New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 29, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels duffer Terrence Miskell wins US Amateur sectional qualifying golf tournament. Page 5
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THURSDAY, JULY 29, 2004
TxDOT works to "bridge the gap" between preservationists and those who want to replace the Gruene bridge. Raga 4
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Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153, No. 222 10 pages, 1 section
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TV GRIDSState may investigate county primary
By Ron Malonay
AUSTIN — The question of whether Precinct 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora’s primary re-election campaign violated election laws has been referred to the Texas attorney general’s office.
Ann McGeehan, the state official who oversees elections, sent a letter to the deputy attorney general who
oversees prosecutions. The letter summarizes a local investigation into the Democrat primary election for Precinct 3 commissioner.
McGeehan wrote that Comal County District Attorney Dib Waldrip had submitted the report of a New Braunfels Police Department investigation into the election.
“Mr. Waldrip also requested that we forward the reports to your office if it appeared that criminal viola
tions might have taken place,” McGeehan wrote.
In the March 9 primary, Zamora bested Ramon Chapa Jr. by a margin of about 140 votes — the number of mail-in ballots cast in the election.
Chapa and Zamora’s Republican challenger in the November general election, Greg Parker, alleged that there might have been improprieties in the way the incumbent’s
campaign handled mail-in ballots.
“I found what I believe to be voter intimidation by the Zamora campaign, voter assistance misconduct by the by the Zamora campaign, to include marking ballots other than the way the voter directs, not providing the necessary information as required under the Texas Election Code and providing unlawful voter
See ELECTION, Page 3A
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Cristina Zamora Greg Parker
CISD keeps lawyer to monitor water contract haggling
Danny Morris, 78. talks about his various medical problems while sitting on the front porch of rental property he owns near the intersection of South Walnut Avenue and Business 35 Wednesday morning. Morris wants the property zoned for commercial use so he could make more selling it to help with his medical bills
Walnut becomes more commercial
By Scott Mahon
Evelyn Schwab’s neighborhood is slowly disappearing along the 500 block of South Walnut Avenue; she is one of the last homeowners still living in her own home.
After living on Walnut Avenue 50 years, commercial zoning is slowly creeping down her street.
At the corner of her block is the intersection of South Walnut Avenue and Business 35; 28,000 vehicles pass through the intersection every 24 hours.
From her front porch, she can see Walgreen’s directly across the street.
“Eckerd’s offered to buy my home three years ago, but the deal fell through,” she said.
Danny Morris, 78, who owns a four-plex just up the street near Business 35, said he wanted to get his proper
ty rezoned for business because it’d be worth more money. Ile said he needed to sell the property to help pay off mounting medical
New Braunfels City Council members approved his request for rezoning Monday, but it’ll take two more readings for final approval.
“I’ve got two kinds of cancer,” he said. “I’ve also got a deteriorating disk disease, so I’ve got a lot of medical bills to pay, and I always pay my bills. So selling the property is going to help me pay my bills.”
His friend, Bobby Vogel, who owns property on
Sycamore directly behind Morris’, tried to get his lot rezoned commercial, but council members turned the request down.
Council members said Sycamore was still mostly a residential street.
“I just can’t support it because it would be creeping into a residential area," said District 4 Councilwoman Valerie Hull.
Council members acknowledged that Walnut Avenue was slowly giving way to commercial zoning.
The house directly next to Morris’ four-plex had a “for sale” sign in the front yard. A
See ZONINa. Page 3A
By Brandi Grissom
Quibbling over water rights in Bulverde is costing Comal Independent School District another $5,000.
CISD trustees approved Tuesday night $5,000, in addition to $5,000 approved in May, for attorney Tim Brown to review proposals to provide water for fire protection to schools in the western part of the district.
But the school district has yet to receive any proposals.
Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority and Bexar Metropolitan Water District both want to provide water to the schools. The two are in a legal battle over which entity has the right to provide water in the City of Bulverde, where the schools are located.
Roy Linnartz, CISD project consultant, told trustees only about $700 is left of the original $5,000 approved for legal services. According to bills from Brown, the money paid for hours of legal research and multiple conversations, meetings and letters between the district, GBRA and BexarMet.
While they approved the funds, trustees expressed concern that progress is slow on the issue. When pressed with questions about details of the case, CISD Superintendent Nancy Fuller said Brown advised the district to be very careful in public comments about attempts to get water to the schools.
“l ie has cautioned us that, due to the
See WATER. Page 3A
DID YOU KNOW?
To provide CISD with water from CLWSC through a pipeline along Texas 46. Hinges on permission from Bulverde
B Bulverde'* plan:
To provide CISD with water from GBRA initially using BexarMet s pipeline until GBRA conv pietas the Western Canyon Pipeline in October 2005. Hinges on agreement with BexarMet
■ GBRA * plan: To
provide water in the interim from CLWSC through BexarMet s pipeline CLWSC has OK d the plan. BexarMet hasn t responded
■ BexarMet: Bexar Metropolitan Water District
■ GBRA Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority
B CLWSC: Canyon Lake Water Supply Corp
■ CISD: Comal Indpendent School DistrictCounty talks look for ways to collect millions in unpaid fines
By Ron Malonoy
Comal County commissioners will conduct a “round table workshop” after their regular meeting today to discuss how to collect nearly $3 million in unpaid fines.
During budget hearings two weeks ago, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Diana Guerrero requested an additional clerk whose job would be processing outstanding warrants for collection. Guerrero, whose district includes Interstate 35, told commissioners she had nearly $1.5 million in
uncollected misdemeanor fines going back more than five years.
Guerrero said she must personally process the paperwork because her staff is overburdened.
“I’m the only one who does them because my staff is so swamped,” Guerrero said. “I do it between my judicial duties.”
Many warrants are from out-ofcounty, and it costs too much to send a constable to collect them.
When the outstanding warrants of the county's other justices are taken into consideration, the uncollected fines total almost $3 million, county
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In 2002, commissioners hired the Austin law firm of McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen, which has collected the county's unpaid taxes since 1983, to collect unpaid fines and court costs — at no charge to the county. Instead, the firm adds a 30 percent collection fee paid by the person who owes the unpaid fine.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Mil-likin said today's meeting was intended to develop strategies to collect
some of the back fines and fees.
“I know it’s questionable how much of these outstanding warrants can be collected, but even if it's only IO, 15 or 20 percent we need to expedite the process,” he said. “We’ve paid for computer software to do this and hired a law firm, anil Oley tell us it's not very labor intensive. lf it's not cost effective to send a constable to Houston to collect a $ 150 fine, we have a law firm to do that .” Guerrero said she would explain
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the collection process today. She hopes officials will discuss — and maintain — all the tools the courts need to collec t fines.
“I believe (die collection agency) is one component of being able to collect outstanding fines and costs,” (foemen) said. “I believe diere are other avenues available, such as having a clerk dedicated to this, die constables and DPS. You’d be amazed how many money orders we get for unpaid fines through DPS. I hope they keep ail resources available to us and not recommend we just go with the collection agency.”
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