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March 3, 2010     Hays Free Press
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March 3, 2010
 

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? The incumbent protection clause meant ,we couldn't spend money or announce until Jan. 1. Liz Sumter announced in August and had five months to prepare her campaign. We had eight zveeks, and for three of those oeeks I had hrryngitis and could only ohisper. -Hays Counj Democratic nominee for County Judge Jeff Barton March 3, 2010 Page 3A EDITORIAL Would UT sell its soul? iiiiiiiiiiii00iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii at do mountaintop moval mining and the e of the University of Texas Cactus Cafe have in com- mon? This: The former looks at a mountain only as what riches it can yield. No value is assigned to the mountain itself, nothing intrinsic. It is but an obstacle to wealth. If a UT proposal becomes real- ity, the very same will apply to the latter. The Cactus Care is an on- campus live entertainment venue that maybe doesn't carry its weight, revenue per cubic feet. It has intrinsic value, however, beyond anyone's imagining. It provided a venue for Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen, among others, when they were young singer-songwriters. It pro- vides open-mike opportunities for great names and voices we've yet come to know. And yet the university recently announced it would discontinue the Cactus Care, located for many years in the Texas Union, saying the venue has "struggled to main- tain profitability." Yes, you love the word: "profit- ability" -- that criteria around which the world revolves. Well, not all world_Sora people see value  in non-currency, without percent- age points attached. You may see the world from the former perspective and have no problem with axing a performing arts institution. So, I'll ask: Would it be OK for theWall Street Journal to have a swimsuit edition? It would yield big bucks in a sagging hndustry, even flit compromised an institution's very nature. Would it be OK to stack the letters E,X,X,O and N on the side of the UTTower? That company, or man surelywould pay hand- somely for the privilege. It's rev- enue. Profit. Why not? You say it costs dollars to run something like the Cactus Care, dollars Texas supposedly does not have, So, too, does it cost dollars to make the tower glow orange on great occasions. AIG or Mitsubishi would be happy to help pay for that glow, given sufficient logo vis- ibility on the stately facade. I'U admit that one encouraging thing accompanies this troubling development: the outrage it has generated. Over 24,000 people-- students, graduate students and exes-- have merged online, registering their solidarity on Facebook to oppose the move, a virtual sit-down strike. Power to the people! One Face- book post sees this proposal as a continuation of the privatization of space in the Texas Union that began in the '90s. In response to the intense blow back, UT officials have suggested this is simply a"repurposing" of the Cactus Cafe to better suit the needs of students, as opposed to alumni and non-students. If that were the case, dollar signs wouldn't have come into the discussion. The magic figure we are talk- ing about is quite modest in the scheme of a huge urn'versity like LIT. The university says that the Texas Union is subsidizing the Cactus to atune of $66,000 a year. As one Cactus supporter said, if the university had simply told people of the problem and passed the hat online, it could have solved the problem in a nanosecond. So, is this about saving $66,000 a year? Or is it the condition of losing sight of the common good in the parsing of decimals? If that's the case, just imagine what a more profitable use of that tower would render, maybe with LED corporate displays on all four sides. I'll bet someone in the sell- off, sell-out world could put a price unit lohn Young writes for Cox News- papers, jyoungcolumn@gmail.com Building with schools is betl:er ur latest indulgence is to build a 1 one billion dgllar embassy in Lon- don designed by a Philadelphia architect. We are reminded that the new embassy in Iraq only cost six hundred million but it is as large as the Vatican. How we do like to show our vulgarity. The London embassy will 'be medieval in spirit but modern in construction, even having solar panels to reflect the drizzling sky whose moisture will no doubt keep the moat filled with water even when falling to make electricity. Excuse me, the reflecting pool, which is designed to keep out terrorists on wheels. Nothing has been said about those cars that can be driven on water. We are still breathless about the Iraq embassy which will require 1,000 custodi- ans to maintain service even though we are ostensibly leaving Iraq. We will not be leaving until all the oil is gone and we are not leaving until Iran becomes a democ- racy. Most of us won't live that long. But why London? Fear of terrorists is A SQUEN, been learning about the huge success of building schools to make friends. How many friends does an ostentatious build- ing make? This one will produce a lot of paper work. What kind of a signal does it send to the world? Aside from not moving