New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 13, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4A ■ Sunday, March 13, 1994
■ To talk with Managing Edita Mark Lyon about the Opinion page, call 625-9144.
H o r
“‘Never lose your temper with the Press or the public9 is a m^jor rule of political life."
-Christabel Pankhurst British militant suffragist, 1959
E D I
I T O R I
I A L
A costly challenge
State’s suit challenging U.S. Justice Department’s ruling against the EAA is costly attempt to avoid an easy answer
Texas Attorney General Dan Morales Wednesday filed a lawuit in federal court, asking for a three-judge panel and rejection of the U.S. Department of Justice’s ruling which cites the Edwards Aquifer Authority for violating the Voting Rights Act. The EAA’s board, as set by Senate Bill 1477, is an appointed one.
The Justice Department ruled that the switch from an elected board to an appointed board diluted minority voting rights.
Instead of making a change to SB 1477, from an appointed board back to an elected board as the Edwards Underground Water District has had, the state has decided it would be in the best interest of its citizens to take the Justice Department to court. The trip to court could cost the state millions. One change to SB 1477 would cost considerably less.
The state contends that minority voting rights remain intact since all citizens are able to vote for the people who will make the appointments to the EAA board.
The state’s frustration, which has apparently led to this lawsuit, comes from the fact that the state legislature gave a "good faith" effort to comply with an order from U.S. District Judge Lucious D. Bunton in which called for the state to limit pumping from the aquifer to protect endangered species at the springs in here in New Braunfels and in San Marcos. After the state created the EAA to satisfy that order, the Justice Department cited the EAA for violating voting rights.
Instead of simply correcting the voting rights problem with SB 1477 now, we're going to spend a great deal of money to find out we’re going to have to correct it later anyway.
(Today's editorial was written by Mark Lyon, Managing Editor for the Herald-Zeitung.)
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4Illegal aliens are easy target for Smith
In politics it is important to pick a good enemy. A good enemy is a group that people hate, or who you can convince people to hate. A good enemy is weak, so they can’t fight back with a powerful lobbying effort in Washington or the media, or contribute cash to a potential election opponent.
A good enemy can be used to boost a politician’s popularity by blaming them for our country’s problems and putting forth an attack on that enemy as an easy cure for our problems.
Most of the time these weak groups are weak and hated because they deserve to be hated — pornographers, drug dealers, criminals, welfare cheats.
But sometimes they don’t deserve to be hated.
Take our U.S. Representative Lamar Smith’s new enemy, illegal aliens, for example.
Smith has recently bombarded the media with faxes on the costs of illegal immigration. He cites a study by Rice University economist Donald Huddle, which determined that undocumented aliens in 1992 cost governments $42.5 billion.
And Smith has a cure for this ‘growing national problem.’
“Our bill, unlike the Clinton administration effort, would cut off most government benefits to illegal aliens. We would allow for emergency medical care and the Supreme Court has ruled that all children must be allowed to enroll in school.
But that’s it: no welfare, no unemployment, and no public housing assistance. Providing these services to illegal aliens, as often happens now, is unfair to the millions of citizens and legal aliens who are legally entitled to them.”
Of course, those illegal aliens are legally entitled to those benefits, or Smith’s bill wouldn’t be need
ed would it?
So what’s the problem with Smith’s stance?
First, it reinforces the prejudice which Hispanics, both those illegally and legally in this country, already face. Smith paints them as shiftless and lazy, living off the tax money paid by hard working white folks. And if they do work, they are stealing Americans’ jobs.
Second, there is a reason this country provides these benefits to illegal aliens. They came here to work, and usually at our worst paying jobs, with no benefits, doing back-breaking work, and often paying taxes while they work. When they lose their jobs they need help, just like Americans.
Most of the ones who benefit from this help are children. Children who had no choice whether to come to this country. Children who deserve to have food, a place to live and medical care, no matter who their parents are. It is not fair to punish children because their parents chose to cross the border illegally.
We all have an interest in seeing that these children have immunizations and other preventative medical care, for example. In the long run it saves us all money be reducing the need for emergency medical care later. And of course, we all hopefully have an interest in preventing needless suffering of children.
Finally, Smith is building on sand when he claims illegal immigrants cost this country $42.5 billion a year, including $4.6 billion a year in Texas.
That study was funded by the Carrying Capacity Network, a group I have never heard of.
A follow-up study was done by the non-partisan Urban Institute, a group whose work I have often heard quoted with respect as an unbiased source of accurate information.
The Urban Institute study found that Huddle underestimated taxes paid by undocumented workers; overestimated the alien population, and overstates use of the welfare system. It also ignores any
indirect benefits created by illegal aliens, such as' jobs created by immigrants for native citizens.
In fact, just correcting the amount of taxes paid by aliens on income, unemployment insurance, registrations and fees, adds $50 billion to the rev'" enue collected from them, more than offsetting the cost of illegal immigration cited in the Huddle study.
When the over-use of the welfare system, overestimation of the alien population, and indirect economic benefits they create is corrected, it 1 becomes clear that this country benefits from these immigrants, who are for the most part, hard working people, looking for an opportunity to live a decent life, just like the ancestors of most of the people reading this column.
And besides advocating cutting off almost all public assistance for these people (the majority of whom pay taxes when working), Smith’s bill calk for an awful lot of money to fight this “growing • national problem,” which turns out to be not much of a problem at all.
It calls for building fences and ditches and installing lighting along the border with Mexico, hiring 6,000 new border agents, building new -detention facilities along the border, establishing a criminal alien tracking center, funding a study of the effectiveness of the Prisoner Transfer Treaty with Mexico, and training airline personnel in detection of fraudulent documents.
