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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 9, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, March 9, 2003Forum Contact Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland 625-9144, ext. 220 Ni:w Braunfels 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) 625-9144 Editorial- Paving way to better use of street funds Tucked behind the ongoing arguments about how best to spend the city’s 4B funds — economic development vs. roads — was a story this past week about adopting tougher standards for streets that would be built in New Braunfels after May. The story wasn’t glitzy and the topic just doesn’t elicit the kind of emotional debate that has marked the 4B hinds issue. But it dovetails handily into the broader picture. In short, the Planning Commission adopted standards that should increase the number of years that a newly built street can be used. ! How much longer wasn’t clearly specified. City Engineer Mike Short told the commission he could not say for sure what’s been the average life of a .;city street. But Short suggested that streets built to ’.The new standards could last for 20 years, s Any improvement should equate into valuable 11 monetary savings over time. Because if past history •) tells us anything, it tells us the cost of laying ^asphalt IO years from now is bound to be more ;;costly than it is today. So every year of extra life we ;can get from a street is an economic benefit. ■. The suggested change was recommended by ‘ Short and the Subdivision Committee of the Plan-* ning Commission. The standards would provide I guidance to developers who have to provide roads I for new subdivisions. So as the debate on how much of the 4B funds to '. spend for streets continues, at least we have the comfort of knowing these new standards are paving the way to better use of those funds.Today In History- ii By The Associated Press ’ Today is Sunday, March •J), the 68th day of 2003. I.There are 297 days left in '.the year. Today’s history highlight: On March 9, 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads Monitor and Virginia (formerly Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Va. On this date: In 1661, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, the chief minister of France, died, leaving King IiOuis XIV in full con-! trol. In 1796, the future emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, married Josephine de Beauharnais. (The couple divorced in 1809.) In 1916, Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, N.M., killing more than a dozen people. In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Roosevelt, began its “hundred days” of enacting New Deal legislation. In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan. In 1975, work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline. In 1992, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin died in Tel Aviv at age 78.Policy Letters To The Editor Is Flume’s 4B funds plan just politics? Isn’t it about time that council members [Debbie] Flume, [Robert] Kendrick and [Ken] Valentine explain why almost everything they do on city council appears to be an attempt to stick it to the chamber? Aren’t there more important issues facing New Braunfels than who controls the Highway Visitor Center? Mr. Valentine claims that certain businesses receive preferential treatment by the center, yet the volunteers who actually work there showed up in force to expose his claims as false. Rather than admit that he had been busted in a fib, he scolded the chamber for forcing the speakers to come out in bad weather! Now that’s chutzpah. Mr. Valentine, where is your proof that the Highway Visitor Center is showing preference to chamber member businesses? I’m betting you have none. When you see this type of behavior, it begs the biggerWrite'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 Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio, TX 78230 (210) 340-2885 U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith, question of trustworthiness. Only recently, Mr. Valentine joined Mrs. Flume and others in claiming that they have the answer to our street problems, and as usual, it involves challenging the interests of the chamber. If these folks play fast and loose with the facts on the Highway Visitor Center, why should we believe that what they are telling us about 4B money is true? They have proven time and time again that they will say and do anything to get their way. If Mrs. Flume were truly interested in representing the interests of her district, she would have attempted to get the signatures for her petition from her own constituents, rather than hanging out at the post office trolling for the elderly. I guess all those Pospisil signs that are popping up like weeds in her district scared her off. .For those in our community who continue to spew hatred for the chamber, remember that there are people behind the name, and they have just as much of a right to push for their agenda as you do. As citizens, we should expect our leaders to deal fairly and honestly with everyone in our community, including members of the chamber. Given the fact that Mrs. Flume is either unwilling or unable to do this, the burden is on her to prove that her 4B initiative is something other than pure politics. Duane Neel New Braunfels Like Jefferson, I tremble for nation *Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just ”— Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826 So many things written by this unique and talented man so many years ago, are apropos to our problems as a nation today. His insight and wisdom and his concise working of monumental statements reflect a God-given talent. I, too, tremble for my country. Shirley Flowers New Braunfels R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 821-5024 Governor Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin, TX 78711 (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512)463-1849 Texas State Representative Cartel Casteel, R-New Braunfels How to contact in Austin: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 e-mail address: carter, casteel @ Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 How to contact in Austin: (512) 463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail address: jeff .Wentworth O senate.state.tx. us 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. An address and telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included so authorship can be confirmed. 