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Brown gives Kiwanis, students
legislative preview

Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Transportation issues, voter ID and elderly drivers will be some of the top priorities for the Texas Legislature when it meets again in January.
State Rep. Betty Brown told Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis members the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor will be among the top five issues to be addressed in the 81st Regular Session.
Joining the Kiwanis members in their regular Wednesday luncheon were 15 members of the Trinidad High School Key Club, along with their two sponsors.
Noting she enjoys outlining the fundamentals of the legislative process with students, Brown urged them to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 general election, pointing out one vote does make a difference.
Women became eligible to cast ballots in 1920, when the legislation passed by one vote. Many women who pushed for the right to vote were arrested and shamefully treated, Brown pointed out.
“Don’t take the privilege of voting so casually,” she warned the teenaged girls in the audience. “People really suffered to make voting possible.”
Monday, Oct. 6, is the last day to register for the general election, she reminded the group.
“We’re now in the interim between sessions,” Brown said. At one time, legislators spent most of the interim between sessions at home, “but now, there’s more and more to be done to prepare for the next session.”
Legislators are gathering information and getting ready to pre-file bills, once the filing period opens after the general election, she said.
“The earlier you can get a bill in the hopper, the better the chance it will get through the (legislative) process,” Brown pointed out.
Asked if a recount is even possible with electronic voting machines, Brown admitted she was not sure about the manual recount process.
“I think in most cases, you do have the option to use a paper ballot,” she said. “I expect this next election to be very close, especially at the top of the ballot.”
The proposed Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC), and the accompanying eminent domain issues, will be one of the major items to be addressed by the next legislature, Brown said.
In the 80th Session, the legislature placed a moratorium on TTC development, as opposition to the proposed project was widespread, she said.
“I don’t think the Trans-Texas Corridor, as it was originally proposed, will be proceeding,” she said. “I do know we’ll have to add some lanes somewhere.”
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) has been pushing toll roads as the way to offset funding issues, but Brown said she would oppose making existing highways into toll roads.
“If you do toll, it needs to be a new route,” she said. “You don’t go in and toll roads that have already been built and paid for.”
If something like the TTC is considered, the state would have to maintain control of the property at all times, TxDoT wouldn’t be able to set toll rates without local consultation, existing right-of-way would always have to be considered first before buying any new property, and property purchased for new roads could not separate one section of a property owner’s land from the rest of his property, she said.
“The bottom line is, we do have to address these transportation concerns,” Brown said. “It will be one of the top five issues that will be addressed by the legislature.”
One of the students asked about the state taking property, or eminent domain proceedings, which is a legal process in district court.
A couple of years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a municipality could indeed take property through the eminent domain process for economic development, “which floored everybody,” she said.
“Four or five of us filed eminent domain bills (last session), which were rolled into an omnibus bill,” Brown related. “That passed, but it was vetoed by the governor. I know his reasons (for the veto), but I don’t agree with them.
“The fact remains that our citizens need protection in this matter,” she added.
Brown turned to her “pet project,” a bill to require voters to show a photo ID or other acceptable form of identification, “so that when you go to the polling booth, you can prove you are who you say you are.”
A recent poll showed 90 percent of Texas support requiring individuals to show a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID card, when casting a ballot, she said.
A second step is requiring individuals to prove they are a citizen when they register to vote, which is more difficult for some legislators to support, Brown said.
Opponents say requiring such ID proof would disenfranchise the elderly who might not have a driver’s license, or the very poor.
“During that debate, we heard that something like 85 percent of those over 80 are still driving, so they still have an active driver’s license,” Brown said. “We went to great, great lengths to prove we were not trying to keep anybody qualified from casting their vote.
“If you’re disabled, you can vote by a mail-in ballot,” she said. “That has its own problems, but we’re not addressing those in the bill.”
Speaking of the elderly, one of the students noted her family had been involved in an accident with an elderly driver, and asked if there was some way to require routine testing to renew a driver’s license, instead of just mailing in a form.
Several Kiwanis members also told Brown about the difficulty of telling a parent that they can’t drive anymore. Many times, family members just can’t do it.
Making everyone above a certain age take the routine exam would force older drivers to meet a set performance standard, and if they can’t pass, they don’t drive – taking them off the road without forcing a confrontation with a family member.
“That’s something we will be addressing,” Brown said.
In club business, members:
• welcomed Trinidad High School students David Dowell, Jordan Richards, Zachary Ward, Miles Norris, Kourtney Miller and LaTambria Cofer.
Also, Brittany Ayala, Jessica Ayala, Charla Motley, Hannah Chambers, Amanda Golden, Kendra Collins, Meredith Allbright, Katie Newsome and Alyssa Auerbach, along with sponsors Julie Airheart and Kendra McAlister.
Mario’s Restaurant in Gun Barrel City provided pizza for the students, and Brookshire’s Grocery in Seven Points provided soda.
• heard club secretary Carol Eubank was aiding Hurricane Ike survivors in Houston with the Salvation Army.
• heard the club’s efforts to aid a local family following the death of the mother were greatly appreciated. The father and children are now attending church regularly, and are in the process of healing.


Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Trinidad High School Key Club members join State Rep. Betty Brown (white
suit, center left), at the Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis meeting Wednesday, welcomed
by club president Ralph Fortner (at far right) and past president Dr. Jeanne Caillet (at far left).

Tax rate public hearing draws
little attention

By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN– A couple of minutes past 10 a.m., Kaufman County Commissioners opened the second required public hearing on the fiscal year (FY) 2009 tax rate.
Although the county is lowering its tax rate by half a cent, three citizens signed up to speak on the subject – Joe Windam and Bob Windam, both from the Scurry community, and William Butler of Terrell.
It wasn’t long into Joe Windam’s comments, and later Butler’s, one realized they were not speaking against the tax rate, but that they were upset with the property appraisal system.
Bob Windam yielded his time to Joe, as he also felt the same – property appraisals by the Kaufman County Single Appraisal District were not to their liking.
Joe Windam also said the county spent too much on its upkeep.
County Judge Wayne Gent tried to explain the makeup of the appraisal district, pointing out the county does not appoint the appraisal board. In fact, the county only has one member on the board, Gent noted.
Other appraisal board members are elected by school districts (for instance, one board member represents the Kemp and Mabank ISDs).
After returning to open session, the commissioners set 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, as the time to officially set the FY 2009 tax rate.
The proposed rate is 55.65 cents per $100 valuation.
In other business, commissioners:
• held a public hearing on the proposed FY 2009 budget. No one was present to speak for or against the budget.
• approved a resolution authorizing the appraisal district to correct the Kaufman-Henderson county line in Precinct 4.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller said he has made trips to the General Land Office in Austin with Henderson County Judge David Holstein and Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall.
Both Holstein and Hall have agreed to the resolution, Deller said.
• accepted the auditor’s report for August as presented by Hal D. Jones..
• accepted the tax assessor/collector’s report for August as presented by Dick Murphy.
Murphy said the county has collected 96 percent of its current budget and that he hopes it will soon “roll to 97 percent.”
• approved a proclamation honoring Weldon Burgess for volunteering to pick up trash along the county road near his home.
Burgess not only picks up the trash, but loads it into his truck and hauls it to the disposal site.
• approved an individual budget amendment for the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace authorizing wages totaling $4,000 to be paid JP2 clerks who have accrued a large amount of comp time.
• agreed to advertise for proposals on computer software for the Sheriff’s Department.
Purchasing agent Jack Sabastian will bring the bid closing and opening dates to commissioners later for approval.
• renewed an interlocal agreement with the city of Combine.
• approved budget transfers as presented by Jones.
• paid bills totaling $489,133.35.

‘Red Garter’ rescheduled
Special to The Monitor
TOOL–The new date of “A Night At The Red Garter Saloon” has been announced.
The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 1, at Promenade Hall in Tool.
The annual Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce fund-raiser was scheduled for Sept. 13, and was postponed in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Ike in the area.
The Red Garter Committee and board of directors announced for the safety of the guests, volunteers and vendors, who might try to get there in the storm, it was best to postpone.
They were also concerned about being respectful of the coastal residents in the direct line of Ike and mindful of the aftermath of such storms.
Ticket holders should save their Sept. 13 tickets, as they will be honored when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1.
“We want everyone to mark their calendar for the new date and plan to come enjoy all of the original elements of the event, including the steak dinner, Dino Perelli entertaining, gaming, live and silent auctions,” chamber president Jo Ann Hanstrom said.
Tickets will continue to be sold and there may even be a costume (Old West Attire) contest added to the evening’s agenda. Think saloon girls, outlaws, cowboys, gamblers.
Watch for details to be announced.
For more information on the rescheduled “A Night At The Red Garter Saloon,” call (903) 887-3152 or e-mail info@cedarcreeklakechamber.com.
 

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

My name is Nelson. I am a beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever home.

My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my new home.

We are a whole litter of Shepherd mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so we have no history. We have been started on our first set of shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.

I am a beautiful Border Collie, who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful kid looking for a new home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at petfinder.com


 


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