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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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February 2, 2011     Hays Free Press
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February 2, 2011
 

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?. "I don't want to be the grinch" -- Kyle City Manager Lanny Lambert on budgeting $15 000 for the July 4 fireworks display as one of the few exceptions to a freeze on capital spending. Hays Free Press February 2, 2011 Page4A + O O y its very name, a Public Notice, also called a Legal Notice, is printed in newspapers to give notice to the public about what a governmental entity, whether county, school district, or ci~, is spending. For many years public notices have been placed in this newspaper along with hun- dreds of other newspapers across Texas. Why newspapers? Because they provide the most effective medium that guarantees perma- nent, independent access by the public to bids the ci~, county or school district are letting. Newspapers are reliable, with their C) 0 O O weekly or daffy publications, and are always available to the general public through rock 9-/~ c9 O ~ o a sales, counter sales or subscriptions.~A,------~-~ ~ ~ ~~--~fi/fi/~- o .---'-" "7- Basically, ifyouwanttoknowwhatyour ~,t, UllH~ff~ ,.,~.t~! ,~ o 0 v t9 0 j~.:~!:~-;~.~% government is spending, there is a single source to search. ~NE o o o 0 6 o z> o/.~-~_ ~.. 6 For example, we have a notice today from ~~_c.~ ~ O CA the city of Kyle requesting bids for a non- point source water quality prograrn retrofit on a facility. In the last couple of months, we printed bids from Hays CISD for vendor supplies and for asphalt services, from the city of Hays for street improvements, and from other governmental entities within our readership area. But there is a move in the legislature, House Bill 507, by State Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson), which would allow cities, counties and school districts to pub- lish their own competitive bids by putting notices on their own websites. Button says the bill would save money by not having to go to an outside source for notification. The very nature of public/legal notices is to get input from voters and vendors, from contractors and concemed citizens. There are numerous problems when such notices are put ONLY on a governmental Website. When and for how long is the bid online, and what outside source will review these bids? Who guarantees that the notices actu- ally were posted? How will voters be able to look at all of the websites in a reasonable manner to keep an eye on the bidding process? Just in our immediate area, taxpayers and anyone wanting to bid would have to view websites from Hays CISD, Hays County and the cities of Kyle, Buda, Uhland, Niederwald, Mountain City, Hays Ci~ and more. That doesn't count numerous other entities- fire districts, community college districts, emer- gency Semce districts, water districts and more - that taxpayers would have to review daffy just to keep up with their tax dollars. Public Notices in the newspaper might cost a small amount, but in the long run, getting more bids will drive down costs from vendors and will keep voters informed. In addition, newspapers already post legal notices on their own websites and the Hays Free Press also participates with the Texas Press Association by placing local websites on a statewide website, texaslegalnotices. com. This searchable database for public notices brings the eyes of bidders from throughout the state- if not the world -: to Hays County. Is the state willing to put together such a program that brings together all the legal notices from all the governmental entities throughout Texas? Who will bear that cost? Is the state willing to spend thousands of dollars on a secure website, allowing for searches, posting, auditing?Who will main- tain this? Who will monitor local government sites to be sure that bids are not hidden, thus allowing only a "friend" of someone to even know that a bid has been let. We know ourselves that some folks in local government don't want their notices "noticed." They ask that we bury the notice, that we not put it online, that we not send it to the state. To what end? Why? Because they don't want any more bidders. They are satis- fied with a friend of a friend providing the requested services. Then we are poorer for such requests. Taxpayers will end up being poorer without having knowledge of what their government is up to. They will be poorer if a friend of a friend gets the bid without real competition. We will all be poorer if public notices only go on websites without outside oversight. Legal notices should be left in newspa- pers, in print and online, because we offer a third-party system that is viewable, search- able, and permanent. Don't give up your right to know what is going on. Call State Rep. Jason Isaac (463- 0647, jason.isaac@house.state.tmus) and tell him to vote no on Button's bill. SORRY, GLENN A photo cutline that ran ~'ith "Marker makes it official" on Jan. 26 should have said Glenn Erwin, not Glenn Evans. rTr'the events happening in Texas I may well be an indicator of At, what is happening across the nation. The issues brought up by our governor can also be seen as the issues that will be at the forefront of the national political scene soon. Even though the governor of Texas is about fourth or fifth in the constitutional power structure of the state, he still has some unique powers. One of those is the power to designate a bill as an "emergency." The incumbent, now the longest serving governor in Texas history, has so far designated four issues as emergency measures, thus giving the legislature the power to con- in the first 60 days of the legislative session. Those four emergency measures certainly speak to the critical and vital issues facing Texas and the nation. Does he include a deficit of up to $27 billion? Dropout rates, with Texas having the 45th highest rate in the nation? No, our governor doesn't list these as emergencies. Instead, he seeks a resolution for a Constitutional amendment to the U.S. Constitution to balance the budget. He wants to deny a city the op- tion of designating itself a"sanctu- ary city," which stops the police in that city from asking about immi- gration status. No major cities in Texas have that as an issue but it is L TBIS certainly one for the governor. The govemor wants a voter photo identification law, even though there have been no cases of voter fraud in Texas in recent history. Finally, the governor is so con- cemed about getting government out of our lives, yet he has asked for emergency laws requiring sono- grams for pregnant women decid- ing to have an abortion. It is obvious the governor has been hanging around with enter- tainers. He has heard the platitudes and strokes that they have given him. He is the same governor who brought up the idea of secession in his speeches. He has insistently argued that as governor, he has always had a balanced budget even as the State Legislature is trying to