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Page 2 - The University Star
ELECTION GUIDE 2005
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
With the candidates
Q: What are the main goals you would like to accomplish if you are elected to the City Council?
Q: What are the main goals you would like to accomplish if you’re elected to the City Council?
Q: Why are you seeking re-election?
A: I’d like to continue on with what the present City Council has started. The No. 1 issue that I’ve seen from walking around is trafﬁc when I’m talking with either students or neighbors. One of the (city bond issues) is designed to improve the trafﬁc hang-ups like Thorpe Lane at H-E-B., (the Aquarena Springs Drive by the football stadium and the apartments on Post Road. Right now, you have to cross two railroad tracks (on Aquarena Springs). If a train comes, you can get stopped and then stopped again and you could be there for half an hour.
A: We need to prepare for the future. From an economic standpoint, the city has some serious challenges; speciﬁcally the outlet malls. They’re a major source of revenue for us and the city of Round Rock (and Laredo) is looking to build one, so that’s going to pull people away (from cities north and south), and once we take the economic impact from that, we need to have something in place to bring in light industry. Students that graduate from here should have the opportunity to work here and make more than ﬁve or six dollars an hour. Growth is going on around us and we need to have the infrastructure in place to support that growth.
Q: How do you balance the two interests (professor at Texas State and long-time resident of San Marcos) if you’re elected, especially when it comes to an issue such as the R-1 zoning ordinance? A: I’m in favor of the ordinance as it’s written. It’s not meant for students, it’s meant for everybody whether student or citizen. The neighbors come in with the noise issue, but if you look at the sheet they have when it comes to ordinances, there’s about 12 ordinances … and the way (the Nuisance Abatement Task Force) is going to enforce them is if a person calls in and complains, and it’s a violation of the ordinance, then they’re going to come in and check on it. The education is a critical point, and they’re just now getting things lined up. They had to make sure that if we try to enforce these ordinances that we can back them up. Q: What are the biggest economic challenges facing the city today and over the next ﬁve to 10 years and what types of businesses do you think we need to attract? A: I like jobs that require skilled labor and technology. These minimum-wage businesses are good for part-time work, but not for people that want to settle here. We need skilled people; the wage is higher, the beneﬁts are higher and so people can afford to settle here. We have 27,000 students; what happens when they graduate? There should be jobs for those people if they decide to stay in the area, but right now, it’s kind of limited. Q: What are your thoughts about combining the university’s bus system (TXTram) and the city’s bus system (CARTS Around Town) into one? A: That would be great. Right now, it takes (a long time to get around). I had a bus stop in front of my house and it was going to take me about 35-40 minutes to get to my ofﬁce when I can walk it in twenty. I think if you combine them and have enough buses and I can get across town in 15-20 minutes, it’d be worthwhile. I’d really like to see them combine, if anything to improve it, especially since a lot of students live off-campus. I think it’s just a matter of getting the groups to sit down and talk about it and I think all three candidates are in favor of it. Whichever one of us wins, I think that’s one of the things we all have on our platforms.
Q: What are your thoughts about issues like the R-1 ordinance and the Nuisance Abatement Task Force? A: From an R-1 perspective, when a student tries to rent a house in a R-1 zone, they need to let them know that you are in a R-1 area and this is what it means. This is what gets me about this whole R-1 issue and this team that they put together and wasted tax dollars on; they’re calling the wrong people. Why is this team not calling the people who rent the homes and let them know that this is the process you have to go through before you rent this home to any resident? If we took some of the money and invested it in providing a model to solve some of these problems instead of the labor hours … it’s adding tension to a problem that you don’t need to add tension to. If you’re going to enforce it, enforce it properly. Q: What are some of the biggest issues you’re hearing about from the permanent residents of the community? A: A lot of the people are very disgruntled and angry that they try to make points to the city and they’re not listened to. I met this man, Mr. Lucio, who took me out and showed me all the drainage problems in the area. He lives on the south side, on the San Antonio-side, they have raised sidewalks (to combat drainage problems), well, they don’t have those on the south side and Mr. Lucio’s been screaming about it. Q: What are your thoughts on combining the university and the city’s bus systems? A: There are several models out there that show you how to manage a city and a university system. You can manage both to where you can have an efﬁcient system. There are a lot of logistical things behind that, but it can be done. If we have a combined system, then there’s no ﬁght where people can say that the university is cutting through our territory. There’s a federal grant out there that can help pay for combined bus systems.
