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September 11, 2013     Hays Free Press
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September 11, 2013
 

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Hays Free Press. September 11,2013 NEIGHBORS Page 5C + 00gent paid high price for devotion to Indians ept. 14, 1859 was sup- posed to be Robert Simp- son Neighbors' last day on his unbelievably difficult job, not the dedicated Indian agent's last day on earth. AVirginia orphan who ar- rived too late for the Battle of San Jacinto, the 19-year-old still found a place for himself in the Texas Army. But in the rough-and-tumble Republic, his daily duties as quarter- master involved much more than simply shuffling papers. An obstinate farmer de- cided to keep his corn and the government payment too, but Neighbors ignored the sodbuster's threats and went right ahead and loaded the crop. When the farmer and a few friends ambushed him on the trail, the quartermaster ducked several wild shots be- fore settling the dispute with a well-placed bullet through the bushwhacker's brain. In the surprise invasion of San Antonio in September 1842, Neighbors was among the courtroom full of Texans taken prisoner by Mexican troops. Along with the judge, witnesses, attorneys and spectators, he was marched at gunpoint across the border to infamous Perote prison, his hellish home for the next 21 months. Not long after his release, Neighbors was put in charge of the Lipan and Tonkawa tribes. In sharp contrast to similar bureaucrats, who waited for their wards to come to them, Neighbors boldly went out into the field. This common-sense ap- proach made him the most knowledgeable Indian agent in the whole Southwest and one of the few to earn the red man's respect. Neighbors toed the line and demanded that others do the same. When a white trader ca- sually confessed to peddling whiskey, the agent warned, "You know it is against the law to sell whiskey to the Indi- ans. It is my duty to visit your camp and ascertain whether you have whiskey. I shall be there in the morning, and if I find things as you say, I shall hang you." The bootlegger got the message and disappeared before the sun came up. AWhig victory in the na- tional elections of 1848 cost the Democrat his post. But a man with a reputation for get- ting tough jobs done was not unemployed for long. Heed- ing the call of state officials, Neighbors blazed the historic trail to E1 Paso that finally opened the door to Far West Texas. As expected, the mission was a touch-and-go affair packed with peril. Near the confluence of the Colorado and San Saba rivers, the ex- plorers came upon a giant gathering of nomadic tribes that numbered in the thou- sands. The sad sight of a captive white woman, whose face "seemed the personifica- tion of despair," tore at the Texans' hearts for they knew any attempt to free her meant certain death. Completing the hazardous LTHIS WEEK IN assignment, Neighbors esti- mated the distance between Austin and E1 Paso at 598 miles, a perfect match with modern road maps. A hard day's drive on the current highway, the trek took him 11 weeks. When the Democrats re- took the White House in 1853, Neighbors resumed his role as federal go-between with the Indians. Exhibiting superhu- man patience he coaxed the Comanches onto reserva- tions in Throckmorton and Young counties northwest of Fort Worth. That impossible feat under his belt, he faced the uphill struggle of win- ning public support for the resettlement program. Based upon the widespread belief that the Lone Star State was not big enough for both races, most Texans vehement- ly rejected the philosophy of peaceful coexistence with the Indians. Neighbors' cause was not helped one bit by regu- lar renegade raids along the frontier, which were always blamed on the reservation residents. A wave of vigilante attacks against the Comanches con- vinced the despondent agent of the futility of his efforts. In 1859 Neighbors obtained permission to relocate his dependents north of the Red River and finished the mam- moth move that September. By this time Neighbors had had it. His one-man battle against overwhelming odds had left him bitter and exhausted, so he decided to hang it up and join his ne- glected family at San Antonio. At Fort Belknap west of present-day Graham, Neigh- bors turned in his resignation on Sep. 13, 1859. The next morning, against the advice of the garrison commander, he paid a visit to the nearby village where feelings were running high against the no- torious "Indian lover." Neighbors walked right into a deathtrap. Confronted on the dirt street by a belligerent stranger, he did not notice the second man that slipped up behind him. The last sound he ever heard was the roar of a double-barreled shotgun. The killer escaped and never paid for the cowardly crime. Although the army and civilian authorities knew his identity, no one lifted a finger to bring the murderer of Robert Simpson Neighbors to justice. The cynical consensus seemed to be that the friend of the Comanches had it com- ing. PUBLIC NOTICE Brief Explanatory Statements of Proposed Constitutional Amendments Special Election November 5, 2013 Visit Bartee's new web site barteehaile.com every day to find out what happened in Texas history on that date. And while you're there, do a little shopping at the General Store. PHOTO BY CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON Holt still holds court Family members of the late former Justice of the Peace James Holt, Sr., celebrated the naming of the J.P. #2 courtroom for their father. Family members include (left to right) Sharon Heideman, James Holt, Jr., Glenda Dees, Kenneth Holt, Janet Patterson, Robert Holt and Lois LaCaze. Buda Bits Continued from pg. 1C Wishing John and JoAnn Keller a belated happy anniversary on July 12 as they celebrated 61 years together. Sherry Lowden celebrated her 65th birthday with family and friends Saturday night at the Painted Horse. Norlene Razak had an open house and party on Sunday afternoon in celebra- tion of her 80th birthday at her new home at the Overlook at Plum Creek. Birthdays wishes go out to Kather- ine Bailey and Betty Conley on Sep- tember 12; seven-year-old Eli Britton and Jean Heaps on September 13; 14-year-old Lee Balboa, Betty Col- onna, Lanette Lowden and Council- man Bobby Lane on September 14; 10-year-old Brooke Sheely, Candance Blake, John Macvich and Burl Purvis on September 15; 11-year-old twins Quinton and Lauren Rodriquez on September 16; Sarah Duke on Septem- ber 18 and eight-year-old Jack Haberer on September 19. eeo There are still a few tables available at the Onion Creek Senior Citizens Indoor Garage Sale that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5. Cost of the table is $25. Contact JoAnn at 512-295-2416 or email sgrizzle@austin.rr.com