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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 19, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Wednesday, November 19, 2003 Our Opinion A promise we hope she keeps Fuller promised she would visit a New Comal Independent School District ^Tarsals J s"e can f° Monday on her first day on that, it will help I the job. her better    It    was    obvious    she    has understand the j spent some time thinking problems of her I about her new position and district.    = studying the school district she was selected to lead. There are big challenges, to be sure. Tops on the list is the growing pains that the district is feeling. The growth has forced trustees to vote to build a fourth high school. Approval of the design and the myriad other headaches, both political and managerial, that go with such an expansion remain to be dealt with. But what impressed us most Monday was something she said. As she chatted with students and teachers at Bill Brown Elementary, Fuller promised she would visit a school every day. If she can do that, it will help her better understand the problems of her district, and keep her tuned to the employees who drive the educational experience. Good luck, Ms. Fuller. We hope you can meet your promise to never let management responsibilities keep you tied down to an office and away from the schools. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, Nov. 19, the 323rd day of 2003. There are 42 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Nov. 19,1863, President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania.    ' On this date: In 1919, the Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles by a vote of 55 in favor, 39 against, short of the two-thirds majority needed for ratification. In 1942, during World War II, Russian forces launched their winter offensive against the Germans along the Don front In 1949, Monaco held a coronation for its new ruler, Prince Rainier III, six months after he succeeded his grandfather, Prince Louis IL In 1969, Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean made man’s second landing on the moon. In 1985, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev met for the first time as they began their summit in Geneva. In 1988, shipping heiress Christina Onassis died in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at age 37. In 1997, Iowa seamstress Bobbi McCaughey gave birth to four boys and three girls — only the second set of septuples known to have been bom alive. Limits POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or fewer. ■ The Hefald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be less than 500 words and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606 3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- 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 1957and printed in both German and English until 1958 Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland News Editor Brady Craal Features Editor Brian Grant Editor and Publisher Doug Tonay Circulation Director Craig Pauling Advertising Director Courtney Abernathy Business Manager Heather Grant Letters to the Editor Health company’s weight-loss surgery decision was wrong, discriminating How is it that we have allowed any insurance company to decide what they want to pay for and what they don’t? I just heard that United Health Care has decided not to pay for weight-loss surgery starting Jan. * 1,2004. Even those that.were previously approved by UHC in 2003 but waiting to have surgery until 2004 are now being denied. I am a survivor because of weight-loss surgery. Without it I would be long ago in my grave. With weight-loss surgery, I have managed to lose 260 pounds. My insurance company was paying for all kinds of operations and medications to help with obesity side effects called co-morbidities. Most of the costs of my doctors visits and medications are now at a minimum or discontinued all together. Then I find out that a $20,000 surgery was paid for at about $3,000 (the contracted rate). A huge steal for my insurance company because it saved that much in the first year after my surgery. Now I’m healthy and happy for the first time in many, many years. The American people need to take a stand and publicly cry out about this injustice. It is time for this discrimination to stop. It is life-limiting and to deny even one patient the opportunity to have a healthy life. I implore the citizens and business owners of the United States to take a stand and discontinue using United Health Care for their health insurance provider. Gayle KL Pfeifer New Braunfels A parent’s perspective on new CISD superintendent’s hiring I was very disappointed in your Nov. 2 editorial. My wife and I attended one of the open meetings that was held for the public to meet Nancy Fuller. After reading your comments, I have the distinct feeling that you did not attend one these meetings. The vast majority of those attending the meeting were employees of the district with very few parents in attendance. I have not always agreed with the board or its actions over the past few years, but it is clear that they have acted in the best interests of the students of the (binal ISD. It was impressive to see the time they had put into the search. Fuller has demonstrated her ability to bring the administration, teachers and support staff of oth er districts together as a team to accomplish the goals they have set out to achieve. Her track record is most impressive, and I came away feeling that she was an excellent find. Your main issue was with her contract. You obviously have not had to personally-hire a highly qualified professional who is in demand. Anyone who is truly qualified is not going to leave a current position to tackle a demanding new one without some guarantee that they will have the time necessary to be effective. I would suggest thqt in the future, you may want to be a little more involved in the topic or at least less inflammatory.    -    * David Bushnell New Braunfels CISD board trustee personally pleased with search, results A friend forwarded a copy of your Nov. 2 editorial titled “CISD shouldn’t have jumped the gun.” I believe there are times when articles such as this are written to evoke a response. So, that said, I’ll bite. First, thank you for taking an interest in our school district, Comal ISD, and the interests of our taxpayers. Good, thoughtful, patient decisions on major issues aren’t usually a problem for those having to explain the logic. However, the other half of that equation involves those writing their opinion. There is a need to have some basis of fact in what they write, or the author loses his/her credibility. Phrases such as "shouldn’t the trustees have been a little gun shy,” or asking trustees if “they had asked all the right questions,” or “a healthy dose of skepticism isn’t a bad thing” would seem to imply careless judgment in the superintendent selection process and result. This process took four months, involving nine special board meetings, and more than 250 collective hours (in session) reviewing more than 60 candidates. The diversity of our district is reflected on our board and was evident in the questions asked by those present. As a result of the effort, six trustees agreed that Mrs. Nancy Fuller should be our choice to lead Comal ISD. No outside entity presented the board with a list of predetermined finalists. Each member evaluated the choices and made an informed decision. Personally, I am pleased with the effort and the result. BUlSwint, CISD trustee Garden Ridge SENATE ■ Kay Bailey HUTCHISON Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Typhons: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio 78230 Talaphona: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate Courtyard 5 Washington. D.C. 20510 Talaphona: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Wab: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Talaphona: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro. Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Talaphona: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2231 Washington, D.C. 20515 Talaphona: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Talaphona: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 Texas Government GOVERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol. Room 2S.1 POW 12428 Austin 78711 Talaphona: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Talaphona: (830) 627-0215 Toll Frtfa: (866) 687-4961 Fax: (830) 627-8895 WHILE IN AUSTIN: PO. Box 2910 Austin 78768-2190 Talaphona: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 E-mail addraea: STATE SENATE ■ Jefe Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Talaphona: (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Talaphona: (512) 463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail addraea: jeffwentworthGsenate. state ■ Judith Zaffirini PO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702 Toepperwein Road *214 San Antonio 78233 Talaphona: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262‘Tough on crime’ has failed miserably to reduce lawlessness CALTHOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services Internatiorml. He hosts "After Hours" on Fox News Channel Saturdays at ll p.m. EST. Direct all mail for (Jal Thomas to: Triburw Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, Chicago. 60611, or leave an e-mail at fter two decades of being "tough on crime” by “locking them up and throwing away the key” — to recall two of the effective political slogans of the past — the bill has come due. Many states have become incapable or unwilling to pay the cost of housing record numbers of inmates. Ttoenty-five states have already passed laws easing or eliminating the minimum sentencing requirements that were politically popular in the 1980s and '90s. They are also considering early parole for nonviolent, nondangerous offenders to ease overcrowding and the cost of warehousing so many convicts. Joseph Lehman, secretary of the state of Washington Department of Corrections, told the New York Times (Nov. IO) that the people behind liberalizing the tough laws “are not all advocates of a liberal philosophy.” Indeed, they are not. I am one of them. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the U.S. prison and jail population exceeded 2 million for the first time in June 2002. By the end of last year, 33,000 more inmates had been added to the total. That means one out of every 142 residents is incarcerated in this country. The average cost to states per inmate per day is $57.92, according to the 2000 Corrections Yearbook. In Georgia, where about 35,000 citizens are behind bars, it costs taxpayers more than $20,000 per year per inmate and each jail cell costs $60,000 to build. What are taxpayers getting for their money? They get a false sense of security, as if putting current criminals behind bars insures there won’t be future criminals. If locking up everyone now committing crimes would eliminate crime, I'd be all for it, but new criminals are bom, or made, every day. Something is wrong with the system. Violent and dangerous offenders should be locked up and, in capital cases, executed. But violent offenders are just 49 percent of the prison population. Again, according to BJS, the rest of the prisoners are behind bars for property crimes (19 percent), drug crimes (20 percent) and crimes affecting the “public order” (ll percent). This half of the prison population ought to be doing something else besides sitting in prison and costing the law-abiding money. We do retribution well. We should be focusing on restitution. lf I steal your TV set, putting me in prison won t get it back. Making me pay a fine to the government (whose TV set was not stolen) won’t restore your set, unless you have a very low deductible on your homeowner's insurance, which will undoubtedly go up if you file a claim. It would be better if the law required me to work to earn the money to buy you a new TV set and to pay you, not the government, a fine for your inconvenience and trouble. I should also be forced to pay court costs. Such an approach would have a number of benefits. First, you would get your TV back. The victim should always be the law’s primary concern. Second, forcing me to acknowledge that I have wronged a per son and not the state (which is a nonperson) can help change my view of other people’s property. Third, it would save taxpayers the cost of incarcerating me. And, fourth, making me pay the person I have wronged is a far better and more proven method for changing my life and behavior than putting me in prison where statistics show I am more likely to become a better criminal than a better citizen. If the objective of criminal laws is to reduce crime, the laws currently on the books are clearly not achieving it. The corporate monsters who rob stockholders and employees of their jobs and careers shouldn’t go to jail. They should be forced to work to pay off as much as they possibly can to those they have wronged. That is redemptive for them, and it is restorative to the victims who lost their retirement and their paychecks to greed. Republicans, who were behind many of these “tough on crime” laws, have an opportunity to fight crime in ways that will actually work and save the taxpayers lots of money. That is supposed to be the Republican way. United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington. D.C. 20500 ;