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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 1, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Fact chedc GOP leaders spin funding tall tales WASHINGTON (AP) — It s an outrageous tale: The federal government spends one out of every $10 in trans^ portation aid on wasteful projects such as refurbishing a giant roadside coffee pot and constructing turtle tunnels That s what Republican lawmakers have said repeatedly in recent weeks in the Senate, in public appearances and m news releases I hey are trying to eliminate a requirement that states use a portion of their highway aid for transportation enhancements,' 12 categones of projects from bike and walking paths to scenic ovedooks and landscaping But it s not exactly true To make their case lawmakers have exaggerated and misrepresented some projects that have received aid Sen Tom Coburn. R Okla. raised the issue last month when he temporarily blocked action on a transportation bill He said he wanted to allow state transportation departments to use all their federal aid on basic needs such as roads, bridges and tunnels, instead of setting some aside for enhancements We are not pouring asphalt, we are not laying concrete we are not decreasing congestion, and we are not increasing safety, Coburn complained He produced a list of 39 projects that he said exemplify extravagance at a time 'v*vhen states don t have enough money to repair struc' turally deficient bridges. Coburn picked his examples from the more than 25 CXX) projects that have received money since Congress established the enhancement set-aside nearly two decades ago , First on the list the Lincoln Highway 200-Mile Roadside Museum m south central Pennsylvania It was described as receiving $300,000 in 2004 for signs, murals, colorful vintage gas pumps painted by local artists and refurbishing of a former roadside snack stand from 1927 that s shaped like a giant coffee pot Sen John McCain. R-Ariz.. was apparently working from Coburn s list two weeks ago when he offered an amendment to narrow the types of projects eligible for enhancement funds Pennsylvania ranks first out of all states for deficient bridges Vet it seems to be more important to furbish large roadsidp coffee pots,' McCain said. But no transportation aid was spent on the coffee pot s $100 000 restoration, said Olga Herbert, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor The money was raised entirely from preservation and civic organizations and local supporters "We did not use any of this $300,000 award for anything to do with the coffee pot," she said It's interesting that nobody from Senator Coburn s office called me about this." Also on Coburn's list was a lighthouse renovation in the harbor of Toledo. Ohio, that would be partly funded with $500,000 in federal money Actually, no transportation dollars have been authorized or awarded. The lighthouse renovation is among projects community officials tentatively hope to get around to in 2019. Coburn's list includes a 1996 grant for preservation of a ■factory used to make saddletrees" — the foundation of a riding saddle -- in Madison, Ind Not mentioned is that the grant woutdn t qualify for enhancement money under current program rules, according to Transportation Department officials. The Texas Department of Transportation is described as spending $ 16 2 million in enhancement money to restore the Battleship Texas, docked in the Houston Ship Channel. If so, they weren't federal transportation dollars U S transportation officials said an application was turned down The list cited landscaping to screen a junkyard in Aiken, S.C, After checking with state and local authonties, federal officials said the project was canceled years ago and again, no funds were awarded We picked some of the more interesting and exciting ones to get our colleagues attention ” McCain acknowledged during his effort to pass his amendment roT) w IN iiiSToin The Assa.ialed Press Today is Tuesday, Nov. 1, the 305th day of 2011 There are 60 days left in the year This is AH Saints Day. Today's Highlight in History; On Nov. 1,1861, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln named Gen. George B McClellan General-in-Chief of the Union armies, succeeding Winfield Scott. On this date: In 1512, Michelangelo finished painting the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel In 1765, the Stamp Act went into effect, prompting stiff resistance from American colonists. In 1870, the United States Weather Bureau made its first meteorological observations. In 1936, in a speech in Milan, Italy, Benito Mussolini described the alliance between his country and Nazi Germany as an "axis" running