Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, November 5, 2001
County beginning work on new RCDC project
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- About 95 percent of the bid packages have
been awarded and construction has already begun on the Reeves County Detention
Center III expansion project, designed to add another 960 beds onto the
Reeves County Commissioners met last week during special meetings to
discuss the construction of the facility and to award bid packages to sub-contractors.
Carothers Construction, Inc. is in charge of the project, which is scheduled
to be complete by January 2003.
"We've awarded 95 percent of the contracts for the construction of RCDC-III,"
said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
The project will add about 200 more jobs to the community and filling
those positions will not be a problem, according to Galindo.
"I don't think filling those positions will be a problem, because the
salaries have become much more competitive," said Galindo. "This project
will only enhance the economy in the community and provide a more stable
Architect Lorraine Dailey, with Rabke, Dailey and Gondeck Architects,
said that a new concept is being used for the design of the new addition
that will help the staff and create a better atmosphere for the inmates.
"It's very open and the staff won't have to go through a lot of gates to
go where they need to," said Dailey, who was the architect in charge of
"The kitchen and dining area will be fenced off, with the vocational
and education building on the northeast end of the facility," said Dailey.
"The outdoor recreation area is being placed as far away from the other
one, on the northwest corner."
The wardens and associates buildings will be placed in the center, similar
to the RCDC-II design that was completed late last year. "These are individuals
that have to deal with both staff and inmates on a daily basis, and this
makes it easier for them," she said.
The concept was to try and save as much money and time as possible,
while still building a facility that will serve both the staff and the
inmates the best.
"This concept is to square the buildings, make them rectangular which
makes them more cost-effective," Dailey said. "With RCDC-I, we had about
260 inmates on an average, if we square off the buildings, we can have
six units with 48 dormitories."
"We'll have a better design and increase the number of inmates in the
dormitories," she said.
Dailey said that 14 contractors have already signed up with the owner
of the construction company in charge of the addition.
"This is a similar concept to RCDC-II, there will be no blind spots
for the officers," said Dailey.
Dailey said that there would be one maid corridor, six day dormitories
and six day rooms and in the middle will be an officers station. "They
will be able to see the other officers and inmates at all times," said
Construction at the facility is on schedule with the completion date
set for January 23, according to Galindo.
"There will be a total of 3,000 beds, with the creation of 200 new jobs
with average salaries between $28,000-$30,000," said Galindo.
Galindo said that the plans are going well. "We hope that with the creation
of these new positions, the economy in our community will prosper," said
Few local voters opt to cast ballots on amendments
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- Reeves County voters failed to turn out
in big numbers for early voting on the 19 amendement proposals to the Texas
Constitution, but will get one more chance to cast their ballots on Tuesday,
when polls are open in the county from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fewer than 100 registered voters in Reeves County chose to vote for
the 19 different propositions in early voting for the constitutional amendment
election over the past two weeks.
Reeves County Clerk Diane Florez said that 95 people voted by personal
appearance over the two weeks at the Reeves County Courthouse.
Only four people requested mail-in ballots with three of them already
returned, according to Florez.
With mayoral elections on the ballot in Houston and Austin, turnout
in those two cities are expected to be heavier than elsewhere in the state.
Houston also had a vote on the city's proposed light rail system on Tuesday's
ballot, and Harris County voters will also be among those in 14 Texas counties
who will be using the same type of punch card ballots that plagued Florida
election officials a year ago.
Although punch card voting is being phased out across the state, election
officials in 14 Texas counties, including Reeves County, continue to use
the old system. It includes the highly criticized butterfly ballots - complete
with hanging, dimpled, and pregnant chads.
None of the state's 254 counties has been allowed to buy punch-card
voting systems since Sept. 1. But state legislators stopped short earlier
this year of outlawing punch-card voting in Texas.
The effort stalled when a price tag of $25 million was presented to
replace the systems.
No problems were reported in Reeves County with the punch card ballot
system during this past May's city, hospital district and school board
elections. The system will again be used on Tuesday, though due to the
expected low turnout of voters, several voting precincts have been consolidated.
Florez said that voters in voting boxes one through three, seven, eight,
ten through 12 need to go to the Reeves County Civic Center to vote.
Box four voters would vote at Toyah City Hall, box five at Balmorhea
Fire Hall, box six at Saragosa Multi-purpose Center and box nine at the
Orla Red Bluff Office.