A: I sought re-election because now I have 3 1/2 years experience working with public policy and when the projects come before City Council, I can speak on them, I don’t have to be trained again. That’s why I’m asking the voters not to ﬁre me, let me do one more term and then I’m done. I have no intention of going on after that; I don’t have any other political ambitions, I just want to do what’s right for San Marcos. Q: What in particular would you like to accomplish during another term? A: There are several things that are partially done. I would like to see San Marcos get past this image of being an unfriendly place for economic development. There’s this perception that there’s a wall built around San Marcos; that we don’t want growth and that’s not true. I want to see the Wonder World extension to completion. I would say economic development is the big one as well as seeing some of the capital improvement projects that we got started through. I’m sort of the council’s budget watchdog, I want to see us continue to decrease our dependence on sales tax; I think it’s a very dangerous practice to forecast sales tax revenues and budget for them. Q: What are your thoughts on combining the university and city bus lines? A: I haven’t seen any other cities that have a system like ours, but I think it’s a good idea if it gives us penetration into more neighborhoods. If the CARTS route could complement the university routes, I think it would work well for everybody. I’m all for giving it a try; anything that takes cars off the street is a good idea. Q: What are your thoughts on the Nuisance Abatement Task Force, the R-1 ordinance and the noise ordinance that you’ve voted against already? A: The neighborhood view is that there are too many cars out there and the noise issues and for the most part, everybody is OK. It’s the few people causing problems that are making it bad for everybody. I’ve not walked with the Nuisance Abatement Task Force, but my understanding is that their purpose is educational, and that their goal right now is to educate. (The response I’ve gotten) has been that it’s been effective. By and large, the people that live in those areas want to play by the rules. Q: Are there any other points you’d like to get out there? A: I’ve been on nearly every board and commission in town. I’ve lived here 30-something years. I have a vested interest in the community, and I’ll be here from now on.
ELECTION GUIDE 2005
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Amendments Amendment No. 1
Wording: The constitutional amendment creating the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund and authorizing grants of money and issuance of obligations for ﬁnancing the relocation, rehabilitation, and expansion of rail facilities. Analysis: The proposed constitutional amendment would create the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund. The amendment would provide for the Texas Transportation Commission to issue and sell obligations to fund the relocation and improvement of privately and publicly owned passenger and freight rail facilities for the purposes of relieving congestion on public highways, enhancing public safety, improving air quality, and expanding economic opportunity. The obligations would be payable from the money in the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund. The amendment would also authorize the legislature to dedicate to the fund state money that is not otherwise dedicated by the constitution.
Amendment No. 2 Wording: The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage. Analysis: The proposed constitutional amendment would amend Article I, Texas Constitution, to declare that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman, and to prohibit this state or a political subdivision
of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage. The joint resolution in which the constitutional amendment is proposed also includes a non-amendatory provision recognizing that persons may designate guardians, appoint agents, and use private contracts to adequately and properly appoint guardians and arrange rights relating to hospital visitation, property, and the entitlement to proceeds of life insurance policies, without the existence of any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
Amendment No. 3 Wording: The constitutional amendment clarifying that certain economic development programs do not constitute a debt. Analysis: The proposed amendment amends Section 52-a, Article III, Texas Constitution, to provide that a program created or a loan or grant made as provided by that section, other than a program, loan, or grant secured by a pledge of ad valorem taxes or ﬁnanced by the issuance of bonds or other obligations payable from ad valorem taxes, does not constitute or create a debt for the purpose of any provision of the Texas Constitution.
Amendment No. 4 Wording: The constitutional amendment authorizing the denial of bail to a criminal defendant who violates a condition of the defendant’s release pending trial. Analysis: The proposed amendment would permit a district judge to deny bail pending trial under the conditions described by Article I, Section 11b, of
the Texas Constitution to a person accused of a felony who is released on bail and whose bail is subsequently revoked or forfeited for a violation of a condition of release. Before the judge may deny bail, the judge must determine at a hearing held on the issue of setting or reinstating bail that the person violated a condition of release related to the safety of a victim of the alleged offense or the safety of the community.
Amendment No. 5 Wording: The constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to deﬁne rates of interest for commercial loans. Analysis: The proposed constitutional amendment amends Section 11, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, to allow the legislature to exempt commercial loans from the maximum interest rate limits established under that section. The amendment deﬁnes a commercial loan as a loan made primarily for business, commercial, investment, agricultural, or similar purposes and not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
Amendment No. 6 Wording: The constitutional amendment to include one additional public member and a constitutional county court judge in the membership of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Analysis: Sections 1-a(2) and (5), Article V, Texas Constitution, currently specify the composition and requirements for proceedings of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The proposed constitutional amendment amends Sec-
tion 1-a(2) to add one member to the commission who is a constitutional county court judge and one additional public member to the commission who is a citizen of at least 30 years of age, is not licensed to practice law, and does not hold a salaried public ofﬁ ce or employment, for a total of 13 members. The proposed constitutional amendment also amends Section 1-a(2) to add the justice of the court of appeals, the district judge, and the members of the State Bar of Texas serving on the commission to the list of members who may not reside or hold a judgeship in the same court of appeals district as another member of the commission. The proposed constitutional amendment makes conforming changes to Section 1-a(5) to increase the number of members required for a quorum from six to seven and to require seven afﬁrmative votes on recommendations for retirement, censure, suspension, or removal of certain judges.
