New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 2, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
I ■ Herald-Zeitung ■ Tuesday, May 2,1995
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t u n g
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Q U O T A B
“People love the unvarnished truth if ifs about others, and hate it when ifs about
— Warren Rogers, author/editor, 1994
From Rescue To Recovery
Workers in Oklahoma City turn over grim task as hope fades
As the days passed following the bombing, families and rescue work-> ers in Oklahoma City continued to hope that survivors would he found in the rubble.
I Past experience gave them reason for hope.
Earthquakes in this country and abroad have leveled buildings, trapping victims beneath the wreckage. In many cases, survivors were found days and even weeks after the disaster.
In the more dramatic cases, survivors were pinned under rubble but had plenty of air and some kind of water source on which to survive.
I The earthquake would shake the buildings apart and bring the pieces ; straight down to the ground.
If victims were able to shield themselves from the falling debris (and if they had a large measure of luck), they might be able to survive until rescue workers dug them out.
The bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, however, did far more damage than an earthquake could have.
Rescue workers who discovered victims found that they were dealing with far more serious wounds than those associated with earthquakes.
Blast wounds and shrapnel wounds took a tremendous toll on the workers and visitors in the building before the structure fell down upon them.
And instead of the building crumbling in large pieces that could fall and land at an angle, perhaps protecting those below, the Murray building was shredded into small pieces, leaving mounds of rubble under which no one could survive.
Anyone who was lucky enough lo survive the initial blast and disintegration of the building’s facade would then have to deal with the poor weather that plagued rescuers lor several days early on.
Cold temperatures, mixed with heavy rains and winds, would have been a horrible obstacle for any survivors to face.
So now, some 13 days since the blast, the decision has been made to use heavy equipment to remove the rest of the debris believed burying some 40 victims.
The machines will be less forgiving in their search, but they will also speed the recovery of bodies.
Rescue workers will also be far safer, less vulnerable to falling debris and building collapse.
While many may rue the fact that the search for live victims has basically been called off, the use ol heavy equipment may prevent a second tragedy by keeping rescue workers out of harm s way.
(Today's editorial was written by Manaffinn Editor Dour I j ne day)Write us
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Pos I mas h h Send address changes lo the New liraunfels Herald Yeilurtf’, P.O. Drawer 311 32S, New Braunfels, Tx 78131 -1328Voting on sales tax issue tricky
I almost always vote early.
That way I can vote when it is most convenient for me. I avoid the election day lines, and I know I won’t have to go vote on election day if the weather is crummy, or if it’s so nice I’d rather be out doing something fun.
But I haven’t voted yet for the May 6 city election because I can’t make up my mind about the two sales tax propositions.
There are a lot of things to consider on these propositions, and whichever way it turns out, it will end up affecting my wallet.
What the election boils down to for me is this: Which is the better way to finance city government, through sales taxes or property taxes?
The two propositions, if they pass, would increase the sales tax half a cent. The money would be split four ways — one-eighth of a cent for property tax reduction, one-eighth of a cent for economic development, one-eighth of a cent for streets and drainage and one-eighth of a cent for city facilities and equipment.
Now, the city will have to address the problems of streets and drainage, economic development and city facilities, like a new library and police station, whether these propositions pass or not. 'Hie question is whether they will be paid for by property taxes or sales taxes. And as far as reducing the property tax rate, well the city will spend the same amount of money whether that passes or not, so again the question is will they spend money raised through sales tax or property tax.
The folks on the city council like the idea of the sales tax because this town gets so many tourists. They argue, and correctly so, that tourists pay sales taxes but not property taxes. So this is a way to get a portion of the tax burden off city residents and put it onto tourists. Part of me likes that idea, hut part of me wonders if it is fair.
Another thing to consider is whether increasing the sales tax to 8.25 percent would cause people to shop out of town. The sales tax rate in San Antonio is 7.75 percent, and a lot of people (too many) already routinely shop in San Antonio instead of locally. Wouldn’t making our sales tax higher than San Antonio just give them another reason to drive south? When you look at how much the higher sales tax would add to the cost of even a large item like a $5(X) refrigerator ($2.50) it seems negligible, but it might make people more likely to shop out of town.
Before it passed its own sales tax increase the City of Round Rock had a “Shop Round Rock — It’s Less Taxing” campaign that featured bill boards on Interstate 35 and other advertising. City officials said it was a success, but then they abandoned it and raised the sales tax anyway, so maybe it wasn’t such a hit.
There is also the question of which tax is more fair, sales tax or property tax. Property taxes are progressive, that is. the rich pay a larger share than the poor. Hie rate is the same for everyone, but wealthy people live in homes with higher appraised values, so they are likely to pay a slightly higher percentage of their income in property taxes than someone living in a small apartment or rental home, (it may not scent like they pay property taxes, hut it is factored into their rent).
And speaking of renters, the property tax is factored
into their rent. If the property tax is reduced do you think landlords will lower their rents? Not likely, so renters won’t save a dime, but they will pay the higher sales tax, so they come out losers.
