New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 15, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, November 15,2003
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
New Braunfels ZeitunQ was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957and printed in both German and English until 1958
Gary E. Maitland
Editor and Publisher
Onus on roadwork shifts to localities
By approving “Regional Mobility Authorities,” the state has shifted the payment bur-
Hiesday night, the Texas Department of Transportation will conduct its annual Transportation Improvement Program meeting at City Hall in New Braunfels.
This is the meeting where den for roads to I local officials and residents local entities = can bring their concerns
: about needed road improvements and upgrades.
City and county officials will attend the meeting with a “wish list” of projects that includes some of this area’s biggest traffic needs.
Those include virtually all of Texas 46 from New Braunfels westward, which needs, for starters, widening and grade separation intersections at TM 3159 and FM 2722.
Also on the county list will be redesigning the PM 306 and Hoffman Lane intersection, work on I M 311... the list goes on and on and on.
TxDOT officials will listen to suggestions and consider them in planning for this region’s new road projects.
Don’t hold your breath, and don’t even think about planning for an outer loop around New Braunfels while there is still a place to put one, because the state is going to say there’s no money to spend.
The road construction “wish list” is far longer than the actual “project” list.
With recent legislative approval of “Regional Mobility Authorities,’’ with which local governments can levy fees, tolls and taxes to pay for roads, the state has shirked some of its responsibility and placed an unfair onus on local budgets.
T hat makes it more doubtful that major road improvements like a much-needed loop will ever get funded in most of our lifetimes.
Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Saturday, Nov. 15, the 319th day of 2003. T here are 46 days left in the year.
Today ’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 15,1777, the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, a precursor to the Constitution of the United States.
On this date:
Iii 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike sighted the mountaintop now known as Pikes Peak.
In 1889, Brazil’s monarchy was overthrown.
In 1926, the National Broadcasting Co. debuted with a radio network of 24 stations.
In 1940, the first 75,000 men were called to armed forces duty under peacetime conscription.
In 1948, William Lyon Mackenzie King retired as prime minister of Canada after 21 years; he was succeeded by Louis St. Laurent.
In 1966, the flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts lames A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic.
In 1969,250,000 protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in Washington against the Vietnam War.
In 1982, funeral services were held in Moscow’s Red Square for the late Soviet President Leonid I.
In 1985, Britain and Ireland signed an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing Northern Ireland.
Ten years ago: The State Department announced that Secretary Warren M. Christopher would travel to the Mideast to try to mediate differences between Israel and the PLO.
Let’s stop talking and make changes in police, teacher pay and health care
Health, safety and welfare are first among our concerns. We want, when ill or injured, to have medical attention, exceptional if it is available. We want the finest police and fire protection we can get. We want excellent public education at all levels through college for anyone who can make the grade.
We hear about maltreatment, sometimes malpractice, of people all the time. Nurses are overworked, underpaid and in ever shorter supply. The trend in law is moving toward absolute immunity from suit against a doctor or medical treatment provider. Prescription drugs are substantially cheaper in our neighboring countries. Costs of medical care and medical insurance are in a steep climb..
Doesn’t this look like a health care system that is in deep trouble? Why don’t we insist that the subject matter be first on the agenda of all political candidates and legislative bodies?
It is disgraceful that there is not universal health care available at reasonable costs.
And speaking of some other things we need on the agenda, how about better training and better pay for police officers and teachers?
Police officers are desperately needed to train Iraqis. The cost of just one trainer is a staggering $400,000 per year. Officials say the danger justifies the base salary of nearly $153,000, free of taxation, plus housing, security and food.
Every cop in America performs humanitarian services in a combat zone of sorts because that’s where we send him to do his war on crime. Criminals shoot first, just like saboteurs and snipers in Iraq. The soldiers can freely respond with firepower, but not the cop who is hamstrung by police manual SOPS.
Every teacher in America goes to a kind of war every workday. They navigate minefields of political correctness as potentially fatal to their careers as a lot of soldiers. Old-fashion discipline is out of the question.
There is plenty of money for cops and teachers in a foreign land, not so for ours at home.
J. T. Woodall is a freelance writer.
Why not combat pay for them and relief from IRS obligations like our* cop teachers in Iraq? Too much, you might say. So, let's compromise. Give the option to accept either half of the benefits package to cops and teachers on American soil.
No doubt responsible citizens worry about better health care, better police forces and better teachers. We talk about a revision of health care incessantly, and do little about it. We talk of our underpaid cops and teachers, yet we take no active steps to help them. Praise for their work is not enough. Give them more money somehow.
And, no, I did not forget the firemen or EMTs. They do, after all, have a lot of down time, and that’s the way we want it. But when they are called upon to plunge into lifesaving missions, pay them extra for active work trying to save us, and, of course, do not tax their pay either.
