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Tuesday, November 2, 1999

Commissioner OK cuts in constables, JPs

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 2, 1999 - It's official. The number of constables and justices of the peace in Reeves County will be reduced from four to two in the year 2003, following a decision made by Reeves County Commissioners at a special meeting held Monday afternoon.

Commissioners met to decide if they wanted to avoid the effects of a constitutional amendment on today's election ballot. It would prevent low-population counties from cutting the number of constables and justice of the peace positions from current levels after Monday.

Proposition 16 on the ballot would set the number of JP and constable positions in Texas counties. Counties over 50,000 in population would have no less than four and no more than eight precincts, while those between 18,000 and 50,000 would have not less than two and not more than eight precincts.

However, counties that are divided into four precincts as of Nov. 2, 1999 must continue to have at least four precincts for JPs and constables. Commissioners met Monday, in order to beat the deadline, should voters approve the amendment.

Following a lengthy discussion, Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin made the motion to cut the JPs and constables from four to two. Commissioner Precinct 1 Felipe Arredondo seconded the motion. Precinct 2 Commissioner David Castillo also voted for the reduction, while Precinct 4 Commissioner Hivi Rayos voted against the motion.

Commissioners had talked about the deadline during a meeting last week, but could not take action until Monday when all five court members were present.

"Last week we discussed the letter from Jim Ellison, general counsel for Texas Association of Counties," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. He said Ellison had written the letter about Proposition 16 on the ballot and the ramifications it would entail.

"Any county divided into four or more counties shall continue to be divided into not less than four," said Galindo. "He states that if your county is considering reducing the number of JP precincts it might be prudent to do so before Nov. 2."

Three Justice of the Peace officials were on hand for the special meeting, including JP 1 Amonario Ramon, JP 2 J.T. Marsh and JP 4 Lamberto Herrera. Precinct 3 JP Rosendo Carrasco was not present.

At last week's meeting commissioners voted, but were locked in a tie. At the meeting held last week, Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin made the motion to keep the same number of JP's and was seconded by commissioner precinct 3 Hivi Rayos. Commissioner Precinct 2 David Castillo and Galindo voted "no," to retain the same number, with commissioner precinct 1 Felipe Arredondo absent at that meeting.

Galindo explained that this was an amendment added after the bill was filed, a change in the bill and not the original intent of the bill.

"It puts commissioners court on notice that any county divided into four or more precincts shall not be divided into less than four," he said.

JP 4 Lamberto Herrera asked the court why they wanted to cut the number of JPs.

"The reduction in the number of JPs would cut the cost and bring the position up to $30,000 a year," said Galindo.

The JP's salaries would be set at $30,000 a year, up from $19,000 for the part-time JP's currently on staff. The two JP's would have a full-time staff and part-time help to be a more efficient JP, according to Galindo.

"It comes to a final savings of $30,000," said Galindo.

"I don't think you'll save any money at all, because each JP will have to have a clerk, not a secretary," said Herrera.

"J.P. Marsh has a clerk right now," said Galindo.

"A clerk can sign warrants and do much more than a secretary and will make more than $18,000," said Herrera. "And a JP should make $30,000 a year if they're full-time, but we're part-time.

"I think the commissioners court is making a big mistake, I don't think the people want this right now," he said.

"Instead of four part-time JP's, we'll have two full-time JP's that will be compensated for their services at $30,000 a year," said Galindo.

"When you're part-time you don't have to respond, when you're not on duty," said Herrera.

Galindo showed Herrera a pager and told him that's what that certain device was for.

"SOME JP's don't always respond," said JP 2 J.T. Marsh.

Marsh told the court that he makes it a point to always be on call and to respond regardless of the hour.

"What provokes some of us, is what is right and what is wrong," said Marsh. "They call for fatalities, bonds and if they're in your precinct, you should respond, regardless of the time, if it's three or four in the morning," he said.

"Do you make yourself available?" asked commissioner precinct 2 David Castillo.

"When I leave town I make sure and let the sheriff and police departments know and I check with them, I think that's what I was elected for," said Marsh.

"We're all faced with a difficult 2-3 years, where we have to look for ways to save money," said Galindo.

One of the biggest problems facing Reeves County right now, Galindo said, is the juvenile detention center. Costs to the tune of $400,000 are going out and not coming back in, according to the county judge.

"We're going to have to start dwindling away that deficit spending, or else we'll have to come back to some major restructuring," he said.

"All I want to ask the court is to be fair," said Herrera. "You're talking of just cutting others, I'm willing to sacrifice myself, but the commissioners need to receive a cut also."

Herrera said that he was doing more than the commissioners and that the community knew about that. "I'm willing to take a cut, but what about you, Felipe (Arredondo), you ran on that platform," he asked.

"I'm not talking about cutting, but an increase and upgrading," said Galindo.

"But you're cutting two jobs in the community," said Herrera. "You're always talking about jobs and creating jobs, but here you are cutting two out."

