Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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Sept. 9, 1996

By Mari Maldonado

Workforce needed to be

addressed in WRB

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The intentions of the recently signed welfare reform are good and all,
but I just don't foresee the welfare program doing too much better.

One of the major problems that I've witnessed is the lack of work force
to monitor the program, which was not included in the welfare reform

I'm constantly hearing about cases that obviously show that the
recipient lied on his or her application.

And then there are the LoneStar cardholders who utilize their benefits
and then drive off in a new vehicle with their groceries or punch in
their personal identification code with a hand wearing expensive jewelry.

You get the picture.

I don't have anything against these people, I wouldn't really care that
they lied on their application. This all seems like they've other
problems besides poverty; but you know, it's really frustrating when you
hear of instances where a person really needs it, truthfully fills out
their forms for public assistance and is denied or approved for an
amount that nowhere meets their needs.

Why? Well because so many people abuse the program that those worthy of
help are denied their true benefits.

This is what the welfare reform bill was looking at, but I feel that it
disregarded the notion that perhaps it needed a capable workforce to
better monitor it. Capable meaning a good number to carefully review all
applications and cases.

Of course, as Senator Phil Gramm explained during a briefing Aug. 30 at
the Reeves County Sheriffs' Office, some of the changes will allow the
denial of a good number of applicants, which will leave funds free to
help those who truly need help or increase the number of Department of
Human Services employees to better oversee the program. However, is left
up to the individual states on how funds will be used.

I really have respect for those who needed it at one time or another,
took advantage of the program and then got off of it when they were able
to fend for themselves as soon as they were able to.

This is what the welfare program is all about.

Two of the more obvious problems with the program were addressed in the
WRB's sections that doaway with a lifetime cap that limits welfare
benefits to five years, and one which requires recipients to take the
first job they are offered.

It says, "no work, no benefits," Gramm said, and will have a
pay-for-performance attitude.

It's about time. I just hope it works.

Another portion of the WRB removes the welfare "magnet" which does away
with the incentive for immigrants to come to the U.S. for its welfare

Other key elements of the bill include denying a convicted drug felon
assistance and block grants to the states to get the federal government
out of the business of telling states how to deal with their own unique
welfare population.

Gramm said the government was asking for responsibility from people
receiving benefits. I add, now that the government has.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mari Maldonado is an Enterprise reporter whose column
appears each Monday.


Court's job is to see justice is done

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Hardly anyone, save the TV journalists who covered the O.J. Simpson
murder trial for the better part of a year, is unpersuaded that the
gavel-to-gavel live coverage from Judge Lance Ito's courtroom had a
corrupting effect on the proceedings.

Which is why it is understandable that Superior Court Judge Hiroshi
Fujisaki decided that all television cameras, still photographers and
even sketch artists will be banned from his courtroom when the civil
trial of the former gridiron star begins Sept. 17.

Judge Fujisaki heard arguments for a televised trial from media
lawyers, ACLU lawyers and lawyers representing the families of Nicole
Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

The camera was not to blame for the circus atmosphere surrounding the
first Simpson trial, said media lawyer Kelli Sager.

All it did was reflect what actually happened there, she said.

Lawyers for the Goldman family added that the public should be
permitted to share in the Goldmans' search for justice by being
permitted to see and hear exactly what the jury sees and hears in the

But Judge Fujisaki rejected these arguments. He noted that televised
coverage of Simpson's criminal trial significantly diverted and
distracted the parties.

Some witnesses played to the camera, he continued, adding that
there were displays in the courtroom that contributed to a circus
atmosphere. To Judge Fujisaki's mind, This distracted from the dignity
of the courtroom.

Court trials are supposed to be solemn proceedings, especially when
there are two murder victims and a man stands in the dock accused of
sending them to their deaths. That is not to say that cameras cannot
inconspicuously televise cases involving murder, but only that the
omnipresence of TV cameras would ensure that the Simpson civil trial
would become the same spectacle as the criminal trial.

That is why Judge Fujisaki made the proper decision to ban cameras from
the Simpson civil trial. The purpose of court proceedings is not to
provide theater verite for TV viewers, but to see that justice is done.
-Copley News Service

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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