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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 8, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas «Page 4A — Herald-ZErruNG — Wednesday, June 8, 2005 FORUM Other Viewpoints Let judges pick a school finance plan Austin American-Statesman on the future of school finance in the Legislature: Gov. Rick Perry told an East Texas crowd last week that a special session to fix the thorny issue of school finance was possible in late June. For Perry to call legislators back into session, something has to happen in the next two weeks that hasn’t happened in more than a decade, which was the last time Texas legislators substantively overhauled the state’s method of financing public schools. The pricetag for educating the growing number of Texas children enrolled in grades K-12 is a whopping $8 billion more than the $37 billion committed in this budget, according to some estimates. The Legislature’s attitude on coughing it up can be charitably summarized as “not until somebody makes us, and even then we won t.’’ Public education costs money, and there are few places to get it. You could tax income,... you can tax vendors and buyers, you can tax property and you can tax sin and you can tax privileges like hunting and driving. But all that activity draws lobby interest.... Nonetheless, legislators have a constitutional duty to pay for public schooling that is both equitable and adequate. The current revenue sharing system, dubbed Robin Hood, was a court-driven answer to the equity issue. It came out of a long and bruising lawsuit. Adequacy has been discussed, but never wresded into anything resembling submission. These issues have been known and discussed for years, so it’s difficult to understand what might happen in two weeks to move legislators toward a solution that has eluded the institution for at least as many decades. Perry says he is counting on constituent pressure to motivate lawmakers. The philosophical differences between the House and Senate on how to pay for education are so profound that nothing short of change of leadership is likely to move the needle much. The clock is ticking toward a July 7 court date for the school finance plan. The Legislature’s inability to meet the school funding challenge doesn’t bode well for the contemplated special session. Even if there were a plan, it would end up in court anyway. So let the judges have a shot at it again. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, June 8, the 159th day of 2005. There are 206 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On June 8, A.D. 632, the prophet Mohammed died. On this date: In 1845, Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tenn. In 1861, Tennessee seceded from the Union. 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. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels anti Cxtmal County since I8S2. 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 Editor and Publisher Circulation Director Advertising Director News Editor Gary E. Maitland Doug Toney Jeff Fowler Neice Bell David Rupkalvis GUESTCOLUMN In my life’s tapestry, Nancy Fuller is a very bright thread 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- As another school year comes to an end, so ends another chapter in the life of one of die most remarkable champions of children this community has ever known. Nancy Fuller, superintendent of Comal ISO, officially retired after graduation ceremonies. Though her 19-month tenure was much too short, the impact made by this extraordinary lady will be realized for years to come. While serving as president of the school board, I was privileged to have been involved in the decision to hire Comal ISD’s first woman superintendent. Those endless months, the board met after work, on weekends and even a holiday, to undertake one of its most crucial responsibilities and obligations — that of hiring the superintendent. The process was long and tedious, and for the six out of seven board members who participated, it was the most gratifying team-building exercise. In the end, we knew we had chosen the best of the best, and the real winners were the children of CIS!). A comment was made to the media by the nonparticipating member who stated, “There has to be something wrong with her, she’s just too good to be true.” And for the first time, I agreed, in part, “she is too good to be true.” One of the most memorable comments Fuller made as she spoke lf) the community when she arrived was, “I am not a princess manager.” I low true she has been to her word. She has been one of the hardest working, talented, knowledgeable, skilled and tireless individuals I MOW TO CONTACT United States MlH 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: 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 SAN MARCOS OFFICE: 111 E. San Antonio, Suite 205 San Marcos 78666 Telephone: (512) 392-2364 Fax: (512) 392-2834 GOVERNOR MOW TO CONTACT Texas Government liiiiitiimnii ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. 