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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 22, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, May 22, 2005 FORUM 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 mmmmsmmmmr    mmmmmm 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 Our Opinion New city council members have promises to keep WI The people want council representatives who will stand up and fight for what they and their constituents believe. hen the city council convenes Monday, the city will welcome three new members to seats they won in the May 7 election. Bruce Boyer will replace Adam Cork as mayor, Kathleen Krueger will take over for Mayor Pro Tem Lee Rodriguez and Lynn Limmer will take the seat of Ken Valentine. It will be interested to see how the new coun-cilmembers impact the way business is conducted in council meetings. Boyer has promised to open the government to the people, allowing residents to have their say before issues are decided. We applaud Boyer for this approach and encourage him to follow through on that campaign promise. Krueger and Limmer also made promises when they ran, promises the voters expect them to keep. As the new council is seated, we encourage all members to ask questions, demand answers, get informed about the issues, and educate your constituents. With Valentine’s exit, the council will likely have fewer public disputes. That is likely a positive. But we challenge all seven members of council to remember that dissent in government is not a negative. They should avoid the tendency to rubber stamp issues just to avoid conflict. In short, the people want council representatives who will stand up and fight for what they and their constituents believe. Fight for what you believe is best for the city. Debate issues publicly. Get the citizens involved. And most of all, learn to agree to disagree without disrupting the city’s business. Today in History By The Associated Press Tbday is Sunday, May 22, the 142nd day of 2005. There are 223 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On May 22,1868, the “Great Train Robbery" took place near Marshfield, Ind., as seven members of the Reno gang made off with $96,000 in loot. On this date: In 1761, the first life insurance policy in the United States was issued in Philadelphia. In 1819, the first steam-propelled vessel to attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing, the Savannah, departed from Savannah, Ga. (It arrived in liverpool, England, on June 20.) In 1939, Adolf I litter and Benito Mussolini signed a Pact of Steel committing Germany and Italy to a military alliance. In 1947, the Truman Doctrine was enacted as Congress appropriated military and economic aid for Greece and I\irkey. In 1969, the lunar module of Apollo IO flew to within nine miles of the moon’s surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing. In 1972, President Nixon began a visit to the Soviet Union, during which he and Kremlin leaders signed the SALI' One arms limitation treaty. In 1979, Canadians voted in parliamentary elections that put the Progressive Conservatives in power, ending the 11-year tenure of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In 1992, after a reign lasting nearly 30 years, Johnny Carson hosted NBC’s “Tonight Show" for the last time. GUESTCOLUMN To be a deterrent, punishment for drug suppliers must be swift The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung has printed a series of very good articles detailing law enforcement efforts to combat the abuse of drugs in Comal County. My intent is to point out how the current “war on drugs” is simply feeding the monster. All crime, including illicit drug transactions, generally occurs in a surreptitious fashion simply because tire offenders know it is contrary to the lifestyle of law-abiding citizens. As a result, law enforcement must conduct covert operations in order detect, apprehend and prosecute the offenders. Such operations and prosecutions must be conducted in accordance with numerous legal principles to protect the rights not only of the accused, but also of society as a whole. Those constitutional protections also form the basis, in part, of national, state and local policy. In the 1960s to ’70s, implementation of the then-existing policy resulted in many “users" being incarcerated in a rather Draconian fashion. As a backlash, the pendulum of that focus has swung, thereby reducing the potential punishment. Accordingly, national policy has shifted the emphasis regarding the interdiction of illicit narcotics from mere possession and use toward a focus on the dealers. The result of this paradigm shift in policy can be compared with some basic principles of economic theory. This comparison demonstrates why, in my opinion, the “war on drugs,” as it is currently being waged, is achieving little, if any, positive results. Economic models utilizing supply and demand curves are typically demonstrated by graphs showing intersecting lines. Depending upon a number of factors, three situations will be presented. One, supply and demand will meet at a point of equilibrium: two, supply will DIBWALDRIP Bib Waldrip is Comal County district attorney. exceed demand; or three, demand will exceed supply. As related to the illicit narcotics trade, the users are the demand side of the equation while the dealers constitute the supply side. With the focus of narcotics interdiction shifting away from the user, the risk of possessing illicit narcotics has decreased. By reducing the potential exposure on the demand, the users, the demand increases