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] ’Em City Council Mayor Adam Cork 608-2100 city hall 609-1958 home mayor© District 1 Sonia Muftoz-Gill 608-2100 District 2 Larry Alexander 609-1242 home District 3 Debbie Flume 629-2496 home/work District 4 Robert Kendrick 643-1177 home (281)686-7480 work District 5 Lee Rodriguez 629-4901 work District 6 Ken Valentine 625-7384 home [email protected] Comal County Judge Danny Scheel 150 N. Seguin Ave. New Braunfels, TX 78130 620-5501 Fax: 608-2026 Precinct 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson 620-5504 (830) 899-2948 home Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin 620-5509 (210) 651-9672 home Precinct 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora 620-5503 606-9208 home Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady 620-5508 (830) 625-6739 homeNews media have failed to get a grip on religion Ten years ago, the Washington Post carried a front-page story on evangelical Christians. The writer, Michael Weisskopf, famously dismissed this significant demographic as “poor, uneducated and easy to command.” Uproar ensued and members of this particular class telephoned and faxed their bona fides, noting their degrees * from accredited and mainstream universities. Weisskopf was forced to amend his story, explaining he meant “most” evangelicals are poor, uneducated and easy to command. That brought more objections from the same class of people. The Post ombudsman at the time, Joann Byrd, wrote a column in * which she tried to explain Weis-'skopf’s faux pas. Byrd said readers needed to understand that * most journalists don’t know any ; of “these people.” Don’t want to know them is a better explanation. Now comes the newly minted New York Times op-ed columnist, - Nicholas D. Kristof, with a Simi- Cal Thomas lar statement. He not only displays the kind of ignorance such people like to attribute to evangelicals but also will reinforce in the minds of many what might be called the “evangelical bias” that causes so many Christians to distrust the mainstream media. First, a definition: An evangelical Christian is one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and who has repented of sin and accepted Jesus as his or her savior. The evangelical believes he has the privilege and obligation to share the “good news” that Jesus came to save sinners with others so they might go to heaven rather than hell. Clearly, Kristof, like his Post predecessors, would not recognize an evangelical if he saw one. He correctly writes that “it is impossible to understand President Bush without acknowledging the centrality of his faith.” He notes that “evangelicals are increasingly important in every aspect of American culture.” And he accurately says, “In its approach to evangelicals, the national news media are generally reflective of the educated elite, particularly in the Northeast. It’s expected at New York dinner parties to fink crime to deprived childhoods — conversation would stop abruptly if someone mentioned Satan.” Having made the case for the presence and importance of evangelical Christians in our country and culture, Kristof, who acknowledges that a Gallup Poll last December found that 46 percent of the country identify with the labels “evangelical” and/or “born again,” then writes this incredible sentence: “Yet, offhand, I can’t think of a single evangelical working for a major news organization.” Kristof needs to spend less time at those New York dinner parties and engage the real world. Throwing modesty to the winds, the most widely syndicated op-ed columnist in the United States would identify with the label “Evangelical Christian,” though he dislikes labels unless people first define them. This fellow also has a TV show on a secular cable network and has worked in “major news organizations” nearly all of his professional life. He is not alone. Depending on one’s definition of a “major news organization,” there are perhaps hundreds of evangelical Christians working at newspapers, television and radio stations and even in Hollywood. An international reporter for USA Today is a strong evangelical Christian. A White House air-respondent for a major wire service covered the Jimmy Carter campaign for president and his presidency, as he did Watergate, with distinction, fairness and credibility. There are many more examples. While Kristof laments the separation of media from faith and the media’s failure to understand and explain faith to consumers, he and his newspaper have the power and the staff to open their eyes (if not their souls) to the “good news,” or at least to the largest and most ignored (by elites) demographic in the country. If they won’t do it as a mater of faith, they should do it as a matter of business. If the New York Times cares about covering not only evangelical Christians, but religion in general, it might begin by reading World Magazine’s March 8 issue ( The cover story, “What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us,” chronicles the failure of “major news organizations” to get a grip on religion coverage and how that has hurt the public’s right to know. (Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist. ;