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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 3, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4 — Herald Zeitung — Tuesday, May 3, 2005 FORUM WmMM Our Opinion 8 more amendments that deserve attention Over the past week, the Herald-Zeitung took a closer look at the amendments that would likely have the greatest impact on the city and Sunday, we offered our view on five of the most important propositions. Here are five other proposed amendments that could change the way the city does business that deserve a closer look. Proposition 8 — Vote NO This amendment would change the roll call requirements at city council meetings. Currently, the charter requires all votes other than procedural ones to have roll call votes. The amendment would only require roll call votes on the third reading of ordinances. While this amendment actually does little, we support leaving things the way they are, so we are against Proposition 8. Saving a few minutes at a council meeting is not worth sacrificing recorded votes. Voting yes would lessen accountability of our elected officials. Accountability to citizens is worth the effort of roll call votes. Vote no. Proposition 9 — Vote NO This amendment would change the city charter to allow ordinances to be passed after two public readings instead of three. We oppose this amendment. With the impediments already in place with citizens speaking out at city council meetings, reducing the opportunity to speak in support or opposition of an ordinance or action should not be reduced. Propositions 16,18,19 -Vote YES These amendments would eliminate the requirement that the city manager give council seven days notice, done in executive session and therefore not public, before terminating the city secretary, police chief and fire chief. Because those employees work for the city manager and not the coun-""""    cfi, we support the change. It takes politics out of the decision-making process. Proposition 20 — Vote YES This amendment would change the charter to remove the requirement of having departments of finance, streets, recreation, sanitation and planning and environmental development. It would also allow council, with die city manager’s recommendation, to eliminate the departments and consolidate departments. This proposition is not being driven by some hidden agenda to reduce the number of city departments. But eliminating the requirement to have all of the departments named above does give city council and city officials the flexibility to review operations, and restructure operations if necessary. This option should be available to city leaders, so we support the proposition. Propositions 22,23 — Vote YES These propositions would incorporate prosecutorial responsibilities into city attorney’s office, allow an assistant city attorney to be hired and remove the requirement that the attorney(s) live in the city limits. Currently, only four city employees are required to live in the city limits — the city manager, municipal judge, municipal prosecutor and city attorney. We do believe the city manager should live within the city, but removing the requirement that the city attorney and assistant city attorney live within the city limits seems fair, since police, fire, sanitation and all other departments allow their employees to live outside the city limits. Doing away with this requirement should also help the city in future recruitment efforts. We support these propositions. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Tuesday, May 3, the 123rd day of 2005. There are 242 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On May 3, 1945, during World War II, Japanese forces on Okinawa launched their only major counter-offensive, but failed to break the American lines. On this date: In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city. In 1916, Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the BriUsh for their roles in the Easter Rising. In 1921, West Virginia imposed the first state sales tax. In 1933, Nellie T. Ross became the first female director of the U.S. Mint. PROPOSITION 8 Would change the roll call requirements at city council meetings. PROPOSITION 9 Would allow ordinances to be passed after 2 public readings instead of 3. PROPOSITIONS 16,18 and 19 Would eliminate the need for city manager to give 7 days notice before terminating city secretary, police chief and fire chief. PROPOSITION 20 Would remove the requirement of having departments of finance, streets, recreation, sanitation, and planning and economic development, and would allow council to consolidate or eliminate these departments PROPOSITIONS 22 and 23 Would add prosecutorial responsibilities to city attorney's office, allow hiring of assistant city attorney and remove requirement that attorney(s) live in city limits. OTHERS Wednesday, we offer opinions on 3 other key amendment proposals. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. 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. Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Operations Director Vilma Linares News Editor David Rupkalvis Most Los Angeles residents rely upon delusions of grandeur for security Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton expressed concern Friday that freeway shootings are now back in fashion. It will pass. If you want to feel secure in Los Angeles you can try owning a gun, but most people rely on delusions of grandeur. Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks was found alive Saturday after faking her own kidnapping Tuesday. It got huge publicity. The next day, Paris Hilton claimed she had been kidnapped and her family threatened to kill anyone who pays the ransom. Buckingham Palace may sue two London papers who followed Prince I larry’s jeep at high speeds in Botswana. He’s watched closely since he was caught wearing that Nazi uniform. If he turns out to be Catholic, he’s out of the line of succession. Ralph Stebbins of Michigan won the Mega Millions lottery April 30. The first thing he did was to buy a gas guzzling RV. Before the week is out, President Bush will invite him to Crawford and hold his hand as they walk about the ranch together. Laura Bush got huge laughs at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night. She made fun of her husband’s family, his education and his lovemaking. President Bush fired two Secret Service agents for letting her get through security. President Bush planted a chestnut tree ARGUS HAMILTON Argus Hamilton's daily column of jokes on the news is carried in more than IOO newspapers