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November 5, 1997
Voting light in Reeves County
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, November 5, 1997 - Less than 10 percent of the voters in
Reeves County cast ballots in the Nov. 4 constitutional amendment
There are currently 6,771 registered voters in this county, but
only 471 (almost seven percent) showed up at the voting polls
On the ballot there were 14 propositions for local voters to
In voting on proposition one, 170 voters were for, and 231
against; 253 voters were for proposition two, while 98 were
Proposition three, 272 were for, 132 against. Proposition four had
276 for and 118 against. Proposition five, there were 260 for and
154 against and on proposition six, 178 were for and 235 against.
In proposition seven, 270 were for and 138 against; proposition
eight, 56 for and 57 against; proposition nine, 61 for and 62
against; proposition 10, 68 were for and 69 against.
In proposition 11, 74 voters were for it and 75 against;
proposition 12, 80 for and 81 against; proposition 13, 88 for and
89 against and in proposition 14, 94 voters were for it and 95
Proposition eight passed in the state-wide vote and will allow
homeowners to use their home equity to secure credit and reverse
mortgages. Texas was the only state in the union that did not
allow homeowners to use the equity in their homes to obtain loans.
"We really don't know how this will affect us yet," said First
National Bank Vice President Dot Stafford.
"We'll have to wait and see, we might not be affected at all, but
on the other hand, we may be swamped," she said.
Stafford stated that there would be additional paperwork when
making out a loan on home equities and new regulations governing
"There will be different forms to fill out, but we have to wait
for the government to send us the new regulations," said Stafford.
Stafford stated that the bank will be taking a "wait and see"
"I've discussed this with the loan officers and we'll just have to
wait and see how it affects us," she said.
The president of Security State Bank sees the passage of
proposition eight as the opportunity to use another resource for
borrowing and lending money.
"It's just another tool for borrowing money," said Security State
Bank President Dudley Montgomery. "It has its pluses and minuses,"
"I think, basically it's a good thing, as long as you don't abuse
it," said Montgomery. "It gives people another option," he
Montgomery stated that having the option to borrow on the equity
of a home is just like owning credit cards, as long as you don't
abuse the privilege it can help consumers.
New regulations will be required with this proposition.
"We'll just have to familiarize ourselves with those and go from
there," Montgomery said.
Arguments for proposition eight: This would give Texans a safe and
reasonable means to have more flexibility in the way they use
money invested in their homes. the interest on home equity loans
is tax-deductible and lower than one unsecured loans. Making home
equity loans available would increase the availability of borrowed
money and could stimulate the economy.
Arguments against: The constitutional protection of homestead
property is a valuable right that ensures that Texans' homes are
secure from debt collectors. Lenders could force homeowners to put
up their homes for credit. The consumer protections in the
proposed amendment, especially the requirement that a lender go to
court to foreclose, would put small banks at a competitive
disadvantage and make it prohibitively expensive for them to do
Home equity vote sparks changes
By PEGGY FIKAC and
Associated Press Writers
AUSTIN (AP) November 5, 1997 - Now that Texas has joined the other
49 states in allowing people to obtain home equity loans, some
already are thinking about ways to permit bigger loans for even
"Once we've got it passed, then we can sit down and intelligently,
without any emotion, discuss how to make it the way it ought to
be," said Sen. Jerry Patterson, an author of the equity loan
constitutional amendment approved Tuesday.
He said he would like to lift the restriction that says a
homeowner's total debt, including original and second mortgages,
can't be more than 80 percent of the home's market value.
Patterson, R-Pasadena, said he also wants to give people access to
lines of credit secured by a house, which are prohibited.
Others said changes won't be easy - and they're glad when it comes
to consumer protection.
Tom Smith of Public Citizen said Texas' law is one of the best for
consumers, citing such measures as caps on fees and mandatory
counseling for senior citizens.
The home equity lending measure provides for a cooling-off period
to allow borrowers to back out of a loan without penalty and has a
"non-recourse" provision, so only the home can be taken if someone
defaults on a second mortgage.
"I think that putting the consumer protections in the constitution
was a brilliant move. They're going to have a hard time finding
two-thirds of the members of the House willing to change those,"
A two-thirds vote of the Legislature is required to put a proposed
constitutional change before voters.
Even with protections, Smith said, "Consumer debt will rise. And,
inevitably, more Texans will lose their homes."
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the vote was 60 percent,
or 698,815 for and 40 percent, or 474,418 against Proposition 8,
one of 14 proposed amendments on the ballot.
Texas had been the only state to prohibit general-purpose loans
based on equity.
According to legislative analysts, the value of untapped home
equity in Texas is estimated to be between $124 billion and $142
"It means I get to use something that 100 percent belongs to me as
I see fit, and not as the government sees fit," Patterson said.
Several banks planned to start taking loan applications right
away, although the loans can't be closed until Jan. 1.
