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October 27, 2010     Hays Free Press
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October 27, 2010
 

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+ Page4A aOs ree re s THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "This is a debate against anonymous hoodlums who did not show up." - Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff BaRon on the authors of slanderous e-mail circulating among residents ahead of the Nov. 2 election. Hays Free Press • October 27, 2010 + The last election of the first decade of the 21st century is just six days away. It appears that considerably more Hays County voters are going to the polls than they did in 2006, when Governor Rick Perry was also at the top of the ticket. The final statistics will • fall considerably short of the record turnout two years ago when almost 60,000 stood in long lines to choose a new president. loyce Cowan, in my opinion the best Election Administrator in the state, has predicted a tumout in the vicinity of 40,000, about half of our registered voters. Most polls for the Texas top spot show Governor Perry ahead by about six percentage points, the clear favorite. I won't bet much that he isn't the top vote getter, but I'll put down a buck or two that he will fall short of a majority. I'll also wager that the Libertarian and Green Party candidates between them will garner at least eight percent of the final tally. If they do, BillWhite could just squeeze in to the top spot. A centrist Democrat in the mold of former governor Dolph Briscoe, White's election would immediately enact a noticeable reduction in the state bud- get. The hard-pressed taxpayers would realize a tax savings. That would be the $9,000-a-month luxury Austin home that our 10-year incumbent camps in. That is chicken feed to what he spends traveling all over the world, visiting with his Spanish partners and "working" with folks he says will "invest in Texas." The tab, according to news reports, is past $1 million and still climbing. Another matter concerning election trends that doesn't pass the smell or taste tests - anonymous e-mails sent out by people who make broad and persistent charges against political candidates without a shred of evidence to back up their allegations. I have been involved in political action in this county for more than 60 years and have witnessed or participated in countless scrapes that sometimes gave neither side any credence. Rugged and some- times bitter, the confrontations and arguments nearly always were printed and signed and the participants clearly identified. As a result and generally speaking, most wounds healed and frequently antagonists eventually became civil and sometimes friends. Today, in too many instances, those unwritten practices have been aban- doned. In the new Intemet word, ano- nymity is now the mantra. Too many folk who consider themselves to be honest and straightforward now send out unau- thenticated and reckless accusations. They are emboldened and secure In the knowledge that they are protected by almost total anonymity. The anonymity encourages the author to proclaim as absolute truths suspicions and beliefs that have little or no factual basis. Particularly appalling are the ac- cusations that affect Innocent family members, particularly children. I suppose that reckless accusations give the author a sense of power or superiority, but it leaves most nor- mal folks of all political, economic and religious persuasion sick to their stomaches. The Intemet is here to stay- even Luddites like myself acknowledge that fact. But we need to give serious thought to providing some protections and regu- lations for its operation and use. Until that is done, it should be "Reader Beware" for all of the unsigned and unauthenticated e-mails dis- patched by gutless stirrers of falsehood and innuendo. Particularly those that relate to poli- tics and religion. R may be a bit old fashioned, but I also sign this opInion piece with my somewhat squiggly moniker. LETTERS GUIDELINES We welcome locally written let- ters to the editor on timely top- ics of community interest. We ask that you keep them to about 350 words in length and that you not indulge in personal attacks on pri- vate individuals. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. All letters should be signed by the au- thor and include a daytime phone number where the author can be contacted for verification. Letter writers are limited to one letter per month. Letters can be emailed to csb@haysfreepress.com Tiwghundred and twenty years o, when all those land-owning te men wrote the Constltu- tion, they figured that they were the only ones bright enough to make decisions conceming their fellow countrymen. Christian white men of pure European ancestry, to be specific. Which empowered about five percent of the population with the right to vote in the election of 1800. It hasn't been that long ago that black men were given that right. Well, in theory. Then those uppity women "overcame." Luckily, somehow, gay people flew under the radar. God knows that since they still won't let them marry, or serve in the military or even give blood, I'm sure they're none too happy with missing the opportu- nity to suppress them in the voting booth. And then you guys go and cre- ate the Log Cabin Republicans. That's a head-scratcher. All this is to say, it's easy to take the right to vote for granted because, to most of us, it's always been a given. We've been guihed into it. Convenient- ly forgot about it. Scoffed that our vote really didn't count. Said we didn't have enough time. Swore that they were all crooks. Folks lost their life, liberty and hap- piness in pursuit of equal rights for all Americans In the voting booth. Don't • 1790- Only white male property- owners have the right to vote. • 1810- Last religious prerequisite for voting is eliminated. • 1850- Property ownership require- ments eliminated and almost all white males could vote. • 1855 - First literacy test adopted (which kept those pesky Irish-Catholic immigrants at bay). , • 1866- 14th Amendment changed former slave status from 3/5 of a per- son to whole person. • 1870- 15thAmen( giving former slaves at citizens of any race the • 1889- First poll ta~ disenfranchise many t whites). • 1913 - 17th Amen( for members of the U.', elected directly by the than by State Legislatu • 1915- Literacytes elections outlawed. rn~nt is passed d adult male right to vote. adopted (to lacks and poor ment calls ;. Senate to be eople rather teN. s for federal • 1920 - 19th Amendment gnaran- take it for granted, tees women's suffrage (after 72 years of being beaten and raped, losing their A very brief and general timeline of children through forced divorce, jailed voting rights in the United States: and being force-fed during hunger strikes to be granted this righ0. • 1924- Native Americans receive the right to vote in federal elections. But like Blacks, Latinos and Asians, the same violence and intimidation was used to keep them from the polls. • 1944-"White primaries" outlawed • 1957- Civil Rights Act passed • 1960- Court outlaws gerrymander- ing (rearrangement of voting districts so as to favor the party in power). Tom DeLay was absent this day in U.S. His- tory class. • 1964- Supreme Court eliminates the poll taxes in federal elections. • 1965 -Voting Rights Act passed outlawing literacy tests, voter registra- tion discrimination and English flu- ency requirements. • 1970 - 26th Amendment sets the minimum voting age at 18 (what the heck, if you're old enough to fight and die for your country...). • 1975- Ban on literacy tests made permanent. • 1990-Americans with Disabilities Act was passed guaranteeIng access to all Americans. So, vote. Regardless, this is our only voice. And it does matter. You've got two more days of early voting (In which you can vote atany polling place in the county) or you can wait until next lhesday, November 2, and vote in your specific precinct (listed on your voter registration card). See you at the polls. ~~s.oom One day real soon, I plan to do some early voting that I keep hearing about. Apparently we don't have to walt until Election Day to cast our votes~ Then I should stop getting those irritating phone calls at night where complete strangers ask me whom I'm voting for. They've got a lot of gall asking me that. I don't mind suggesting to family and friends who I think should run this government of ours, but I don't think some caller who just interrupted Hawaii 5-0 should be entitled to my sagacious advice, other folks I helped g~t Into the Oval I guess I could mess with these Office, and, for the record, I didn't poll-taking human hemorrhoids, tell vote for SlickWlllie. If] had, I would've 'em I'm voting for someone who's not burned my voter's registration card even on the ballot, like H. Ross Perot like I burned my Nixo~n/Agnew bum- or Clayton Williams. Or I could say per sticker. [ that I'm not allowed to vote after being convicted of murdering atelemarketer. Maybe then they'd scratch my name off their call list. I had one young gal call me one night to ask ifI was going to vote for her candidate. Since I didn't recognize the name of the candidate, I asked the girl who this gny was run- ning against. She replied, "I'm sorry. I don't have that information In front of me." Seriously, if you are goIng to call me at my home right in the middle of a scene with Steve McGarrett kick- ing some major butt, then I think you should know who your candidate is up against. I've been going to the polls since 1976 when I first voted for a flan- nel shirt-wearing peanut farmer for president. I was raised a Republican, but after what Nixon pulled, I figured it was time for a change. Besides, Carter was a southerner who lived on a farm and had a beer-loving brother. I fig- ured he couldn't be all bad. I'm not real sure if o1' Jimmy did any good while in office. I spent