across the United States and is also read and heard by millions on the Internet. He can be reached him by e-mail at Argus][email protected] com. Friday on the North Lawn of the White House to honor Arbor Day. He has a special fondness for America’s forests. The president spends so much time in the rough he can tell you which plants are edible. Bush reduced benefits for the rich in his Social Security plan. It adds benefits for the poor. I le’s the first Republican to propose more money for the poor at the expense of the rich since Augusta National raised their caddy fees. Hillary Clinton was loudly cheered in a packed house in Madison Friday. She refuses to capitalize on her husband’s good name among Democrats on the trail. Three times last week she asked the emcee to simply introduce her as Hillary of Arc. Bill Clinton joins Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in a New York school today to help fight childhood obesity. They each recendy lost more than I OO pounds. Gov. Huckabee went on the Atkins and Bill Clinton is living apart from his wife. The Automobile Club Thursday forecast record high gasoline prices all summer long. The cost of transporting goods is through the roof. Anymore when a truck driver tells you it’s his bridge night, you don’t know if he means cards or jumping. North Korea announced Saturday it may conduct underground nuclear tests this summer despite world opinion. They are the most isolated and bizarre society. At Wendy’s in North Korea they advertise at least one Finger in every bowl of chili. Commissioner Bud Selig proposed banishment from baseball Saturday for third-time steroid offenders. This is starting to look like a witch hunt. Barry Bonds had his injured knee drained Thursday and could face charges of destroying evidence. NOW VO CONTACT United States JJUBinipnH Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410. Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government lllllllllllllll GOVERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 Toll Free: (866) 687-4961 Fax: (830) 627-8895 WHILE IN AUSTIN: RO. Box 2910 Austin 78768-2190 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 E-mail address: carter.casteel @ house.state.tx. us STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512)463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail address: jeff. Wentworth®1 Dems wrong to oppose judicial nominees Now that some conservatives are in a tizzy about federal judges, here is something for them to ponder: The liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court just took a stand in favor of gun-ownership rights, while the conservatives on the court took a stand against them. Go figure. At issue is the law Congress wrote that says a person convicted of a felony in any court” may not own a firearm. A fellow from Pennsylvania was charged with perjury and with illegal ownership of two handguns because he had answered “no” to the felony-convic-tion question. Rims out he had served time in Japan for a weapons-law violation. So the question before the court was whether the phrase “in any court” meant in any court in the U.S. or in any court anywhere in the world. Quite sensibly, the liberals on the court ruled that since it was an American Congress that wrote an American law applicable to American citizens, then logically “any court” meant any American court. The conservatives — Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas — took literalism to the ridiculous extreme and said that Congress meant any court in the world. CHARLEYREESE Charley Reese is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. You can write to him at PO. Box 2446, Orlando, Fla. 32802. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority that included Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens, David I L Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said that to include foreign convictions would be unfair, since foreign courts do not follow American procedures in regard to a defendant’s rights. Amen. Witness the kangaroo courts in many of the world’s dictatorships, such as Cuba. Breyer also said that if Congress wishes to include convictions in foreign courts, it should rewrite the law to say so. Chief Justice William Rehnquist did not participate, since he had been out sick when the case was argued. What this interesting ruling tells you is that the terms “liberal” and “conservative,” “right” and “left,” don’t easily apply to judges. What you want in a judge at the appellate level is someone who can make a sensible interpretation of the statutes without regard for politics or ideology. In this case, the justices so many people brand as liberal came up with the sensible interpretation, while so-called conservatives carried their literalist interpretation to the point of absurdity. Furthermore, it is practically impossible to predict accurately how a judge will turn out once he or she has a lifetime appointment. Dwight Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren, who as attorney general in California had a reputation as a fire-eating anticommunist conservative. Once on the court, however, he became an anathema to the far right, which plastered the country with billboards saying, "Impeach Earl Warren." About the best you can do when choosing judges is to look for affirmative answers to these questions: Do they have a good education? If they served at the trial-court level, how many of their decisions have been affirmed on appeal, and how many overturned? I lave they shown that they have a judicial temperament, which means can they keep their emotions, their ideology and their political opinions out of their decisions? I can tell you an interesting and true story on this point. One of my newspaper’s reporters, an exceptionally good reporter, overheard a trial-court judge tell racist jokes. He was sure this obvious prejudice would show up in the judge’s decisions, but after spending weeks going through the judge’s cases, he had to admit that there was no evidence whatsoever that this judge carried his private prejudices into the courtroom. That judge was able to separate his private feelings and beliefs from his duty as a judge. At best, appointing a judge is such a throw of the dice that it’s not worth getting excited about. The Democrats are wrong on this issue. If the nominee survives in the committee, he should get an up or down vote without a filibuster. Both Democrats and Republicans do the country a disservice when they vote along party lines. Their loyalty should not be to the party, but to the Constitution and to the people. ;