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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
January 20, 2010     Hays Free Press
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January 20, 2010

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THEY REALLY SAID THA00 "I think the real question that needs to be asked, before you start thinking about what we want to start issuing debt for, is how much debt do we want to carry as a city?" - Buda Councilmember Sandra Tenodo Page 4A Hays Free Press January 20, 2010 EDITORIAL Where has the dream turned? S the "I Have a Dream" speech was being read across the nation on Monda we have to won- er, "What is the dream of the 21st century?" With rains in Haiti, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, with the economy snuggling to get on its feet, with economies still collapsing in other countries, what is next? At the Martin Luther King Day speeches in San Marcos on Monday, San Marcos city councilmem- ber Chris Jones looked at the children running across the grass at the Hays County Courthouse. "How far have we come," he said, pointing out that children of every color were yelling and nmning together, oblivious of the racial tensions that were so dominant in this county only 30 to 40 years ago. In Buda and Kyle, students in school today have friends of all colors. Those raised with a vision of a "mixed future" cross the color line easily. They give little thought, if any, that they date someone of another color, another culture. So, is racism gone locally? Is everyone equal? It depends on where you stand. Toda the racism is more likely to be felt along socio-economic lines. For- mer local newspaper owner and author Bill Bishop, in his book "The Big Sort," says that Americans tend to live where they feel comfortable. They look for a neighborhood that is in their political range, in their economic range. There is less exchange of ideas these days, according to Bishop, because neighbors live next to someone who thinks just like them. So, even though we might be more tolerant of other ideas or other skin color today, we might actu- ally be more isolated.And that is not good for any of us, whether in Hays County, or inWashington D.C., or in Chicago. Just as the blending of ideas and the walking together with those of another color brought about changes, so we will have to walk across town to neighborhoods not like our own to exchange ideas. We might be different, butwe can be equal. The next equality fight of this century will likely be fought with jobs, with economics, as racial tensions fall away. Marches are still the wayto draw attention to a cause, to the fight. This time, though, the color of the skin of the marchers will not be the defining factor. Take a closer look to discern the distinctions- the clothes, the phones, the shoes will give the hint. Only as jobs are created and more can afford food, clothing, healthcare and day-to-day niceties can we see tree equality on the horizon. The only way to achieve this kind of equality means we will have to take a step - to the other side of the aisle in Congress, to the other side of the highway in Hays Coun to the other side of the economic divide. We just need to take that small step sooner, rather than later. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR WHO WILL BAIL US OUT? Here we go again. Wall Street speculators and big oil. Drove gas prices to near $4 per ga]lorL That caused many small businesses to dose. It caused job loss because dtizens could not get to work and back. It caused companies to raise prices to pay for deliverie It put owner operators out ofbnsiness. It caused tracking companies to cut back and raise price They did all this and much more. Still, Washington slapped them on the wrist. Thenloaned them money from the very people they robbed. The American people. Now gas is going up again for a replay of the same prob- lems they caused before. How much money does the government think the American people have?We the people have to live too. Who is going to bail them out this time? R P g2ng Kyle HATS OFF TO SCHOOL TRUSTEES Let's give them courage to do the right thing. This month is Texas School Board recognition month. While I frequently disagree with the direction of the Hays School District, I also recognize the volunteer service of school beard members. It is difficult for beard members when they are bombarded with professional constituendes trained in how to spin and filter the data they feces. A case in point is the recent Joe Munoz insider rental debacle where he failed to honor the terms of his discount rental agreement and the district did nothing to force compliance. We've institutionalized the insider game at HCISD with the Education Foundation. The Foundation hits up school vendors and others that are benefitting from school board decisions. This is a dangerous pattern. The Hays Education Foundation was set up as an indepen- dent institution. It no longer is independent. And, the rise of the influence of the Education Foundation has not materially impacted academic performance. The "social event of the year" has failed to mm Denim to Diamonds for students