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May 17, 2017     Hays Free Press
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May 17, 2017

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IL/'~ I QUOTE OF THE WEEK "It doesn'tput money in mypocket at the moment, but that appreciation doesn't come for free." -Janice Bowden Hardaway on rising appraisal values. Story, log. 1D Hays Free Press * May 17, 2017 Page 3A IIII Seems the phrase "loose lips sink ships" won't hold much bearing in President Donald Tramp's America. Not after Tromp allegedly leaked classified informa- tion to Russian officials during a meeting held at the White House last week, according to a report from theWashington Post. Now, it's been noted through various reports that any President has the authority to declassify ma- terial they deem fit. Okay, that's cool. However, concerns must be raised when the presi- dent shares any classified information with Russia, whose government is al- leged to have tampered with the November 2016 election. Those concerns were heightened after Tramp's recent dismissal of the man who was investigating possible election tampering allegations made against Russia's government. The firing an unprofes- sional one, was done at an incredibly suspicious time as the investigation into Russia's alleged tampering was ramping up. All of this took place in a week where Americans are becoming more weary of the rash, impulsive and downright frightening ac- tions taken by this admin- istration. What Trump has done over the course of a week is nothing short of a world- wide embarrassment. Where once our nation was the shining example of how government should function, it's now become as inane as a second-rate sitcom that's been banished to 3 a.m. cable network syndication. Perhaps the scary part is many Americans continue to hold on to Trump's ideals and are applauding his increasingly demonstrative behaviors. What they don't realize is they're adding fuel to afire that's rapidly consuming our democratic functions. Sadly, it may be too late when people realize just how much of a threat Trump is to America and its allies. Until that time, Trump may get the impression he can potentially leak information to those whom he shouldn't without any worry of reprisal. Should that happen, we may have to start manning the lifeboats. LETTER TO THE EDITOR COMEY'S RRING Trump fired Hillery's nem- esis. I didn't even know they had kissed and made up. Comey must be getting too close to finding a tie in with Russia Is this a warning to the CIA? McCain didn't even have his normal perfidy. Can the Democrats wait till the mid- term elections? This is what happens when one lets the fox guard the hen house. Albert Busse Uhland / "nteresting- don't you think?- that so many .people in the Great- est Generation grew up with little money but mined out well. Named partly for heroic effort duringWorld War II, this "Greatest Generation", born roughly between 1915 and 1935, man- aged some other heroic tasks. They were your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. Buda and Kyle were hit especially hard by the Depression because an accompanying drought devastated cattle and crops for years. (Think of our recent drought and multiply that by 5.) People helped each other as they could, but no one had much. One pair of shoes was standard. Go- Tutta's Take by Wyne~e Ba~on ing to bed hungry wasn't unusual. Farrfiers lost their land; stores went broke. Then came Franklin Roosevelt and a Congress more interested in saving the country than fighting among themselves. They formed the Civilian Con- servation Corp (CCC) to put men to work on com- munity building projects. Pay was small, but it put food on the table. Many of their structures are still in use, local school buildings and Five Mile Dam, for example. A story from These United States: A Nation in the Making, by Glenda Gilmore and Thomas Sugrue points out some- thing important about this project: Three young men, Walter, Ray and Bob, were without jobs, mon- ey, or hope for the future when they joined CCC at $30 a month and 3 meals a day. Walter, the son of Jewish immigrants, was 19 ~vhen he got a job clearing trees for a fire break in the Montana mountains. It was hard, muscle-aching work, but it was a job, and he sent money home to his fami- ly. Later he cut mountain trails and planted trees in national forests.Both jobs, he said, taught him to love the beauty of America's vast natural spaces. The second teen, Ray, hadn't finished high school when he went to work with CCC after his immigrant (and wid- owed) mother lost her store to bankruptcy. At 16, he learned carpen- try while helping build bridges and fire towers in California, but mostly, he said, "I learned about this great country of ours." The third teen, Bob, was the son of a Norwe- gian immigrant and a trouble-maker, thrown out of three schools. After bumming around the country looking for work, he got a job digging ditches for CCC. Not glamorous, but he could eat regularly, and the job, he later said, kept l rLeping our Texas blic Informa- ,L ~tion Act