Florez said that anybody interested in looking over sample ballots might
contact her at the Reeves County Courthouse or at the voting sites.
"If you want copies of samples you can go to the voting boxes or at
my office," she said.
The County Clerk's Office in the Courthouse would close for regular
business at 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to Florez.
She said that the office would only be conducting business pertaining
to the election.
For more information on election times or proposed amendments, contact
Florez at 445-5467.
Constitutional amendment list for election ballot
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- Here is a list of the 19 proposed amendments
to the Texas Constitution which voters will be casting ballots for or against
on Tuesday. The summaries of the amendments, along with the arguments for
and against each were provided by the Plano-based Free Market Foundation:
Settles land-title dispute between private landowners in Bastrop County
and the state.
Arguments For: Enables innocent landowners, who have legally
purchase and paid taxes on the land, to have a clear title and to sell
it. Saves state money in anticipated court fights. State retains mineral
rights (e.g. oil). Increases private property ownership.
Arguments Against: Texas loses $383,000 (the value of Bastrop
County strip of land. Courts, not voters, should settle land-title disputes.
Creates a roadway bond program for 2000 miles of road to colonias (rural
residential subdivisions) along the Texas-Mexico border.
Arguments For: Invests in an impoverished area with high infrastructure
needs by allowing state to build roads on private property. Provides access
for school buses. Addresses a problem expected to worsen due to growing
border population and NAFTA.
Arguments Against: Since colonias are on private property, regrettable,
it isn't the state's responsibility. Half a billion dollars over 12 years
has already been spent to address colonias problems. No study has been
done to give taxpayers an idea of how many roads are needed and who pays
long-term maintenance, especially for this flood-prone area.
Authorizes tax exemptions for raw coca and green coffee held in Harris
County so the NY Board of Trade can designate it as an official exchange
Arguments For: Brings global recognition and marketing power
to Houston by making it 1 of only 4 coffee ports in nation. Creates jobs
through estimate 5 to 10 new warehouses needed. Increases property taxes
through new residents and construction. Doesn't import to West Africa or
condone human-rights violations in that area.
Arguments Against: Reduces tax revenue for local government and
schools. Sets bad precedent by favoring one industry. Overlooks human-rights
records of these industries. Doesn't give other ports in Texas special
Increases the Fire Fighters' Pension Commissioner term from 2 to 4
Arguments For: Ensures continuity and experience in position
oversight of pension fund administration.
Arguments Against: Appointment process not cumbersome or disruptive,
especially if reappointed. Position needs to be abolished altogether; state
has shifted oversight to other agencies. Expanding the term gives the impression
it is more important than it really is.
Authorizes municipalities to donate outdated or surplus firefighting
equipment, supplies or other materials to an underdeveloped country.
Arguments For: Opportunity for good willing gestures to Mexico.
Protects Texas borders cities vulnerable from Mexicans fires. Municipalities
paid for it; they should be able to dispose of it as they see fit.
Arguments Against: Texas fire departments that need equipment
(paid for by taxpayers) should get first priority, not foreign governments.
No state oversight once it was donated (i.e. Mexico could donate it to
Cuba). Denies opportunity to sell at reduced cost. Questionable whether
Mexico could afford the maintenance.
Requires Governor to call a special session to appoint presidential
electors if election could not be determines by the certification deadline.
Arguments For: Eliminates confusion caused by 2000 presidential
election. Ensures that Texas electoral votes would not be lost. Boosts
confidence among voters.
Arguments Against: Language requires the governor to call a special
session. Could open the door to similar bills that take away from the governor
his constitutional right of sole discretion to call a special session.
Partisan legislature could circumvent the will of the voters and appoint
electors pledged to the candidate who didn't win Texas.
Authorizes $500 million in bond for Veterans' Housing Loans and Cemeteries.
Arguments For: Supports increasing demand for veterans' home
mortgage loans. Veterans' loan programs are self-sufficient, and Texans
would not be responsible for paying default loans. Gives flexibility to
develop a state veterans' cemetery program.
Arguments Against: Increases state debt. Grants special status
to one group of people. Veterans are already eligible for vast amounts
of aid available through other means. Doesn't authorize funds for increasing
veteran's housing services that are needed more.
Authorizes $850 million in bonds for construction, repair projects
and needed equipment for 13 government agencies.
Arguments For: Significant unbudgeted repair needs exist, such
as construction and repair; waiting will cause them to get worse, costing
the state even more. Legislature retains flexibility of how to use funds
and maintains oversight of agencies spending. Legislature has a good record
in its use of bonds.