those same four years in college, and the late '70s are still a blur. I don't mind bragging that I voted for Ronald Reagan. I thought he was a straight shooter in "Sante Fe Trail" and I reckoned he'd [ Personally, I ~he Was one of our finer presidents. I m riot so proud of As you might've no belong to a party, alth several backin 1977. q years, I have voted fo] Democrats, Indepenc for Pat Paulsen. i vote date that I deem morq the job. I have never ticket because I don't responsible for some office just by riding t~ candidate of the samq learn something ahol iced, I don't augh I attended )ver the past 30 Republicans, ents, and once for the candi- suitable for oted a straight ~rant to feel Ldiot getting into e coattails of a ~ party. I try to tt most of the :et, but if there's on the ballot, candidates on the tic] some fella I don't kno I won't vote for him jt st because he's Republican. I'll just slfip over him and find some name I do recognize. Some candidates Will lose my vote by their actions and not so much because of their political stances. I won't vote for incumbents who haven't fififilled their promises. I refuse to, vote for a representative who won t stand up and fight for his constituents, one who'd rather run,for the border. I don't vote for candidates who en- gage in smear campalgns, whether their claims are trueOr not. I d pick a country boy over a cily slicker, a Texan over aYankee, and a War hero over a draft dodger. I don't trust candidates with lots of money, casting my vote for the guy in jeans and worn-out boots. Looks may be deceiving but a snake in the grass is still a snake. I bet some of you are waiting for my endorsements. Well, I am flattered to think that y'all believe that I'm that im- portant. I suppose a few folks look up to me, but I'm sure it's because I stand well over six feet and not because of my literary works of art. I'm a simple- minded, easy-going kind of guy who would rather listen to Zac Brown's latest CD than a State of the Union ad- dresS. I won't give you my view of the current group of politicians who are squatting up in D.C., but if you want to know who I'm voting for down here in our great state, I'll drop a few hints. For governor, I'd rather have a pistol-totin', coyote-shootin' farm boy than a guy who nearly drove Texas' largest city Into bankruptcy. I appre- ciate knowing our southern border is protected despite little help from Washington. I suppose those folks on Capitol Hill feel we Texans can defend our state without their help, and I reckon they're right. As for county judge, I think this is a no-brainer. Pick the guy who has been helping our county for years as a com- missioner and who will continue to do so. I'd rather have Dr. Cobb stitch me up in the ER than Commissioner Bar- ton, but I don't think Cobb is qualified to be our county judge. If Cobb reads this, I'm not sure I'd want him suturing my wounds now. I might end up like my steers. Lastly, if any of these endorsed can- didates call and Interrupt my favorite TV show, I may write in Pat Paulsen again. I hope I don't ruffle any feathers with this column, but I tell 'em like I see 'em. If you don't like my picks, oh well. I'll see you at the polls. rockytop78640@yahoo.com '7 spent a huge amount of my childhood at Club 21 while my Dad ran the garage across the street. My great grandma taught me how to dance there, I set up pins in the bowling alley growing up, and I'm pretty sure I played my first game of pool with my Dad there. This is an enormous loss for the Uhland community. I hope they can figure out who is responsible." -- Brian I-leideman on =Hiatodc Club 21 dancehall bums" at haysfrsepress.com "We were heartbroken when we heard of the news this morning, as we enjoyed dancing here as often as we could. Another historic Texas treasure lost. Just danced here a couple of weeks ago." -- Jennifer Hovis on =Histor- Ic Club 21 dancehall bums" at hays/rsepress.com MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publishers Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-BaRon Office Manager Connie Brewer business@haysfreeprsss.com NEWS ROOM Editor Brad Rollins brad@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporters Jennifer Biundo Sean Kimmons Kay Richter School Reporter Jim Culen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Brenda Stewart Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Caul Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Hale Phil Jones Svea Sauer Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Darryl Jamail Pmofrsaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com Distribution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr David White Assistant Designar Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Hays County Commissioner Jeff BaRon is a minority owner of the Hays Free Press Contact Us: HaysFreePrsss.com news@haysfreapress.com businsss@haysfreaprsss.com BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 WWW. hsysfreepress.com