Amendment No. 7 Wording: The constitutional amendment authorizing line-of-credit advances under a reverse mortgage. Analysis: The proposed constitutional amendment amends Section 50, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, by providing that a reverse mortgage may be in the form of a line of credit, allowing repayment of a lineof-credit reverse mortgage and subsequent advance of amounts repaid, providing that advances on a reverse mortgage may not be obtained by credit card, debit card, preprinted solicitation check, or similar device, prohibiting transaction fees in connection with a reverse mortgage debit or advance made after the time the extension of credit is established, and prohibiting
The University Star - Page 3
unilateral amendment of a reverse mortgage extension of credit by the creditor.
Amendment No. 8 Wording : The constitutional amendment providing for the clearing of land titles by relinquishing and releasing any state claim to sovereign ownership or title to interest in certain land in Upshur County and Smith County. Analysis: The proposed amendment would amend Article VII, Texas Constitution, by adding Section 2C to relinquish and release any claim of the state of sovereign ownership or title to an interest in approximately 4,600 acres of speciﬁcally described land in Upshur County, including mineral rights and surface rights, and nearly 1,000 acres of speciﬁcally described land
in Smith County, including mineral rights and surface rights, except in certain narrowly described circumstances in which an interest owned by a governmental entity related to a public use is applicable.
Amendment No. 9 Wording: The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a six-year term for a board member of a regional mobility authority. Analysis: The proposed amendment would amend Section 30, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, to allow board members of a regional mobility authority to serve six-year staggered terms. — Reprinted with permission from the Texas Legislative Council.
ELECTION GUIDE 2005
Page 4 - The University Star
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
AND NOW FOR THE ELECTION SEASON’S TITLE BOUT:
2 BOUSMAN WARDWELL PROP VS Texans will go to the polls to make what could be the easiest electoral choice they have ever seen on Nov. 8th. They will vote to ban gay marriage. They will do so in the ﬁrm belief that they are doing something right. They will feel justiﬁed and perhaps even pleased with themselves. The real tragedy though is that they probably won’t think about the consequences of their actions. They will see it as a binary choice between defending civilization and falling into social anarchy. When an issue is framed like that, who has time to think? So let’s remove the frame so we can once again ﬁnd the foundation where all this started, because this amendment is not about protecting the institution of marriage. That ship has sailed. Every time I hear the phrase “sanctity of marriage” I have to chew on my tongue to keep from howling with laughter. I mean, come on. We live in a nation where you can go to a casino, get drunk, meet someone and after a whopping two or three hours of courtship stumble to a chapel to get married by some guy in an Elvis jumpsuit. No disrespect to the King but exactly how is that sacred? How is our skyrocketing divorce rate sacred? How about spousal and child abuse? Where’s the sanctity there? There’s really no need to worry about homosexuals destroying the institution of marriage, because thanks to heterosexuality there’s nothing left to wreck. So if it isn’t about the institution then what is it about? Well, that part is really easy. It’s partially about sex. Straight people don’t like the idea of two men having sex. As enlightened as I try to be I will admit that the concept is not something I go out of my way to consider. I understand attraction. I understand love. I understand the need to physically be with someone you care about. But there will always be a part of me that says “that ain’t right”. I guess lesbians are removed from
that scenario though, but only if they’re attractive. Viva hypocrisy! Aside from that, gay people can’t have kids. Biologically speaking you need the other gender to produce a child. There are those who believe that you should not have sex until marriage and that the only purpose of marriage is to have kids. If that works for you, good — I’m not going to even attempt to talk you out of it. Just don’t think you can talk me into it, because I don’t buy it. If sex were simply a duty, I don’t think it would be quite as fun. For all of our triumphs, from the time when we rubbed sticks together to make ﬁre to the time we walked on the moon, we can still be a really dumb species. We overanalyze small things and totally ignore big things. We forget too easily. What makes people want to be together? What makes people want to have a sexual partner? What makes people want to get married? What lies underneath it all? It’s love. Without love a marriage is just a piece of paper. You can have kids all day long, but without love what kind of life are they going to have? Love makes something sacred. Look at your girlfriend or boyfriend; your wife or your husband; your signiﬁcant other, and try to imagine them in pain or in need. I don’t know about any of you but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, I would not do to help or defend those that are close to my heart. Do any of you think it feels any different for a homosexual? If not, where’s the difference? Looking at it that way, we must accept that “they” are in fact “us.” How can we deny our rights to ourselves? This isn’t about what you can and can’t believe. This is just the next place we have to go. Liberty has an ever-expanding frontier. This is about your depth of commitment to this 229 year old experiment that we call America. It’s about equality versus uniformity. It’s about painful progress versus euphoric stagnation. If you vote for Proposition 2, all you are doing is something that we have suffered, bled, and even died for to get away from in this nation. Namely, using the law and popular opinion to point to a group of people that have only the most superﬁcial and silly of differences and say “everyone but you.” All I ask is that you keep in mind the fact that your rights are only as good as those of the people you don’t like. Think about that while standing over the ballot. Nobody said it would be easy, but to whom much is given, much is required. Welcome to the price you pay for living in the free world. Sean Wardwell is a pre-mass communication junior.