Arguments Against: Acts as a blank check for Legislature. Penalizes
agencies that budget predictable costs such as repairs. Some agencies have
questionable histories of managing their finances, budgets and construction
Authorizes Legislature to fill a vacancy without an election if the
candidate is running unopposed.
Arguments For: Spares states and countries unnecessary expenses
and administrative burden. Ample time already exists for write-in candidates;
therefore, would not discourage anyone running for office or interfere
with voting right.
Arguments Against: Denies principle that leaders are elected
by the people, not appointed. Deprives voters' privileges to vote and to
know who their elected leaders are. Opens the door to pass legislation
eliminating write-in candidates after the official filing date. Deprives
candidates of opportunity to gain visibility by campaigning. Denies voters
chance to write in candidates at the voting booth.
Exempts goods property tax or products stored temporarily en route
to another location in Texas.
Arguments For: Reduces taxes. Helps Texas regain its share of
lucrative warehousing and distribution markets. Currently, taxes loses
an estimated 27, 000 manufacturing jobs, many to border states that don't
have this tax. School districts and local governments can opt out of tax
exemption. Fixes lack of uniformity in current tax policy.
Arguments Against: Businesses could just relocate to areas that
provide the tax exemptions, this could hurt small and rural communities
that depend primarily on a few large businesses and the taxes they provide.
Estimate losses to state would be $36 million in fiscal year of 2004. Easy
to cheat and claim exemptions for goods not meant for shipment.
Allow schoolteachers to receive pay for serving on local government
Arguments For: urrent policy discourages well-educated members
of society from being active in community. These positions generally pay
low anyway and require a second job to make a living. Since most current
board members have another full-time job, current policy discriminates
Arguments Against: Texas voters rejected a similar proposition
in 1999. Creates a conflict of interest, when taxpayers pay a person's
salary, they expect total commitment to the job. Better alternative would
be to eliminate restrictions on all state employees, not just teachers.
Eliminates obsolete, archaic, redundant and necessary provisions from
Arguments For: Deletes obsolete provisions-revising outdated
voting practices; reallocating "dead" funds sitting in defunct agencies
to appropriate existing agencies, etc. All changes are minor and not controversial
(i.e. spelling, grammar). None warrant their own proposition.
Arguments Against: Changes a large number of provisions; some
may not have been examined fully. Makes more sense to overhaul the entire
Constitution to make it appropriate for new century.
Allows school districts to donate old schoolhouses for historic prevention.
Arguments For: Gives schoolhouses to community organizations
that already maintain the old buildings and pay for all operating costs.
No taxpayer funds have been used on these old schoolhouses for 50 years,
and they have no realistic value for future educational purposes.
Arguments Against: "Historical" status should be determined on
a case-by-case basis. Historical Commission gains strength; could force
districts to donate buildings prematurely.
Grants a personal property tax exemption to travel trailers that are
not held or used for the production of income.
Arguments For: Promotes tourism in sagging industry. People will
visit the state more often for longer periods of time. Saves state money;
current tax policy has led to class-action lawsuits. Proposition would
not exempt trailers from school property taxes.
Arguments Against: Semi-permanent residents should pay fair share to
taxes. Unfair to tax poor families in substandard homes in nearly colonias
while exempting affluent retires living in trailers that cost as much as
$40,000. Doesn't dive much relief; owners still have to pay school property
taxes, while is the bulk of bill.
Creates a Highway Bond Fund, allowing state spending on toll roads
and other mobility projects.
Arguments For: Innovative new way to fund projects. Build highways
sooner instead of current method of paying-as-you-go; lost time results
in missed entomic opportunities and reduced quality of life. The fund must
contain 110% of money necessary to pay principal and interest. Legislatures
have no access to the fund; can't raid it for unrelated spending projects.
Arguments Against: Money raised through tolls is not required
to repay state highways fund; could be used to fund unrelated spending
projects. Hidden tax for big city drivers; toll collected in 1 city would
pay for toll roads in other cities. Borrowing money makes highways more
highways more expensive in long run due to debt service. Undermines legislative
oversight; it loses control over how money is spent or allocated. Toll
roads represent double taxation (gas taxes, vehicle registration taxes,
auto supply retailers); shouldn't encourage building more.
