New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 26, 1980, New Braunfels, Texas
Microfilm Ce»ter, Inc. P.O. Box 451-36ranis tx 7‘ 5z
Redistricting plan in limbo
Billy Jo Zercher knows how to keep cool these dog-day afternoons. With temperatures soaring to IOO degrees, the sun sizzles the skin and fries a lot of fun. However, hosing off with refreshingly cool water certainly soothes the solarized summertime. Billy Jo is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Don Zercher of 588 S. Guenther Avenue.
By Robert Johnson
It’s been almost two months since the 60-day deadline expired, and there has been no word on the fate of Comal County’s redistricting plan from the U.S. Department of Justice.
And there’s no telling when a response wUl be forthcoming. John Wilson, the department’s assistant director of public affairs, said Tuesday.
That plan, which would redraw commissioner precinct lines to conform with the Supreme Court’s one-man, one-vote rule, has been before the Justice Department since May 7, 1979.
In most cases, the department has 60 days in which to respond to a submission. On July 6, 1979—the 60th day—the department requested additional statistical information, which the county eventually furnished Feb. 27,1980.
When he supplied that information, attorney J.C. Reagan, who has been retained by commissioners to represent the county in this matter, said he understood a new 60-day period was supposed to begin. When that period expired April 28, he assumed the plan had been approved.
However, Wilson said the deadline applies only to the original submission, not to subsequent requests.
Reagan disagreed. Judging from case law, the 60-day limit would apply in this situation as well, he said.
In late April, Wilson said he felt the department would respond by May 3—the date of Texas primary elections.
Tuesday, Wilson said, “My impression is ifs still gonna be awhile.” He said he could offer no estimate as to how long “awhile” would be.
The plan is the key link in the redistricting crisis, which involves the department, Comal County and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. MALDEF is representing a group of local citizens which has expressed concern that current precinct lines dilute the minority vote, making it impossible to elect a minority commissioner.
If the county plan is approved, the majority of voting Precinct IO (Bulverde) would be transferred from Charles (Tart) Mund’s commissioner Precinct 3 to Monroe Wetz’s commissioner
Precinct 2. In addition, a small chunk north of Highway 46 and east of U.S. 281 would be shifted from Mund’s precinct to Harry Carpenter’s commissioner Precinct I.
The shift would bring the county into compliance with the one-man, one-vote rule, according to 1970 census figures. It would also increase the minority percentage in commissioner Precinct 3 from 56.4 to 61.8 percent.
MALDEF has opposed that plan, and has proposed its own plan, which would increase the minority percentage in Precinct 3 to 70 percent. The higher percentage is necessary because population studies show a greater percentage of the minority population is under voting age than the Anglo population, MAIDEF officials have maintained.
I^ast February, after a hearing before a federal magistrate in San Antonio, MAIDEF was granted a temporary injunction enjoining elections for commissioner Precincts I and 3 from being held under existing boundaries, drawn in 1969
As a result, those races did not appear on the May 3 primary ballots.
Judges eye rulings in Utilities cases
By Wanda Lasater
A decision was delayed in 207th Judicial District Court this week on a motion to quash or dismiss the indictments against former New Braunfels Utilities electrical superintendent Howard Batey for official misconduct.
A similar motion by attorney Fred Clark (representing both men) is pending in the 22nd Judicial District Court for indictments of official misconduct against former Utilities Manager Richard Sledge.
Batey, who resigned from the Utilities Dec. 14, was indicted for two counts of official misconduct by a special grand jury March 26.
Sledge, who also resigned Dec. 14 after trustees indicated certain of his business activities were conflicts of interest, was indicted by that grand jury on one count of official misconduct. Three more indictments were returned against Sledge by another special grand jury April 15 for theft in
connection with.$23,000 in missing
funds, official misconduct and aggravated perjury in connection with his testimony to the March 26 panel.
Clark filed “exceptions to the indictment” before 207th District Judge Robert T. Pfeuffer and 22nd District Judge Terry L. Jacks on May 5. The motions read, in part, the defendent “excepts to the substance of the indictment because it appears from the face of the same that a prosecution for the offense is barred by lapse of time.”
The basis of the motion is that the official misconduct incidents took place more than three years ago which is the statute of limitations for certain class three felonies.
District Attorney Bill Schroeder has not filed answering briefs.
