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Kyle, Texas
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March 16, 2011     Hays Free Press
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March 16, 2011
 

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+ THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "We definitely fed thepain." -- Hays CISD deputy supenntendent Carter Scherff on the impact of nsing gas pdces on the district's transportation department. Page 4A Hays Free Press March 16, 2011 "fno one in your family drives, or walks in parks, if you have your own private source of .drinking water as well, then stop reading this now. This doesn't concern you. But ffyou care about traffic, air pollution, pro- tecting our groundwater, business viability, fire truck response time, safe school bus routes or the dangers of gravel trucks on narrow, crowded roads; if you think we need ballparks and places to see wildlife and stars as we grow- then it's time to hitch up your britches, get good and mad, and sing out. At 10 a.m. Tuesday in Commissioners Court in San Marcos, the issue will probably, for all practical purposes, be decided. Commission- ers Court will sponsor a flxll-blown review and public workshop on major projects and capital expenditures, including FM 1626, Interstate 35 improvements, park and water-quality funding, and pending building projects. The question is whether to keep moving on plans that are mostly voter approved initiatives or to cancel all manner of projects in mid- stream, saving money in the short run, costing us incalculably over the long haul. The "Turn back the clock Tories" are mostly the same old faces - often newcomers settled in rural areas, without regular jobs or children in school- invigorated by reading the wrong lessons from last November's electioris. They are fond of quoting shallowly from founding fathers and- like the Tories of the Revolutionary era- they cloak themselves in shabby patriotism but are really less stalwarts for any cause than they are just cranky people terrified by change. A distinguishing trait of these "Tories" is that, just as the Tories of old who sided with the king in the name of "traditional values," they don't really trust democracy. Drawn from far-far loft and farther-farthest right, most have never met a conspiracy theory they don't both embrace and embellish. The latest claim is that our local debt is reck- lessly out of control, especially at the county level, so that we have become slaves to myste- rious bankers and special interests who have tricked us into thinking we want better roads and decent parks. :: ~ Tosave ourselves from certain doom we must kill road projects, cancel parks, cut down tall trees of community consensus and voter- approved bonds. To hear the "Tories" tell it, it's amazing the courthouse even stands from all that debt piled on top of it. You hear it from Sam Brannon, a Libertarian whose candidacy for congress never made it out of the primaries, and from former commissioner Susie Carter who led opposition to the original propositions. And then you hear it from Wirnberley-Driftwood organiz- ers Charles O'Dell and Susan Cook, self ap- pointed "watchdogs" who - having moved here fairly recently- bark against all newcomers, most change and anything that would address growth around the communities of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos. Everybody's in on it- local auditors, local politicians of every stripe, FrO presidents and small business shops - they're all out to get you: as if local cities, counties and school boards were somehow out of"our" reach: Sure, there are real reasons to be concerned about debt, national and local. But these "Tories" think they can smear overwhelmingly approved local projects with the uneasiness about state and national debt and financial policies. They denounce those who disagree as trai- tors to king and country. They believe that in the wake of last year's topsy-turvy elections and the current political environment they can intimi- date the county's elected leaders into following their flag. Truth is, our county taxes and debt are in line with responsible norms, our bond rating improving. Truth is most of these projects were approved by margins of two-to-one - and even higher jn this part of the county- by voters in the West turn-out election (November 2008) in the county's history. And truth is the projects are mostly 1) under budget and 2) the type of long-term improve- ments that will benefit the county for genera- tions, create jobs and attract a tax base while addressing growth needs- desperately needed parks and roads in one of the nation's fastest growing counties. These aren't boondoggles. This isn't borrow- ing debt to pay debt. It's the same kind of smart long-term investment that most homeowners and business owners make at one time or another. But there is great pressure just now to show a decrease in taxes even ff it is penny-wise and pound-foolish, even if it would mean playing make-believe with the county's future. It will take citizen participation from the fast- growing parts of the corridor, from average folks to ensure that doesn't happen. Citizens from this area have helped save these projects before. It would be a shame to lose them as they move