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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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September 15, 2010     Hays Free Press
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September 15, 2010
 

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Hays Free Press September 15, 2010 IH=IIOli Page 5A + + "guess it's the lunacy of Texas politics that keeps me coming back for more. I've been stewing for months about these local politicians , stubbornly refusing to par- ticipate in publicly scheduled debates. It just seemed odd to me that they would have the audacity to decline what has traditionally been more of an expectation than an invitation for folks running for public of- rice. Kind of like applying for a job. It's just good form to show up for the interview. Seems Perry might have just started some kind of warped domino effect in regard to re- fusing the long acknowledged responsibility of publicly debating one's political op- ponent before an election. I've been watching him all sum- mer as he has grown progres- sively jittery in anticipation of defending his tenure without the aid of a crisply scripted narrative and a folksy sound- bite or two. Perry has stated that he feels as if something is amiss inWhite's world and has demanded the release of 15- year-old tax documents. Since we've already seen Perry's portfolio, we've known for a while that something is amiss in Perryland. I feel relatively confident that they probably all have something to hide. What's becoming daunt- ingly apparent, though, is that it's probably not just shady business dealings they are at- tempting to cloak. ~A'rlth some of these folks it appears to be incompetency and ignorance of the issues and a dearth of pliable solutions to put forth to the public, that keeps them from the debate dais. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has abdicated all responsibility in refusing to debate challenger Barbara Ann Radnofsky, blaming his staff's recommendation. Likewise Steve Munisteri, the newly elected Republican Chairman, has counseled his party's State Board of Education candidates to snub a debate sponsored by the Travis County League of WomenVoters. Evidently, after perusing the League's leaders' primary voting records, Munisteri sur- mised that Mercer and Famey could not get a fair shake due to biased debate methodol- ogy. Ironic given that Mercer is infamous for his use of biased debate methodology through- out his tenure on the Board of Education. So, what alternative forum do they propose? Seems like it's overwhelmingly the GOP avoiding these debates but so far they have not been will- 's NATIVE & ADAFI'ED PLANTS ORGANIC SOILS t~ FERTILIZERS PLANT & WILDLIFE GLADES GARDEN ART & MORE! Fall is tree planting time! Come see our selection of fruit, nut, shade and flowering trees Call (512) 111 5550 FM 2720 Kyle/Uhiand Area I ~ 9am-Spin Tuesday-Sunday www.reidsnursery.comI Closed Mondays 10 minutes east of IH-35. Take 150 East to Hwy 21. Turn left (north) Go a few miles, tum right at FM 2720, just past the Bon Ton Meat Market. We're about 1 1/2 miles down on the left. ing to host them on their turf. When given the opportunity to submit questions for the candidates at the League of Women Voters' debate, Mu- nisteri declined. The editorial boards of the state's largest newspapers have offered a one-on-one with Perry if he is more comfortable with that option. He said he wouldn't even consider it. I think that it is crucial that we get a true sense of what these candidates stand for, how they feel about the issues that are effecting us all, and what viable solutions they have garnered. I want to hear it in their own words and not in some scripted made-for-TV paid ad. And, ahem, not from some opinion columnist in the local paper, either. God, even pistol toting, Christmas Mountain-selling Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson thinks that a public debate is the right thing to do. Suddenly I'm wondering if the politicians that have refused to debate are just taking the Sage advice of our 16th president: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln brenda@haysfreepress.com Texas Education Com- missioner Robert Scott on Sept. 3 submitted the state's application for $830 million in federal fund- ing to hire and keep school teachers Funding, if granted, would come through House Reso- lution 1586, a bill signed into law by President Obama on Aug. 10. Congress passed H.R. 1586 with an amendment by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin that gives Texas little wiggle room in the way it spends the money and dis- pleases Gov. Rick Perry. On Sept. 9, D.S. Educa- tion Secretary Arne Duncan rejected the application because it contained no as- surance that if Texas were to receive the money, it would not- as it had before - de- crease its education spend- ing by a like amount. In response to the rejec- tion, Gov. Perry said the state constitution and state laws prevent him from en- tering into binding commit- ments about future budgets or funding levels. The Department of Education asked the Texas Education Agency to revise and resubmit the applica- tion, and the Texas State Teachers Association called for Commissioner Scott to resubmit the application as requested. PERRY ISSUES DISASTER PROCLAMATION Tropical storm Hermine raged through Texas Sept. 6-8, leaving in its wake flooding and tornado dam- age. Gov. Perry issued a disas- ter proclamation for 40 of the state's hardest-hit coun- ties after he took an aerial survey of areas in the storm's path. Perry ordered the Texas National Guard, Depart- ment of Public Safety, Parks & Wildlife and other agen- cies to support local disaster relief efforts. Perry emphasized the common warning regard- ing flooded roads: "Turn around, don't drown." NO DEBATE BETWEEN PERRY AND WHITE, YET Right after the two won their party primaries last March, Texans have been imagining a debate between incumbent Republican Gov. Perry and Democratic chal- lenger Bill White, the former mayor of Houston. Not giving up on the idea of getting the two top candi- dates to face off in public, the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star- Telegram, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News and KLRU, the public televi- sion station in Austin, set a televised debate for Oct. 19. The Perry campaign is standing back from the de- bate, demanding that White first must make public his tax returns from 1993-95, when he served as deputy secre- tary of energy under then- President Bill Clinton. The White campaign has called the Perry campaign's demand a ploy to dodge the debate. There's time. The Nov. 2 election is still weeks away. And presently the race looks close: most polls show Perry slightly ahead or in a statisti- cal dead heat withWhite. WORKT-ORCE AGENCY WARNS OF FRAUD Filing for unemployment benefits is free of charge and there are "fee-for-filing" scares afoot. On Sept. 7, the Texas Work- force Commission warned unemployment insurance claimants to be aware of unscrupulous business operators who try to charge a fee for filing unemployment claims. Texas Workforce Commis- terday. Today. sion unemployment staff do not perform home visits, do not ask for Personal Identifi- cation Numbers and do not use text messages tocontact claimants. Call (800) 252- 3642 to contact the agency's Fraud and ProgramAbuse Hotline. ELEC11ON-RELATED DATES POSTED, Secretary of State Esper- anza "Hope" Andrade, Texas' chief elections officer, on Sept. 7 notified the public about these important dates: Oct. 4: Last day to register to vote; Oct. 18-29: Early voting; Oct. 26: Deadline for early voting clerks to receive ballot by mail applications; Nov. 2: Election Day. REVENUE LOWER THAN EXPECTED State Bank Central Texas has been serving the families and businesses of he Hill Country for more than 100 years. Today, a four-star rating from banking centers make FSB one of the strongest and largest independent banks ready for a bank and a banker who understand you and can make right here, call, click or come by today. First State Bank Central Texas 31 Central Texas Locations fibcentex.com uda The Dallas Morning News interviewed Comptroller " Susan Combs and reported that the state ended fiscal year 2010 on Aug. 31 with about $1.5 billion less than projected in tax collections. Lower than expected revenue puts additional pres- sure on the executive and legislative branches to keep state government afloat with an already-enormous budget deficit estimated at $18 bil- lion. CHISUM MAY FILE TO RUN FOR SPEAKER State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, said he may file to run for speaker of the Texas House. Chisum can file on Nov. 1 or as late as ]an. 10, the day before the 82nd Texas Legis- lature convenes. Other Republicans who have filed for the powerful office are incumbent Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio and Rep. Leo Berman ofl~ler. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legisiature for the association. edsterlingOtexaspress.com