Shortens the waiting period for a home equality loan from 12 days to
Arguments For: Home equity loans are only the only type that
requires a waiting period. Current waiting periods is too long to wait
for urgent repairs. Encourages applying for there types of loans. Which
lave lower interest rates. The 3-day right to repeal remains intact.
Arguments Against: Voters approved 12-day waiting period in 1997.
These loans are risk since homeowners must use their most valuable asset-their
house-as collateral. If they can't make loan payments, they lose their
house to foreclosure. Shortening the waiting period would also make it
easier for unscrupulous solicitors to push expensive repair contracts.
Settles land-title disputes between the state and private landowner
without needing a Constitutional Amendment.
Arguments For: Authorizes Legislatures to relinquish claim to
certain land, except for mineral rights, and to clear title defects for
the private homeowners of that land. Saves the expense and trouble of constitutional
amendment every election (see Amendment 10. As many as 1,000 claims remain
to be resolve.
Arguments Against: The Legislature and voters should settle and
land title disputes on a case-by case basis; the land could be valuable
(e. g. oil) and the state's interest should be protected. The exact number
of future claims cannot be known because a complete survey of all public
school lands in Texas is expensive.
Consolidates and standardizes court fees.
Arguments For: Minimize complexity in court fee administration.
Spears state and countries unnecessary expenses and administrative burden.
Reduces appeals and larger caseloads in the courts. Fees can be added necessary
Arguments Against: Could invalidate courts fees that don't follow
the new system; state losses money. Long wait to add new fees since the
Legislature; whish must approve them, only meets every 2 years. Enables
legislation not in place yet; won't take effect for 2 years.
Authorizes $2 billion in water projects Bonds.
Arguments For: Bonds would back state loans to local governments
for water supply projects such as floods control and water quality. The
loans offer a lower interest rate than other institutions. Helps cities
address and anticipate water needs due to growing population. Promotes
economic development and better living conditions throughout Texas.
Arguments Against: The $490 million remaining in the Texas Water
Development Boards should be sufficient through next 50 years. Many projects
have not been through a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. Projects could
create environmental problems. Water conservation management programs are
Christmas for Kids BBQ sale collects over $1,300
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- Members of the Reeves County Sheriff's
Posse as well as many other volunteers were able to raise approximately
$1,300 during the barbecue plate sale that benefits Christmas for Kids
on Saturday at the Posse Barn.
Christmas for Kids Co-Coordinator Sophia Baeza said that the barbecue
sale went well and raised more money than last year.
"We raised about $200 more than we did last year," she said.
Christmas for Kids is the organization that raises money to be used
to buy gifts for children in Pecos who otherwise would not receive gifts
Baeza said that the money goes toward buying clothes, shoes and jackets
for the children "to keep them warm and keep them in school."
The organization, which started in 1996 helping 186 children, was able
to give gifts to 511 children last Christmas.
Baeza said that the barbecue sale was so successful that the volunteers
ran out of food by 2 p.m.
"We did sell out before two," she said. "We want to apologize for that
because we advertised that we'd be open until three."
Baeza said that she and Co-Coordinator Linda Clark are proud of the
many people who helped out with the sale.
"We want to thank everybody that participated," she said.
Baeza said that the organization has a goal set that they hope to achieve
for benefit of the children.
"We're trying to make a goal of $6,000 to keep helping these kids have
a Merry Christmas," she said.
The next fund-raiser for the organization is this weekend, when members
of the organization along with junior high and high school students go
door-to-door taking donations for the children.
Baeza said that they will also be set up at the intersections of Seventh
and Eddy as well as Third and Cedar Streets.
Kindergarten planning turkey drawing benefit
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- Pecos Kindergarten is holding a fundraiser
in the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving holidays.
Tickets for a Turkey-giveaway can be purchased at the school for $1,
County Clerk's office closing early Tuesday
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- The Reeves County Clerk's Office will be closed
beginning at 1 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov., due to the Constitutional Amendment
The office will re-open at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 7.
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 5, 2001 -- High Sun. 77. Low this morning 49. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated showers. Lows 50 to 55. SE winds
5 to 15 mph. Tues., Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s. South winds 5
to 15 mph. Tues. night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. Wed.: Partly cloudy.
Highs in the mid 70s. Thurs.: Partly cloudy: Windy: And cooler with a slight
chance of showers or thunderstorms. Lows near 50. Highs in the 60s.
Manuela Chavez and Angel Gonzales
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2001 by Pecos Enterprise