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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 1, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeiti NG — Friday, September I, 2000Forum NKW BRAIM l l s Herald-Zeitung 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 (830) 625-9144 Editorial Local schools boasting about ratings Quality schools lead many families to New Braunfels and Comal County as they seek to escape urban schools in the big city. Recently, the Texas Education Agency recognized what many in our city' and county' already know. The TEA rated Comal Elementary School as exemplary and a number of other Comal and New Braunfels campuses as exemplary. Just this week. Comal school district officials learned their appeal of Smithson Valley High Schools acceptable rating was successful, and the west Comal high school now is deemed a recognized campus by the state. To be exemplary, a school must have 90 percent or more of the total students and student groups pass all sections of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, dropout rate of I percent or less for all students and each student group and an attendance rate of 94 percent or better. Recognized campuses must have 80 percent or more of the total students and student groups passing all sections of the TAAS. dropout rate of 3.5 percent or less for all students and each student group and an attendance rate of 94 percent or better. SVHS joins Canyon Middle, Spring Branch Middle, Bulverde Elementary, Mountain Valley Elementary, Rahe Primary', Canyon Intermediate and Mountain Valley Intermediate as Comal school district s recognized campuses. New Braunfels school district saw recognized ratings go to Lone Star Primary, Carl Schurz Elementary, Seele Elementary and Memorial Intermediate. With the school year just beginning, these ratings are a strong boost for students, parents, teachers and administrators. They also give our school districts something to strive for. While the ratings certainly are cause for celebration, they also should inspire these and other campuses to continue to aim for higher student achievement. We are fortunate to have good schools here. Let’s strive for even better. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Friday, Sept. I. the 245th day of 2000. There are 121 days left in the year. Todays Highlight in History: On Sept. I. 1939. World War ll began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland. On this date: In 1807. former Vice President Aaron Burr was found innocent of treason. In 1897, the first section of Boston s new subway system was opened. In 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan became the eighth and ninth provinces of Canada. In 1923, the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were devastated by an earthquake that claimed some 150,000 lives. Letters To The Editor Lawsuit won’t bring back trooper Dear Editor: I would first of all like to express my condolences to the Vetter family. I had the privilege of meeting Trooper Vetter in March of this year. My daughters and I were having our car serviced at Texaco Xpress Lube, and Trooper Vetter and another trooper brought their cruiser in for service. He made an impression on us because of his size and because he was one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. I was very disheartened to read that Mrs. Vetter had filed a lawsuit against Mr. Hale, the alleged killer of her husband. Mr. Hale likely w ill spend the rest of his life in jail or prison. He already is an elderly man, and if he is not given the death penalty, he will be given a sentence of life in prison. The only family mentioned was his very elderly and ill mother who is in a nursing home. I am wondering where the $5 million dollars is going to come from, should this law suit continue. I am not siding with the Hale family on this matter. What happened makes me sick and breaks my heart. But I ask you, will that much money make anybody any happier? Maybe for a little while, but it won't bring back a man w ho was a husband, father, son, nephew' not to mention friend to so many people. Rest in peace, Trooper Vetter. Roberta J. Leland New Braunfels Schertz was better ‘Before Kerry Sweatt’ Dear Editor, Allow' me to respond to Dale and Dorothy Fomby who think “Sweatt was a great city manager” (Aug. 17 issue of the Herald-Zeitung). Mourn not the departure of our city manager. And don’t behave so naive as to accept the “firing” propaganda. The more likely scenario: Sweatt was anxious to bail out of the mess he has created, but if he simply resigned and had gone quietly away, he w'ould not be eligible for the $90,000 plus severance package. So, his buddies on the council cooperated by “firing” him and, in the process, gave him a very hefty going away present at our expense. With his quick-growth-at-any-cost philosophy and thorough manipulation of an inept city council, Mr. Sweatt presided over the ruination of a fine community. I challenge anyone to show' how Schertz can be considered a better community, in any respect, than it was BKS (Before Kerry Sweatt). Unless you can somehow rationalize that bigger equates better, I promise you will come up empty. In truth, the quality of life in Schertz is nowhere Write ’Em near as good as it was BKS. Let us recap what Sweatt and the council he controlled for so many years have given us: • burgeoning taxes and utility rates; • historically high city debt; • traffic saturated streets; • crumbling infrastructure; • inadequate drainage; • overcrowded schools (and astronomical school taxes); • flood-prone subdivisions; • water rationing; and • over-extended police and fire departments, just to name a few. Since Mr. Sweatt left, I have heard some people remark about what a nice man he