The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas on July 3, 1999 · Page 10
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July 3, 1999

The Galveston Daily News from Galveston, Texas · Page 10

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Galveston, Texas
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Saturday, July 3, 1999
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Page 10
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HIE DAILY NEWS A10 r- "V FEEDBACK: Call Editor Heber Taylor at (409) 683-5245 or (800) 561-3611, Ext. 5245 Saturday July 3,1999 *-l-S * G A LV E S T O . N CO U N T_ Y_ _* TkEmiLYNEWS Your Local News Source Since 1842 On the World Wide Web at http://www.galvnews.com Les Daughtry Editor and Publisher Emeritus Dolph Tlltotson President and Publisher Heber Taylor Editor Let's celebrate our civil rights D uring the past year, some residents of Galveston County have complained that their governments have: • Excluded the public from government meetings. • Imposed taxes without really hearing from the public or its representatives. • Stood in the way of free trade. Those complaints are worth noting as we celebrate Independence Day. All are specifically listed in the Declaration of Independence as examples of outrageous violations of civil rights. If you take time to read the Declaration of Independence this weekend, you might be impressed that it includes a long list of civil-rights violations. Too often, we see our Independence Day as a key event in a fight between the Americans and the British. We forget that the signers of the Declaration of Independence didn't rebel against the government because it was British. The rebels had, for a lifetime, thought of themselves as British citizens. The Founding Fathers rebelled not because their government was British, but because they found their government to be disrespectful of their rights. It has been a long time since a government in London has routinely violated the rights of Americans. But the Founding Fathers remind us to this day that strong governments can and do violate the civil rights of ordinary citizens. The Founding Fathers saw clearly that a strong central government could be dangerous — regardless of where it was based or who held the reins. And they insisted, before they would approve a strong American government, that the civil rights of citizens be put in writing. Those guaranteed freedoms still include the rights to freely assemble and to freely speak. They include freedom of the press and the right to bear arms. They include the right to due process and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. More than 200 years later, these rights are still profoundly relevant. They're worth celebrating and worth exercising vigorously. @ This editorial was written by Heber Taylor, editor of The Daily News. His email address is heber.taylor@galvnews.com. Make it a fan, safe celebration This Fourth of July weekend, be sure to keep it safe. Fireworks are a big part of the holiday, but remember they can be deadly, too. Most cities have outlawed all fireworks, but if you should decide to go to an outlying area of the county, be sure to follow the rules. Fireworks can easily bum, maim or kill someone if these rules are not followed. All fireworks must be launched or ignited far from people or houses. Keep in mind that the grass is no longer dampened from the recent rain we've had and can easily catch fire. Do not hold firecrackers or explosives for any reason. Sparklers should be held far away from your body and clothing. It's also a good idea to keep a bucket of water around for those misfired ones or to douse the remains of lighted ones. The best policy is for fireworks to be handled only by adults. Of course, if you want a big fireworks show without watching your money burn, there are always the official displays. Many cities have fireworks displays on the Fourth along with other family-oriented activities throughout the day. For a list of displays and events, see Page A9. Fourth of July weekend should be fun for all. Don't ruin it by being careless. Carla Gillogly-Torres/THE DAILY NEWS Today is Saturday, July 3, the 184th day of 1999. There are 181 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On July 3,1898, during the Spanish-American War, a Spanish fleet in Cuba's Santiago Harbor tried to run a U.S. naval blockade; practically all of the Spanish ships were destroyed in a four-hour battle. On this date: In 1863, the three-day Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., ended in victory for the North. Ten years ago: By a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld abortion restrictions in the state of Missouri. Today's Birthdays: Writer- producer Jay Tarses is 60. Talk show host Montel Williams is 43. Actor Tom Cruise is 37. The Associated Press RACING STRIPES W3ULD HELP.. Visitors: Island in decline, needs new direction i n May, my husband and I visited Galveston Island for more than a week and stayed at your Dellanera KV Park. Unfortunately, we found Galveston a very depressed and depressing city. There is so much potential here, yet, the island is so backward in progress. If you are serious about tourism and being a great seashore resort, you need a decent campground, more motels and restaurants, more recreational activities and a beautification program along Seawall Boulevard. And clean up the beach. Dellanera RV Park does not meet the lot size standards for over-sized, slide-out RVs. The park and other parks are equally unacceptable and outdated. Touring the island, we saw so many old, empty and unsightly buildings that need to be condemned, remodeled or torn down. On The Strand, a i Traffic lights damaged during Tropical Storm Frances in September remained