Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, November 7, 2002
Late votes give Bonilla narrow win over Cuellar
From Staff and Wire Reports
Republican Congressman Henry Bonilla, who first won election to Congress
10 years ago in a predominantly Democratic district, survived his toughest
challenge to date, as delayed returns from San Antonio allowed Bonilla
to defeat former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar on Wednesday
and win a new two-year term in office.
Bonilla had grown accustomed to winning re-election by wide margins, but
this time, he needed a strong finish in Bexar County on Wednesday to post
a come-from-behind victory over Cuellar, a former state legislator from Laredo
who served as Secretary of State in 2001.
"This team is used to winning the championship by three touchdowns," Bonilla
said late Wednesday in San Antonio. "This time we won by a field goal, and
we're glad for the victory."
Bonilla was first elected to Congress in 1992, defeating Democratic incumbent
Albert Bustamante, who was indicted for bribery prior to the election and
convicted in a trial following his loss to Bonilla.
Since then, Bonilla had won re-electing four times by comfortable margins
before running into problems against Cuellar, who received over 80 percent
of the vote in his hometown of Laredo. Bonilla's 23rd District stretches
from Laredo to the eastern areas of El Paso County, and includes Reeves County,
with the largest concentration of Republican voters in the northwestern areas
of Bexar County, which includes San Antonio.
Bonilla was in Pecos on Oct. 29, for the opening of the TransPecos Foods
plant on Interstate 20, but overall, the Congressman made about half as many
trips into the Trans-Pecos region in 2002 than he had during previous elections.
Reeves County voters, who normally vote Democratic, gave Cuellar a 10-point
margin of victory in the election, casting 1,363 votes for Cuellar to 1,106
for Bonilla. However, Bonilla still ran ahead of the vote totals for other
Republican candidates on Tuesday's election ballot in Reeves County.
The 23rd District election results were delayed because of vote-counting
delays in Bexar County, leading to some hand-wringing by Bonilla when Cuellar
jumped out to a lead of 20,000-plus votes elsewhere in the sprawling district.
The final vote totals gave Bonilla 77,541 votes, or 52 percent, while
Cuellar received 71,014 votes, or 47 percent. One percent of the vote went
to Libertarian Jeffrey C. Blunt and Green Party candidate Ed Scharf.
The Associated Press declared Bonilla the winner shortly before 10 p.m.
on Wednesday, and Cuellar conceded the election a short time later.
"We put up a great fight! We raised a million dollars and literally walked
the 58,000 square miles of this district. We met senior citizens, working
parents, children, businessmen and women, teachers and farmers and listened
to the issues of this district. I had hoped to work for you in Washington
to address these issues. That wish will have to wait for just a while longer,"
"Tonight's close loss does not change your need for a Congressman who
represents you. The people of the 23rd Congressional District have sent
a clear message to my opponent that he must work harder to represent their
needs. This district needs quality education and affordable healthcare.
This district needs a strong border and transportation infrastructure plan.
I will continue to work for the people of Texas," said Cuellar.
In making his comments, Cuellar thanked the hundreds of volunteers and
family members who worked for his election. "I especially thank my wife and
children who have had to see me late and watch me leave early to get onto
the campaign trail. Special thanks go to my staff team who have worked with
me every day of this campaign. Thank you all!" said Cuellar.
Democrats got a lift from the gubernatorial bid by Tony Sanchez, a multimillionaire
banker and oilman from Laredo. Turnout in the Laredo area more than doubled
compared to 1998, with favorite son Cuellar picking up 84 percent of those
Bonilla captured nearly 75 percent of the vote in Bexar County, but counting
of Election Day votes didn't even begin until after noon on Wednesday because
of delays in getting the early votes tallied. The last votes in Bexar County
weren't counted until 12:15 a.m. Thursday, almost 30 hours after the polls
closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
"I always worry before every election," said Bonilla, 48, who captured
nearly 75 percent of the vote in Bexar County. "I'm always wondering `What
if..., what if..., what if...' This time those concerns proved to be more
Cuellar, 47, was initially touted as a possible spoiler in the predominantly
Hispanic district. But he had some problems with his campaign organization
and ran into opposition within his party.
Cuellar said he put up a great fight, walking many miles in the district
and raising $1 million.
"The people of the 23rd Congressional District have sent a clear message
to my opponent that he must work harder to represent their needs," he said
in a statement.