is. The word “nice” doesn’t do him justice. He is an absolutely charming little guy. But his leaving is a positive because it signals an opportunity for a changing of the guard at city hall and perhaps a new' attitude. Hopefully the council will take charge of the city and stop wasting tax money on fast-growth incentives that only benefit a few special interests. Growth is inevitable, especially in a community like Schertz. Therefore it is totally unnecessary to subsidize it, at taxpayer expense, just to make it happen sooner than it would occur naturally and in a more orderly and cost-effective manner. Leon Davis Schertz U.S. CONGRESSMEN Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 821-5024 Ciro D. Rodriguez D-San Antonio Room 323 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-1640 1313 S.E. Military Suite 115 San Antonio, TX 78214 (210)924-7383 STATE SENATOR Jeff Wentworth R-San Antonio 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 826-7800 2121B Knickerbocker Road San Angelo, TX 76904 Judith Zaffirini D-Laredo P.O. Box 627 Laredo, TX 78042-0627 (956) 722-2293 12702 Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio, TX 78233 (210) 657-0095Choosing the lesser of two evils and the purpose of life A \ast majority of us appear to believe that the purpose of life is for an omnipotent bureaucracy to take care of us. This is obvious from the tenor of our political campaigns. If a politician declared he wasn’t responsible for our family’s welfare, we would boo him off the stage. To persist in such an unpopular doctrine would get him stoned to death. We want Big Brother in Washington to watch over us from “viable tissue mass” to ashes. Did we create this monstrosity or did it create us? It hardly matters, though the sorry state of education and the obvious manipulation by a totalitarian style propaganda machine (called “the media," even by conservatives) suggests “they” did it to “us.” The founders amply warned of this danger and of the need for eternal vigilance to keep the government from gobbling everything up. Politicians’ natural desire to control and our desire to be free, but from responsibility, have filled the nation with whiners expecting ever more Edgar VALDERRAMA entitlements and benefits. The politicians know the road to power is paved with promises of security and benefits, and do they promise! Earlier generations knew that politicians’ promises were but atmospheric vibrations. Nevertheless, we weigh and solemnly ponder each candidate’s contrived plan for saving Social Security or whatever. This is the exact opposite of liberty. Security translates as slavery, and we become slaves to dependency. Absolute security equals total dependence on government equals total control equals slavery. We believe that the government is supposed to make us happy, instead of standing by while we pursue happiness, as per original intent. . . “Its not fair,” cried the preteen of years gone by. Today, adults cry it. If we live for fairness and equality, then we accept Marx's empty promise: “To each according to his needs, and from each according to his capabilities.” Never mind that the promoters of earthly paradises unfailingly become their country’s slave masters and produce shoddy consumer goods to boot. Generation after generation falls for it, and the ruling elite continues to increase its hold on us by repeatedly updating and recycling the Communist Manifesto. lf we still believe in freedom, and that without it life is worthless, we can’t be conned by false promises of freedom from life's responsibilities and risks. Freedom is for li\ mg a life of adventure and risk, triumph and failure, happiness and joy counterbalanced by pain and suffering. How bleak the life begun in gov eminent run daycare centers, spent discharging government mandated duties, sunsetting in authorized nursing homes and jumping off from government licensed hospices, all dependent on gov ernment funding, rules, regulations, inspections, directives and requirements. ... Think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country lf God had wanted a perfect world, He would have populated it with perfectly programmed robots, as behavioral psychologists believe we are. How boring this lack of nov elty would be for the Supreme Being. Free will neatly solves the problem. We don't know if everything is “written” or if the future is undetermined, but if free will exists and we can use it, then we can create the new and unexpected. Most of our lives are spent repeating our family and society’s programmed game patterns, but we sometimes have peak experiences in which we transcend our conditioning. Denying free will means everything (but quantum effects) came out of the Big Bang with a fixed program, and we might as well relax into the waiting amis of “Big Brother.” Believing in free will gives us a tiny chance to act freely and willingly in line with the Greater Good, or become destructive geniuses like Hitler. Either will introduce novelty into the space time continuum. Do we want to be unconscious robots programmed for the perfect society, or do we want to live and be aware? Are we willing to risk, to win and to lose, to suffer happiness and despair, agony and ecstasy in a free but dangerous world? “Before the fall” was the spaceless, timeless God consciousness. “The fall” is Awareness entering into the world of opposites. The spiritual man finds freedom within himself whatever his exterior conditions, but we live in “the world,” and here there is no perfection. Choosing the lesser of two evils means choosing evil, but it beats waiting for King Arthur to run for president with Sir Galahad as his veep and Sir Lancelot for defense! (Edgar Valderrarna is a New Braunfels resident and a Herald-Zeitung columnist.)ZD I I ;