UC Lending, a Baton Rouge, La.-based company that specializes in
home-equity loans, plans to open offices in Texas beginning in
"We can help them get financial stability again, without charging
the president and chief operating officer, John Dienes.
Voters also ratified 12 other amendments. Among those approved
were Propositions 10 and 13, which would make the state's crime
victims' compensation and prepaid college tuition funds off-limits
to raids by the Legislature.
"By approving Proposition 13, Texas voters have sent a loud
message to future legislatures - keep your hands off the Texas
Tomorrow Fund," said State Comptroller John Sharp, whose office
administers the college fund.
Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or
City officials recharged at annual conference
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, November 5, 1997 - Pecos city officials returned from the
Texas Municipal League annual conference in Fort Worth with loads
of new information.
"It's always nice to see what others are doing and see their
different approaches," said City Manager Kenneth Neal. "It was
great. I did a lot of networking and renewed old acquaintances."
The four-day conference and exposition provided the opportunity
for officials from Pecos to converse with representatives of city
governments from all across Texas.
This year's conference covered topics from encouraging public
involvement in civic affairs to updates on current wastewater and
The Pecos contingent split up during the conference to cover the
wide array of topics (special sessions were devoted to members of
fire departments, city councils, city managers and water
departments), and reconvened at the hotel each night to discuss
all they had absorbed.
Neal, who felt the money for the trip was well spent, said, "It
really charges up your battery for another year."
The last day of the conference was a Q&A with various attorneys
heading the panel. Neal was relieved to find that so many
officials from so many different regions of the state had such
similar concerns and questions.
Neal said that he was impressed with Fort Worth's ability to
market its western image and was anxious to utilize in Pecos the
many new ideas carried home from the conference.
The T.L. annual conference and exposition was held from October 29
to November 1. Those participants from Pecos included Mayor Dot
Stafford, Councilman Ricky Herrera, Water Superintendent Octavio
Garcia, Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire and Neal.
Insurance changes are mixed bag
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, November 5, 1997 - Announced decreases in automobile
insurance may not benefit all drivers equally.
Benchmark rates for auto insurance are to decrease by five percent
overall starting January 20, 1998, as ordered by Insurance
Commissioner Elton Bomer. However, according to the Texas
Department of Insurance, the cut in rates will particularly
benefit those with lower incomes and those not requiring full
coverage. Bomer said that the largest cuts will go to those who
carry only liability insurance and uninsured motorist's coverage.
The five percent mark is a statewide average. Level changes will
differ in each of Texas' 52 auto rating territories. Individual
driver's premiums will also continue to vary depending on such
factors as age, sex, make of car and driving history.
A local insurance agent, who declined to be identified, was
pessimistic about how much savings drivers will ultimately
realize, saying only, "We'll see at the final outcome (what the
savings are). Things are so confusing I'm not even sure that if
the head of (Texas Department of Insurance, Bomer) came down he
could explain it all."
Also, auto policies usually consist of several types of coverage.
Depending on your individual coverage and auto rating district,
your rates may even see an increase. While bodily injury
liability, uninsured motorists, and medical payment benchmark
levels are all down (uninsured motorists BI/PD decreased by 27.8
percent)-comprehensive, collision, and property damage liability
have all increased.
$100 reward offered in vandalism case
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, November 5, 1997 - A Pecos businessman is offering $100 for
information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s)
responsible for damage done to his place of business recently.
Dr. Donovan L. Thomas, a chiropractor who owns clinics in Pecos
and Monahans, reported criminal mischief done to his Pecos office
sometime between Saturday afternoon and Monday evening.
According to Thomas, someone was in the office Saturday morning
and the damage had not occurred at that the time.
"This must have been done between the time she left on Saturday
and Monday night," said Thomas.
The front door of the doctor's office was damaged when someone
shot it with a pellet gun, according to Pecos Police Officer
Ismael "Smiley" Gamboa, who investigated the incident.
The Pecos clinic is located at 1309 W. Third Street.
Total damage to the door was estimated at about $400.
Thomas is offering a $100 reward for any information leading to
the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the
damage to his office. Anyone having any information on this
incident can contact the Pecos Police Department at 445-4911.
McLaren gets 99-year sentence; Otto, 50 years
By EDUARDO MONTES
Associated Press Writer
ALPINE, Texas (AP) November 5, 1997 - Defense attorneys are
expressing confidence that the organized crime convictions of two
Texas separatists won't hold up for long.
Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren was sentenced Tuesday to
99 years in prison and fined $10,000 and his top aide, Robert
Otto, was sentenced to 50 years and fined $10,000.
Both men immediately told their attorneys they want to appeal.
"I think it's going to come back," McLaren's attorney, Frank
Brown, said outside the courtroom. "I've been at this a long time
and this is probably the best appeal I've ever seen."