between Rome and Berlin. In 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to force their way into Blair House in Washington, D C., in a failed attempt to assassinate President Harry S. Truman. In 1952, the United States exploded the first hydrogen bomb, code-named "Ivy Mike," at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshalllslands. In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America unveiled its new voluntary film rating system; 6 for general, M for mature (later changed to GP,then PG), R for restricted and X (later changed to fslC-17) for adults only. In 1989, East Germany reopened its border with Czechoslovakia, prompting tens of thousands of refugees to flee to the West ELECTION-RELATED LETTERS DEADUNE Th« d««diint for submitting election-relitad ittiBri is Wedr)«tdty, Nov. 2. The New Braunfels HeraW-Zeftung wili publtsh elect)on-related letters through Sunday, Nov 6 No election-related 'etten will be pub lished on Tuesday. Nov 8 lilTERS POUCY The Herald Zertunq welcomes letters up to 250words and guest columns up to 500 words Guest columns must be accompanied by a photo HERALD-ZEITUN6 EDITORIAL BOARD KuWiintr ano tditor u«niy TuiiMy Atti    f*»or m    Cocv filnw IhWTt« The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit or reiect submissions All submissions must include an address and phone number so authorship can be confirmed. SUBMIT LETTERS •    By e-mail to flews^herald-ieitung •    Online at: heraW-zertung com •    By mail to Letters to the Editor, HeraW Zeitung, P.O Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, TX 78130 •    By fax: (830) 606-34)3 • In person: 707 Landa St., New Braunfels 7(70 Can the Ban leader's non-apology offensive I ani rotdlly offended by Can the Ban leader Mark Mff'.onigals response to the offensive literature (ielivered to the HispaoK (^ornniunity as ief)orted in Sat ufday s paper Did he apolopize^ N() Instead he snn{)ly stated that if Ms. (jonzales was offended so what I hat does fiot concern fiini But what could .ve ex[)€ct ftoiii someone whose sup porters steal Nu()port rtie Ban signs ffom yards, wiap fftose fmuses witfi toi let paper yell liltfiy words at people .vearirig sfiiits and buttons supporting the ban and illegally deliver fliers con taming lies into peoples rnailt>oxes^ Ttie delivering of su< h literature to the Hispanic coriununity shows such contempt for tfieni McGoniga! you should f)e as.haiiied Toni Peters New Braunfels McGonlgal, others need to do their own research Why is it that when some people do not agree with an cjpinion or a motion tfiey insist on defaming those who may support an op[)osirig view^ f find Mark tvIcGonigal s comments and actions very petty and unprofes sional While I agree many numbers have been thrown out m an effort to show tlie enormity of the litter prob lern on our rivers and tfrat there should be documentation foi this data I do not agree tliat tfie sources have been intentionally withfield It IS very easy to find out what entities are responsible for (volunteer or com mercial) cleaning up ttie nvers Some of the commercial companies might have clauses in tfieir contracts that pro fiibit the direct release of information This does not mean that the information IS not available, it only means there are channels one must go through to acquire it While Mcijonigal and others are quick to try to debunk figures and accuse officials of lying and witlifiolding infofmation, I liave yet to see them pro duce their own evidence publicly 1 say do your own research Don t jUst say that the other side (or any individual). IS wrong Kimberly Harrison New Braunfels Anti-ban'malcontents' increasingly desperate The recall of Mayor Pospisil and the flyer implying 7,000 Hispamcs will löse their jobs are a sign of the anti ban mob's desperationvTtiey're feaiful of defeat so they aré trying intimidation and irresponsible statements These malcontents resort to gross distortions claiming the ban will result in rum for the city These are the same people who made similar warped claims when earlier attempts at river management were tried. One of their signs makes t he laugh LK'rri:Ks ro riiK kdhok ably grotesque claim that New Braunfels would suffer a $500 million decrease in tourism if disposable items are banned Also, a column m this paper made the fanciful exaggeration that tounsm would sufier a 25 percent decrease Wfiy not exaggerate further and claim the ban writ cause a $14 trillion decrease match ing the total U S debt' This self-serving nonsense deserves only contempt from taxpaying citi/ens After alt we are now paying exorbitant ly for the management of our dysfunc tional rivers, and the ban will greatly improve this Can you imagine a Houston father