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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Newspaper Archives

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 19, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas *    Air quality *    health alert BEST AVAILABLE COPY New Braunfels TUESDAY June 19, 2001 12 pages in 2 sections 12 pages in 2 sectiiHeRALD-Z EITUNG nuBfts . j Vol. 150, No. 188 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Comal County, GERA negotiating lake permit pact By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The devil is in the details, the old saying goes. And that’s how it has been for county officials and the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority, who are renegotiating a 1999 agreement. Comal County Commissioners are seeking an economic impact study on GBRA’s request to take more water out of Canyon Lake, but GBRA does not want to delay the process for the study. GBRA’s request to take an additional 40,000 acre-feet of water out of Canyon Lake goes before the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission Wednesday. Comal County Judge Danny Scheel, who said he was “comfortable” with the permit amend ment application, is seeking a change to address the concerns of Canyon Lake residents opposed to the permit. A special meeting of Comal County Commissioner’s Court recessed Monday morning so representatives of the two bodies could work on a new agreement. If a new agreement is reached, commissioners could reconvene today to consider it. Commissioners unanimously voted down the fifth draft of an understanding on Monday. At issue for Scheel was that the latest draft provided no remedies if an outside economic and environmental impact study the GBRA agreed to pay for shows its pending application would adversely affect the lake. Also, the agreement does notSee PACT/4ATNRCC The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Building E, second floor conference room in TNRCC offices in Austin. Take Interstate 35 North through Austin. Take the Yager Lane Exit and go to the light. Turn left and go over Interstate 35 to the southbound access road. Park 35 is the main building to the TNRCC. Take a right and go down to the parking lot. CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zetung Jany, from left, David and Elkin Salazar, who make up the Flying Salazars from Peru, South America, perform Monday night during Circus Valentine at the Comal County Sheriff’s Posse Arena. Groups support varying redistricting plans By Martin Malacara Staff Writer Some members of the Texas Legislature are not getting much of a summer vacation this year. That’s because they are working overtime on the problem of reapportioning state and Congressional districts. The Legislative Redistricting Board met Monday in Austin to hear testimony from individuals and groups concerned with the redistricting process. Because both houses could not approve a redistricting plan, the task is now left to the board. According to state law, the board has 60 days to reapportion state districts, or redraw the boundary lines for state Senate and House of Representative districts. The board is comprised of Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, Comptroller Carole Keeton Bylander, Attorney General John Comyn, Lind Commissioner David Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Pete Laney. Representatives from Brazoria County addressed the board about a proposal to split the county into three senate districts. Brazoria County Judge John Willy said such a split also would split Brazoria County cities in half. “The Constitution gives us guidance, but common sense gives us another guide,” he said. Brazoria County District Attorney Jerri Yenne said such a split also could affect interlocal agreements between BrazoriaRedistricting The Legislative Redistricting Board is comprised of: • Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff; • Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander; • Attorney General John Cornyn • Land Commissioner David Dewhurst; and • Speaker of the House Pete Laney. For more information on redistricting, visit redist/redist.htm and nearby Matagorda County. Yenne urged the board to keep a balanced bipartisan perspective. A group from Tarrant County spoke to the board about concerns it had with the lack of Hispanic representation in government, particularly in Fort Worth and the east Arlington area. The group said it does not support the House redistricting plan, House Bill 150, but supports a plan endorsed by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Willie Velasquez Research Institute. The group believes this plan would preserve the four current districts in Tarrant County. “The Hispanic community in eastern Tarrant County needs to be kept together,” said Jesse Aguilera, a member of the Tarrant County redistricting committee. In Hidalgo County, Republicans are concerned redistricting would not give them a fair, competitive chance against Democrats. “I’ve seen gerrymandering crawling all over the big cities,” Hidalgo County Republican Hollis Rutledge said. “Gerrymandering is hatched to eliminate conservatives.” In the legislative session, the Senate redistricting plan, Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 499, was approved by the Senate Redistricting Committee but did not have enough support to be considered by the entire