and taxpayers. School board members have been hoodwinked because the data they received to make their decisions is incomplete and filtered. They are human and so they are cognizant of who is contributing to the Hays Education Foundation as well. Anyone who believes Education Foundation mem- bership doesn't influence decisions is naive.An apathetic public makes it hard to change the status quo too no matter how ineffective it has become. Look at the projected enroll- ments of our schools as compared to historic enrollments. Who is benefitting from these V2 full new schools? The tumout in the last school board election was less than 25 years ago! We're overburdened with bureaucracy and ineffective programs because we've let them get away with it for too long. Hats off to school board members with the courage to eliminate ineffective programs and to curb waste who have the courage to make constructive change for sus- tainable academic improvement that is clearly evident without having the results interpreted by a Director of Assessment and Public Information Officer. BryceBa/es Manchaca I WAU IN I00:MD AFO00ISlrAN * B/00!itUMBU6." Sacrificing for war See a cartoon with Uncle Sam ingYemen. Is he thinking of ding yet another countrywe must subdue to be "safe from ter- rorists?" (Note: SaudiArabia, Russia, Iron andYemen all are in competi- tion for control ofthe Red Sea_) So far, the political response to the need to protect ourselves from universal harm has been to engage our military forces along with the voices of public approval. I have waited in vain to see the civilian public buy Liberty Bonds, make sacrifices of time, or even pay much attention to casualties. We do wave the flag a bit much. We saywe must keep our enemies out of sight but we want them out of mind too. We wrangle over political decisions but sit back and watch our generals as if we were not involved. I have a distant memory but a vivid one, of a country united behind the lines. There were war bond drives, increased taxes, sacrificing of coffee, beef and even straight pins. They couldn't be bought anywhere. I still save them. InWWI children saved tin foil. The notion of common good has been replaced with "me too." People working together for the common good and governing bodies seeking solutions divorced from the influence of corporate welfare interfere with our pursuit of safety without sacrifice. Since when did democracy flourish without a shared sacrifice? By great good fortune we live in a country which has been settled by people of hope and determina- tion. They forgive easily. When al- lowed the freedom they crave, they are goodhearted to one another. They are brave. They are strong. Who can doubt for one minute they will emerge from these troubled times stronger than ever. So what is the problem? The system which once served us is failing. Is it possible to imag- ine a deal being made by hand- shake? Or to imagine a son w[a.o sacrifices his own life in a job he hates to repay debts dishonorably n?eglected by his father? Can you imagine being disgusted because your neighbor profited at the cost of another's loss? Are there still business practices that are "un- gentlemanly?" Our business and politics both are carried on in dead earnest like mini wars. Perhaps they always were but there were rules of en- gagement related to social conse- quences. People who live in a small town are very lucky. Their lives are still regulated by standards watched over by their neighbors. It is in the world where nations engage with one another that big business rules the marketplace and where standards considered acceptable there trickle down to the local economy and change the social environment. It is human to admire wealth and equate it with the good, the true and the beautiful. It is normal to want more. And it isso easy to be- come centered in acquiring more. In the process we not only ratio- nalize wars of acquisition but we manage to forget those who fight them for us. We must do our part and stop rebelling against the taxes that pay for them. We must learn to accept the sacrifices that enable us to pay. We must offer ourselves to take on sacrifices on their behalf and we must be ready to take care of them when they come home. In doing so we will be a united nation once again. Whether or not we believe the war is justified, we are responsible for the lives lost or impaired. Separate the idea of self-defense from the temptation of acquisi- tion. Once upon a time we won the world with ideas and ideals. Now, we are forced to police not only those we have taught to hate us but those who fear us. The result is fear of one another. Experts with a remote control e year was 1993, and I was eing besieged by experts. I never knew so many people knew so much until that year- when a mid on the Branch Davidian compound outsideWaco went so seriously afoul that the standoff ended up a nightly fixation on CNN and the networks. In the same way that Waco became the media center of the universe, the local paper's opinion page, whose content was my re- sponsibilit, became the crossroads for a world of expertise. I was snuck bythe number of people from across the country who