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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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November 30, 2011     Hays Free Press
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November 30, 2011
 

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I Free Press November 30, 2011 NEWS Page 3A Board from pg. 1A I ]ones was getting rid of Beth Smith. role of an elected official every appointment I I have to be able to feel Jones said in an at the newspaper "I have to be confident every appointment. If I bit of doubt then ) in a different di- Commissioner seeks public input Who: Ray Whisenant Jr., Precinct 4 county commissioner What: Talk to the commissioner about what appointment he will make to the board for Emergency Services District No. 5, which has authority over the Kyle Fire Department's budget. When= 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday Where" Old Kyle Town Hall Why; Beth Smith, Precinct 2 justice of the peace, may be losing her seat on the board. She was one of its first members. 1 Smith's case, he was going different direction for rea- that seem mysterious to of them are elected except Judge Smith," said. "It's not against her. not her. It's more the part an elected official." someone who with re-election not have a hand in the mlitical operations of the was a little confused. ee what he's saying, but, I I'm a judge," she said. decisions every day. other prob- with Jones's argument. sitting on authority. If Smith was be spent, then what Jones such a saint?Also, emergency services district had a justice of )eace serving on its board foils believe this is a or a personal move, based on the argamaent provide about not wanting elected official to serve on ESD," board member Mike "l argument does not make me, but I find it hard to he idea that you are el- that vindictive or partisan, am still unsure of exactly didn't want her to resign six months ago. Back then the only board member who was a vol- unteer firefighter had just re: signed, and Jones wanted to fill the seat with someone who was not a volunteer. Smith said she was horrified. The board could not do its work, she believed, without the perspective of a volunteer. She offered to resign, she said, so that Jones could give her seat to a volunteer firefight- er. Instead, "Mark talked me out of stepping down." So what happenedover those six months? There were a few plausible reasons for the commission- er's sudden change. Some ob- servers said that he wanted to get rid of Smith because she stood against him on county redistricting. (Jones denies this claim.) Or because he wanted to put a Republican on the board. (Jones insists that his appointments, like the board's work, are nonpartisan.) But Chief Glenn Whitaker of the Kyle Fire Department gave the straight explanation: Jones was making a move in order to get rid of opposition and look better in Hometown Kyle. "I'm not very political. I sit on the fence and vote for whoever I think would do the best job," Whitaker said. "It makes me re- ally hurt when I see someone do- ing something for political rea- sons and not logical reasons." First public words appointment - or reappoint- ment. With his emailed invitation, he enclosed a message that he sent both to Smith and Jones. "When Commissioner Jones offered that I would have an opportunity to appoint a Board Member to the ESD from the Precinct 4 area in the District, I did not know that it would re- quire a change in that Board," he wrote, addressing Smith. ,I have asked for his suggestions and will equally consider your request." Whisenant opposed the re- districting plan that put Home- town Kyle in his jurisdiction. If the neighbors in that sub- division want a voice on the emergency services board, he might have a hard time ignor- ing them. On the ,other hand, at least one neighborhood activist in Hometown Kyle has come out for keeping Smith on the board. "So [Jones shafted] us in the redistricting deal (sacrificing HTK to protect the unincorpo- rated area and finish a road) and now he's trying to cozy back up to usby offering Judge Smith's board position to somebody in our hood," Joel Kirkby wrote in an emafl to his neighbors. "This is stupid and I don't want it in my front or backyard. He needs to leave Judge Smith alone." Smith is excited at the pos- sibilities. She might be able to stay on the board, which, after all, is her favorite. Over the 27 years since J.E "Boots" Mon- in an email that was to all members of the 3 Fire Department, the dep- chief told Jones: "The only I can do is ask that if this your idea, [if] you're be- advised to do this by some- ask yourself, why? act in direct contradic- dopposition to those