because the prospect of swift and sure punishment is diminished. As the demand for drugs increases, the supply side of the equation will inherently increase to the point of economic equilibrium. This is true even in the face of the external pressures applied by law enforcement against the narcotics traffickers. By unintentionally allowing the demand for drugs to increase while raising the potential risk on the supply side, we have simply fed the monster by further increasing the potential for profit by traffickers. The result of continuing the “war,” as is, will simply increase rather than decrease the appetite of the monster. I do not suggest that we decrease our focus on and prosecution of the supply — the traffickers. I do suggest that we take new, additional and innovative steps to reduce the demand by increasing the potential for swift and sure punishment. By creating such a deterrent, the supply side of the illicit drug trade will be reduced by the forces of economics. Let’s stop feeding the monster. HOW TO CONTACT United States 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 Fex: (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 Fex: (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 P.O. 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 P.O. 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] H Judith Zaffirini RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Bush is most inept foreign policy president in history CHARLEYREESE Charley Reese is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. You can write to him at PO. Box 2446, Orlando, Fla. 32802. It’s too bad the president cannot tell the difference between a foreign diplomatic trip and a domestic-cam-paign photo opportunity. He continues to demonstrate that he is dangerously inept when it comes to foreign policy. There is only one country in Europe that is vital to U.S. security. That country is Russia. It might not be a superpower measured by its gross domestic product, but it remains a superpower measured by its strategic nuclear forces. The president had an opportunity to further good relations with Russia when he was invited to Moscow to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War IL But what does he do? He stops in the Baltic States and, after visiting Moscow, goes to Georgia, where he blathers on about democracy in ways that are insulting to Russia. It was stupid. It was the equivalent of Russian President Vladimir Putin sandwiching a visit to the U.S. with stopovers in Canada and Mexico, where he would makes speeches insulting to the U.S. Naturally, Putin has more sense than that. The Baltic States are so small they are insignificant. Yes, they were occupied by the Soviet Union. So what? lf, God forbid, there is ever a war with Russia, they will be occupied again in about one day. They are to Russia what Kuwait is to Iraq — too small and too powerless to play any kind of strategic role. As for Georgia, the birthplace of Josef Stalin, it is neither democratic nor strategically significant. What Mr. Bush is hailing as a democratic victory is one election, after which the new president quickly and undemocratically consolidated nearly all of the power in his own office. The United States will get nowhere lecturing Russia on democracy, especially when it uses specious arguments and deliberately avoids looking at Russia’s problems realistically. Putin has not clamped down on a free press. Russia didn’t have a free press. The same oligarchs who stole 85 percent of the country’s wealth also took control of the media. The Russians were not getting objective news. They were getting the propaganda the oligarchs wanted them to get. If these oligarchs were patriots instead of thieves, why have they fled the country? Five have taken up residence in Israel. Others are in Europe, and a lot of the anti-Putin propaganda in the West likely can be traced back to these robber barons. Russia wants many of them for suspected economic crimes. Much of our own media is controlled by oligarchs, too, only the U.S. doesn’t have the guts to deal with them. As for changing the law to appoint governors, Putin probably wants to make sure all of the government is on the same page and not on the payroll of oligarchs who want a government they can control and that won’t interfere with their plundering of the country’s natural resources. Putin has a tremendous task ahead of him. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe. In the rubble, the money system went kaput, and crooks using bribes grabbed off most of the country’s wealth, which properly belongs to the people. Corruption and crime are rampant. It’s going to require a strong hand to put the country back together again. The United States should be encouraging Putin and offering help instead of criticism. All of this yapping about Putin turning away from capitalism and democracy is just so much robber-baron bull. All it does is alienate the Russian people and cut the ground out from under the Russians in government who do want to establish a democratic country. I lelping Russia to join the democratic West is the singlemost important foreign-policy goal the U.S. ought to have. Instead, the Bush administration, with its superficial and uninformed grand-standing, is likely to accomplish the opposite. When China went communist, there was a big political battle in the U.S. over the question of “Who lost China?” If it ever gets to the point where people are arguing about “Who lost Russia?" the answer will be quite clear: George W. Bush, the most inept foreign policy president in U.S. history. ;