Pfeuffer said he was not ready this week to make a ruling on the motion and is considering the memorandum submitted by Clark challenging the legality of the indictment.
He added that it is a purely legal question relative to which statute of limitations applies to the official
misconduct indictments. If the charges
against Batey were to be considered theft, the statute of limitations is IO
One indictment alleges that Batey purchased utility poles for his own use through the Utilities in an attempt to avoid paying sales tax Feb. ll, 1977.
The other indictment charges him with instructing a Utilities employee use a company vehicle on company time to go to San Antonio to pick up personal items for Batey.
The motion to the 22nd District Court will be considered by Jacks next month. (Pfeuffer disqualified himself earlier from hearing the Sledge case since he legally represented Sledge’s wife before the couple was married.)
Even if the official misconduct indictments against Sledge are dismissed he will still face the indictment for the alleged theft by check of $23,000 on July 19, 1976, and aggravated perjury. The theft charge could result in a sentence of up to 20 years.
Both men have been free on bond since the indictments were returned.
Rock policy defeated
Ust month, New Braunfels Industrial Foundation voted 7-5 not to support the Chamber of Commerce’s position opposing new rock crushing operations along the Balcones Escarpment in Comal County.
Tuesday, the board also voted 7-5 not to support a position which touted cooperation with limestone-related industries which have purchased land locally as being in the best interest of the community.
The two votes seem to indicate the foundation will simply take no position on the matter, one member indicated.
The three-page statement states that cooperation with industries which have purchased land here will benefit the community more than attempting to resist these industries will.
It also states that quarried land will be reclaimed when it becomes feasible; that new industries should be scrutinized to insure that they have the financial resources to carry out a reclamation program; and that limestone industries are stable and would provide a consistent source of jobs.
A portion of the chamber’s policy
dealt with the problems being caused in the city by increased rail traffic, much of which is generated by limestone-related industries. The proposed foundation policy suggested the foundation encourage industries using the rails to join forces with interested citizens and governmental representatives to help make the railroads aware of the problem.
The eventual goal could be confronting the railroads about eliminating the downtown track and asking their cooperation in building overpasses or underpasses.High wheeiin'
Dr. O.A Stratemann looks over the vintage 1870 high wheel bicycle he will ride in the Fourth of
tiff photo by John Sort tm
July parade sponsored by the Sophienburg Memorial Museum.Glorious 4th: Parade to honor flag, hostages in Iran
Children laughing and fireworks popping are but two of the sounds of a traditional Fourth of July celebration.
This year, the celebration sponsored by the Sophienburg Memorial Museum will have an old-fashioned emphasis with a parade of antique bicycles, automobiles and a fire truck as well as a dedication to the spirit of the American flag.
Mrs. Ann Kuehier, program chair
man, said the celebration is dedicated to the flag and to the American hostages in Iran.
The festivities will start with Walter Faust ringing the Courthouse chimes and a 9:30 a.m. concert by the New Braunfels High School band on the plaza.
At almost the same time, a parade will start from Mayor Donnie Seay’s
home and wind its way around the plaza.
Included in the parade will be the 1925 Keo Speed Wagon firetruck, several antique automobiles and a contingent of IO members of the Stratemann family on antique high wheel bicycles All the participants will be wearing period costumes and waving American flags which also will be handed out to the crowd.
The Stratemann fairuly will be headed by Dr. O.A Stratemann, riding a vintage 1870 bike. His wife, Agnes, will be riding an 1860 bike with solid metal wheels which was first salvaged by her father. The rest of the group includes Mrs. Stratemann’s mother, Mrs. Meta Scholl, who will ride a high wheel tricycle as well as his two sons, O.A. Jr. and Martin, one daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren,
This is only the third parade for the family group to participate rn on the high wheeled bicycles The first was the city’s centennial celebration in 1946 and the second in 1970.
One reason, said Stratemann, is that the bikes are difficult to get on and off as well as ride, “but it is a lot of fun.” Of the bicycles, only the two are antiques and the others are rideable reproductions since the bikes are
extremely difficult to find as well as being quite costly, said Stratemann.
After the group arrives at the plaza, patriotic speeches will be made and a moment of silence will be observed for the hostages in Iran.
Speakers include Dr. Kenneth Kuehier, Mrs Stanley Woodward and Seay Elizabeth Elliott will sing “God
See GLORIOUS, Page SA
New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 89 - No. 26 June 26.1980 152 Pages — 25 Cents