Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, March 9, 1999
By Smokey Briggs
My grandmother had a theory — good medicine tastes bad or hurts. Medicine
that both tastes bad and hurts was even better. Granny was pretty smart.
I think that this year I'm going to pick my political candidates with the
same criteria. I want to vote for someone who tells me that he has
some solutions but the cure is going to hurt.
You don't have to have a degree in economics to figure out that our
nation is not in perfect health. The plight of Social Security is a regular
subject for politicians and political thinkers. Medicare is not in any
better shape. Each year, despite the twisted words meant to make us think
we are making progress, the actual amount of money the government owes
grows larger. When politicians speak of reducing the national debt what
they mean is that it didn't grow as much as it could have. Each year more
of each tax dollar goes toward servicing this debt rather than something
This list goes on — and each election year, speeches ring across the
nation about how these issues need to be addressed. Of course, no smart
politician ever puts forth a plan on how to fix these problems. That would
be political suicide. Because the solution is going to hurt. The illness
is simple — more money is being spent than is being collected.
There are only two possible solutions: tax more or spend less. After
decades of increasing taxes I don't think another tax hike will do the
trick. My pay check already looks like Jesse James was guarding the cash
box by the time I get down to the take-home figure. The only reasonable
solution is to spend less money and that is going to hurt.
Of course it is easy to talk about it, but the actual doing will not
be popular. Everybody always thinks that the cuts need to take place somewhere
else. It's like a pig farm. Most of us like to eat ham but that pig farm
needs to be in Nebraska or Oklahoma. Any place but upwind of my house.
Well, I'm ready to live next to the pig farm. The longer this gets put
off the worse it is going to hurt.
I want to vote for someone who will say, "Smokey, guys your age will
never see a dime from Social Security so you better make other plans, although
we are going to continue to deduct that eight percent from your pay check."
I want to vote for someone with the guts to say that the general standard
of living is probably going to decline. Someone who will admit that the
government's current money management techniques will only work so long
as the population and economy continue to expand. And that both are going
to contract in the near future.
I want to vote for someone who will say, "Yes, these programs are really
nice and well intentioned but there isn't any money pay for them so we
can't do that." Of course, he wouldn't get elected. That is the fatal flaw
of a democracy. Everybody gets to vote, and generally, people vote with
their own, short-term, best interest in mind.
Like children who don't want to take their medicine.
Fortunately for children, there are stern willed grandmothers who know
that despite the taste, the medicine has to go down. They know that it
is for the best.
So this time around, I'm picking my candidates like grandma picked cold
remedies. I want somebody whose message smells like a mad skunk, has the
consistency of tar, and tastes like boiled turpentine. It's medicine time.
It won't taste good going down, but it might cure some of what ails this
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of
the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed
Independent Counsel Law is good idea
The Clinton Administration has recently withdrawn its support for the independent
counsel law. The law provides for the appointment of an independent prosecutor
to investigate allegations of wrongdoing when the president or certain
members of his administration are implicated.
Without the law, any such allegations would be investigated by the Justice
Department, just like allegations against other government officials are.
Five years ago President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno both
urged Congress to renew the law. Considering the events of the last few
years the administration's about-face on this law is not surprising. Abandoning
the law, however, is a bad idea. Without the law, it would be up to the
attorney general to appoint a special counsel when there might be a conflict
The attorney general is appointed by the president. Obviously, the attorney
general owes political allegiance to the president that appoints him. Just
as obviously, the situations where there would be a conflict of interest
are those where a guilty president would have the most interest in maintaining
the investigation in the Department of Justice where he would have some
To leave the decision to appoint a special counsel in the hands of a
person who owes their political life to the president all but guarantees
that no special counsel will be appointed by the attorney general. Rather,
the attorney general will announce that, after long and thoughtful investigation
and soul searching, it has been decided that the Justice Department is
perfectly capable of handling the investigation fairly. Of course, the
Justice Department attorneys who will then investigate the matter owe their
jobs to the attorney general, who owes his position to the president, who
doesn't want any of his dirty laundry aired in public.
The outcome of such an investigation is not hard to predict.
The independent counsel law is a better alternative and provides some
guarantee that there will at least be a serious investigation. America
will be better served by keeping this law despite the wishes of the current
Indepedence Day promises lots of fun, food
I like that reminder of the Texas Independance Day recognition,
or lack thereof.
We celebrate in Dallas, but, it's towards the end of March. A lot of
the businesses here sponsor a huge party out at South Fork, and they have
a whole bunch of Texas Country bands, barbeque and buckets of beer and
iced tea. If anyone's interested, it's March 21st. Tickets are purchased
through Ticketmaster. It's a fantastic party, it lasts all day long, and
KHYI.com has a web site for any questions about accomodations, times, etc...