statues of Ronaid Reagan and Eisenhower to the new location, I cannot see any sig- nificance in spending one billion dollars other than to impress others with how much money we have left in the national treasury. Or, do we? Is it too much in hard times to build something symbolic of our better nature? Do we always have to flex our muscles not a sufficient excuse for conspicuous and be the big dog? There's a debate display. Arewe putting on bigger and big- going on bout the pqwer of culture to ..... get showi-ur tlu/in war.  ti it ..... ,ttr v z .;:,,rr culture is ineremingly L wise to advertise our fear? Recently, we've violent even in our schools and churches. Our public buildings are beginning to show the trend. The White House is my idea of a build- ing that displays a better culture but even it has underground bunkers. Does anyone imagine when a nuclear bomb explodes, as it did on two cities in Japan, that the government can function under- ground? It can't even handle a hurricane in New Orleans. We have allowed ourselves to be led by so called neocons for too long. Spending huge amounts of money on impressive buildings is a symptom of the failure of their ideology. The people who want to destroy us in retaliation smell our fear. I think about our doctors and the many volunteers who have gone to Haiti. What- ever personal politics they have is pushed aside to serve others. As a nation we have abused Haiti but my guess is that a whole village will be won over by one doctor, nurse, or teacher, and the pilot who flies the plane that brings relief. How many vil- lages could become our friends ffwe built simple embassies and spent the money .!nstead on building schools, sveasauer@gmail.com America's assorted nuts Thave been asked on numerous occa- lsions where I Come up with ideas for ,Lthis beloved column. Some mistaken fajis actually believe I'm a brilliant, imagi- native writer, but they probably neglected to take their dose of Prozac. The truth to my madness is my skull is largely a half- empty vacuum, ready to suck up every bit of bizarre news I hear. My ears, whicht essentially axe the portals to psychosis, filter out uninteresting talk of politics, professional basketball and other borinl{ I crapola. But if there's some story about ttne discovery of an apeman wearing a prom dress up in the Ozarks, it gets sucked into my cranium like a halrball into an Elec- trolux. From there, the news item sits and festers like a boil on a mule's butt until I find time to sit behind this here PC. On some occasions when there's noth- ing new fermenting in my cerebral cal- dron and my beer fridge is nearly empty,; I have to resort to searching for something to write about. Most legitimate news- papers don't include stories about Elvis sightings or chupacabra attacks unless they occur at the local Dairy Queen, so I have to dust off my reporter hat (just be-. cause it has "John Deere" printed on the front doesn't mean it's not my reporter hat), and I go searching the intemet for the interesting stories. Here are a couple of tidbits of tantalizing trash that you might've missed. There's this fella up north in Wauwa- tosa, Wisconsin who was arrested for attending real estate open houses in the Milwaukee area and stealing women's underwear out of their dresser drawers while he posed as a potential home buyer. The panty raider was caught red-lacy- handed by some realtors and turned over to the police. Now, here's where the story gets bizarre. This thong thief, 58, told officers he was taking the items because he missed his ex-wife. He said he had about 50 more pairs at the home he lived in with his par- ents. Now, I'm no Dr. Phil, but I speculate that the reason that he has an ex-wife in the first place is due to his living with his parents, and, instead of having a healthy hobby like soMng crossword puzzles, the guy steals ladies' undergarments. Now, that ain't right, not even in Wisconsin. I doubt any panties robber exists down here in rural Texas because there's no tell- ing what you'll find in the dresser drawers of some gals 'round these parts. Would the Wauwatosa wacko be happy stealing a pair of size 48 cotton drawers out of Bubba ]o Sue's lingerie chest? That might be enough to straighten out that guy. And did you read this story? It actually made the Austin paper, but was tucked down in the comer of a sports page next to a Levitra ad. Some corn-fed fan at a Kansas City Royals game back in Septem- ber was struck in the face by a hotdog tossed by the Royals' mascot, Sluggerrr. The black-eyed fan is now suing the Roy- als organization for causing him to have a detached retina and cataracts. Now, Fm no Dr. Oz, but I suspect that this Kansas fella already had vision problems prior to the accident. If you can't see a hotdog flying towards your face, I think you may need to see an optometrist. How hard is it to dodge a soaring sausage? The plaintiff claims Sluggerrr threw it behind his back and "lost control of his throw." Dude, if you saw the throw, why didn't you duck? Were you trying to catch the lobbed link in your mouth and misjudged the trajectory? A fried pickle I can understand, but not a fat hotdog. You'd have a better chance of winning a lawsuit if you claimed the stadium food