To pay for most of this, a $1.50 fee would be : charged for every person or vehicle crossing the; border.
This would badly hurt the economy of towns on both sides of the border, and may not generate the $450 million a year Smith estimates.
The portion of the cost of the bill not covered by the border crossing fee would either mean cuts in other, more needed programs, or an increase in the federal deficit.
(Roger Croteau is the city editor of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung.)
Do you agree with the state’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice?
Circle one - Yes or No Comments/Explanations_
Late Wednesday afternoon of this week, the state filed a suit against the Department of Justice. The suit was filed because the state claims that the Justice Department has unfairly ruled that the Edwards Aquifer Authority, with Its appointed board, violates the Voting Rights Act. The state disagrees with the ruling and filed their suit, claiming that the Justice Department, through their ruling, has prevented the state from meeting a mandated deadline to establish a governing body to control pumping of the Edwards Aquifer. Proponents of the Justice Department's ruling claim that the state's solution is to establish an elected board to the EAA, adding that it would save taxpayers millions of dollars in legal expenses that will now be incurred through the state's suit. What is your opinion? Fill out the coupon (right), drop it by our office at 707 Landa in New Braunfels and well report the results in next Sunday's edition. One vote per person. No names will be published. Deadline to submit your opinion is Friday, March 18. Copied forms are accepted.
Name__ Address. Phone#_ City I
Eyeing a Life of Congruity
Those of us in the medical profession, just as the rest of our society, are experiencing tremendous changes.
As we creep, no leap, toward socialized medicine, we arc also experiencing massive government intrusion into all other aspects of our lives. As a business friend of mine recently commented, “The federal government has so many new rules and regulations that I’m probably breaking the law two or three times a day without even knowing it!”
All of these changes in society mandates a look at our personal value system. What do we, each of us, stand for? Are we motivated by money, power, prestige? Do we wait for the polls to determine how we lean? Are we influenced by peer pressure? By the newest fads? By PEOPLE MAGAZINE? Do we think that if Donahue and Oprah say it then it must be so?
I imagine — no I’m convinced — that those who read this column have a rock solid value system that would smash a shipload of Geraldos. We recall the words of Aristotle who indicated that wealth
and power are of no value for their own sake. Wealth is desirable only as a means of living well. A certain amount of wealth enables us to pursue those things that are good for the soul — love, friendship, honor, wisdom. A virtuous life requires that our value system be compatible with oar actions.
What arc the values that are most important to you — love, joy, peace, wisdom, patience, courage, humility, kindness, gentleness, self-control, service, faithfulness, freedom, health, creativity, passion? Once you’ve made a list of meaningful virtues, then number them in order of importance. This difficult exercise will enable you to make decisions more clearly.
For the past two years, I have been contemplating another career. Getting out of medicine seemed almost untenable, however. I enjoyed working with my associates who were like family to me. And how could I get by without the clinic administrators Darlene, Mary, and Irene telling me what to do and where to go and even laughing at all my jokes? Most of all I would miss my patients. I enjoyed seeing them grow, becoming all they could be.
Yet the chaos in medicine caused me to reflect deeper. What were my values? After many hours of contemplation, I finally decided these three were most important to me: service, creativity, and freedom. How could I best serve? What profession
would enable me to use my creative talents best? Where could I find the most freedom?
Certainly medicine offers a golden opportunity to serve, but government restrictions were steadily eroding the ability to do what was best for the patient. Wouldn’t motivational speaking allow me to serve more. Wouldn’t an audience of ten or one hundred or a thousand be helped more than a few patients one at a time.
The art of medicine, of diagnosis, of rapport building is certainly creative, but not as broad-based as writing. Finally, and probably the biggest factor of all there exists no freedom in medicine anymore. HMOs, PPOs, and the government are telling doctor! and nurses what to do, how to do it and when to dc iL I began spending almost as much time complying with paperwork demands and talking to health care reviewers than I spent with my patients. Service, creativity, and freedom demanded I move on.
Certainly I won’t have as much wealth, power, and prestige as when I was a doctor, but my actions wit match my values and I will have a life of congruity (John Walker, a former resident of New Braunfels now lives in Red River, New Mexico.)
Today in history
By Th# Associated Prat#
Today is Sunday, March 13, the 72nd day of 1994. There are 293 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On March 13, 1852, a familiar symbol of the United States, Uncle Sam, made his debut as a cartoon character in the New York Lantern.
On this date:
In 1639, Harvard University was named for clergyman John Harvard.
In 1781, the planet Uranus was discovered by Sir William Herschel.
In 1868, the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson began in the U.S. Senate.
In 1884, standard time was adopted throughout the United States.
In 1901, the 23rd president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, died in Indianapolis.
In 1906, American suffragist Susan B. Anthony died in Rochester, N.Y.
In 1925, a law went into effect in Tennessee prohibiting the teaching of evolution.
In 1928, more than 400 people died when the San Francisquito Valley in California was inundated with water after the St. Francis Dam burst.
In 1933, banks in the U.S. began to re-open afte a holiday declared by President Roosevelt.
la 1938, famed lawyer Clarence S. Danow died ii Chicago.
In 1964, in a case that drew much notoriety, 38 its idents of a New Yak City neighbahood failed u respond lo the cries of Kitty Genovese, 23, a bar man ager who was stabbed to death.
In 1969, the Apollo IX astronauts splashed down ending a mission that included the successful test!nj of the lunar module.
In 1985, funeral services were held in Moscow fo Soviet leader Konstantin U. Chernenko.