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Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Invisible kid syndrome - somebody call NASA.

I'm not a scientist, but I am a person highly trained in the science of observation. Well, I can usually tell the difference between day and night. I figure that would put me in the top ten percent in most Yankee states.

Anyway, I've observed a natural phenomenon lately that may turn the world of physics on its ear.

Apparently, some children become invisible to their parents when they take them out in public. There seem to be degrees to this invisibility.

For the parents, the invisibility appears to be complete. How else can you explain their blank stares as their child, also known as Hannibal the Crazed Monkey, assaults the check out line and surrounding area while mom and dad serenely read about how Cher has a twin sister that lives in her navel.

A person might think that the parents would worry about this loss of visual contact with their beloved offspring, but apparently there is a mental bond of some sort that keeps the parent attuned to the general location of the child.

Either that or they have become accustomed to these periods of invisibility and quietly keep track of the little darling by tracking the falling candy bars, spilt coke, and the occasional spurt of blood when Hannibal gets his chompers into some unsuspecting shopper's leg.

Hannibal and his siblings are apparently visible in different degrees to other people.

The invisibility works perfectly on some.

Or maybe these folks mistake these youngsters for the roving heard of violent orangoutangs that escaped the zoo.

On the other hand, the invisibility does not work at all on others, such as my dear mother-in-law, Fran.

I have had to personally put Fran in a full-nelson to keep her mothering instincts from overflowing into the physical world as a flood of semi-invisible wild yard apes races past her shopping cart. (Most of Fran's behavior modification techniques verge on the illegal these days, at least when performed outside the realm of Marine Corps boot camp, so physical restraint seemed in everyone's best interest).

When I first noticed this phenomenon I worried that something was wrong with my observations. Perhaps these parents were just ignoring the incredibly impolite and nearly criminal behavior of their children.

Then I realized that no parent would let their children act this way if they could actually see them.

Invisibility is the only logical answer.

I put in the call to NASA and the Department of Defense last week. I told them they really needed to see this. The implications for our military are astounding.

I also suggested that they round up all the invisible kids and their parents and take them back with them for long-term, very long-term, observation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed

We've stacked them deep, now let's sell them cheap

Pecos needs to hold a fire sale.

A quick look at the tax rolls shows a tremendous number of properties that the local tax entities have foreclosed on because of unpaid taxes.

These are properties with buildings standing empty that are deteriorating a little more each day. Many are already nothing more than pigeon coops long past salvaging.

The taxes owed on many of these buildings amount to far more than the buildings are worth. Many of the appraised values are also out of touch with this market.

Rather than holding on to these properties the city, county, hospital district and school district need to sell them - for practically anything anyone is willing to pay.

Sell them to someone who will do something, anything, with them.

The benefits would be two-fold.

First, the new owners will have to start paying taxes on the property and revenue will be generated for all of the taxing entities. Maybe not as much as we would like, but something is better than nothing.

Second, every building sold is a building being used. Buildings that are inhabited look a lot better than abandoned ones. Business owners tend to take care of buildings they own. Broken glass gets replaced. Walls get painted.

With a little luck, local entrepreneurs might even find a way to start viable businesses in a few of these buildings.

In the long run, tax revenue is generated, Pecos looks better, and local industry might get a small boost.

The retail industry often uses big sales to prime their sales pump for the months to come. A good property sale might have the same effect for Pecos economy.

Promise your children a brighter future

Dear Editor:

All of my children are enrolled in the PBT-ISD. Therefore, it is my duty to bring forth a couple of questions:

1. Are our children receiving the very best education?

Not if we cannot trust our teachers; not if the people who teach our young to do drugs or consume alcohol on a daily basis.

2. What are we compromising?

We are giving in to many injustices in our very own community: in looking the other way, we have let an unruly bunch of undereducated, incompetent little boys run and rule our streets ( known as BPG).

Is this what we want out of our children?

Only the parents can make a difference. I am directing this article to anyone that is pregnant or has a child. Any race, religion, or financial situation. Anyone who can call themselves MOM or DAD!!!

For your children, get involved and give the promise of a brighter future.


Senate Bill threatens local water supplies

Dear Editor:

Senator J. E. Brown, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, has authored a bill that substantially reduces historic local control of both groundwater and surface water. In the 1999 legislative session Brown removed powers from proposed groundwater districts with the intent that local governing districts not be able to limit the ability of metropolitan governments from acquiring control of water resources in rural counties. The current Senate Bill 2 is far more severe in giving state government control of water resources than any bill that has been offered in the past. It appears to move decision-making authority away from the sixteen Regional Planning Groups, significantly led by people in waterrelated local interests, and turns authority over to a new state agency to be called the Texas Water Policy Council. County governments for rural areas are passing resolutions opposing this proposed law and urging people to contact their state senator and state representative. Brewster County Judge Val Beard has notified several county governments regarding the bill and has offered a review of the contents of the bill. Some of the main points follow:

1. Senate Bill 2 creates a new tax on counties that requires every county to remit $1 per year for every person in the county to fund a Water Infrastructure Fund. It is designed to raise $16.95 billion over a fifty-year period with 80% of the Fund earmarked for the benefit of large water users. The rural areas would be subsidizing the transfer of water to the metropolitan areas.

2. All decisions regarding water management would be made in Austin and the regional plans would be considered only if the Texas Water Development Board chooses to do so.

3. The bill repeals the only section in the Water Code that allows groundwater conservation districts to regulate the export of water out of the district. This is Section 36.122 and is of critical importance if water conservation districts are to be able to balance usage with recharge of the aquifers.

4. The bill creates a new water super-agency, the Texas Water Policy Council, to oversee all state agencies, all regional planning groups, and all water districts.

5. The bill prioritizes groundwater use to make municipal access and use the principal right. (Our Region F had provided for a series of priorities that took into account the needs of all water users.)

6. The bill eliminates junior water rights, which stood in the way of metropolitan water utilities acquiring control of water resources from the primary rights holders.

7. The bill requires the "conjunctive", meaning joint, planning of surface and groundwater management. Historically, Texas has treated surface water and groundwater law and management separately.

8. The bill requires every owner of every well to report whatever information the Texas Water Development Board may choose regarding the wells.

9. The bill allows the consolidation of county water districts on an aquifer-wide basis in the discretion of the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission. This would take local control out of the hands of local people who are most familiar with water characteristics in the underlying area and the realistic needs of local users.

10. It requires every holder of every water right in Texas larger than 1,000 acre-feet to submit a conservation plan that is consistent with the plan created in the state agency.

For those of you who have an interest in local control of water rights, you can notify Senator Frank Madla at P. 0. Box 12068, Austin, Texas 7871 1. fax 512/463-1017, or email

Members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee include Vice Chairman Robert Duncan (Lubbock), Gonzalo Barrientos (Austin),

David Bemsen (Beaumont), Teel Bivins (Amarillo), Tom Haywood (Wichita Falls), and Eddie Lucio, Jr. (Brownsville). Bemsen has published in the Houston Chronicle his opposition to this bill. You may have friends in the districts of these senators who can influence their committee member.

Heather MacNeil, RN Senator Robert Duncan, the vice chair, is also sponsoring Senate Bill 1541, which would only allow storage or disposal of radioactive waste in an area of Texas with less than 26 inches of rain. That is a disguised way of saying that you can only put it in West Texas but not in Central or East Texas.


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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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