that are served by this board?" to step down part, Smith said she understand why Jones happened in closed circles: politicians, firefighters, county officials and neighborhood gossips. The topic has never come up in a public meeting. And until Tuesday night no one had made a public statement about it. The person making that statement was Whisenant. He invited his constituents to a forum at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Old Kyle City Hall. He ~it be there to discuss the pending trt in Kyle? from pg. 1A it has decided to build on north side of town, in the where most of Kyle's ', occurs. about the expected 3efition, a Target spokes- said that the corn- focus is on pleasing customers, not beating its etitors. manager at the Kyle store "That's not something to, like, even re- r comment on." Most of the discussion of tague appointed her, she has Smith's reappointment has given up seats on many other boards to have the time for this "We've never really developed the com- mercial base that a city of 30, 000 should have. 7-bis goes a long way towards helping us get there." -Larmy Lambert, Kyle City Manager one. "This is just like my second family;" she said. "It's crazy." 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Financial Advisor Financial Advisor 251 N FM 1626 Bldg 2 Ste B ,203 Railroad Street Suite 1 B ,t,~i Buda, TX 78610 , Buda, TX 78610 512-312-2840 512-312-2332 www.edwardjones.com Member S/PC Food Sank Continued from pg. 1A costs, the food bank depends heavily on volunteers. They do most of the lifting, can3~g, sorting and packing. "We couldn't do this by ourselves," Gracy said. Thanksgiving was as busy as the food bank might expect in a bad year for jobs. Workers received at least 100 more re- quests for Thanksgiving boxes than at this time last year. After straining themselves to get these dinners out to people, the food bank workers were surprised and delighted when a 7-year-old boy in a tur- keyT-shirt delivered a $3,000 cash donation in a ziplock bag. In a video of the donation he reads from a handwritten statement, tracing the words with his finger: "I like helping families." The boy, Zachary Collins, raised the money through Facebook, YouTube and a family biog. "That was $3,000 that we weren't expecting in the shape of a little 7-year-old boy," Moore saidl "He pretty much motivated us to get through the frenzy ... because he was such a sweet person who came up with that all on his own." Hays County has one of the more generous food banks in Central Texas. Some distribu- tors will give food to a family only two times a month. Here families can come twice a week. At the lhesday food distri- bution at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Kyle, a crowd of old, middle-aged and young people waited, with eyes on the table, as volunteers laid out cakes, avocados, tomatoes and loaves of bread. Everyone was talking, and children were running in little circles, but the voices were hushed, as if under the influence of the old sanctuary.. Luciano, a 60-year-old Buda resident with a big 6eard and rainbow suspenders, was worried there were too many people. "It's a shame that everybody has to come here," he said. "Now after one round there's nothing left." He said that at one of the distributions Steve Uzzell volunteers at a food distribution Catholic Church in Kyle. PHOTO BYJONATHANYORK Tuesday atSt. Anthony in Buda, a woman with three children was the last number called, and all she got was a potato. Steve Uzzeil, a volunteer, came up smiling. "Is he telling you his conspiracy theories?" he said. But by then Luciano was talking about Detroit. He was trying to get back there, because "they don't have anybody there who knows how to work on computers." But he did. "Detroit is a place where you'd like to take your camera," he said. "There are beautiful abandoned homes everywhere." Old brick, marble, and wooden struc- tures are still standing on overgrown city blocks with all of the plumbing ripped out, he said, for salvage. Volunteers were still arrang- ing the groceries. No one had been called yet. Outside another man was daydreaming about northern climates. Lucky Mefidoza, 46, of Buda said he had been an ironworker on skyscrapers in New York and had traveled to locations as far apart as Wyoming and Pennsylvania as a welding inspector. "I love going out of state," he said. "We'd go to one state a week," and in five or six weeks he would make a year's salary.. ' Now he's just waiting. "Man I hit all of the food banks," he said. "Times are so bad right now. It's so hard to get a job. I'm taking care of my mom right now." A woman came out, and he asked her in Spanish if they'd started to call people yet. They had. It was time to go inside. F