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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 4, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Wednesday, May 4, 2005 AMENDMENTS FORUM 3 amendments deal with planning process Of the 39 proposed amendment changes appearing on the municipal election ballot, 16 are significant enough to warrant special attention by the voters. Sunday and Tuesday, we featured 13 of those amendments. Today, we take a look at the final three — which deal with the makeup of the city’s Planning Commission and how that commission would use the information collected for a compre-hensive plan. .    _    m    The    remaining    23    amend- ments mostly involved changes in language that bring the city’s charter in compliance with state laws. Proposition 31 — Vote YES This proposition would increase the number of members on the Planning Commission from seven to nine and would allow two members to come from outside city limits but within the city’s extra territorial jurisdiction. This is a positive move. It not only gets more citizens involved in the political process, but also lets the city take a closer look at planning in areas likely to be annexed in the future. Like the seven existing members, the two new members would be appointed by city council after reviewing the experience and qualifications of a list of applicants. Having more people involved in the planning process is a positive move that we support. Proposition 33 — Vote YES This amendment would require the Planning Commission to review any city comprehensive plans every five years. We support this move. The plans are meant to be ——— altered, updated and changed as the city changes and the process should start with the commission. Under the proposed amendment, the commission would review the plan every five years and make recommended changes to city council for a final decision. Proposition 34 — Vote NO This amendment would alter the legal effect of comprehensive plans. It would treat the plan as a guide rather than the law and we oppose that move. Using the plan as a guide opens the door to allowing developers and others, with council approval, to usurp some of the provisions. The city should keep it as law and make everyone follow the same rules. lf this amendment passes, Proposition 33 would be almost meaningless. We believe it is important to plan ahead, to have comprehensive plans and to make the plans something the city residents can rely on. Changing the plan to a guide is a bad move and should be voted down. Propositions 1,2,3,6,IO,ll, 12,14,17,21,24,25, 26,27,28,29,30,32,35,36,37,38 and 39 — Vote YES on all 23 The other 23 amendments deal with changes in language that bring the city’s charter in compliance with state laws. This is important because state law supersedes municipal law where there is a conflict. Bringing the city’s amendments in line with state law would limit the times that state law would override local law. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. PROPOSITION 34 Would treat the comprehensive plan as a guide instead of law. PROPOSITION 31 Would add two members to the Planning Commission and allow two of the board's nine members to outside city limits but inside the city's ETJ. PROPOSITION 33 Would require the Planning Commission to review city's comprehensive plan every 5 years. OTHERS The 23 proposed amendment changes not discussed in editorials on Sunday, Tuesday or Wednesday deal largely with changes in language to bring the amendments in line with state requirements. We would vote YES on Propositions 1,2, 3,6,10,11.12,14, 17,21.24, 25,26, 27, 28. 29. 30, 32. 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 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. I id 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 HOWTO CONTACT GUESTCOLUMN Minimum rules for landscape is shady business or should be Nature’s skyscrapers pinpoint beauty. The prettiest cities in America rest on their laurels under a canopy of trees. Long branches draped across streets provide both shade and prestige. Even the tiniest home can be made to look regal under the spread of a magnificent oak. In reality, the priciest real estate is usually hidden by gated woodlands. Smart communities know the importance of landscape and plan accordingly. Rules that require a certain number of trees and plants in a designated area are not created to hamper growth, but instead regulate it in such a manner that everyone who lives, shops or visits there enjoys the surroundings. Surely, our chamber of commerce and other city leaders understand that the ambiance of our burg is as important to tourism as are water activities Remove the trees and flowers from banda Park, Gruene or our quaint downtown and what do you have? Besides a financial soaking for the shop owners, a Wal-Mart, H-E-B or Target/Ross parking lot. The aesthetics of an area increase its value and invite investors and consumers who are conducive to the kind of prosperity that enriches the quality of life for everyone. Raising the bar on landscape requirements for commercial lots as proposed by the Free and Landscape Board is a definite improvement over the concrete, asphalt and occasional stunted bush or tree found near them now. The commercial mindset that more parking spaces mean more customers needs to be reevaluated. Shade, flowers and shrubs (native species, of course) have never been the cause of less revenue. Just the opposite, and considering the length of our summer heat, a cooler car in the parking lot would be an inducement for this shopper. MARYALICE ALTORFER Mary Alice Altorfer is a New Braunfels resident. There is order and beauty in places which require developers to integrate building architecture with the curb appeal of a complementary landscape. What is so controversial about a tightly worded ordinance to ensure this happens in New Braunfels? Passing an ordinance with no teeth furthers toothless enforcement with minimal compliance. Requiring “minimum standards” for a landscape plan as directed by the Development Code Steering Commit- tee is not good enough. Instead, it is a failure of leadership. The newer commercial buildings in town are an eyesore, and why do these businesses look this way? Because they can! The argument that one plan is more complicated than the other, therefore making it the less