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Hays Free Press THEY REALLY SAID THAT? to "Our o ce is not doing anything because there was nothing to investigate." --Sherri Tibbe, Hays County District Attorney, in regards Constable James Kohler's perjury charge against Sheriff Gary Cutler Page 3A + : CAPITAL Gov. Rick Perry on Jan. 19 publicly announced the decision he made to end his presidential campaign. Perry; who was polling in single digits in South Carolina two days before that state's Jan. 21 Republican primary., im- mediately endorsed rival Newt Gingrich, an author, political consultant and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representa- tives (January 1995-January 1999). With Perry's departure, the GOP field of presidential aspirants is reduced to four: Gingrich. U.S: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. While Perry outperformed the field on fundraising, his performance in live, televised debates proved to be his weak suit. The Paint Creek native is in the second year of his third four-year term as governor. So far. he has served more than 11 years as Texas' chief executive. JOBLESS RATE DROPS IN DECEMBER The Texas Workforce Commission on Jan. 20 reported Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in December, down from 8.1 percent in November and down from 8.3 percent in December 2010. Also in its monthly report, the agency stated the civilian labor force grew by more than 17.000 in December, and now stands at more than 12.3 million Texans. According to statistics published by the U.S. Department of Labor. the na- tional unemployment rate is 8.5 percent. PATTERSON AT FRONT OF OPPOSITION Earlier this month, the state's General Land Office announced Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is lead- ing an effort to unite 23 western states to oppose the federal government's process for adding "birds, bugs, lizards and other critters to the list of protected endangered species." According to a Land Office news release, theWestern States Land Com- missioners Association, whose mem- bers manage about half a billion acres of public land and mineral rights for public education, passed a resolution urging Congress to alter the Endan- gered Species Act at its annual winter conference in Austin. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsterling@texaspress.com i PERSPECTIVES WLare in the midst of quadrennial lections and every candidate o is seeking office is laid bare. Everything is "fair play" for the candi- dates and no holds are barred. Trying to gain votes, politicians use innuendos about their opponents and even the opponent's family. How many votes this type of campaigning gains is not known. Vince Lombardi, icon coach of the Green Bay Packers, summed up the attitude of some who seek office when he said: "Wmning isn't everything. It's the ONLY thing!" How many candidates have lost because of sacrilegmus, false accusations. Guilt or innocence depends on what the public perceives as math. Herman Cain was forced out of the race for president because of a reported long- standing affair. He denied the account but the damage to his reputation had been done. The math will never be known, but it illustrates the power of the tongue. The primary season is in full swing and lots of charges fly. It is frightening to see what can happen when politics reins. The miracle is that despite what happens in an election year, America does not fail. The U.S. survives for yet another time and we keep on going as a nation- where the right prevails. of the struggle." Joe Paterno 1.926-2012 OOQ O Te best line so far in the 2012 pmsi- enfial derby? This from Joe Klein: '~uthenticity is rapidly becom- ing a euphemism for simple ignorance. (Herman) Cain was authentic; Sarah Palin was authentic. Elitists - people who have actually studied complicated stuff and become experts at it- are phonies. Just ask Rush Limbaugh." Klein was contemplating the ongo- ing challenge for Mitt Romney in com- ing across as human, not humanoid. His point: Romney has a lot go- ing for him- education, experience, smarts - but "authenticity"? It's odd that anyone would com- ment on Romney's genuineness, when; well, consider... Authentic? Serial adulterer Newt G'mgrich professes his Catholicism. Authentic? Rick Perry, he of ballot security schemes that purge the poor, says Virginia "disenfranchises voters" because it won't bend rules to let him on its primary ballot. Authentic? Rick Santorum pontifi- cates on evil government health care. And. tun, his parents worked for the VA, and he grew up onVA hospital campuses. Still, this authenticity thing is a real concern for Romney; as it was for one other Massachusetts governor of note. What is Mitt about, except one who for eight years has been offering his hair for national office? Disquieting (if you are a Republi- can) similarities seem to exist between Romney and Michael Dukakis, the squat Massachusetts governor who out-vagued a very puny Democratic field in 1988. Dukakis became short work of George H.W. Bush. Republican voters want to fall in love with Romney, just as Democrats wanted to fall in love with Dukakis. Are voters destined to find in Rom- ney, as Gertrude Stem said of Oakland, that "when you get there there isn't any there there"? Believe or discard: Like Dukakis, Romney is nmning on his resume. And like Dukakis, Romney is also tapping the potency of vacuousness in not say- ing much that will get him in trouble with any constituency. Will it work in the general election? Sure, it could. But it probably won't. Romney is going to have to show that there is a"there there." What was telling about Dukakis was that the only time his anemic candi- dacy started to show any traction with voters was when he started showing some red corpuscles and stopped run- ning from the "U' word, something he had dodged vigorously. Seemingly tied to that formula (made in Massachusetts?) Romney