Bonilla, who had been considered a possible successor to outgoing U.S.
Sen. Phil Gramm in the Senate, was first elected in 1992. He has had a fund-raising
advantage, and was helped by an appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney.
He also got some help through last year's redistricting with a boost to the
San Antonio constituency whose vote he depends upon.
Hospital board OKs expansion project designs
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Thus., Nov. 7, 2002 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board approved the
final design and development phase of the hospital's expansion project
during their regular meeting in October.
According to Reeves County Hospital Administrator, Robert Vernor, the
board approved the final design of the expansion project.
"We are now entering into the construction phase," Vernor said. "We should
be able to accept bids by the mid part of December."
Vernor said that every thing is going very well with the project.
"We are pretty much on schedule," Vernor said. "We got all the details
Vernor added that they are writing specifications into the contract so
that the contractors will know what they are biding on.
When a bid is reached, Vernor said that the construction of the expansion
project would possibly begin in February.
The construction of the expansion project and the outer renovations will
probably take twelve months while the whole project on the interior portion
take anywhere from 18 months to two years.
The board also approved a proposal for a new electrocardiogram machine.
November tax rebate check for city declines
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Thus., Nov. 7, 2002 -- Sales tax rebate checks for November were down
again in Pecos, according to figures released today by State Comptroller
Carole Keeton Rylander's office, while rebates across the Permian Basin
showed no up or down pattern this month.
Pecos' sales tax rebate check for $64,288 was a decline of just over 10
percent from the $71,494 the city received back from the comptroller's office
last year, based on it's 1½ cent share of the Texas' 8¼ cent
sales tax. It left the city's sales tax receipts for 2002 virtually unchanged
from a year ago. Pecos has gotten $706,987 back from Austin for the first
11 months of this year, and had received $705,820 back between January and
November of last year.
One sixth of the city's tax rebate check for the month, or $10,714, is
designated for use by the Pecos Economic Development Corp.
While the decline might be due in part to the loss of jobs compared with
a year ago due to the closing of the Anchor Foods plant, sales tax rebates
declined just under 7 percent across Texas overall, and in the Pecos area
Alpine, Odessa, Crane, Kermit and Marfa also reported double-digit declines
in their sales tax receipts. Andrews and Monahans reported sharp increases
in their rebate checks compared with a year ago, and Midland also was up
by almost 10 percent. Andrews has shown the biggest increase of any West
Texas city in 2002, with tax rebates there surpassing the $1 million mark,
which is almost 50 percent higher than a year ago.
Balmorhea also saw its tax rebate check this month go down from a year
ago. The city got back $1,340, a 17.63 percent decline, but remains up overall
in 2002 by almost 40 percent, having gotten $11,434 back from Rylander's
Toyah's November rebate check showed an increase of 150 percent from last
year. The city got $755 back this month, and for the year has received $6,532
in sales tax rebates, a 7.33 percent increase.
The Reeves County Hospital District's ½-cent sales tax earned them
almost the exact same amount this November as it did a year ago. The hospital
got a check for $30,858, down 0.15 percent, while for the year it has received
$332,224, which is 11.69 percent higher than last year.
The comptroller's office sent out $252.4 million in tax rebate checks
to cities and counties this month, down from $271.2 million a year ago. Houston's
$29.5 million check was the single largest in Texas, but was 18.56 percent
lower than last year's $36.2 million rebate for November. Dallas got back
$18.7 million a 12.93 percent drop from last year's $21.5 million check from
Council to provide info on deaf issues at OC-Pecos
PECOS, Thus., Nov. 7, 2002 -- Highland Council for the Deaf of Big Spring
will be offering free information to the public on educating them about deaf
and hard of hearing issues, differences, culture, communication and law at
the Odessa College-Pecos Technical Training Center.
They will also have information on Specialized Telecommunications Assistance
Representatives for the council will be in room 104 on Friday, from 6
p.m. until 9 p.m.
PECOS, Thus., Nov. 7, 2002 -- High Wednesday 71. Low this morning 37.
Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 40s. South winds
5 to 10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy and unseasonably warm. Becoming
breezy with highs 80 to 85. South winds 5 to 15 mph: Increasing
to 15 to 25 mph by noon. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 45
to 50. Saturday: Partly cloudy and continued warm. Highs in the
mid 80s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. Highs 70 to 75.
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 2002 by Pecos Enterprise