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

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Hays Free Press March 16, 2011 0PINImi Page 5A + Tedsere isia galaxy of man- ates that state law plac- on local governments, based on common sense. One is a section requiring open record~ and open gov- ernment. That makes it a crime for city council or school board members to do the public's business in back halls or over the phone. The pre~iling rationale is shining the light of day, to the greatest degree possible, on decisions tlmt have an impact on the public. Normally, I'm fussing at our state governing body at the poor job they're doing, wasting our tax dollars and passing legislation that appears to have been conjured up dur- ing happy hour. I still cant figure out how Governor Perry can justify cutting school jobs while renting a mansion for $10,000 per month, but who am I to complain? I used to think the folks under the dome were about as useful as a refrigerator ,an igloo, but now I hear they are ~ to pass a law banning texting while driving. It's about time someone besides me sees that there are enough terrible drivers around here who don't need another distraction. Every moming as I am driving to work, I see folks texting at stop lights, oblivious that the light has named green. Often, they notice the color change in time to get their sorry romp through the intersection while other cars have to sit through another light change. I cant count the number ofpeople I see each day talking on cell phones while driving That principle is not upheld, unfommatdy, in several bills erratically, and I often get behind some filed in Austin this year that guy driving 10 mph under the speed limit would shift legal notices away because hes texting while driving.You from newspaper publishing know how men are, unable to do two and onto go emment websites, things at the same time except maybe Local governments -coun- watch football and drink beer simultane- ties, cities and school boards ously, although I normally wait to take a - are now required to take out legal notices for certain bids, purchases and meetings. It's the established, reliable way to assure wide distribution to both citizens and to potential bidders that want a piece of sip while the team is in the huddle. Do you think the texting driver in front ofyou knows that he's holding up traffic? I doubt it, and if he does, I doubt he cares. I wonder what's so FROM THE important that he has to answer some text, putting his fellow commuters at risk of being late to work or early to the grave. I wouldn't be surprised that his text reads"I have 10 cars stuck behind me; beat that2" Or "I'm driving like a 90-year-old woman. LOL" He should send a text to his proctologist to set up an appointment because he's about to get a Chevy rammed up his butt. I am proud to admit that I don't text while driving, mainly because my old phone doesn't have that option. Heck, it rarely allows me to receive phone calls unless I'm standing on a hilltop, facing north and wearing a hat made of aluminum foil. Perhaps it's time to get a new phone, but I'm afraid that these now phones have way too many gadgets (youngsters call them"apps") installed that I won't know how to oper- ate one. Shoot, my current phone has a camera, providing me with numerous photos of my right ear and the inside of my pants pocket. Naw, I don't think I need an iPhone, Droid or one of them Blackberries, blueberries or hackberries. I see some folks with one of those gad- gets hooked on their ears. My daughter tells me it's a Bluetooth, but I think it's a sign that says "I'm a bigger nerd than you thinlC Often I see these people walking around in a store talking to themselveg I don't knowifthat contraption on their ear is tumed on or not, but I keep my distance. I reckon these Bluetooths (Blueteeth~ serve some purpose, but I have to believe the nerd is just too lazy to reach in his pocket and pull out his cell phone. I suppose if you were bom without hands or self-esteem, I guess a Bluetooth is appropriate. I'd be afraid of its pro'Atnlty to the brain with all that ra- diation cell phones are supposed to emit. That's why I wear lead drawers when I carry my phone in my pocket. I like my eggs scrambled, not fried. Another gadget you won't see me using is a GPS in my tmcL I'm not sure what GPS stands for, but I think it's "Geographically Pretty Stupid." Being of the male persuasion, I don't need some- one giving me directions. If I'm driving in some far-away land like Round Rock or Georgetown, I might glance at a road map to see where this town might be. You remember mad maps, don't you? Big pieces of paper with roads and towns drawn on it, showing the way to your destination? Back when I was in school, our teachers actually