broken for quite some time after the storm. (Rle photo by Kevin Bartram) traffic light was blinking constantly and we were told by locals that this light had been in need of repair for six months, but the city has no money to repair it. From a visitor's observation, your city is truly in decline with a government that seems to have no vision for moving the city in a new, positive direction. City fathers, use common sense and wake up before it's too late and get your city moving forward. We're ready to enter a new millennium, yet Galveston is still in 1940. © Carolyn Rose lives in Columbus, Ohio. Group contributed to city during its stay I would just like to say "Hats Off" to the World Changers for all the hard work and effort they are putting into our city during their stay, I think a lot of us, young and old, could learn a thing or two from them. Traci Smith Galveston Great trip ended with nightmare in Gaiveston On June 23, my family and I stopped in Galveston for an overnight stay. It was the last leg of our annual two- week summer vacation, something we all look forward to each year. We were on our way back home from Disney World in Florida. We traveled all that distance with no incident whatsoever — until we reached our "home state" again. Wednesday night, our dream vacation was ripped apart by Letters policy The Galveston County Daily News welcomes letters of up to 150 words, and guest columns of up to 500 words, on any public issue. Guest columns must include a photograph of the writer. Any letter that exceeds the word limit will not be considered for publication. Any guest column that exceeds the word limit or does not include a photograph will not be considered for publication. We publish only original letters or guest columns addressed to The Galveston County Daily News. An address and daytime phone number must be included so the author's identity can be verified. No letters or guest columns will be published until authorship is confirmed. Those who write letters are asked to limit their entries to one per month. All letters and guest columns are subject to editing. The Daily News reserves the right to decline publication of any submission. Send letters to: Heber Taylor Letters to the editor P.O. Box 628 Galveston 77553 Fax: (409) 740-3421 Email: letters@galvnews.com some hoodlums in Galveston. They removed several costly items from our vehicle, damaged our vehicle and took all the videotapes I had made of our trip to Disney World, which have no meaning whatsoever to said hoodlums. It is a shame that we had to be back on home turf so to speak to have our trip turn IT'S OK TO KOUW! TEN SEC- CONTENT! into a nightmare. I will never set foot again in Galveston, and I will not recommend it to anyone. It's too bad that we have decided to live with degenerates such as these among us — jerks who will rip anything off for a beer or a quick fix. Maria Winter Fritch If you don'task, you'll never know A lawyer for the Galveston school district is researching whether the school board has an obligation to seek reimbursement from those who have abused its travel policy. So far, the district has obtained one such refund, and even in that case, there are questions remaining to be answered. In April 1998, Ann Simmons, the president of the school board, billed the district for almost $570 in mileage for a trip she had made in a rented van paid for by the school district. In paying back most of that money last month, Simmons pleaded ignorance. She said the school district's business office had advised her that she could seek reimbursement either for the cost of gasoline or for the mileage driven at 31 cents a mile. She chose the mileage, she said. That explanation is hard to believe. Mileage reimbursements are calculated to cover the cost of wear and tear on a vehicle. Surely, someone who worked in a school district business office would know that. Still, if I were in a position of authority with the school district, I think I'd want to clear up the mystery. I'd be asking who in the business office gave Simmons that advice, and if I found out that someone actually had, Id be checking on that person's status as an employee. It's surprising that Simmons, a college dean, would be confused about the purpose of mileage reimbursements. The reimbursement in this instance was more than five times the estimated cost of gas. What did Simmons think the rest of that money was designed to i-eimburse? The wear and tear on her back from riding more than 1,800 miles in a van? And why, exactly, did she ride more than 1,800 miles? The Ifexas Association of School Boards conference she attended spanned parts of three days. By driving, Simmons stretched it into six, complete with meals and lodging. She made the return trip by way of Corpus Christi, adding a day to the journey, another night's stay in a hotel, another day's worth of meals, another day to the van rental. And why? No one seems to know. Simmons' expense claim doesn't explain it, and no one bothered to ask. As far as I know, no one in an official capacity with the district has asked even now. It's like Sgt. Schultz on "Hogan's Heroes." "I see nothing. I hear nothing." I The district is now in the •. process of shoring up the • travel policies it has on the books, but if it leaves Sgt. Schultz in charge of enforcing them, the stricter rules won't do any good. i If this board and adminis- > tration have any chance of regaining the confidence of the i taxpayers, they must make a ; real effort to address the excesses of the past. They must begin to pose those questions that no one in an official capacity seems willing to ask. * KeHy Hawes is associate editor of The Daily News. Hte email address is keUy,hawes@ garvneiws.com

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