New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 5, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
4A O Herald-Zeitung 3 Friday, September 5,1997
■ To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220.
Z e i t u n g
QUOTABLE“Television is such a staple of modem society that for most voters, ifs not real unless ifs on the tube.”
Ed Rollins political consultant
EDITORIALSOS Food Bank deserves support
An agency that helps feed New Braunfels’ hungry now needs the community’s help to continue its work.
SOS Food Bank, Inc., which began serving New Braunfels on June I, 1988, helps a variety of people who have trouble buying food. It distributes food to those who have been laid off, whose food stamps do not last the month, whose fixed incomes do not cover all their bills and who have unexpected medical expenses that take away from the food budget.
Even though the food bank received 2,500 pounds of food last month, more than 6,000 pounds were distributed because of the increasing demand. Food bank officials say changes in the Texas food stamp law might be partly to blame for the increased demand for food.
SOS Food Bank, Inc., is a worthy project that provides this community a great service — feeding those who have trouble feeding themselves. At any juncture of our lives, any of us could fall victim to misfortune and might be faced with the decision of paying the electric bill or buying groceries. Medical emergencies, temporary or permanent layoffs and other situations could put many of us in dire financial straits. It is comforting to know that if we get that those levels, we will not have to go hungry because there is SOS Food Bank, Inc.
We encourage local businesses and individuals to help SOS Food Bank during this crunch it is experiencing. To make donations to the SOS Inc., Food Bank, call 629-3663 or bring them to 248 Merriweather St. The food bank needs canned milk, canned meats, vegetables, fruit, peanut butter, soups, cereals, laundry items, shampoo and bath items.
We owe it to SOS Food Bank and those it serves because one day we might need the same kind of help ourselves.(Today’s editorial was written by Heruld-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson.)
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words.
We publish only original mail addressed to the New Braunfels Her-ald-Zeitung bearing the writer’s signature. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included. Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned. Preference is given to writers who have not beal published in the previous 30 days.
Mail letters to:
Letters to the Editor do the New Braunfels Heruld-Zeitung
P.O. Drawer 311328
New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328
Fax: (830) 625-1224
■ ■ Opinion
■ To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung’s address is NBHZeitungOAOL.com.Law would limit access to accident reports
Editor and Publisher, Ext. 301........................................Doug Toney
Managing Editor, Ext. 220.................................Margaret Edmonson
Marketing Director, Ext. 208..................................Jason Borchardt
Classified Advertising Manager, Ext. 214...............Karen Reininger
Business Manager, Ext. 202........................................Mary Lee Hall
Circulation Director, Ext. 228...................................Carol Ann Avery
Pressroom Foreman, Ext 205.............................................................
Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings tuesday through Friday by the New Braunfels Heruld-Zeitung (USPS 377-880) 707 banda St, or P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Comal County, Tx. 78131 -1328. Periodical postage paid by the New Braunfels Heruld-Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas.
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The newspapers of Texas took an unusual step this summer. For the first time, we sued the state of Texas and a number of cities, including Galveston.
We sought an injunction to prevent enforcement of Section 13 of SB 1069, passed during the 75th session of the Texas Legislature.
That law would severely limit access by the media — and by all Texans — to official reports of motor vehicle accidents.
Up to now, those records generally have been open for unrestricted public inspection. It is a part of every police reporter’s routine to scan the records daily. However, even in a city as small as Galveston, we don’t attempt to report every fender-bender.
Instead, our reporters look for stories of broader public significance. To name a few examples that occurred in Galveston County:
A top county law officer wrecks his car after spending the evening drinking in a topless bar. The county charges the officer later, only after publicity, with driving under the influence.
Three people die in separate accidents on a dangerous curve on Farm-to-Market 1764. Because of press coverage, the state and county per-
form needed work on shoulders of the road to make it safer and prevent such accidents.
A truck carrying diesel fuel runs off the road and spills fuel directly into Galveston Bay. The accident demonstrates that traffic accidents are not just a matter of road safety — they can affect the environment in a number of important ways.
If SB 1069 becomes law, it’s likely readers in Galveston County and the rest of Texas will not see such stories in the future.
State Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Ariington, introduced the original bill (HB 399). He said it would prevent unwanted commercial contact with accident victims by chiropractors, plaintiffs lawyers and many similarly “bad” people.
It is significant to note the bill also had the support of the politically powerful Texas Trial Lawyers Association, which typically represents the defense side in lawsuits.
They are the other side of the legal coin from plaintiffs attorneys who often represent victims in lawsuits stemming from auto accidents.
Indeed, at a hearing in Austin last week, attorney Richard HUe, past president of tine trial lawyers group, was right there at the defendant’s 'table at the right hand of attorneys representing the office of Texas Attorney General Dan Morales. Though not an employee of the Morales’ office, Hile played a key policy-making role, suggesting the 60-day temporary injunction the parties agreed to that day.
That gave newspapers what we wanted, at least temporarily, and it gave die state more times to prepare its case (or, one hopes, to decide to abandon it).
Yes, it’s true. Richly financed lobbyists do influence public policy in Texas, often at the expense of all the rest of us. Make no mistake about it -that is what is happening in the case of SB 1069.
Many editors, including me, disagree with arbitrary restrictions on free speech, even commercial speech by chiropractors and plaintiffs lawyers. However, if the state must impose such restrictions, there are ways to do it without trampling key
provisions of the Texas and United States constitutions.