Who can seriously debate the other side of the argument?
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■ Kay Bailey HUTCHISON
Russell Senate Office Building Room 284
Washington. D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202 ) 224-0776 Web: http://hutchison.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE.
8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio 78230 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753
■ John Cornyn
Russell Senate Courtyard 5 Washington, DC. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: http://cornyn.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
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
■ Lamar Smith
Rayburn House Office Building Room 2231
Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947
NOW TO CONTACT
■ Rick Perry
Stafte Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711
Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849
■ 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:
PO. Box 2910
Telephone: (512) 463-0325
Fax: (512) 473-9920
carter [email protected]
■ 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: jet fwentworth®senate state tx.us
■ Judith Zaffirini
PO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
12702 Toepperwein Road *214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Mr. President: Go ahead and bug-out of Iraq before election
Molly Ivin is a columnist for Creators Syndicate. She also does occa sional commentary for National Public Radio and the McNeil/Lehrer program.
AUSTIN — Sheesh, it’s hard to keep up with this administration, just a few days ago, we were going to stick it out, no matter what. Like Horton the Elephant, we would be faithful, IOO percent — never give up, never surrender.
Now we’re going to bug out before next year’s election, Paul Bremer has been called in for an emergency confab, troops must be down to 105,000 by spring. The CIA, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, has sent a report from Baghdad saying the whole thing’s going south. We’re back to bombing Baghdad. Forget a constitution, we have to hand it all over to the Iraqis right away.
I’m glad all this bug-out stuff is coming from the administration — if some liberal said it, wed all be accused of treason. Here’s the problem in a nutshell: Just a few weeks ago, the Bush administration set out to persuade us all that the glass in Iraq is not half-empty, it is half-full. And indeed, this may be so, but that’s a conclusion that depends on one's point of view. But the one thing we
do know without regard to point of view, politics, spin or public relatione is that the number of attacks against American troops have been steadily increasing from 20 to 25 to 30 a day.
Now this may be, as President Bush has said in a weirdly Panglossian moment, evidence of our progress. He’s the only president we’ve got, and if he says it’s progress, it must be, right? For all I know (never having been to Iraq), what we’re witnessing is indeed increased desperation on the part of the attackers. This would be easier to diagnose if only we knew who was attacking us.
According to the experts, we are being attacked by: A) remnant Sadden Hussein loyalists, B) anti-American terrorists and jihadists from all over who are now gathering in Iraq because it’s easier to knock off Americans there, or C) Iraqis of no particular flavor who really dislike being invaded by a foreign power and then occupied by same.
According to the CIA memo acquired by the Inquirer, even the Shiites in the south now see us as an occupying power.
Here's what I think is the real problem. It’s not so much that the number of attacks on Americans per day in Iraq has been creeping up. It's that after these suc
cessful attacks on convoys, choppers or patrols, hundreds of Iraqis gather around the smoking results and cheer. Call me alarmist, but I think that’s a bad sign. I suspect they do not like being occupied by a foreign power. They do not seem to think our intentions are benevolent.
To be sure, a good public relations campaign, masterminded by Karl Rove and other geniuses, could probably solve this unfortunate problem of perception in Iraq (it has worked so well here), except, we-dorit have enough people who even speak the language to mount a p.r. campaign, or for that matter, to direct traffic, train cops, get intelligence or anything else we need to do.
So, here’s the Bush administration with this sudden new emphasis on us getting out of there, lf you think I am going to disagree or make fun of them for doing such a 180, you are sadly mistaken. We have seen the 180 many times before with Bush, usually when reality intrudes on ideology.
Bug out before the election next year, that’s fine by me. I don’t like seeing Americans killed by people we thought we had gone to help. I suspect this is the ultimate no-win situation — the sooner we’re out, the better. I do hold a grudge against all
those folks in the administration who convinced most Americans that this war was a dandy idea. There was no nuclear weapons program. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al Qaeda, and if anyone sees an outbreak of peace and democracy in Middle East, let me know.
I don’t think the Bush administration lied to us about Iraq. I think it’s worse than that. I think they fooled themselves.
I think they were conned by Ahmad Cha-labi. I think they indulged in wishful thinking to a point of near criminality. I think they decided anyone who didn t agree with them was an enemy, anti-American, disloyal.
In other words, I think they're criminally stupid.
Since I keep trying to find helpful suggestions from any source, let s see if a fast political handover will help any. But there are already signs that the Iraqi Governing Council, which we appointed, is either in trouble or nonfunctional — so why don’t we try that bottom-up method of democratization I’ve been mentioning, with proportional representation for Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites mandatory as the elections move up.
Anyone for grassroots?
United States Government
■ George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D C. 20500