New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 17, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Opinions FORUM Letters
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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.
Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Michael Cary, News Editor www.herald-zeitung.com (830) 625-9144
EditorialDon’t let flood control slip from
Space research answers questions
Two years ago today, torrential rains forced the Guadalupe River and other local tributaries out of their banks, sweeping away homes, memories and lives.
The terrible flood of Oct. 17, 1998, tested this community as no other disaster had since the 1972 flood. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, and in others it seems like so long ago.
For Comal County and New Braunfels leaders, particularly County Judge Danny Scheel, taking steps to protect the flood has been moving at a painfully slow pace. He and other folks have been working to build flood control dams in key watershed areas to stem the tide of another such flood. But two years later, those dams are not yet built, and we are just as vulnerable as we were two years ago today.
“Pm sad there’s nothing in place at this time should we have another event like we had,” Scheel said this past week. “But looking at the pace at which government moves — sometimes it seems about like the pace of a lame snail — I think we’ve done very well. We’re thinking about this every day and working on it every week. It’s not something we’re hitting on only every few months.”
Scheel noted that the county has secured $3.6 million from the Texas Department of Emergency Management for flood mitigation projects. Local officials hope to get another $7-$8 million from this same agency.
As for the city, a drainage ordinance is on the table before council to remedy many of the drainage problems inside the qty limits. Of course, without flood control dams in the county, any steps the city takes would be nullified by floodwaters coming down from the hills.
Even though most county residents do not talk about the flood everyday, many still live with the emotional, physical and financial scars. Every rainstorm brings back haunting memories.
However, we cannot forget, and we must let our city and county officials know that we will never forget what happened that day. As time passes, finding solutions to our flooding problems could slip from high atop the priority list of city and county business.
After the 1972 flood, this community rallied to build the Blieder's Creek dam, which saved lives and property during the 1998 flood. We mast follow the leadership of our predecessors and do what we must to protect our community - our property, our families, our city and our
Today in History
"Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.” — Neils Bohr, pioneer in quantum physics
Early twentieth-century physicist Neils Bohr understood scientific inquiry at its deepest level. At its best, science is about questions as much as answers, about philosophy as much as facts. Our search for answers invariably leads to more questions.
Most of us living in modem society are impatient. We want fast, easy answers. We want explanations and predictions. Witness the popularity of astrology-the pseudo science of using the stars to predict human affairs.
A small bookstore I visited recently had one book on astronomy/space and more than 20 books on astrology. Most newspapers carry daily astrological predictions known as horoscopes. Astrology is a far cry from the science of celestial bodies, astronomy.
Man has been fascinated by the stars since the dawn of time. Those celestial points of light have beautified the night and lifted our eyes-and hearts-through the ages. The dis-
tant stars and planets have given us practical help as well.
The north star has guided discoverers and adventurers. The position of the sun, moon and stars told settlers when to plant and harvest their crops. And four centuries ago, the study of the night sky blossomed into a scientific revolution.
Today’s space research and technology stands on the shoulders of that revolution.
As a member of the House Space Subcommittee, I am able to see first-hand the impact of scientific research on modem society.
Many forms of new knowledge-ffom environmental protection to better and faster communications by satellite-are due in part to research by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an indepen-
dent agency of the federal government. This research has also helped bring us Teflon non-stick frying pans and safe football hel-mets-just two examples of “spin-offs” from space technology.
Today, NASA receives less than I cent for every dollar the federal government spends. If NASA’s funding was increased to just I percent of the nation’s budget, this would help accomplish its two goals more quickly: exploring space and helping improve the lives of humans on earth. All for only 25 cents more per American each year!
Space exploration will answer questions about the origin of the universe, the future of our planet and the likelihood of other intelligent life among the stars. It will inspire us, tweak our curiosity, and reward us with knowledge. Who knows, perhaps some great space discovery will lift our hearts and minds beyond earth’s problems and unite citizens of the world in a common endeavor.
Discovering what's really out there is more exciting than reading horoscopes.
(Lamar Smith represents District 21 in the U.S. House of Representatives.)
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, Oct. 17, the 291st day of 2000. There are 75 days left in the year.
On Oct. 17, 1777, British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War.
