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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 29, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — HERALD-ZEITUNG — Sunday, June 29, 2003Forum Contact Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland, 625-9144 ext. 220 NKW Br AUN KH KS 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 Gary E. Maitland, Managing Editor (830) 625-9144Editorial - Take politics out of redistricting process For IO years state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, has unsuccessfully tried to get legislation passed that would leave tough decisions on redistricting up to an independent citizens’ commission. He’ll try again in the opening days of the special session beginning Monday to find enough support for the idea. He probably will not succeed, but Senate Bill 6 is legislation that deserves more than a cursory look. Wentworth first sought similar legislation in 1993. He has continued the fight in every session of the Texas Legislature since — six times total, including an effort during the 2003 regular session. What’s wrong with state lawmakers wrangling over redistricting themselves? By its very nature, redistricting is highly partisan and extremely divisive. Just listen to all the presession talk, and you’ll grasp the problem more clearly. Republicans feel they are entitled to a majority in Congress because they are the ruling party. Democrats felt the same way when they were the dominant party force. Does it really make sense to let politicos establish voting district lines when their futures could be assured or threatened by the result? Wentworth thinks not, and he is right. Texans everywhere would be better served if redistricting was placed in the hands of men and women political futures do not depend on t he outcome. How would it work? A nine-mein bi1 r commission comprised of four Republicans, four Democrats and a nonvoting presiding officer would be selected. The state Senate would select four members — two Republicans, two Democrats, and the House would do the same. The presiding officer would be selected by the other eight commission members. lf the Legislature had approved Wentworth’s bill in the regular session, Texans would not be talking at a special session that could cost them $1.7 million — money we just don’t have to waste during these difficult economic times. As a state, we have much greater concerns than redistricting. Finding a better system of school finance is the most important issue on the Legislature’s unfinished business agenda. Taxpayers must brace for a second special session this fall to deal with that issue. Citizens who feel the redistricting session is unnecessary should contact their legislators quickly and urge them to support Senate Bill 6. You’ll find the addresses and contact numbers of all lawmakers representing Comal County in the list to the right.Policy The Herald-Zeitung encourages the submission of letters. Letters must be 250 words or fewer, and the Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. Guest columns should be less than 500 words. An address and telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included so authorship can be confirmed. No letter will be published until it has been verified. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor c/othe Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: [email protected] If we aren’t careful, we could lose peace in Iraq According to an Iraqi witness, last week an American soldier at a propane tank got into an argument with an Iraqi woman. He took her propane tank away from her, tossed it on the ground, and gave her a hard shove. An Iraqi man driving by saw this, stopped his car, got out and walked back to the two American soldiers there. He shot them both with a pistol and left in his car. He killed one and wounded the second. If the Iraqi witness is telling the truth, this was not a drive-by shooting, as the American military described it. Nor was it an organized attack by a supporter of Saddam Hussein. It appears it was just an Iraqi man who got ticked off when he saw an Iraqi woman being abused by a foreign soldier. This is both sad and revealing. Its sad because these young American sol-Write ’Em President George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20500 U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas Room 284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 8023 Vantage Dr., Suite 460 San Antonio 78230 (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 John Comyn Senate Russell Courtyard 5 Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 http://comy n. senate. gov/Charley Reese diers are not trained to occupy a foreign country. Their morale is low. The temperature is hot. We can well imagine a young American losing his temper when some lady is screaming at him in a foreign language. What he did should not have caused his death. On the other hand, it is revealing to understand ordinary Iraqis are getting angry at American occupation. A sense of honor is highly important in the Arab world, and this young man must have thought he was honor-bound to avenge t he affront of a fellow citizen and a woman by a foreigner. The American adminis- (All e mails are sent through the Web site) Austin office Jennifer Lustina, state director Beth Cubriel. field director 221 West Sixth St, Suite 1530 Austin 78701 (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 San Antonio office Darnel Mezza, regional director 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236 tration in Baghdad is trying to depict all attacks on Americans as the work of remnants of hard-core supporters of Saddam Hussein. The administration has begun to repeat the story, first floated by an Iraqi exile leader, that Saddam is offering a bounty for people to kill Americans. I doubt that is true. Some of the attacks are certainly by Saddam supporters, but we will be making a big mistake if we deny that our occupation is provoking some of these attacks. The lot of an occupier is not