toward fruition, especially since canceling would not only be short-sighted but costly- disrupting contracts and crews already mobilized. These projects have enjoyed bipartisan sup- port from veteran commissioners Will Conley and Debbie Ingalsbe, and from our newly elected commissioner, Mark Jones, who campaigned in support of many of the projects. But it won't be easy for these officials to stand up and do what's right, without knowing they have support. They also need to rest assured that more than just the busy-bodies with too much time are paying attention. Go if you can. If you can't, here's where to email: debbiei@co.hays.tx.us, mark.jones@co.hays. t~us, will.conley@co.hays.tx.us, ray.whisenant@ co.hays.t~us, bert.cobb@co.hays.tx.us IS IkOSLI)IS~M'C~} ation cuts on estimated 12,000 people m across Texas took part a Saturday, March 11, rally at the state Capitol to express their feelings about proposed cuts to education. At issue are proposals aired in daily hearings of House Appro- priations and Senate Finance committees that point toward the budgetary goal of cutting as much 'as $10 billion from public educa- tion funding. In addition, billions more in cuts would be needed to satisfy the state constitutional mandate for a balanced budget. Of course, lawmakers also hear daily from constituents that the pain of cutting health and human services, law enforcement, roads and infrastructure and a long list of other state functions is too much to bear. Defiberations continue, but still, no cuts have been voted upon that would make a serious dent in the $27 billion projected revenue deficit for budget years 2012-2013. Where else can law- makers turn their attention to solve the puzzle? SOME SAY IT'S RAINING RIGHT NOW One idea gaining momentum among taxpayers, lawmakers, other state officials, and even school children too young to vote, is to use part if not all of the state's $8 billion Economic Stabilization ("rainy day") Fund. Gov. Rick Perry says it's not a rainy day and he wants lawmak- ers to write a balanced budget without touching it. However, to address the rev- enue deficit in the current budget year, House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, R-Waxahacbie, has filed House Bill 275. The bill would tap into the rainy day fund to the tune of $4.27 billion. Discussed by an Appropriations panel on March 10, HB 275 was left pending but may come up for a vote soon. ANOTHER IDEA: UNPAID FURLOUGHS Texas might pick up on a tactic other states have used to regroup in the face of budget shortfalls: that is to cut the state payroll. The way is to pass a law that - instead ~f ordering massive layoffs - just allows agqncy heads to send some workershome without pay for a few weeks when necessary. Now it so happens that Chair- man Pitts has filed HB 2720, relat- ing to unpaid furloughs for State employees. Under Pitts' bill, a state em- ployee who is on unpaid furlough continues to accrue: (1) state service credit for pur- poses of longevity pay; (2) vacation leave; and (3) sick leave. If the unpaid furlough exceeds one month the employee may continue to accrue service credit toward state retirement. How much money the state might save if large numbers of employees are furloughed without pay for a month just begs another question: How well could vital services be sustained oh the backs of a reduced workforce? March 11, the 60th day of the 82nd session of the Texas Legisla- ture, was the deadline for law- makers to file major state legisla- tion. The last day of the 140-day session is May 30. MIDLAND REP FINE AFTER EMERGENCY Former House Speaker Tom Craddick collapsed in a com- mittee hearing at the Capitol on March 9. He was conscious when trans- ported to an Austin hospital for treatment and observation. Re- ports are that he is in fine shape. Craddick, R-Midland, is dean of the Texas House. He has served as a member of the House since 1968. JANUARY JOBS REPORT ARRIVES On March 11, the Texas Work- force Commission reported Texas employers added 44,100 jobs in January. Those jobs are nonfarm employment, and the addition of jobs in January totals out at 253,900 jobs gained in a year's time. The Texas Workforce Com- mission calculated the state's seasonally adjusted unemploy- ment rate for January at 8.3 per- cent, unchanged from December 2010, and below the U.S. unem- ployment rate for January of 9.0 percent. PATROLS INCREASE FOR HOUDAY The Texas Department of Public Safety on March 9 announced the number of highway patrol troop- ers on the road will be increased to handle spring break, March 12 to 20. [ A DISRAY OF LOW MA1H SK]U.S ON interest only payments for 22 years! the pregnant woman take another ~ Carpenter cost six times what Elm look at what she is doing:. Killing an Grove cost.We have one of the high- innocent life. The sonogram would The Comptroller has come up est debts in Texas per student and show the movement and heartbeat with the Hnancial Allocation Study it is way over twice as high as the of the unbom child, proving that for Texas (FAST) for school district average for all fast growth districts the fetus is an alive human beine It assigns a rating based in Texas. ' and to abort the child is an act of on how districts spend their money Despite record spending increas- murder. and how this spending wanslates