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: carter.casteel @ STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 E-mail address: jeff. Wentworth have ever known, buller was on call 24 hours a day — from her first morning meeting to the last sports program or whatever is going on at a campus, to her sleep deprivation, thinking about "how to be the best." Fuller is not only a nurturer of children, but also a nurturer of staff. She is a leader of leaders; she leads by example. A staff member from her previous district described her as having “fire in her belly.” That fire School District. certainly ignited the warm heart and personality so desperately needed to heal this district. In the tapestry of my life, Nancy Fuller will be one of the brightest threads. Besides being an advocate for children, education and a strong community leader, I consider her my friend. For Nancy Fuller, there are no strangers, only friends she has not met. Fortunately for us, Fuller will continue to reside in our community. In true Nancy Fuller fashion, I’m sure she will continue to share her talents and gifts with us, just not on a 24-hour basis. DORA GONZALES Dora Lara Gonzales is past president of the Comal IndependentUS has largely ignored the gathering threat of China IKEMKs*iiHNNMi [THOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services International. He hosts ‘After Hours" on Fox News Channel Saturdays at ll p.m. EST. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services. 435 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, Chicago. 60611, or leave an e-mail at America’s understandable preoccupation with terrorism and Iraq may have obscured the gathering threat of China as a formidable adversary. At an Asian security conference in Singapore, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld last Friday delivered what some have called an unusually blunt critique of China. Rumsfeld noted that Beijing’s military spending threatens Asia’s delicate security balance. Instead of spending so much on weapons, Rumsfeld said, China should emphasize political freedom and open markets. “Since no nation threatens China,” said Rumsfeld, “one wonders why this growing (military) investment?” The answer is that rather than feeling threatened, China intends to threaten others, especially the United States. In a brilliant new book by the late Constantine Menges, Ph.D., titled “China: The Gathering Threat,” the former special assistant for national security affairs to President Reagan and national intelligence offi cer at the CIA soberly outlines the threat China already has become and persuasively argues how America can use its economic and moral weapons to stop the world’s biggest nation without a shot being fired. Menges writes that China has defined America as its “main enemy” and can now launch nuclear weapons at the United States that are capable of killing IOO million of us. China’s effective espionage operation in the U.S. has managed to steal the designs of nearly all nuclear warheads and other military secrets, he says. China has threatened to destroy entire American cities if the U.S. helps Taiwan defend itself against a military assault or invasion, Menges writes. China also buys weapons from Russia that are designed to sink U.S. aircraft carriers. It controls more than $200 billion in U.S. debt and sells more than 40 percent of its exports to America, using the profits to strengthen its economy and advanced weapons systems aimed at the U.S. Until recently, American policy has been to give China access to U.S. markets in hopes that might reduce tensions and hasten democratic reform. It has done no such thing. Menges argues it is time to try another approach. First, he says, the U.S. must finish development of a reliable missile defense system that can be easily expanded should China, Russia or any nation attempt to overwhelm us by building additional missiles. Menges says the cost of expanding a missile defense system is far less than building new missiles and such cost will be prohibitive to enemy nations once they realize the U.S. can't be successfully attacked. Without a working missile defense system, he writes, the increased number of warheads and missiles now available and under construction will make the Chinese threat substantial — he estimates by 2008, China will have more than 400 warheads capable of reaching U.S. territory. Menges believes in “the importance of forthrightly informing the world about U.S. interests and actions. Truth is indeed the best policy.” In his view, the United States often fails to respond to allegations by China and Russia that America seeks world domination. He says we should be telling the world it is China and Russia that are spreading weapons of mass destruction and China’s actions “demonstrate that while pursuing active commercial diplomacy to enhance its economic development and mostly avoiding visible conflict, China is also an expansionist, coercive, manipulative dictatorship." As anyone who has bought anything can attest, the United States is fulfilling one of Lenin’s doctrines by purchasing the rope with which the communists plan to hang us. Too many things sold in America are made in China and too many corporations have moved their plants and operations to China, undermining the U.S. domestic economy and helping a nation that seeks to destroy us. One of many countermeasures recommended by Menges is the expulsion of a1] companies that function as fronts for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army or other military or intelligence-related entities in China, Russia or any other nonallied state. Investigative reporter Kenneth R. Timmerman estimates there are hundreds of such front companies in Southern California alone. Secretary Rumsfeld’s remarks and Menges’ book reveal China’s commitment to expanding its empire by intimidation and force, and how the U.S. had better take China’s seriousness seriously if we are to confront and repel it. ;