taught kids how to use maps and globes. Kids, if you don't know what a globe is, go ask Gmmp~ Nowadays, everybody has a robot sitting on their dash, telling them to take the next right or turn left at the next intersection, lfI want to hear an irritating voice telling me howto drive, I'll toss Maw in the backseat. You might think that I'm a little old fashioned, unwilling to adopt new tech- nology. Hey I'm typing this on a com- puter and even use Spellcheck to catch misspelled words. I am a good speller, but my typing is a bit unorthodox: My typing resembles a dyslexic chicken pecking at a keyboard, so occasionally I might misspell a word or two, and Spellcheck lets me know that "dyslexic" doesn't have a"z" in it. I also use the in- temet for research and correspondence, but I still like to read the news from the newspaper. I know I can get the daily news from the internet, but it'd be a pain haulin.g my PC to the bathroom every morning. Some people get the news from their fancy cellphones. These newer phones have internet and all sorts of apps that I bet are never used. I wonder if this new law banning texting while driving will also prohibit readingYahoo News while driving, or checking the menu at the restaurant they're driving to. And God help us ff some guy is cruis- ing down Main Street and reading this column on his iPhone. I suggest if you must read my column, please be seated somewhere other than your car seat, but if you are actually in your car at this moment reading this, here's a message just for you: "Hey numbskulH The light is greerd" ~Taa40~/ahoo.eom Kyle Parkway. (512) 268-3732. www.TrustTexasBank corn + business wi th local govern- ment. Substitut ng some or all of those legal1, r required notices blished govern- ,s weakens public )pens the door to mischief. A local gc vernment's notice to bidders i wolves big con- with self-p ment notic( access and Last week Frank Beltes died. You say, who was rank Beltes? He was the last soldier from World War I. He passed from this life at the tracts paid ~)ut of the public till, age of 110. He was emblem- and government shouldn't be atic of a way of life that is sell-publishing for that busi- disappearing. ness on thek own websites. A When Frank was bom, third, inde~_endent party as- the 19th century was say- sures an arm's-length relation- ing goodbye and the 20th ship with a~erifiable, perma- century was only a few years nent record of the notice, old. During his lifetime, the Current publication require- airplane took its first flight, the ments guarantee a broad automobile went from being spectrum Of readership well a luxury to being a necessi~, beyond int~rnet users who and the United States went to may visit a0 agency's website, the moon. The USA became Notices in newspapers are involved with European na- typically ptiblished online as tious and could no longer be well, multiplying the number an isolationist country. In 1917 of potential readers. The num- when Frank was only 16 years ber of visitors to a government oldWorldWar I broke out. He website is dwarfed by total lied about his age and enlisted newspaper and online news- in the "war to end all wars." paper readership. Frank lived through the In addition, the Texas depression in the 30~ When Daily Newspaper Association and Texas Press Association maintain a website- texasle- galnotices.com- that benefits potential hidders. The site provides a searchable database of ctm~nt foreclosure, meeting and business notices taken out in newspapers. Local governments are free to post those notices on their websites as well, for the sake of even wider distribution. Some rl'lhere is a $1,100 billion do that now, and they should |hole in the federal be commended for keeping JL budget. Our so-called information as accessible as leaders are squabbling over possible. Scaling back that how to reduce that hole by a level of access is not in keeping mere $61 billion. They seem with the same spirit, to have agreed that the best The author of one bill (HB way to do this is to let poor 1668), Reg. Linda Harper- people freeze to death. What Brown, R-irving, said she filed a bunch of geniuses. it in response to requests from Democrats figured out local school administrators long ago that big spending is and teachers who are look- good politics; Government ing to trim operating costs spending creates jobs, and and poteotially save jobs. We the congressman or woman respect the motivation, but the who "brings home the ba- legislation could defeat that con" to his or her constitu- goal by crimping the number ents tends to get re-elected. and quality of bids. Taxpayers Starting in 1980, Republi- might not be pleased with that cans figured out that tax cuts turn of events, are good politics. Letting Today's public-notice laws people keep more