es, the FAST program rates Hays into student achievement. The link spending index as "average". Our is at http://www.fastexas.org/.Is math progress is especially trou- this data being used by Hays CISD bling at 39 percent.When compar- when it determines what to cut? ing to peer districts sorted by the When available revenue goes up, composite progress score, Hays is as it has done at a crisp pace for over fifth lowest out of 42 dis~cts being a dozen years, Hays has increased bested by San Marcos, Pflugerville, spending to match the new revenue Georgetown and ludsonlocally. level, and then some According~, Therefore, one has to question the as revenue goes down, Hays is re- validity of all this increased spend- q tod n or is vmg away middle the difference out of savings. The current plan for Hays seems to do a Education is Everyb~s Business little of both. "lhe district would have more revenue available for instruction but ithas abloated Central Office, bloated campus administration and tmreallstic student to teacher ratios combined Wl' grossly undem "nlized schook Pfl~, Tob'ms, Blanco Xr~a, Buda Elementary and Elm Gnm~ are seriously underutilized. Simon, the largest and most costly middle school in HCISD historyis under enrolled. Each schooldosingwould save $To0,000-$1,000,000 annually.. Debt of over $579 million in prin- dpal and interest debt outstandin~ almost M0,000 per student, results in annual debt service payments of over $1,600 per student annually and even this is not enough. You see, we've back loaded the pay- ments by financing the majority of the last bonds for 30 years with BryceBa/es AVOTE 'FOR' $816 We wish to comment on the opinion of Senator Jeff'Wentworth, concerning his column in the Hays Free Press, February 23, 2011 issue. He states "Senate Bill 16, a bill that would require a woman, who has already made the incredibly per- sonal derision to have an abortion, to view a sonogram and listen to any heartbeat that may exist, is an unwarranted intrusion into that woman's private life." At the end of his discourse, he states that he "casts his vote against the bill in order to...have state government stay out of their private ]Des." He is overlooking the fact that the proposed law would suggest that Legislators, in particular, should be preserving human life, which is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, written byThomas Jefferson: "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happi- ness, that to secure these rights, Govemments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed- that whenever any form of government, becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it..." Therefore, to sum up, the right of survival of a child in the womb is guaranteed by the Declaration of In- dependence to the Constitution of the United States, and aborting this child is not a privilege of the mother to decide if the child should live. Wdliam J. Bennett states, "if we hold these liberties to be gifts from God, we realize the moral duty to n x 't, preserve and defend those rights for others." If we cannot depend on legisla- tors to defend human life, on whom can we depend? Clifford and Elizabeth Mary Wil- liams Kyle/Manchaca COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE "Apparently, our council are not true leaders but merely give in to mob rule. The fact is that the property owner has every right to build that if it is property zonned and platted. It is not low income housing it is workforce housing, most teacher's and policemen would meet the income limits for this development." -- Mark on =Council tables Creek apartment "What occurred at city council meeting is called due process. We live in a country, county, and city that offers its citizens opportunities to be part of the process.., ff the developers of Cypress Crooks want to build, outside of the process, they can do so on their own dime or they can go through the process and cooperate if they want our tax dollars. We moved here for the elementary school next door. We got two dollar stores and a liquor store in the last four yea~ .... We're standing up for the $150K we plunked down for our homes." -- A Good Heart on =Coun- cil tablea Cypress Creek apartment project" at haysfreepress.com MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBUCATIONS, INC. Co-Publishem Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer business@haysfreepreas.com NEWSROOM Edltor Brad Rollins brad@haysfrespress.com Staff Reportem Jennifer Blundo Seen KImmons Wea Ferguson Featurss Writer Brenda Stewart Schoo4 Repoeer Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Gdzzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports EdRor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Caul Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofroadem Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracyOhaysfraepress.com Delilah Reyes sales@haysfraepress.com CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr. Suzanne Ha,am papar@haysfreepress.com CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfrsspress.com DlatrlbuUon Gigi Hayes Carolyn Herkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Contact Us: HaysFreaPress.com news@haysfraepress.com business@haysfrsspr~,~s.com BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfrssprmm.com