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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
June 22, 2011     Hays Free Press
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June 22, 2011

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Page 4A THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "there were some bills that would have done more harm than good to Texans, and I have used my authority to veto them." -- Gov. Rick Perry, after reviewing and vetoing 23 House Bills ree ress Hays Free Press June 22, 2011 + OF CABBAGES elease of additional census data relating to the racial and ,ethnic breakdown of Hays County's current 36 voting precincts, as well as the makeup of three new and controversial congressional districts, is beginning to result in some burning of midnight oil by both political leaders and average citizens. Specifically, a Texas Legislative Council (TLC) analysis of the racial and ethnic composition of the newly created 35th Congressional District that stretches from San Antonio through Comal and Hays counties to the northern edges of Austin, has brought to light a bit of politi- cal reality that is sure to affect area politics at least until the 2020 census is conducted. The TLC is the statisti- cal arm of the State Legislature so its analysis on the obvious growth of the Kyle-Buda are the cat's meow. TLC certifies that 59.1 percent of the Hays County portion of the Con- gressional district classified them- selves as Hispanic, African American, Asiatic or American Indian. This means that most of the voting dis- tricts in Pct. 2 will also have standing when it comes to the requirement for U.S. ]ustice Department clearance before final adoption of redistricting. The latest census takers revealed that 64,643 folks now live in our joint communities. That's nearly twice as many residents as Wimberley and Dripping Springs, yet they have two county commissioners and we have only one. This century-old 2-1 divi- sion was equitable when the commu- nities were virtually even-steven in the number of residents in each com- missioner's bailiwick but this year it's a new ball game. The Kyle and Buda area has grown enormously and now contains more folks than the whole county possessed 20 years ago. Our current county redistricting is far from complete, so now is the time to think and talk (with a good batch of arguing thrown in) about such topics as fairness to all parts of the county. The four member County Redistricting Committee, including commissioners Debbie Gonzales-In- galsbe and Will Conley, has met once and have another session "soon". Also present will be a representative from the Rios law firm, which specializes in redistricting matters. The county commissioners still make the decisions, but they have to take a look at the future as well as the past. The center of the county has lots of people and the refrain of "wait another 10 years" is getting a bit worn. Perhaps the time is now! LETTER TO THE EDITOR PARKING SUGGESTIONS I recall a article in the Hays Free Press about parking concerns in down town Buda. I am a frequent lunch customer at the Main Street Care, the Buda Store right down the street also, and a frequent customer at the Texas Pie Company in Kyle. The parking and traffic situations are somewhat similar and challenging, although not to the extent to keep me away from the businesses in either town. I have noticed though that the speed of the traffic in downtown Kyle is slower but still requires plenty of caution backing out of the diagonal slots. In Buda I have noticed that the parking is the same design fraught by the nature of diagonal parking no matter where it is due to the lack of visibility when a larger vehicle is parked next to someone, such as my truck certainly would. In Buda though I always have an enhanced level of caution when backing as a result of close calls, despite heightened awareness, due to the excessive speed of some drivers. I think that those drivers may just need reminding to check themselves. I think that if the City of Buda would install permanent speed reminder devices in both directions on each end of the area it would be a cost effective method to enhance safety and enhance the business customers' experience. I have noticed these type of devices on the south end of Brodie Lane in the Shady Hollow area. I know they always cause myself to check my speed when I encounter them. Richard P. Edwards III Austin / The sad thing is that bad things always come with "war." Sure, war is a bad thing unto itself. And when will we study something other than war when we measure ourselves and our leaders? Dylan songs aside, when? But the concern here is the term - war- which we toss around like we toss around "clearance sale" and "now with fluoride." Naming anything a "war," except the kind that summons a nation's every sinew, as in the mobilization of Dec. 7, 1941, is not only fallacious but ultimately serf-defeating. "War on poverty"? Bad choice, Mr. President. Can't defeat poverty. You can ameliorate it in many ways, and you did. But "war"? "War on terror"? Maybe the worst word choice in our nation's history. John Kerry was absolutely right in challenging the term. konlcally, the decorated war veteran committed the error of just not being brazenly militant enough for the moment. Terror is a condition. Terrorism is a means to that end. War involves rolling tanks, killing innocents (war's own means to its end), nam- ing names - governmentwise, while unaffiliated shadow players do what terrorists do with primitive means. War involves suspending our own hard-fought rights and abdicating democracy to the executive branch. And in the case of the "war on terror," it appears to be all the above without end. But if "war on terror" has an open- endedness to it, what about"war on drugs"? It has become, literally, a life term. Mghanistan, now 10 years on? Vietnam? Cost and duration considered, no "war" we've known compares. The war on drugs is America's costliest, most futile endeavor to ever acquire the term "war," and looks to outlive anyone who ever conceived it or first nodded in assent. For what? Considering what we are doing, spending, and committing in terms of human capital, the recent report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy deserved banner front-page ~reatment- right alongside the latest Charlie Sheen update. The report, from a group that includes ex-heads of state and such diverse voices as former Secretary of State (under Ronald Reagan) George Shultz, former Fed chairman Paul Volker and former U.N. Secretary General Kofl Annan, called the war on drugs a total failure "with devas- tating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." Yes, it didn't just call the effort a dud, a fizzle, a fiasco. It called it de- structive - "devastating." Sa~; how much have we been spending to achieve all that? State and federal, we're spending about $40 billion a year. Sure, that's chump change compared to occupy- ing two countries militarily. But that's not the only cost of the drug war. This year some 1.6 million Ameri- cans will be arrested