If anyone's interested. I went two times prior, and it's really nice!!
Bring the kids!
Former Pecosite praises on-line link to hometown
Thank you! You provide a wonderful service to those of use who have left
home. I am Celina Acosta-Taylor, my parents Lupe and Tino Acosta still
live in Pecos as do my brother and sister-in-law, Tino and Elisa Acosta.
By going to this web site, I am able to read, for myself, what is going
in Pecos. When my aunt died, I was able to go on-line and read her obiturary.
Because my brother is one of the coaches, I also read the sports pages
and the going-ons of the Pecos Eagles. I clicked onto the Gab line and
posted my hello. I still go in and read all the postings.
Once again, thank you, the Pecos Enterprise and the sponsors who help
to provide this link. Even though I have been gone for almost 20 years,
Pecos is still my home.
Story depicts life of great Pecos resident
Peggy: Thank you for your nice article on Wendell Faulkner. I've been reading
Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation, and Mr. Faulkner's story could
easily have been taken from the pages of that book. He had a distinguished
military career during WW II then came home and built most of the enduring
landmarks of Pecos. He raised a family and contributed to the life of Pecos
during some of its best days.
Though many of us have gone on to other places, we still love Pecos
and the people that we know there and have known. My thoughts and prayers
will be with the Faulkner family and my appreciation for all the good things
Wendell Sr. leaves behind.
Grass not always greener on other side of fence
In the March 2, 1999 edition of the Pecos Enterprise, a letter was printed
from a Nancy Salazar on the subject of discipline and pay about the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD and "some" its employees. I would like to voice my opinion about this
For 20 years I have been an educator, all here in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
school district. Comments that Ms. Salazar made in her letter are really
starting to get me upset. Yes, students did get sent to OCS for such minor
things as she put it "just kidding around." But when they are sent to OCS,
the majority of the time it is not for their first infraction of the rules.
We have a student handbook that we as educators must go by. It has different
steps to follow for different infractions of the rules. The handbook was
not only developed by the school district, but with input from community
members as well. So usually when a student is sent to OCS, they have had
many chances before this step was enforced. So Ms. Salazar, please read
the handbook and you can see what it takes to get sent to OCS. Every student
in this district was given a handbook, even yours.
Now on the subject that many educators here within our district are
in it for as you put in "only for the money." As I stated earlier, I have
been teaching 20 years. Next year my last step for a pay raise is over
from the state. Many educators here in this district are already on or
beyond their last step. So unless the district or the state authorizes
a pay raise for teachers, many teachers for about the last 1/3 of their
teaching career will not see a raise. What other degreed profession has
a wage limit like ours. Lawyers? Doctors? I think not! If a teacher wants
to relocate, good luck. Some school districts shy away from the experienced
teacher because they can hire two straight out of college for what they
pay an experienced teacher. So don't tell educators that all they are in
it "for the money."
If you are not happy with the school district, go check out some others.
I have. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.
Yes we do have problems but so does everyone else. I have two children
in this school district and I believe that they are getting a good education
here in Pecos. If you don't like something that is going on, go see that
teacher or principal at that school and 99.9% of the time the problem can
be worked out with very little effort.
Zavala Middle School
Bomber training will affect everyone in area
The Pecos public hearing for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on
the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative will be held on Friday, April
9, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is the proposal that wants to fly B-1 and
B-52 Bombers in very low-level combat training flights over West Texas
in two of its alternatives.
We feel that the government has not fully addressed the horrific impact
these "Realistic" bombing runs will have on the environment, the economy
and the culture of our unique area.
The 488,000 pound B-52 bombers which will fly 550 mph just 200 feet
above the ground level have already caused destruction to buildings. The
477,000 pound B-1 bombers which will fly 600 mph just 200 feet above the
ground have already had near-misses with private aircraft. These planes
have a devastating effect on ranching and tourist operations. The exhaust
from the four engines on these bombers is driven into the ground polluting
grasses and surface water and eventually our ground water. Wildlife and
the hunting industry will be greatly harmed. The peace and tranquility
of the Trans-Pecos, one of our biggest assets, will be gone forever.
Because they have been so secretive, it has taken us over two years
to finally get a idea of how the military has illegally gotten us into
this mess of flying these massive, dirty, noisy war machines over private
property. We have not been able to find any overseeing entity that the
military is accountable to other than citizen's complaints through the
We urge everyone who is concerned for the future of West Texas to attend
For more information call the Trans-Pecos Protection Group at 915-364-2323.
We will be attending all five of the Texas public hearings.
P.O. Box 605
Alpine, Tx. 79831
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
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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