Texans have the opportunity to vote on amendments to add to the Texas Constitution this week and then on Nov. 8. The one being discussed around the dinner table is Proposition 2, an amendment that will deﬁne marriage as being between one man and one woman. Some people can discuss this issue around the table while others end up in a food ﬁght. On opening day of early voting, the area surrounding The Stallions was full of people against Prop. 2. They had a pledge drive for people to vote against the measure. Even Associated Student Government, which is supposed to represent all of Texas State and not just the left side of the university, has passed a resolution to state that the university opposes Prop. 2. People were comparing the so-called struggle for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement, seeing how fast they could make Martin Luther King Jr. spin in his grave. This all begs the question: Will the supporters of Prop. 2 demonstrate in support of it, or will we hide as usual? Yes, I am for Prop. 2. But why would I be for such a measure that would not supposedly intrude on my personal beliefs? Same-sex couples just want to be married, right? Let’s take a stroll down History Lane to answer the questions asked by many. The ﬁrst three reasons why many, including myself, support Prop. 2 will be left short to focus on my fourth reason. The ﬁrst reason is because marriage has been deﬁned as being between a man and a woman for years on end. The second reason is that polygamists have already begun to demand their rights to marry. What’s next? The third reason why is because the nation was founded upon Christian principles; therefore the founders would vote an emphatic “YES” for Proposition 2. The framers of the Constitution believed that the laws should be centered on the precepts of the Bible. And according to Genesis 18-19; Romans 1:18-32, and I Corinthians 6:9, homosexuality is a sin, not something one is born with. What our country needs now more than ever is to return to the principles it was founded upon. Same-sex marriage would do just the opposite. The main reason why I am for Prop. 2 is because I don’t want the government and the homosexual lobby forcing same-sex marriage upon the church. You don’t believe that can happen? You don’t believe the gay lobby is after that? Think again. All we have to do is look at the news that the mainstream media refuses to report to know this. Starting in Switzerland, a pastor was arrested for referring to scripture and stating from his pulpit that homosexuality is a sin. His crime? Hate speech. Canadian pastors have been ﬁned a large amount for doing what this pastor did. Now, to the United States. It wasn’t long ago that gay activists tried to get the non-legislative branch of government — the Supreme Court — to pass a law prohibiting the Boy Scouts from considering sexual orientation when hiring scout leaders. The gay lobby did not respect the fact that the Boy Scouts are religious and opposed the lifestyle. Luckily, the high court did something right for a day to vote in favor of the
Boy Scouts. This past January, the governor of Illinois signed a bill into law making it illegal for church ofﬁcials to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation. United States Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-New York, has introduced a bill in Congress to make it federal law. The church would have to rip out certain parts of their Bibles to comply with such a law. You don’t hear the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State going up in arms about this. I
wonder why. Last week, in San Antonio, Pastor Narciso Mendoza demanded to know where the city council stood on Proposition 2. They refused to answer, and Pastor Mendoza refused to leave, demanding the city government do their job and represent the people instead of themselves, by answering his question. Mayor Phil Hardberger had the police arrest him on $900 bail. Where is the “First Amendment loving” American Civil Liberties Union when you need them? The ASG says they represent the students at Texas State by declaring opposition to Proposition 2. The only deal is that some Texas State students support it. If you support it, here are some ways you can let the ASG know you support the measure. Send an e-mail ASG President Jordan Anderson at JordanAnderson@txstate.edu or ﬂood them with phone calls at (512) 245-2196, and let them know your tuition is paid here as well. Another way is you can demonstrate in favor of the proposition. Make some signs and go out there anytime this week as early voting is taking place. Especially go out there on Nov. 8, the last voting day, and show your support. Be diplomatic but ﬁrm. Be bold but not cocky. Be willing to have a conversation with anyone who supports, opposes or is undecided about the proposition. Ignore those who want to scream in your face. Don’t believe those who say the wording is too confusing. Read the complete language of the amendment in this election guide. Most importantly, know why you support Proposition 2. Brett Bousman is a history and mass communication senior