an easy one. First of all, he is a foreigner who conquered the country. This will breed some resentment even among people who hated Saddam Hussein. Second, he is torn between the need for his own security and the need to win over the people. Third, practically everything Iraqis are demanding is not in the power of individual soldier to give them. A GI can’t help it if big shots in the palace headquarters are dragging their feet, but it’s the GI, not the big shots, who is exposed to Iraqi people. Every time our soldiers fire into a crowd, every time they kick down a door in the middle of the night and start jerking people around, they will breed bitter resentment. That’s the tragedy of it all. People on both sides are doing what they believe they have to do, and that is leading inexorably to a greater conflict. Several thoughtful Iraqis have warned that the longer we stay, the greater the potential for trouble. That’s no doubt true. The Bush administration did a poor job of planning for the end of the war. Unless we get lucky, we are very likely to lose the peace. (Charley Reese is a syndicated columnist.) 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 e-mail address: San Antonio 78209 [email protected] (210) 821-5024 Texas State Senator Governor Jeff Wentworth, Rick Perry R-San Antonio State Capitol, Room 2S.1 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 PO. Box 12428 San Antonio 78209 Austin 78711 (210) 826-7800 (800) 843-5789 Fax: (210) 826-0571 Fax: (512) 463-1849 How to contact in Austin Texas State Representative (512)463-0125 Carter Casteel, Fax: (512) 463-7794 R-New Braunfels E-mail address: District office jeff. Wentworth @ senate. state .tx. us 254 E. Mill St. Judith Zaffirini New Braunfels 78130 D-Laredo (830) 627-8820 PO. Box 627 Fax: (830) 627-8895 Laredo 78042-0627 How to contact in Austin (956) 722-2293 PO. Box 2910 12702 Toepperwein Rd #214 Austin 78768-2190 San Antonio 78233 (512) 463-0325 (210) 657-0095 Fax: (512) 473-9920 Fax: (210) 657-0262 Supreme Court’s decision was unconstitutional The problem with trying to have it both ways is that you often can’t. The Supreme Court tried to have it both ways in its 5-4 decision Monday, ruling that minority students who apply for university admission may be given an edge, but it limited how large a role race can play in a university’s selection of students. The case involved the University of Michigan and a point system it used to give minorities an advantage over those who meet standards for admission. The court approved a separate program, used at the university’s law school, which gives race less prominence in the admissions decision-making process. Whether race is less or more prominent, its use as a beneficial (affirmative action) or detrimental (discrimination) standard, no matter the intended purpose, violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens ofCal Thomas the United States ... nor (shall any state) deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Unless t he Supreme Court is prepared to state that the 14th Amendment does not mean what it says, it is in clear violation of the Constitution to grant any preference that discriminates against citizens who have no access to such a preference. In the part of the case that gives race less prominence in law school admissions at the University of Michigan, .Justice Sandra Day O’Connor claimed the Constitution “does not prohibit the law school’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.” This is not a constitutional argument. It is an invented one. The obligation of a university is to teach and the privilege of its students is to learn. There is not a single word in the Constitution about educating citizens of the United States, nor is there a word about diversity as a “compelling interest” of the government. lf universities want to boost minority enrollment, for whatever reason, the place to begin is in primary and secondary schools. Improved lower schools would ensure minority (and majority) kids learn their subjects and qualify for admission based on merit instead of relying on a system designed to excuse underachievement. How does it benefit anyone — especially minorities — if they know that regardless of their performance a way into a university will be made for them based not on the content of their character and achievement, but on the color of their skin? The National Assessment of Educational Process last week released The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2000.” It found students in the dreadful Washington, D.C., school system are the worst readers in the country, despite annual per-pupil expenditures of $9,650 (second highest in the nation in 2001) and teacher salaries that rank among the nation’s highest. D.C. students who don’t learn to read shouldn’t worry. If they are minorities (as most are), they can count on affirmative action to get them into college, illiterate though they may be. This is the message the Supreme Court has sent in its decision. We don’t apply affirmative action in professional sports where minorities have succeeded disproportionately to their numbers in society. That’s because of their skills. If skills are paramount in sports, why should they also not be paramount in education? Not everyone can be a professional athlete, but everyone can learn. While the court’s decision directly affects admissions only at public, tax-supported institutions, it is likely to have a ripple effect. Expect the ruling to influence private colleges and universities, as well as government and business. For the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to be equal and to protect everyone, only a person who can prove he or she was discriminated against should be able to petition government for a redress of grievances. To allow race as a factor — even a small factor — in giving minorities advantages in college admission is still discrimination, and it is unconstitutional, even if a bare majority of Supreme Court justices say otherwise. (Cal 'thomas is a syndicated columnist.) ;