solve the deficit the state faces. Even his balanced budget the year before required some $3 billion from Federal Stimulus Funds, and all the while he is criticizing the federal govemment. What's going on behind the scenes? The current governor is, in reality, running for the presidency. He is a constant face at Tea-Party events and is often mentioned by the half-governor of Alaska and Michele Bachmann, the rising star of the right. Some interesting ques- tions are now coming to fore among those three. The question? Who is going to be the presidential nominee and who is going to be second best? There's a lot of ego involved among the three; it will be a delight to see the power struggle among them. In the meantime, you malt see these three pursuing the oblectlves of the right when it comes to social issues. Abortion will once again be a topic among tea-party members. The gun issue, though seemingly a non-issue, will come up again wi~, the tragedy in Arizona. Prayer in schools and elsewhere in govern- ment will once again be aloud cry from those that are convinced that God wrote the Constitution. You may hear a lot about what is happening in Texas. What you think is about Texas is really the governor setting his sites onWashington, D.C. What you will be hearing is his ap- peal to the tea-party and a nomina- tion of some political party. If the Republicans don't nominate him or the other two, a third party may be on the way. ldlinden@satx.rr.com | Shades of 1965: white fright on a Southern roadside. I wonder how many Texans drive by the billboard along Inter- state 35 and remember another billboard long ago targeting Martin Luther King Jr. The one that stands these days just south of Waco bears a menacing black-and-white photo of Barack Obama, and the words, "Socialist by conduct." It brings to mind billboards I saw at various locations in Texas back in'65, each with a grainy black- and-white photo showing: "Martin Luther King at communist training school." In either case, we were to believe that because someone with the means to say it ~ld it, it was so. Behold in Obama- as with King-the most dangerous martin America. It's a hairy enough claim to make a wart jump to a toad. If Obama is a socialist, John Boehner can stifle a tear. Yes, in one of the most ambitious political initiatives in generations, Obama engineered reforms to address the nation's abominable numbers of uninsured Americans. So doing, he infuriated voices on the left, just as he inflamed the so-flammable right. As with Bill Clinton, Obama sought a mid-point between a sin- gle-payer approach and the status quo. Socialist? No, capitalist - and in ways that bother people like me who don't think corporate middle- men are entitled to a cut regarding the basic right to health care. Now we have seen the U.S. House, with 100 percent Republican approval, vote to abolish the Afford- able Care Act. Republicans say they are responding to the electorate as expressed in November. But if polls in January are any indication, the mood has already swung. Ameri- cans have lingering questions about this landmark legislation, but as it has been rolled out, acceptance has grown. Now, says an Associated Press poll, only 26 percent of Ameri- cans want to scrub the entire thing. "in other words,,' writes Eugene Robinson of the Washington Po~t, the House vote may be "the will of the Tea Party, but it's not 'the will of the people.'" Nothing new about that. For de- cades, the rhetoric of the GOP has been dictated by its right flank. Until recently, that flank was evangelical Christians. Never has a segment of America been less rep- resentative of America, yet has had more representation. Wimess its sway on federal stem cell research, so broadly supported, yet blocked by the Bush administration. Now, as Robinson observes, the GOP and the House are in the throes of right-wingers who draw Hitler'staches on the president. These are the people who in 2010 got religion about debt and deficits, yet who still worship in the pagan holiness of that deficit-by-design patron saint, Ronald Reagan. They dwelt in a cone of silence when the Bush administration drove up debt without a care. Then, when in the face of the worst economic climate since the Great Depr~ion, Obama engineered what many economists still consider a mod- est, verging on meek, economic stimulus plan, they roared like a jet engine. They belched dragon flames. They had TV camera crews and state nominating conventions on a string. Now that Obama has engineered a successfully centrist completion of the lllth Congress (again inflaming the left by conceding to the Republi- cans on tax cuts; some socialist), his general standing is on the rise. In contrast, the flame-throwers of the right look more freakish each day. Today we look back at billboards that slandered Martin Luther King and realize who ended up winning that debate. Obama can take heart that ulti- mately, fright by the side 0fthe road persuaded only a hardened core of Americans. Understand: They're still among us, and not going anywhere. The rest of us ultimately will go forward as before, looking to real leaders and leaving grainy, hysteri- cal claims in the rearview mirror. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. ~oungcolumn@gmail.com COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE "This booking photo looks nothing like she does in her movies." -- Hotness on "Porn star, ex-wife of Jesse James ar- rested in Hays County" on haysfreepress.com "Chief Blake stared so many great things to help the department and the city. 'I hope the new chief picks up where Chief Blake left Off." -- Kyle Watddos on "Chief Blake leaves Kyle for Bas- trop" on haysfreepress.com "Like all good Texans, I'll be storming the grocery store like a maniac, rushing to stock up before the big storm arrives. Seriously, it tickles me how we South- erners panic at the first threat of a little cold or Ice. My friends from up north are highly amused that we shut down our society for a little inclement weather." -- Texican on "Hays County hunkers down for arctic blest" on haysfreepress. com MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publlehem Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer businass@haysfreeprass.com NEWSROOM Editor Brad Rollins brad@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporters Jennifer Biundo Sean Kimmons Kay Richter Was Ferguson Features Writer Brenda Stewart School Reporter Jim Cullen Communlty Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Caul Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jonas Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack t racy@haysfl'eepress,com CIRCULATION Clrculatlon Mgr. Susanne Ha, am paper@haysfmepmes.com CI.ASSIFIED8 Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com Distribution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Productlon Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Contact Us: HaysFreePress.com news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com BUDA 512-295-9760 KYI.E 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreepm~.com