of their have worked well to keep own money appeals to the government dealings out in the basic greed of the American open. Weakening that effort people, and the distrust would be an experiment with of government which the too high a threat 0f backfire. Republicans have been selling for the last 30 years PUBUC-NOTICE BILLS has become a sell-fulfilling HB 507, authors Angle prophecy. After 1985, the GOP decided that deficits Chela Button, R-Garland, and didn't matter and tax cuts Diane Patrick, R-Arlington - were the solution of first, Would allow school districts, second and third resort. That cities and~ counties to self- catechism has been taught publish, to all incoming Republican a portion of legally required congressmen ever since. public notices, as opposed to Both parties have been the current requirement of two reckless and irresponsible. newspaper notices Like selfish children, neither HB 1668, author Linda party has bothered paying Harper-Brown, R-Irving- for their pet priorities. The Would allow school districts to result is a national debt so self-publish all public notices, on their internet sites, with large that there is a clear and present danger the no requirement of newspaper global bond markets will notices downgrade our debt to junk HB 1082, author Hubert Vo, D-H0uston-Would allow status. That would mean smaller school districts to self- disaster, in the form of high puhllsh, On their intemet sites, interest rates that strangle all publi notices if no newspa: economic growth. per is published in the district When Ronald Reagan HB 1833, author Mark M. took office 30 years ago, the national debt stood at about Shelton, R-Fort Worth-Would $1 trillion. Now it stands at drop the ~equirement of news- about $14 trillion, and rap- paper publication for certain idly growing. The economy notices of hearings and meet- has not grown 14-fo!d in ings by school board members those 30 years. Public and : private indebtedness in the Reprinted with permission of U.S. stands at $50 trillion, Dallas Morning News WofldWar H began at Pearl Harbor he tried to enlist. This time he was too old. In his life- time more was accomplished than had been accomplished in the previous 2,000 years. One can only guess what this 21st century will bring. The world wituessed all sorts of problems during the last century. We can only hope that some of the things that confound us will be better by 2100. Hopefully can- cer will be no more than what a common cold is today. How- ever, wars are a reality. We must do something about a peaceful co-existence, our environment giving us our highest lever- age ratio in the country's history. We must cut spending and raise taxes. It is foolish to extend the tax cuts to the richest two percent of Ameri- cans in light of our current circumstances. The rich have already had a flee ride for much too long. Wealth and income shifted to the very top strata of our society in a way that we've never seen in history. What prosperity we have seen in the past 30 years has been debt-fueled and bubhle-based. To get the economy back to health, we're going to have to reset the basic' parameters of our economy. This is about cleaning up the mess the morning after, from a 30-year binge that was unsustainable. In part this means placing a much higher tax burden on upper incomes. But all this is just the ram- ings of some naive social- ist liberal, right? Wrong. Vh'tually every word of the foregoing was uttered by David Stockman. Who is David Stockman? He was Ronald Reagan's Budget Director. That's right. Ronald Reagan's Budget Director. He is known as the Architect of Reaganomics. Even he is now saying that "Supply Side" economics will not work in our cur- rent situation- ff it ever did. It's time to take the rich off welfare. Wake up, America. The hour is getting very, very late. djones2032@austin.rr.com and the energy resources that are being depleted at an alarm- ing rate. My wife's great-great niece was born in September 2010. Kaylee could live to an age as old as Frank. No one can say what shape the world will be in by the time she would reach 110, but change is coming and 'that is the only thing that we can count on for certain- Now, every soldier is gone who fought inWWI to make the world a safe place for democracy. Things will never be the same. Frank Bakes rep- resents the passing of the old and a welcoming of the new. in 1917 we sent thousands to re- spond to the call in France with the words: "Lafayette, we are here!" Now, with a new century we can look at all we have done and say, "Lafayette we came and kept our word and nowit is time to go home." Free Checking for All Personalized Service Standing Strong After 90 Years Ages* Can YOUR Bank Say This? TRUSTT NK *Not ava//ab/e on New ~ NOW Account It's Who We Are. 4