"Yes, we talk about jobs," said Galindo. "This county through the consent of the court, created 280 new jobs with the creation of the prison (the current Reeves County Detention Center expansion)."

Galindo stated that four years ago, those jobs were not there. "When you look at 280 new jobs, versus two, give us credit where credit is due," he said.

"And when you mention that the commissioners don't do this and don't do that," said Galindo. "We spent countless hours to reach decisions, we map out everything and go through everything very carefully."

"It's not easy to sit in one of these chairs, because ultimately you won't make everyone happy," said Galindo.

`It's not the hours, we're all on 24-hour call, and we're the ones that ultimately put our names down there," said commissioner precinct 3 Herman Tarin.

Tarin told Herrera that he was disappointed to hear him say that he was a part-time JP. "I'm sorry, but I'm a full time commissioner, " said Tarin. "I'm always on duty, taking action, fighting water, planes and doing things for the community.

"I disagree with you that you're willing to sacrifice yourself if we do, because I'm a full-time commissioner, I also carry a pager and can be reached anytime," said Tarin.

"You're not full-time, you have two jobs, you have another job, so how can you say you're full-time?" said Herrera.

"We have to look at how we save on the budget, look at the budget for the following year," said Arredondo. "It's tough to adjust, but we have to start here."

"I think it's in the best interest of Reeves County to have two full-time JPs at $30,000," said Galindo. "I don't think it's shortchanging the community," he said.

JP 1 Amonario Ramon told the court that this was an administrative decision that he agreed with. "I hope it's for the good, to benefit the whole county," said Ramon.

"Balmorhea might lose and not have a JP," said Herrera.

"Everyone will be equally represented," said Galindo.

Marsh told the group that a lady had visited his family recently and commented on how well the commissioners and the court acted out their business. "There's no hard feelings between you and me," said Marsh.

"We've had our disagreements, but we've always come to a solution," he said.

Drug ring's leader receives 20-year term

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 2, 1999 -The ringleader of a drug-smuggling operation that moved tons of marijuana across the Rio Grande from Mexico over the past decade has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Arnaldo "Hippy" Ramos-Hernandez, 28, of Ojinaga, Mex., was convicted of continuing criminal enterprise and laundering monetary instruments. His sentence on the first count is 240 months in prison, and on the second 210 months, to run concurrently.

U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson recommended Ramos be incarcerated at Big Spring, and that he participate in drug treatment, job training, educational and parenting programs while there.

Upon release, he is subject to five years supervised release.

Ramos is one of 18 defendants charged in the multiple-count indictment. Since he lives in Odessa, Judge Furgeson pronounced sentence in the Midland courtroom.

Senior Judge Lucius Bunton presided Monday in the Pecos courtroom for selection of five juries. Senior Judge Peter Beer of New Orleans, La., will begin the first criminal trial at 9 a.m. Monday for four defendants charged with transporting aliens.

District Judge Adrian Duplantier of New Orleans is set to try a civil case and may assist Judge Beer with the criminal trials.

Pleading guilty this week were Pamela Ann Castillo, importing more than 500 grams of cocaine; and Brian Coty, possession of hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sturat Platt held court today, with Bob Bagleys' agriculture students from Balmorhea in attendance.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 14-21-28-30-37. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 193. Prize: $1,022.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-1-5 (nine, one, five)


Flora Baca

Flora G. Baca, 76, died Saturday, Oct. 30, 1999, at Odessa Regional Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Guadalupe Catholic Church in Barstow with burial in Barstow Cemetery.

She was born April 26, 1923, in Barstow, was a housewife, a lifelong Pecos resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include four sons, Frank Baca, Jr., Eddie Baca and Pablo Briones of Pecos and Juan Baca of Odessa; five daughters, Grace Lopez, Linda Lopez, Millie Navarrete and Tillie Baca of Pecos and Licha Ortiz of Monahans; two brothers, Joe Garcia of Barstow and Robert Garcia of Lubbock; two sisters, Isabel Ramos of Abernathy and Eloisa Rubio of Riverside, Calif.; 32 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Estella Arenivaz

Estella Arenivaz, 53, of Barstow, died Sunday, Oct. 31, 1999, at Reeves County Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., tonight at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Barstow with Father Manuel Munoz officiating. Burial will be in Barstow Cemetery.

She was born Oct. 29, 1947, in Pecos, was a homemaker, a lifelong Barstow resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include her husband, Eugenio Arenivaz of Barstow; one son, Saul Arenivaz of Odessa; three daughters, Elizabeth Arenivaz of Barstow, Ann Marie Arenivaz of Barstow and Rosario Arenivaz of Pecos; one brother, Raul Tarango of Pecos; one sister, Rita Tarango of Pecos and two grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Nov. 2, 1999 -High Monday 88; low last night 48. Forecast, becoming mostly sunny and cool. High in the lower 60s. North to northeast wind 10 to 20 mph. Tonight, clear with a low in the mid 30s. Wind light and variable. Wednesday, mostly sunny and warmer. High in the mid 70s. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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