The sales tax is generally considered a more regressive tax than the property tax. It is not quite as regressive as many people think however because many necessities are exempted. Groceries, medical care, rent or mortgage payments, are not taxed. So lower income people, who spend most of their money on the necessities of life, spend only a small portion of their income on taxable items, so they pay a smaller share of their income on sales tax.
Rich people, who put a large portion of their earnings into savings and investments, also get off easier because all that money put into savings is not touched by the sales tax.
So the sales tax really lands hardest on — surprise — the middle class, who spend a larger portion of their income than the poor on taxable items like meals in restaurants, new televisions and such, but put less of their earnings into savings than higher income people.
Another thing to think about is that a portion of the sales tax money would go to economic development. Some people who moved to New Braunfels for its small-town charm and natural beauty may not like some of the tilings economic development brings with it: more crowded parks, lots of construction, crowded roads, longer lines at the HEB. They don’t like it and they certainly don’t want to pay extra taxes to bring it here.
So how will I vote on the sales tax issues? Ask me May 7.1 have a feeling I’ll be making up my mind as I stand in the voting booth.
(Ro^er Croteau is the Herald-Zeitung city> editor.)
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Marking bomb material revived on Hill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost 20 years ago the government developed a way to mark explosives to help truce the origins of terrorist bombs. But Congress blocked the research, even aller a test of the device helped catch a bomber in Baltimore.
Lobby Rig by the explosives industry and the National Rifle Association, citing safety concerns, buried the idea.
T he Oklahoma City bombing shocked it hack to life.
Last week President Clinton proposed legislation lo resume T reasury Department study of the feasibility of mixing tracers, called "taggants,” into dynamite and other explosives. 'Rial might include the fertilizer used to make the Oklahoma City bomb, or other materials that detonate such bombs.
A blast would scatter these tiny plastic tracers, which survive as a clue to help find the bomber.
"They would prevent a hot lead from getting cold,” Ron Noble, a treasury undersecretary, said Monday.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms began developing tag-Today In History
By The Associated Press
Today is T uesday, May 2, the 122nd day of 1995. There are 243 days left in the yeat
Today’s Highlight in History:
Fifty years ago, on May 2, 1945, the Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin, and the Allies announced theAnalysis
guilts iii 1974. Each chip, about the size of a grain of sand, cames a microscopic color code that* shows where and when the explosives were made. They can be gathered with magnets or viewed with fluorescent light
In a pilot program, manufacturers inserted the plastic tags into some 7 million pounds of dynamite sold between I977 and I979 — a fraction of I percent of the dynamite sold in those years.
The test wasn’t expected to lead to an arrest.
But in May 1979, Nathan A Allen of Baltimore climbed into his pickup truck, started the engine and was blown through the truck window by two sticks of dynamite rigged under the seat. He was killed
Amazingly, investigators found tag gauls from one of the test shipments al the scene. Within 24 hours they traced the dynamite from its maker to the buyer, Allen’s uncle, James L. Melanin.
McFillin, who apparently believed
surrender of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria
On this date:
In 1519, artist Leonardo da Vinci died at Cloux, France.
In 1670, the Hudson Bay Company was chartered by England’s King Charles II.
In 1863, Confederate Gen. Thomas
Allen was having an affair with his wife, was convicted of the bombing and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Federal agents couldn’t have dreamed up a better demonstration of the technology. Bul it didn t convince detractors, or Congress.
Opponents said the government had not proven the devices were safe. Tampering with explosives could put miners and others who work with them at risk, the Institute of Makers of Explosives said. Opponents also argued that the taggunt program would he too expensive.
The NRA raised similar safety complaints about taggants in gunpowder, and also likened it to federal registration of firearms. The government wanted to mark the black powder used by owners of old-style muzzleload-ing guns because it is often used in pipe bombs.
“The NRA was pretty vocal,” said Jim Pasco, a former ATE assistant director who is now executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. "This would have been one tremendous leap forward, and it was just stopped cold.”
A 1980 report by congressional
“Stonewall” Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men al Chancel-lorsviUe, Va.; he died eight days later.
In 1885, Good Housekeeping magazine was first published in Holyoke, Mass.
In 1890, the Oklahoma T erritory was organized.
In 1895, I CK) years ago, lyricist Lorenz Hart, who collaborated with
investigators called taggants "useful law enforcement tools against terrorists,” bul also urged more study to settle the safety questions.
The report, by the Office of Technology Assessment, predicted the safety research could be completed in time to require the markers in explosives bv 1984.
Instead, Congress cut off all spending on the taggant program.
This time — with the search for bodies continuing in Oklahoma as congressional committees begin hearings on stopping terrorism — things could he different.
"We definitely have momentum now,” said Tom Diaz, minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime.
“I feel pretty confident some of illest* antiterrorism measures ait* going to pass.”
Sunday on NBC-TV’s "Meet the Press” program, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre noted the group’s earlier argument that taggant? might destabilize gunpowder But he added, “We’re laking a whole othei look at the issue.”
composer Richard Rodgers on song! like "Thou Swell” and “My Pump Valentine,” was horn in New York.
In 1932, Jack Benny’s first radii show made its debut on the NBG Blu< Network.
In 1936, "Peter and the Wolf,” symphonic talc for children by Serge Prokofiev, had its world premiere i Moscow.