knew exactly what happened and who was to blame. That was intriguing, because our newspaper was in on the story before it was everyone's story, and we were still wondering what happened. And how did they gain their ex- pertise? By watching a few seconds of video onTV-- the same clip shown over and over, federal agents firing and being fired upon on a roof out in the wind-blown Texas countryside. So many experts from so little information. It continues today. It's the kind of expertise the Assoc/ated Press acknowledged in a recent story about a particularly cold day in January and the issue of globalwam,00ng, The story was about scientists' task of explaining the recent cold snap - a killer freeze in Beijing, icicles hanging from Florida oranges- within the template of global warming. The story acknowl- edged this fact: Without considering the bigger picture, a lot of people iiii00iiii00iiiii shivering through a weel4s very cold temperatures would be hard to convince that, yes, the planet is warming urmatur. The people who study this matter every day could explain it easily. As Deke Amdt of the National Climatic Data Center explained, "We'll sail have record cold temperatures. We'll just have fewer of them." This, of course, is immaterial to the type of expert who becomes one with a remote control in hand. Such expertise helps explain why the Pew Center recently found a decline in the number of Americans saying there is strong sdentific evidence that the Earth has gotten warmer over the past few decades, from 71 percent a year ago to 57 percent. A Pew spokesman specu- lated that this is because people are concerned about the economy. I can understand one not wanting to be concerned about said matters when one is trying to feed one's family, but how does it bear on evidence about an ominous global concem? The question about discerning the reality ofglobalwarming is far different from the question of whether man should do anything about it, policywise. Texas Republi- can Congressman Joe Barton says no. His solution: "Get shade." Barton will believe what he wants, and will look the other way when science presents something that would give him discomfort. Quite a few climate deniers, remotes in hand, will cite a recent made-for-Fox-News tempest in which hacked e-mails between climatologists were portrayed as tmdermining the numbers about global warming. It makes for good T, but analysis of the 1,073 e-mails in question, involving a team of five Assoc/ated Press reporters, found "the mes- sages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked." "Don't confuse me with the facts," could be a slogan for the modem-day understanding of expertise. Or what's a Sarah Palin foff A"contributor" for Fox News, thafs what. This is an expert who, according to the new book "Game Change,".had foreign policy tutors explaining, "This is how the Cold War worked," as well as the actual wars preceding, after John McCain's campaign manager came to them saying, "She knows nothing." You might say this is an asset. It is one thing to be a pointy-headed academic who spends his time poring over books, newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, data-- you know, the stuff of understanding. It is another to be confident enough in what one sees onTVto knowit all. lohn Young writes for Cox News- papers. BlllTIIlmT]llr[lmllllllllllnanmmmmnma nummannlnnnnnlNINIIIllllnlliLn"Tlr rr" ' 1 ulrr n r r' , [ m-nlmmtmr, mlm, m ............................... POLL QUESTION THIS WEEK'S POLL QUESTION Do you think the city of Buda should put a "quality of life" bond out for voter approval? A. Yes, I think projects like the expanded park, new library and repaved roads would benefit the city. B. Whether or not I like the projects, it should be for the citizens to decide. C. No. This isn't a good time to be issuing any more debt. LAST WEEK'S QUESTION How do you feel about the slowdown of the Kyle hous- ing market? A. Worried. It could impact me or my neighbors financially.. 63% B. Not too worried. It's less severe than what occurred in much of the nation and should pick back up again soon. 28% C. Happy. I'm glad we getting a break from all the new subdi- visions. 9% TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WEEKLY POLL GO TO WWW.HAYSFREEPRESS.COM ql 00=ttp_00ree MANAGEMENT Barton Publications, Inc. CO-PUBLISHERS Bob Barton and Cyndy SIovak-Barton OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer NEWSROOM Managing Editor Jen Biundo STAFF REPORTERS Sean Kimmons Brad Rollins Schogl Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Caul COLUMNISTS Bob Barton Bartee Haile Phil Jones Darryl Jamail Jack Linden Svea Sauer Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart PROOFREADERS Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Cannon CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr Suzanne Hallam CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam DISTRIBUTION Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr David White Assistant Designer dorge d. Garcia Jr. Hays County Commissioner Jeff Barton is a minority owner of the Hays Free Press CONTACT US: BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397