for drug posses- sion or distribution. Like the military bases we set up overseas, we will then commit to housing, feeding and oth- erwise tending to the needs of each of them for an indeterminate time. The Global Commission said such repressive strategies cannot succeed. Only strategies that approach drug abuse as a medical or societal prob- lem short of criminality will work. It pointed out that the most repressive countries about drugs - like Russia and Thailand-- have the worst drug problems per capita. Countries on the polar, holistic, side of the equa- tion like Switzerland and Australia have the fewest problems. The commission recommends an end to the militant approach to drugs, and the legalization of mari- juo_rla. The White House challenged the commission's findings, just like a war department would do. At least it acknowledged the fact that we can- not arrest and prosecute our way to a better day. We need a stronger and clear-eyed approach to treatment, it said. Agreed. With several states now having legalized medical marijuana, with police looking the other way when hundreds of thousands of young people openly light up joints each spring on "4-20," we are in many ways in the phase we saw in the last two to three years of Vietnam and today in Mghanistan - sensing that we can't achieve much more with war, but being unable to figure a way to end it. The answer is to get real about costs, about pyrrhic results, about the benefits of undercutting organized crime by treating pot differently. Start by finding another name for a fiasco. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. in a I got accused of being totally un- cool last Saturday afternoon. Me. As you can well imagine, I was sure that there had been some simple misunderstanding. Unfortunately. the more I justified my behavior, the more "chieless" and worthy of the label I became. The crime? I was sitting in a cool, dark movie theater between my youngest and what I figure was a Texas State student and as we watched the previews, the woman flipped open her cell phone and read a text message. I glanced over, the light from her screen reflected on my face, my eyes saying, "No big deal, just turn it off." Then the movie started and she popped it back open and began texting away, even though my entire head and torso, a foot away from her phone, was glowing blue in the LED light. I held my breath, looking straight ahead, giving her the benefit of the doubt that, although she real- ized she was being incredibly rude, this phone messa6e must be of dire importance and she would wrap it right up. She did and we settled in for the show. About midway through the movie, the rays of light from her screen flooded my face once again and, as she began to thumb her response to her cyber buddy, I leaned in and asked her to take it outside. She shut offthe beam, we both leaned back and enjoyed the rest of the movie. Simple enough. Everybody wins. Except me, come to find out. I took the award for the most uncool morn on the planet that afternoon. From what I came to understand, every- body talks and texts wherever they happen to be and anyone who has a problem with it should take their own uptight [self] outside. Or maybe they should just stay home if they can't handle the world as it is. Hmm. And Ouch. And, you are friggin kidding me. On a daily basis I clinch my teeth and try to ignore all the folks compelled to yak on their phones next to me in stores and restaurants and libraries, oblivious to the extent of their obnoxiousness and their lack of social awareness. I wait as they rudely hand-sign to tellers and cashiers and school registrars, stalling the line and forcing us all to listen to their asinine conversations. I fantasize about someone actually following these fools home and into their living rooms and then whipping out their own cell phone and pacing around, obliviously, loudly detail- ing their shyster boss and Colleens impotent lover's crimes and little Matthew's snot color. The social protocol of shared spaces is one of the more basic and I'm not sure how the lines got blurred with the advent of cell phones. From what I've experienced, universally, it's as simple as: don't inflict your noise on anyone around you, regardless if it's an animated conversation, your music, your child screaming, your incessant teeth sucking or neurotic fingernail clicking. If you've just got to do it, take it outside. Add cell phones to the mix and the same noise protocol still applies. No one should hear your phone ring but you, but if it does, silence it. If you need to answer it, walk outside. If anything you are doing glows and you're in a space that is supposed to be dark, walk outside.How easy is that? I've been in D.C., NewYork City and Portland, Oregon recently and, milling about on the sidewalks and stoops and lobbies, day and night, in all kinds of weather, you see folks in suits next to slacker hippies and foreigners, old ladies and teenagers, all tethered to their ceils phones, conducting their business. Inside, the conversations are face-to-face, as it should be. Like it used to be. And although Allison was say- ing that I just didfft get it because I had grown up in a world before cell phones and the incessant chatter, OMGs and constant glow of LED lights (I'm new wondering if she was inferring that I might be more familiar with torch llghling and the murmur of pterodactyls) I think that this is actually an issue of common courtesy and sanity. So, go ahead, make my day. Turn the dang phone offand kick back and enjoy the movie. bnmaa~.oom COMMElnS FBOM THE WEBSITE "1 applaud Dr. Wolbrecht for his efforts to protect all of us from unfair costs. Those claiming it's a "good deal" are those planning to use it, and get their education paid for at others' expense. Many of us will not be needing it and should not be forced to pay for strangers' higher education. Our education and our childrens' education are already paid for, so we don't appreciate having to pay for more people." -- PATSY SWINSON on "AntI-ACC lawsuit under review" at haysfreepress. com =It's appalling to me that so many people are so ill- informed as to cast their vote without doing any research. ACC courts Kyle with the offer of a campus and no one thinks their taxes will go up?/ Really?" -- ANN on "Anti-ACC lawsuit under review" at ree Tess MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publlahere Bob Barton and Cyndy SIovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer NEWSROOM Editor Brad Rollins Staff Reporters Jennifer Biundo Sean Kimrnons Wes Ferguson School Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Gdzzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Torn Brenda Stewart Sports EdRor Jason Gordon Intern Kolten Parker Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack Delilah Reyes CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr. Suzanne Ha,am CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.corn Distribution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Jo~ge J. Garcia Jr. Contact Us: BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397