gave you high cholesterol.. I hoped these two stories opened your eyes at the real problems in this count .vy. Sure, the economy is bobbing like a cork in a cesspool of greed, and there are plen- ty of crazy cowards crashing planes into buildings or shooting innocent school kids, but just when you think people can't get any crazier, I have to write about these two idiots. America has been given the metaphor as a "melting pot" of different races and heritages. I believe our nation is more like a can of assorted nuts. rookytop78640@yahoo.com A WONDERFUL PLACE TO LIVE On Tuesday during the cold, yucky sleet I went to Buda Drags to pickup a prescription. While there I left my headlights on and my battery died. YUCIC The pharmacist was very busy, but also very concerned about my pllghL She suggested that I walk down a couple of stores to the Economic Develop- ment Corporation [EDC] to see if anyone there could give me a boost. Janet at the front desk wasn't able to (no booster cables), but called Pat and Justin at KPD sign company at the end of the block Within 3 minutes of finding out that my battery was dead several people got involved to help me out and I was on the road again. What a wonderful testa- ment to small town life where everyone knows everyone else and cares about one another. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Buda/I4(yle is a GREAT place to live. ]ulia Mleritt Texas State University SAY NO) TO Ace AUstiin Community College wants tto become another tax- ing entfity listed on property owners, ' tax receipts and that's a BAD Meal for us who live in Hays C]ISD, although the Kyle city council applauds the idea. (re: Hajes Free Press, Feb i0) The,ACC president has convimced the Kyle City Coun- cil that property owners would be happy to pay another $150 per year so that a handful of part time students will get a discount on their tuition. That's crazy! Helping the economically disadvantaged? It'll really help those on the precipice of fore- closure; this extra tax would be the tipping point. With $12 billion dollars of taxable property in Hays Co. (not including Ag exemp- tions), ACC stands to clear approx. $12 million in place of the $2.4 million in discounts granted. Now my figures aren't perfect but if they err, it's on the side of ACC. This taxwould be an en- titlement in perpetuity. It'll be there forever. We have carried students on our backs for 13 years K through high school. Enough already! College is expensive but it doesn't have to be. Why do college trustees raise tuition? Primarily because they can. Go to your public library (the absolute best deal for your tax dollars) and find "The Week" (a news magazine.) May 18, 2007 and read the article, "The $180K Diploma." You Hill be shocked. College students in my day lived below the pov- erty level with high expecta, tions for the future, and in the summer worked jobs andl lived with the folks. We eame,d during the summer enough t(o pay for a whole 9 months. With property and income taxes we will never own our homes and businesses: we are sharecroppers in the true sens(e of the word. NowACC wants us to shoulder another onerous tax. The average taxpayer on a dinky Kyle lot with a less than 1200 sq ft home already pays $2770 per year. And somebodyr else wants even more! Petitions ae being c'ucu- lated to get this measure on the ballot come November. If! someone comes to your porcth asking you to sign it, have a cow patty ready to give to him and call it a fair exchange. Ray Wolbrecht DDS Kyle POLL QUESTION THIS WEEK'S POLL QUESTION Are you happy with the city of Buda's decision to start a home-grown police force? .6,. Yes, I think we need it for public safety. B. Maybe. It will be costly, but it could be worth it. C. No. It's going to be too ex- pensive and the sheriff's office was already giving adequate coverage. LAST WEEK'S POLL QUESTION After years of  do you think that Pedernales Eleclxic Coopera'dve is on back? A. Yes. They've made many good reforms. 38% B, Maybe, It's hard to tell if things are actually improving. 31% C. No. They still have a long way to go. 29% D. I thought they were doing fine before all the changes. 2% TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WEEKLY POLL GO TO WWW.HAYSFREEPRESS.COM MANAGEMENT Barton Publications, Inc. CO-PUBLISHERS Bob Barton and Cyndy SIovak-Barton OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com NEWSROOM Managing Editor Jen Biundo news@haysfreepress.com STAFF REPORTERS Sean Kimrnons Brad Rollins School Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Gaul COLUMNISTS Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Darryl Oamail Svea Sauer Glint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart PROOFREADERS Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING ]'racy Cannon tracy@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.corn CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne HaUam paper@haysfreepress.com DISTRIBUTION Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr David White Assistant Designer dorge J. Garcia Jr. Hays County Commissioner Jeff Barton is a minority owner of the Hays Free Press CONTACT US: HaysFreePress.com news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreepress.com )