Senate. Sen. Jeff Wentworth is the chairman for the Senate Redistricting Committee. Wentworth represents Senate District 25, which includes Comal County. Wentworth and the rest of the committee are trying to decide if redistricting for the State Board of Education and Congressional districts should be decided in a special session or by the courts. Under House Bill 150, Comal County would lose state Rep. Edmund Kuem-pel. Comal could be included with District 53. This district, represented by state Rep. Harvey Hildebran, currently is comprised of Blanco, Kendall, Kerr and Gillespie counties. Bill Womack, a Canyon Lake resident, already has announced his candidacy for the House seat, regardless of the outcome of the redistricting process. By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council members cannot agree on what happened during closed meetings about buying land for city parks. Council members struggle to put together the sequence of events as they discussed buying a piece of property at Torrey Street and Gruene Road. The city plans to use it for parkland. Council conducted three closed meetings to discuss parks and has yet to discuss the issue publicly. However, the city has a signed earnest money contract with the seller. The first public discussion of the park purchase will take place Wednesday when the Infrastructure/Improvement Corp., known as the 4B Board, meets. At issue is whether the city violated the state’s Open Meetings Act by entering into an earnest money contract to purchase the property, before allowing public debate or public discussion on the property at hand. The Open Meetings Act allows for an exemption to public meetings to “deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person.” Specifically, the law does not allow a governmental body to “cut a deal in private, devoid of public input or debate,” reads the 2000 handbook of the Open Meetings Act, published by the state’s attorney general’s office. Open meetings advocates say determining the violation is a matter of determining what decisions were made and when action was taken. “The burden is definitely on the city,” Freedom of Information Foundation President Rob Wiley said. “They have to point out what exemption they are using that allowsSequence of Events— • April 9: Council agrees to ask the Infrastructure/ Improvement Corp. for funds to buy parklands. • April 18: 4B Board turns down request, telling council it must have a specific proposal in mind. • May J 4: Discussed in closed session. • May 29: Discussed in closed session. • June 4: Contract signed by city manager and earnest money paid for property at Gruene Road and Torrey Street. • June 11: Discussed in closed session. them to sign a contract privately — and to discuss that contract privately, without any public input.” Councilwoman Debbie Flume said council began discussions on buying land for city parks in May in closed session. The first discussions took place after the group asked for funding for parkland from the 4B Board, she said. The board’s directors told the city that it needed to have specific property before it could ask for funding. Flume says the council directed City Manager Mike Shands to look into making a deal with Howard Wimberley, who owns the land at 776 E. Torrey Street and 2136 Gruene Road. At the June ll meeting, Flume said the group discussed the contract for earnest money and how it would be funded through the 4B Board. But other council members say the group did not discuss sending it to the 4B Board and claim that such an effort was “premature.” “I don’t think it was readySee COUNCIL/3A The circus comes to town Council splits on details of parkland buy Inside Abby......................... ......5A Classifieds................... ...4-6B Comics....................... ......3B Crossword.................. ......5A Forum.......................... ......6A Local/Metro................. ......4A Movies.......................... ......5A Obituaries.................... ......3A Sports........................ ..1-2B Today........................... ......2A 6) c | com Key Code 76 NB offers cardboard box recycling Special to the Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels residents now have a place to recycle their cardboard boxes. New Braunfels has opened a free cardboard recycling drop-off site at the City Materials Yard, next to the Municipal Building at 424 S. Castell Ave. Residents can drop off cardboard and chipboard boxes of all sizes between 8 a.m. and I p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The opening of the cardboard recycling drop-off site comes as the city prepares for the Monday kick-off of the pay-as- you-throw garbage collection program. Under “pay-as-you-throw,” residents will be allowed to place the equivalent of three 30-gallon containers of garbage at the curb on each collection day. Garbage in excess of that limit must have a city-issued extra garbage sticker attached to it in order for it to be picked up. Those utilizing the drop-off site are asked to break down boxes and place them in the specially marked area at the site. Cardboard and chipboard collected at the new drop-off site will be taken to the Comal County Rural Recycling Center to be recycled. CHRIS PACE/Herald-ZeitungRichard Malin, left, and James Rutherford load cardboard to be bundled and later recycled Monday afternoon at the Comal County Rural Recycling center. ;