has been expertly dodging any number of matters throughout a very successful pr'unary quest. Consider the debate when Santorum said he agreed that states should have the right to ban birth control. Romney. given the chance to state his position, evaded most expertly; leading a lot of people to ask, "Really?" Wrote Miles Mogulescu in the Huff- ington Post: "Now, it might be easy to dismiss Santorum as an extremist outlier and assume that a President Romney would never do the same. But as Rom- ney's evasive response.., makes clear, that would be a profound mistake." Really? At the debate in South Carolina, Romney was similarly slippery when Santorum pressed him about federal law allowing ex-convicts to vote ffthey completed their sentences. Romney's evasiveness was particularly odd because a pro-Romney ad attacked Santorum for voting for the law in the Senate. So, this is Romney's authenticity problem. It's not whether or not he can summon a"ya betcha" to win the adoration of Palin's moose-killing set, or whether as a businessman he can pull off"The Herman Cain Show." It's what in fact he is about, policy-wise, ptinciples-wise. It's about how long it will take for voters to figure that out, and/or whether Romneywfll figure it out in advance of when voters decide for themselves. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn@gmail.com "ost cities - at least big cit- ies - are identified by some . activity or reputation. New York City is known as the center of the world's economy, San Francisco for its liberal life stvle. Taos as an art colony and many more cities could be identified in such a manner. My question is how do we identify our small towns and how do we as citi- zens choose to describe them? Too many small town citizens, when asked where they come from, generally identify their location by the big city closest to them. That kind of response doesn't show much civic pride in their own small town. I have vowed that from now on, I am going to tell people precisely where I live. That response will cause more questions and I can then tell .the many positives of my town. I think too many people who live in small towns emphasize the nega- tive aspects of their town. Yes, the governing bodies may not have the expertise of some of those big city folks but are the problems big? Yes, there needs to be improvements in the small town, but if it is so bad, why do we live there? LETTERS FROM Those of us Jiving in small towns should take an inventory of what our town offers. I remember aletter writer who told how living here allowed her to quickly get to her dentist and doctor in the large town nearby. Her shop- ping was made easier because of the outlet mall in a larger town. It was, she explained, easy to get to the airport and the interstate system allowed her to get to large cities 100 or 150 miles distant. There was not one good thing about our small town that she mentioned. She used the town as a bedroom to rest as she frequented other cities. We also need to create an identity for our towns. Some folks would like to keep it as a historical place. But they need to make sure that the history they so want to preserve really happened and is not a fake "ideal" histol~. If the little towns could only take that history and tie it to something in the present and the future, the town could keep its historical places and stories and continue to thrive. Another important aspect of build- ing your town is its reputation. All of us know some towns are considered "speed traps." Others are known for their ethnic population. We can only build the reputation of our town by having pride in it and its attributes. Brag about the hospital, the library or the good school system. Your town is only as good as you see it. With the clich~ that the world is getting smaller, we need to take stock of where we live. No town is perfect, but each of us can do some- thing to make it better. We cannot live in the past and not, realistically, just in the present. We have to think of our town and how it will look in the future. If we don't, our town will become just another dot on the map the highway bypasses. If we continue to go elsewhere to find the quality of life we want, we will become just as stagnant as many small towns have become. jdlinden@satx.rr.com COMMENTS FROM THE WEDSITE I look forward to waiting 20- 30 minutes to get through the light at the overpass when ACC opens. It is a hassle going through it now. The city is moving too slow to handle the increase in population. - Rory Oldham on ACC campus ready to break ground What does the district have to gain by only giving teach- ers a lO-day notice instead of 45? Would it save them money anywhere or are they just being jerks? - Cara Mosier on Teachers group opposes HCISD plan to shorten layoff notices I agree we have made prog- ress but here in our not so little town anymore we still have plenty of racism going on. Last year at school events we had a local business owner do nothing but make racial slurs against black athletes and black people in general Yet it was the black people who took the higher road and let it be this persons ignorance. We still have so far to go. -- 181965 on Honoring our heroes MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publishers Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com NEWSROOM Editor Wes Ferguson wes@haysfreepress.com Features Editor Brenda Stewart Staff Reporters Sean Kimmons Jonathan York Kim Hilsenbeck Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports Editor Jason Gordon Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com Distribution Gigi Hayes Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Contact Us: HaysFreePress.com news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com BUDA 512-296-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 Fax: 268-0262 www.haysfreepress.com 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640 +