for more infor- mation. Proposition Number I (H JR 62) HJR 62 proposes a constitu- tional amendment to authorize the legislature to provide by statute for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a mem- ber of the United States armed services who is killed in ac- tion, as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried. An eligible spouse who later quali- fies a different property as the surviving spouse's residence homestead could be authorized by statute to receive an exemp- tion from ad valorem taxation in the same amount received for the first qualifying home- stead during the last year in which the surviving spouse re- ceived the exemption. The proposed amendment would appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an ex- emption from ad valorem taxa- tion of all or part of the market value of the residence home- stead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed ser- vices of the United States who is killed in action." Proposition Number 2 (n JR 79) H JR 79 proposes a constitu- tional amendment to repeal the constitutional provision re- quiring the creation of a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Educa- tion Fund, neither of which is in operation. No new loans have been made from the fund by the board in more than 25 years, and the board currently has no appointees and receives no program funding. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medi- cal Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operation- al." Proposition Number 3 (H JR 133) HJR 133 would authorize local political subdivisions to extend the length of time that aircraft parts could remain temporar- ily in this state before being subject to ad valorem taxation. Under current law, merchan- dise, wares, and goods (includ- ing aircraft parts) may remain in this state temporarily for up to 175 days before being sub- ject to ad valorem taxation; the proposed amendment would permit taxing entities to extend the exemption up to 730 days after the date that a person ac- quired or imported aircraft parts in the state. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to ex- tend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for .a temporary period may be lo- cated in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax ex- emption." Proposition Number 4 (I-I JR 24) HJR 24 proposes a constitu- tional amendment that would allow the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad va- lorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially dis- abled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence home- stead was donated to the dis- abled veteran at no cost to the veteran by a charitable organi- zation. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment authorizing the legisla- ture to provide for an exemp- tion from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a par- tially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was do- nated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization." Proposition Number 5 (S JR 18) S JR 18 would amend the defi- nition of "reverse mortgage" to authorize the making of re- verse mortgage loans for the purchase of homestead prop- erty in addition to the current legal uses of those loans, and would give lenders recourse against borrowers who fail to timely occupy the homestead properties purchased with such loans. S JR 18 would also add to the definition of "reverse mortgage" an extension of credit that is not closed before the 12th day after the lender provides to the prospective borrower a written notice sum- marizing risks and conditions of a reverse mortgage. The language of the required notice is prescribed in the resolution. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment to authorize the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of homestead property and to amend-lender disclosures and other require- ments in connection with a re- verse mortgage loan." Proposition Number 6 (S JR 1) S JR 1 would create the State Water Implementation Fund as a special fund inside the state treasury and outside the Gener- al Revenue Fund. Money in the fund would be administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and would be used to implement the state water plan, as adopted by gen- eral law, by TWDB. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment providing for the creation of the State Water Implemen- tation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to as- sist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of ad- equate water resources." Proposition Number 7 (H JR 87) HJR 87 proposes a constitu- tional amendment to allow home-rule municipalities to adopt charter provisions autho- rizing the filling of vacancies in the governing body by ap- pointment, but only when the remainder of the vacant term is less than 12 months. Under current law, municipal voters may adopt terms of office for municipal officers longer than two years, but upon approv- ing longer terms of office, any resulting vacancies in office must be filled by special elec- tion. The proposed amend- ment would provide an option for home-rule municipalities to fill short-term vacancies through appointment. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedure to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less." Proposition Number 8 (H JR 147 and S JR 54) H JR 147 would repeal the Tex- as Constitution's maximum tax rate for a Hidalgo County hospital district; the maximum rate is currently set at 10 cents per $100 valuation. This rate is lower than the maximum tax rate allowable for hospital dis- tricts in all other counties in the State (75 cents per $100 valu- ation). The repeal of the con- stitutional cap would authorize hospital district tax rates in Hidalgo County equal to the hospital district tax rate laws applicable to all other Texas counties. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment repealing Section 7, Ar- ticle IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County." Proposition Number 9 (S JR 42) S JR 42 would expand the po- tential sanctions that the State Commission on Judicial Con- duct can issue following a formal proceeding. This con- stitutional amendment would allow the Commission to issue an order of public admonition, warning, reprimand, or a re- quirement to obtain additional training or education in addi- tion to the Commission's cur- rent authority to issue a public censure or recommend remov- al or retirement of a judge. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: "The constitutional amend- ment relating to expanding the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal pro- ceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Con- duct." Published by Texas Secretary of State John Steen, www. Vote- Texas.gov or 1-800-252- VOTE (8683).