roads and state inspection facilities to a greater extent than any other state. Texas witnessed 2.4 million crossings of Mexican trucks last year. That number stood at 510.000 the year NAFTA was passed. One of the major stumbling blocks to full implementation is the absence of resources that would allow U.S. and Texas officials to thoroughly inspect and monitor trucks operating on our roads and highways. To accomplish that, we need: • Inspection facilities with the capacity to handle the increased traffic; • Adequate numbers of well-trained inspection personnel; • The ability to enforce weight limitations. Mexican trucks are permitted to carry a maximum gross weight, including the truck itself, of 117.000 pounds, compared to a limit of 80,000 pounds for U.S. trucks; and • The ability to collect reliable information on and monitor the safety records of all trucking firms and their drivers, regardless of their country of origin. Right now we are able to inspect only a small percentage of trucks that cross into U.S. commercial zones along the border. Of the ones that are inspected, a third are turned away for safety violations. Clearly, additional inspection facilities and staff are needed immediately. Congress and the President are moving forward to make the NAFTA trucking provisions a reality. The Senate Appropriations Committee last month approved a measure I outlined that provides $100 million for border inspection stations, inspectors and other border infrastructure improvements, the lion's share of which would go to our state. It only makes sense for these resources to be located in places where they will be most effective. This legislation reflects Congress' commitment to full implementation of NAFTA, and to keeping American highways safe at the same time. It outlines rigorous safety oversight requirements that cannot be met unless we also provide the resources needed for quick, comprehensive monitoring of all commercial trucks and buses. I voted for NAFTA and I support free trade. But we cannot throw open our borders completely until we have put in place the personnel and facilities necessary for conducting large-scale, routine inspections at all trucks that cross our border. (Ray Bailey Hutchison represents Texas in the U.S. Senate.)Contact ’EmNEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL 424 S. Casten Ave. New Braunfels, TX 78130 608-2100 Fax: 608-2109 E-mail counciH @texas.netMayor Stoney Williams 608-2138 ext. 270 city hall 629-7381 home 625-2420 work E-mail [email protected] 1 Sonia Munoz 608-2138 ext. 204District 2 Larry Alexander 609-1242 home (210) 208-1880 workDistrict 3 Debbie Flume 629-2496 home/workDistrict 4 Robert Kendrick 643-1177 home (281)686-7480 workDistrict 5 Lee Rodriguez 629-4901 work 629-9156 homeDistrict 6 Juliet Watson 620-5656 homeCITY STAFF Police Department [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] City Attorney [email protected] City Manager mshands @ texas, net Assistant to City Manager [email protected] City Secretary [email protected] Engineering [email protected] Finance Director [email protected] Finance [email protected] Golf [email protected] [email protected] Fire Department [email protected] COUNTY County Commissioners 150 N. Seguin Ave. New Braunfels, TX 78130Keep Social Security out of the hands of Wall Street brokers AUSTIN — I’m afraid Karl Rove’s timing is off: You can’t pass a huge tax cut tilted heavily toward the rich and then announce Social Security is about to go belly-up. People make the connection. If only he’d waited ’til next year — the Washington press corps can’t remember anything longer than six months. But Rove has cut it too fine this time — people are just now getting their rebate checks and hearing that Social Security is a disaster area at the same time. Furthermore, the peppy idea of putting Social Security money into the stock market doesn’t look all that good since the market has lost about $3 trillion in the current downtown. Pfffft! Hey, let’s put our retirement money into that sucker and watch it shrink! The Bush commission has the singular distinction of being comprised entirely of people who already agreed with George W. Bush that Social Security needs to be privatized. Let me count the ways this is a truly bad idea. One (and this is the leading reason for proposing this daft Molly Ivins notion in the first place), it will take a huge amount of money out of Social Security and put it into Wall Street brokerage firms. You know how brokers work: They make money when you buy, and they make money when you sell. A no-lose proposition for them. Literally billions in commissions await them, and that’s the lobby that’s pushing the privatization scheme. Social Security happens to be run at a miniscule administrative cost (yes, government does do some things right). If we break off some of the money into private accounts, administrative costs and brokerage fees will eat more of our money. Second, you know perfectly well a lot of people will get ripped off if they control their own retirement money. Older people are particu- ■BHHIilHHIBHil larly vulnerable to con artists — it’ll be a gold mine for gold mines, diamond finds and every other cockamamie, pie-in-the-sky scheme that’s ever come along. Think only the feeble-minded will lose? Who lost money in high tech? Wasn’t it all those brilliant young hotshots we kept hearing about? Wasn’t it the NASDAQ that went down 60 percent? Then there is the unhappy set of matching numbers to be considered. The Bush tax cut (35 percent to the richest I percent of the people) eventually will cost about $170 billion in annual revenues. The estimated SS shortfall by 2038 comes to $180 billion. Maybe if you invest your $300 rebate (setting aside the 28 percent of you who aren’t getting any money and the other 12 percent who will get less than $300) in the stock market, you’ll be able to retire in a few years. But don’t count on it. You will hear more lies, damn lies and statistics about the state of Social Security in the coming months and years than even Mark Twin could have dreamed of. The Social Security trustees, on whose numbers the Bush commission relied, are using an exceedingly grim forecast. Nevertheless, it makes more sense to use those forecasts than to use Rosy Scenario and assume there’s nothing we need to do about it. According to the experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and everybody else, we do have real, long-term problems with Social Security that need to be addressed now, but we are nov/here near a crisis — and the crunch is further out than the Bush commission says. Republicans have traditionally accused Democrats of fear-mon-gering on Social Security. Unfortunately, the Republicans have now taken it up. The most unfortunate thing about the commission report is not just that it’s misleading, but that it further polarizes a debate that will have to be solved by both parties. The commission announces doom in 2016, because that’s when the line of payroll tax receipts crosses SS outgo, but they are not counting interest from the enormous SS surplus, which should be by then $5 trillion. As Alan Blinder, former vice chair at the Federal Reserve, said cheerfully Wednesday, “That’s not chopped liver.” Henry Aaron, author of an excellent book on Social Security and a senior fellow at Brookings Institute, says our situation is like that of a family saving for the college education of the kids. That education may well cost more than the family’s current income, but the two things you do about it are to pay down the mortgage (the national debt) and increase your savings. So by the time the kids get to college, you’re in financial shape to afford it. Ken Apfel, former SS commissioner, says the good news politically is that Congress is now treating Social Security as a separate entity, rather than as part of the total federal budget. (Who said “lockbox”?) But the Bush tax cut is so large it may tempt Congress into using the Social Security surplus to finance government operations, and then we would be in the soup. (Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist.) < ;