Brown and Mike Barclay, Otto's lawyer, said their appeals will be
based on defense contentions that prosecutors failed to prove
their case against the separatists.
Both men were accused of conspiring with three other group members
to abduct two neighbors in the remote Davis Mountains resort,
sparking a weeklong standoff between McLaren's followers and 300
They were convicted Friday following a wide-ranging trial during
which District Attorney Albert Valadez introduced evidence on
everything from the April 27 kidnapping 175 miles southeast of El
Paso to details of the group's May 3 surrender.
Acting unopposed for most of the week because McLaren and Otto at
first refused to use their court-appointed counsel, Valadez was
able to bring up issues that defense attorneys said were
Brown and Barclay said that if an appellate court agrees there was
insufficient evidence, it would have to enter a verdict of
"I think the odds are good to get a reversal," Barclay said.
Valadez said he was not concerned about the appeal.
"I'm glad the case ended in the conviction of these two defendants
and I'm looking forward to the trial of the next three," he said.
Two other group members, Gregg and Karen Paulson, are set for
trial next month.
Valadez said he was not surprised McLaren would "yell uncle and
ask the court of appeals for help."
McLaren and Otto decided to represent themselves, ignoring the
court-appointed attorneys, and employed a defense strategy
throughout most of the trial that made little sense.
The two said they believed the trial to be a sham and instead
focused their attention on "perfecting" the court record for a
federal case they say is pending in a Washington, D.C., court.
Republic members contend the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 was
illegal and refuse to recognize Texas' statehood and institutions,
including the court system.
Neither reacted after state District Judge Kenneth DeHart handed
down the punishment.
McLaren asked only if he would be allowed to address the court,
then made a rambling 10-minute statement in which he contended
that a federal lawsuit he filed in Washington against court
officials nullifies the state trial.
"I stand that this action is now abated because of the political
issues," McLaren concluded.
Otto declined to speak.
Before that, DeHart had rejected defense arguments that the crime
should be downgraded to a second-degree felony because the
hostages, Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe, were eventually released
voluntarily in exchange for the release of a Republic member
arrested early on April 27.
DeHart ordered McLaren and Otto immediately turned over to the
state corrections department. Barclay said the men would be sent
to Huntsville for processing and assignment to a prison unit.
Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or
Odessa passes sales tax, Midland rejects
ODESSA, Texas (AP) November 5, 1997 - Voters in Odessa and Ector
County on Tuesday night passed a pair of sales tax measures that
will put more money toward economic development.
In Midland, however, voters rejected a measure that would have
hiked sales taxes by a half-cent.
Odessa voters had two questions to answer. In the first, 82
percent, or 7,710, of Ector County voters approved a measure to
roll back a one-cent hospital district sales tax by a
quarter-cent. Eighteen percent, or 1,696 voters, opposed the
The second item allowed Odessa residents to reapply that money
toward economic development. Voters approved it by 68 percent, or
5,428 votes, to 31 percent, or 2,466 votes.
Midland voters rejected a half-cent hike in their sales tax by 56
percent, or 7,272 votes, to 44 percent, or 5,695 votes.
With its vote, Odessa joins Amarillo, Wichita Falls and Abilene
with economic development taxes.
Man seeks to recover guns from federal court
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, November 5, 1997 - Jeffrey Lindsay will go to federal court
in Pecos Nov. 24 in an attempt to recover $2,000 worth of guns and
ammunition seized by Border Patrol agents upon his arrest on
marijuana possession and weapons charges last year.
A previous Enterprise story incorrectly identified Lindsay as one
of seven Dallas-area Republic of Texas "citizens" arrested in
Pecos April 30.
Seven weapons found in Lindsay's truck at the time of his arrest
May 5, 1996 include:
* Browning Arms lever action .308 caliber rifle with magazine and
* Luger 9mm semi-automatic pistol with magazine;
* Ruger 6-shot .22 revolver;
* Remington 12-gauge shotgun;
* Barretta 59mm rifle with magazine;
* Mossberg 12-gauge pump shotgun;
* Action Arms 9mm UZI.
More than 400 rounds of ammunition for the firearms was also
Lindsay pleaded guilty to the firearms violation in exchange for
dismissal of the drug charge.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Rosado of San Antonio was recently
assigned to the forfeiture case, a civil action before Senior
Judge Lucius Bunton.
PECOS, November 5, 1997 - High Tuesday, 87, low this morning, 52.
A weak, slow-moving cold front will bring cooler temperatures to
Texas tonight and Thursday. The front was moving slowly southward
early today along a line through extreme West Texas and the Concho
Valley to between Wichita Falls and Abilene. It was expected to
produce windy conditions and perhaps a few showers and
thunderstorms in eastern sections of North Texas. West Texas will
have mostly sunny days and clear nights. Lows tonight will be in
the 30s and 40s in West Texas. Highs Thursday will be in the 60s
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