Phil Gramm, R-College Station
Room 370 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-2934 Fax:(202)228-2856 > 404 E. Ramsey Road San Antonio, TX 78216 (210) 366-9494
Kay Bailey Hutchison R-Dallas
Room 284 Russell Senate
Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio, TX 78230 (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753
Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236
HOO NE Loop 410, Suite 640
San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 821-5024
Ciro D. Rodriguez
Room 323 Cannon House
Washington, D.C. 20515
1313 S.E. Military, Suite 115
San Antonio, TX 78214
George W. Bush State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin, TX 78711 (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 www.governor.state.tx.us
Jeff Wentworth R-San Antonio
1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 826-7800Gore’s fudging continues; Bush can close deal in Debate No. 3
Vice President Al Gore had some serious repair work to do in the second of three debates this past Wednesday night. He was only partially successful.
Stylistically, Gore had a different hairdo and his makeup was better. Gone were the sighs and eye rolling that characterized his reactions during the first debate. He apologized for the exaggerations and personal embellishments of the past (“lies," William Bennett called them in a damning indictment in the Wall Street Journal). Gore mostly avoided untruths until near the end.
Gore denied that he is in favor of increasing taxes on energy, yet in his book, “Earth in the Balance," he advocated higher gasoline prices for the express purpose of discouraging energy use. He is part of an administration that boosted the federal gas tax to help “balance the budget” but opposes its repeal even in the face of huge projected surpluses.
The vice president still wants credit for his wife’s brief campaign in the 1980s against filthy and violent song lyrics. But he virtually apologized for that earlier * position as he, and more recently, his
running mate, Joseph Lieberman, have placed their snouts in Hollywood’s campaign cash trough. In 1987, Gore said that Senate hearings he had endorsed two years earlier were “a mistake" that “sent the wrong message.” Was it more wrong than the messages the entertainment industry is sending children?
Gore, who has tried to impress with his supposed encyclopedic retention of the names of world leaders, placed the new president of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica, in Serbians its president.
On so-called “hate crimes” laws, Bush said that the white killers of James Byrd, the black resident of Jasper, Texas, who was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck, had been convicted and sentenced to death. He didn't see how a “hate crimes” law could impose a stricter sen
tence than death. Bush added he opposes a bill by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) because it does not allow for the death penalty in capital crime cases.
Bush is in good company: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) opposes the Kennedy measure for the same reason.
Gore claimed his prescription-drug proposal for seniors kicks in faster than Bush’s. In fact, the Bush plan would begin, pending congressional approval, almost immediately for the poor until Medicare modernization is completed. The Gore plan is phased in during a six-year period starting in 2002. I wish Bush would support means testing on prescription drugs. Wealthy people should not be getting a government check for things they can well afford.
One of Gore’s biggest whoppers came when he again stated that he had been at the forefront of “reinventing government.” According to his Web page,
Gore’s ideas have reduced the number of federal employees by 350,000, saving taxpayers $137 billion and leading to the smallest government since John F. Kennedy was president. But last year, the General Accounting Office reviewed
Gore’s reinventing-government initiative and found that his claims were inflated and unsubstantiated. The GAO selected at random $33 billion worth of spending and could not verify two-thirds of it. The GAO also cited a number of “creative accounting” techniques used to make the claim, including double counting, in which credit was taken for cost-cutting that had been well under way before Gore got involved, and a failure to factor in “offset costs,” such as employer buyouts.
Gore’s ballyhooed 25 percent cut in the staff of the Executive Office of the President came at the cost of reducing the number of people in the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Gore has also claimed responsibility for eliminating large numbers of federal regulations.
But the GAO found only 11,569 pages were eliminated and that not taken into account were the number of new pages added while these were being removed. “In some cases,” said the report, “agencies added more pages than they removed during the page-elimination initiative’"
Gore also misstated Bush’s position on a Child Health Initiative in Texas. In fact, Bush signed a measure that covers 423,000 Texas children and provides an additional $25 million so that children of legal immigrants might also be eligible.
Gore tried to again sell the public on his “support” for the Persian Gulfwar when former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole has said that Gore “shopped” his vote in order to get TV face time.
And Gore admitted that while he once supported sending US. troops to Somalia to quell violence and feed the starving, he now opposes that decision.
Bush again said he would return some of the surplus to people who pay the bills, and that he believed in empowering people, not government. The traditional Republican tax-cut message seems to be resonating with more voters.
Bush grows more confident and relaxed with each debate. In next week’s final encounter in St. Louis, he has a chance to close the deal with any remaining undecided voters.
(Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.)