operat- ing effectively takes effort. That's why open government advocates have worked with public officials and businesses over the past year to fine-tune the landmark state law. Transparency legisla- tion resulting from these work sessions emerged out of frank discussions - and with an understand- ing that some compro- mise is necessary. Now, state lawmakers have the opportunity to pass multiple negoti- ated open government measures to improve the Public Information Act and restore its strength, for the benefit of all Texans. The Texas Senate took a stand Thursday by overwhelmingly approv- ing House Bill 2326 and amending it to include transparency bills that had stalled in a House committee. The anchor legislatioh by Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, Guest Column By Kelley Shannon providing quicker access to public information, was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. KirkWat- son, D-Austin. Open government is a bipartisan issue, and Watson successfully urged fellow senators to include in the legislation other bills by Republi- can Reps. Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi and Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, as well as bills Watson pushed. It's critical that the Texas House of Repre- sentatives join this effort to save open government by concurring with Sen- ate amendments to the Lucio legislation. The provisions would repair damage to the Public Information Act done by two Texas Supreme Court decisions in2015. A nfling known as the Boeing decision closes public access to many government contracts with private businesses. In some cases, it has become impossible to see how taxpayer money is spent on items such as contracted school ser- vices or even how much total money is spent on a contract, as in the case of singer Enrique Iglesias hired by the city of McAllen to perform at a holiday event. The court ruling allows closure of those records. The court's ruling in the Greater Houston Partnership case closes off financial information about certain nonprof- its that are funded by government and acting essentially as an arm of govemment. A well- organized business contingent at the Capitol is lobbying to make sure these court decisions stand and to block the legislation to fix them, originally Introduced byWatson and Capriglione. Citizens who care about open- ness must speak up to their local lawmakers to counter this powerful force. House Bill 2326 also includes measures by Hunter to give citizens improved access to govemment records kept in officials' private email accounts and to dates of birth in many govern- ment records. A regional appeals court placed dates of birth offlimits, but birth- dates are necessary in accurate news reporting on criminal justice mat- ters and in the public's vetting of candidates for elected office. Banks, background check companies and other businesses also need access to dates of birth in public records. The updated Lucio legislation includes a requirement for govern- mental entities to tell a Public Information Act requestor if there are no records responsive to the request or if docu- ments can be withheld ROLL CALL him too busy to get into trouble. Was the government's investment in these three worth it? It may not have worked as well for some, but these three did okay. Walter was Walter Mat- than, Ray was Raymond Burr, and Bob was Robert Mitchum, three of Holly- wood's most successful stars. All three served in the Armed Forces after their CCC stints, Matthau in the perilous job of Air Force gulmer. It would be interesting to know ,, what they eventually paid in Income taxes and how long it took to pay back that $30 per month investment in them. You just never, can tell about kids. Or immi- grants. based on a previous attorney general ruling. This seems like com- mon sense, and it often happens already, but it's not required by law so not every government does it. This important bundle of bills serves all citizens and plugs holes in the Public Information Act, a law long known as one of the strongest of its kind in the nation that was born in the early 1970s amid a state scandal. The Texas House of Representatives has the opportunity to uphold this modem-day tradi- tion of openness and protect the public's right to know. Texans must speak out and let it be known we expect no less. Kelley Shannon is executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, a nonprofit promoting open government laws and the First Amendment rights of free speech and press. Barton Publications, Inc. News tips: Opinions: 113 W. Center St., Kyle, TX 78640 512-268-7862 + Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton News and Sports Editor Moses Lees III Reporters Samantha Smith, Lesly De Leon Logan McCullough, Quixem Ramirez Columnists Bartee Haile, Chris Winslow, Pauline Tom, Clint Younts Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Marketing Director Tracy Mack Marketing Specialist James Darby Production Manager David White Production Assistant Christine Thorpe Circulation/Classifieds David White Distribution Gabe Ornelas Tanya Ornelas +