For example, the same Legislature that passed SB 1069 also strengthened the state’s barratry statutes that restrict such commercial contract with accident victims.
The mystery here is why Attorney General Morales is willing to put die force of his office, and his good name, behind such a measure.
More than 500 newspapers across Texas are lined up to oppose the new law. Newspapers generally don’t contribute to political campaigns, as trial lawyers do, but we play a role in shaping what Texans think about government and those who govern. We do that by working hard to tell the truth.
The truth is SB 1069 is very bad law. The truth is those who support it are more interested in their own financial interests than in die rights of accident victims.
(Dolph Tillotson is editor and publisher of The Galveston County Daily News, which, like the Herald-Zeitung is owned by Southern Newspapers, !nc.. He also serves as co-chairman of the legislative advisory committee for members of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association and the Texas Press Association.)
Jflfgtf&wierutmfiiewviciLetters to the Editor
Dumpad dogs did not dosorvo fat#
To the person that dumped two dogs on my street: Your dogs are dead. One ran for 24 hours, frightened and confused until it was snared and taken to the shelter by the animal warden to be euthanized. The other did not understand why it was hunted down and shot. What had it done so wrong except exist in an uncaring household that raised throwaway dogs?
These are not the first dogs dumped in our neighborhood, and I’m sure not the last. It is an inhumane act for man’s best friend. It would be much more humane to take them to a vet and put them into a gentle deep sleep with no fear and confusion. Think carefully when getting that cute cuddly puppy — it will depend on you for about 15
years and, with care and love, give that love tenfold. Neuter and spay to keep these throwaway dogs from suffering this fate.
Judy Rogers New Braunfels
Watch ahtrt pooch dooo his business
Attention, pet owners: Do your neighbors let their dogs use your front lawn as a bathroom? Mine do. Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. In fact, I have two beautiful dogs. I also have a 4-year-old who loves to play in our front yard. So please, the next time you take your dog for a walk, have some consideration for the bare feet in your neighborhood and take along a plastic baggie.
Rita Free New Braunfels
NsutrsMss U.N. control
Are you aware that the United Nations controls 68 percent of our national parks and national historical sites, including Yellowstone, Glacier,
Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains, Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and even Independence Hall?
This is due to executive orders from President Clinton.
Now Clinton is trying to gain control of the Rio Grande and other rivers for the U N. in the name of environmental concerns.
Wake up, people. Please write and call your Congress members and tell them to support the American Land and Sovereignty Protection Act. It would neutralize existing U.N. control.
Jeanne B. Helm Canyon Lake
Gov. George W. Bush, P.O. Box 12428, Austin, TX, 78711, Phone: 512-463-2000.
Atty. General Dan Morales, P.O. Box 12548, Austin, TX, 78711, Phone: 512-463-2100.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth (Bist. 25), P.O.
Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX, 78711-2068, Phone: 512-463-0126.
Local Office: 1250 NE Loop 410 Suite 425, San Antonio, TX, 78209, Phone: 210-826-7800.
Sen. Judith Zaffirini (Dist. 21), P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX,
78711, Phone: 512-463-0121, Laredo Office: 210-722-2293.
Rep. Edmund Kuempei (Cist. 45), 523 E. Donegan No. 102, Seguin, TX 78155, Phone: 512-463-0602. Local Office: 210-379-89732.
Today in History
By Th* Associated Priss
Today is Friday, Sept. 5, the 248th day of 1997. There are 117 days left in the year.
Today*! Highlight in History:
On Sept. 5, 1972, terror struck the Munich Olympic games in West Germany as Arab guerrillas attacked the Israeli delegation. Eleven Israelis, five guerrillas and a police officer were killed in the siege.
On this date:
In 1698, Russia’s Peter the Great imposed a tax on beards.
In 1774, the first Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia.
In 1836, Sam Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas.
In 18I& th* i»|ion’s first Labor Day paralfcrwaa held in New York.
In 1965, the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo-Japanese War, was signed in New Hampshire.
In 1914, the First Battle of the Marne began (hiring World War I.
In 1939, the United States proclaimed its neutrality in World War ll.
la 1957, “On the Road” by author Jack Kerouac was first published.
In 1975, President Ford escaped an attempt on his life by Lynette “Squeaky’’ Fromme, a disciple of Charles Manson, in Sacramento Calif.
In 1977, West German industrial
ist Hanns-Maitin Schleyer was kidnapped in Cologne by members of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Schleyer was later killed by his captors.
In 1977, the United States launched the Voyager I spacecraft two weeks after launching its twin, Voyager 2.
Ten years ago: Some four-dozen people were killed in an Israeli air raid on targets near the southern Lebanese port town of Sidon. In his weekly radio address, President Reagan urged American workers to shun protectionist legislation and “meet the competition head-on.’’
Five years ago: A strike that had idled nearly 43,000 General Motors Corp. workers ended as members of
a United Auto Workers local in L ordstown, Ohio, approved a new agreement.
One year ago: Russian President Boris Yeltsin acknowledged he had serious health problems and would undergo heart surgery. Hurricane Fran slammed into the Carolinas.
Today’s Birthdays: The president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Jack Valenti, is 76. Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul A. Volcker is 70. Comcdian-actor Bob Newhart is 68. Actor William Devane is 58. Singer John Stewart is 58. Actress Raquel Welch is 57. Singer Al Stewart is 52. Singer Loudon Wainwright III is 51. Drummer Buddy Miles is 51.