telling his children they will not come to New Braunfels because hts beer wilt have to be poured from a can into a non disposable container^ The notion that a ban will prevent tfieir visit is plain ly absurd A plaintive letter from a businessman felt that his support of the anti ban forces shouldn t lose him customers Ihe anti ban crowd is rosting us. the taxpayers, greatly witli their petitions, lawsuits, recalls and needless elections you re either for the city s taxpayers or you're for those suing the city John K. Lamlry New Braunfels What has happened to democracy? One of our neighbors had then home and yard strewn with toilet paper last weekend and we couldn't figure out why. They are an older couple with no chil dren Later, we saw a police car show up and we thought someone was hurt The next day, we read an article in the paper telling what happened. Allegedly, four homes that had pro ban the can signs m their yards suffered the same fate. Then 1 read that one of the anti-ban leaders threatened the mayor with a recall vote since he didn't like the way city council voted tn support of the ban We hear shouts of We're going to take our country, government, city back ' Who do these folks think took their government^ Is it anyone who dares to disagree with them^ Certainly, everyone has a right to vote and we encourage all to exercise that right But part of the deal of democracy IS that when you lose a vote, you don t then believe and act as though some how, someone stole " the election We have become totally intolerant ol opposing positions Democracy will only work when indi viduals accept the outcome of a vote ihose losing a vote always have an opportunity to get people to change their minds. But they won't bring about change by vandalism m the middle of the night or by trying to intimidate all who disagree with them That s the way bullies have always tried and failed to exercise power We are surely better than that Whether you are for or against the can bari;, I strongly urge you to exerciise your democratic right to vote and then your democratic responsibility to accept the verdict, y; Pat Clifton New Braunfels Dropping cans into river not good stewardship Local busirirssman Doug Heilmann IS nght when lie says, Ihis is not a ban on litter This is a ban on disposable containers But that's exactly the problem disposat>le containers soon become litter Regrettably we live in a'soc:iety where so mucfi IS disposable It isn't difficult to pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers It just takes being conscious about what you are doing like keeping cloth bags m your car when grocery shopping Many parerits are tea( hing their chil dren to be protective of the environ ment by packing school lunches in re usable containers Is it too mufh to ask that tubers do tfie same^ Secondly. I support lleilmann s right to advertise that he is against the ban. And 1 hope he will sup()Ort my rigiit to do the same witfi my money and time I Will only support those establishments that are actively committed to being environmentally protective My year-round spending, and my friends and visitors, will all be direc ted away from businesses tliat wish to continue to see disposable containers in our environ ment Recently a lot of noise fias been made about the annual number of cans removed from the river its banks, its bottom and neart)y trash cans The real issue IS disposable cans and bottles and plastic bags on the bottom the river. We are called to be stewards of this creation, and that means you dont consider tfie environment disposable Patricia Riggins New Braunfels Elected officials drinking from a different pail There is an illness m the land Not too many days ago your paper said the city IS raising taxes, Ifie next day. we read that the county ts raising taxes. On Oct 2^ the front page reads NBU will request rate hike next month 1 could be uninformed, but the only person to get a pay raise lately IS City Managei Mike Morrison - and, of course, taxpayers are itie souice of his income I m beginning to believe, generally speaking, that elected officials and those they put tn charge of our departments drink from a different pail than the people who pay the invoices Just think about it We pay a sales tax of 8 1/4 percent, ad valorem tax on every piece of property in the city limits, a huge tax on every gallon of gas. We pay for all our services water, electrici-ty. gas, garbage, sewer, etc But try to go to the city government to get some thing done, such as replatting a lot, and find out how much it costs, how long it takes and you will find how all governments are anti-business I suppose the solution is to change the water pail Earl Sparrow New Braunfels ma bgr TiiJg ;