desirable choice because it is too confusing for the small business owner, implies he or she is math-impaired. An interesting observation considering the ability to count accurately will ultimately determine the success of the business. Trees are an important part of every community. Ignoring this concept is behavior more akin to the nut-loving, high-flying acrobats who inhabit them than the rational foresight which nurtures, plants and preserves these lofty giants. If it walks like a squirrel and talks like a squirrel, i.e., acts squirrel^, then it must be the local politicians, who, while pandering to business, Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, May 4, the 124th day of 2005. There are 241 days left in the year. Today’s I lighlight in I listory: On May 4, 1945, during World War II, German forces in the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender. On this date: In 1626, Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island. In 1904, the United States began building the Panama Canal. In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded. Ten®* Government fflfflpnm 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: [email protected] 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: [email protected] ■ Judith Zaffirini P.O. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262 CITY HALL 424 South Casten Avenue NOW TO CONTACT New Braunfels City Council Telephone: (830) 608-2100 Mail Address: RO. Box 311747 New Braunfels 78131-1747 Web Site: MAYOR ■ Adam Cork 864 Vista Parkway City Hall: 608-2100, ext. 270 Term of Office: May 2002 until May 2005 DISTRICT 1 ■ SONIA Munoz-Gill 2067 Spur 3 City Hall: 608-2100, ext. 520 Term of Office: May 2001 until May 2004 DISTRICT 2 ■ Beth Sokolyk RO. Box 311747 Home Phone: (830) 606-5810 Term of Office: May 2004 until May 2007 DISTRICT 3 ■ Gale Pospisil 6 Mission Drive Home Phone: (830) 629-2447 Term of Office: May 2003 until May 2006 DISTRICT 4 ■ Valerie Hull 510 Lakeview Blvd. Home Phone: (830) 606-6973 Term of Office: May 2003 until May 2006 DISTRICT 5 ■ Lee Rodriguez Mayor pro tem 453 N. Business 35, Suite 735 Cell Phone: (830) 743-3362 Work Phone: (830) 629-4901 Term of Office: May 2002 until May 2005 DISTRICT 6 ■ Ken Valentine 437 Guada Coma Drive Home Phone: (830) 625-7384 E-mail: [email protected] Term of Office: May 2002 until May 200Modified interrogation tactics are good news for the enemy CALTHOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services International. He hosts After Hours" on Fox News Channel Saturdays at ll p.m. EST. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, Chicago. 60611, or leal* an e-mail at On Pox’s “24” action-drama show Monday nights, art doesn’t imitate life. Increasingly, it resembles it. Counter-Terrorism Unit (CI U) leader Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) is ordered not to torture a man he believes has knowledge of the whereabouts of terrorist I labib Marwan. Marwan has captured the nuclear code book known as the “football” from a shot down Air Force One carrying the president of the United States. An ACLU-type lawyer shows up at GTU headquarters (he’s been tipped off by a Marwan minion) with a court order forbidding torture of the suspect. Jack Bauer concocts a plan and gets the man released. When the lawyer leaves, Bauer grabs the suspect outside GTU and tortures him until he discloses the location of Marwan. Bauer leads a team and is about to arrest Marwan and save the country from a nuclear attack when the acting president orders the Secret Service to arrest Bauer for violating his and the court’s order prohibiting torture. Marwan escapes, and the gripping drama continues. All of this is relevant to real life and the scarier drama that is being played out by the United States Army, which last week announced it is preparing to issue a new interrogations manual that specifically bars the use of "harsh” techniques of the type used at Abu Ghraib prison. The manual will prohibit stripping prisoners, placing them in “stressful positions” for extended periods, limiting food, using police dogs to frighten them and employing sleep deprivation as a tool to persuade them to talk, the New York Times reported. Thomas A. Gandy, director of Army intelligence and counterintelligence, gave the Times a permissible scenario under the new guidelines: An interrogator questioning a prisoner in a small room could throw a chair against the wall in mock rage to make the captive fearful, but the interrogator would not be allowed to throw the chair at the prisoner or to otherwise threaten him directly. Gandy says the new manual bars physical or mental torture, slapping or humiliation. I can see the terrorists getting hold of this manual and telling their killers they have nothing to fear if they are captured by the “weak" Americans. What’s next, instructing our troops to say “please" and "thank you’? We are dealing with people who have repeatedly demonstrated they have no moral constraints and are willing to perpetrate mass murder while practicing their religiously twisted ideology in pursuit of their objectives. If the Army nabs a person it suspects of knowing the location of a nuclear bomb that is about to wipe out an American city, would the interrogators and their military and civilian superiors refuse to use torture to squeeze the information out of the captive? That was precisely the scenario on “24.” Agent Jack Bauer rightly chose the greater good — saving millions of lives — over the niceties imposed by th whose manual seems inspired by1 Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of queue.” Will someone wise up and remii Army brass and their civilian comr ers we are at war? From the flood ( gal aliens entering America — son seeking to destroy it — to “proper’ terrogation techniques, we are set ourselves up tor another attack th. may be far worse than the one on 11,2001. I hese people are evil to die core only way to protect ourselves is to tract information they might have whatever means necessary. This w won’t be won if we impose on oun restrictions that the terrorists do n impose on themselves. Some will say harsh tactics will c the Arab world to hate us even mo I hey already hate us enough, or hi we noticed? This isn’t about winnii congeniality contest. It’s about wir a war and defeating an enemy so t won’t try this garbage again. ;