Sunday, January 31, 2010

Republican Study Group Attacks Notion of Democracy -

Elevates the Concept of the Republic and the Rule of Law

A modest turnout of voters sat in the semi-darkened
auditorium of the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum in Waco,
the local home of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

The Master of Ceremonies, a trim middle-aged woman named
Cecily Tooley, asked for a show of hands.

"How many here want to have a restoration of democracy?"

The response was near-unanimous. Almost everyone raised a

"How many here believe we have the right to keep and bear

Again, nearly everyone in the auditorium indicated their
belief in the Second Amendment by raising their hands.

Her co-chairman, Scott Barber, arose and leaned over the
lectern to say, "It's not possible to restore democracy in
our nation. We don't have a democracy."

He said we live in a republic that is subject to the rule of

"Human rights are inherent. They are God-given." Those
human rights can't be taken away, he declared. "What can be
taken away are the consequences of taking away your rights."

The Constitution is there, he said, " limit the powers
of these guys."

He indicated seven candidates sitting behind him in a
semicircle of chairs on the stage, men who are vying for the
Republican nomination to run against eleven-term U.S.
Representative Chet Edwards, a Democrat who serves in a 10-
county district populated by better than 63 percent
Republican voters.

There followed an erudite exposition of the "rule of law"
and the relationship of the basic law of the land, the U.S.
Constitution, to the rights of the citizens of the U.S.

"Any time someone can take away the guarantees on a piece of
paper by passing another piece of paper, that's not
democracy. That's a republic," he concluded.

It's all part of an educational program sponsored by
Educators of Liberty, a right wing study group that follows
the teachings of such pundits as G. Edward Griffin, a long-
time radio personality and a former writer for the campaign
of Strategic Air Comman General Curtis LeMay when he was the
running mate of third party Independent candidate Governor
George Wallace in the 1968 Presidential contest between
Repubican challenger Richard M. Nixon and Vice President
Hubert Humphrey, a Democratic party stalwart and former
ultra-liberal Senator from Minnesota.

Mr. Griffin and other educators adhere to a program that
emphasizes their trepidations about the creation of money by
the Federal Reserve Board, which promulgates a national
money supply that is chained to the level of debt comsumers
owe to their constituent member banks. The Educators of
Liberty group sees this system of currency underwritten as
Federal Reserve Notes as a form of insanity that will
positively lead to a worldwide economic breakdown, thence to
global socialistic and totalitarian conditions.

In other areas, much attention is devoted to such United
Nations agendas as the "Biodiversity Treaty," something
known as "Agenda 21," which, if ratified by the U.S., they
declare would outlaw agricultural irrigation, the use of
herbicides and pesticides, a ban on all but what is termed
as "sustainable development," and most fossil energy

They fear a total erosion of property rights as a result.

After his extended lecture, Mr. Barber again asked for a
show of hands of people who would like to see a restoration
of democracy.

This time, only a few raised their hands.

"I guess I didn't do such a good job, after all," he said in
a disappointed tone of voice.

There was a ripple of nervous laughter, a titter that swept
the crowd like a sudden sun shower on a tropical lagoon. It
passed quickly, giving way to a silence that matched the
leaden skies and freezing temperatures outside on West Waco

Clearly, this was not a group of happy campers.

Not surprisingly, though his picture was included on the
program, Democrat Chet Edwards did not make an appearance.

A brochure announced that the sponsors may be found at

Each of the seven Republican candidates were given one
minute to introduce themselves.

They are:

Rob Curnock, who said he has "twenty years experience trying
to get rid of Chet." Mr. Curnock is a former sports anchor
for KWTX TV and operator of a videotaping company in Waco.
He garnered 45.5 percent of the vote in the last general
election, though the Edwards campaign outspent him 23 to 1.

David McIntyre, a native Houstonian whose family has owned
land in Central Texas for 150 years and is a veteran of 30
years in the U.S. Army. He now heads the Homeland Security
Doctoral Program at Texas A&M. He was Dean of Instructors
at the National War College and served in the Office of the
Chief of Staff at the Pentagon during his military career.

Timothy Allen Delasandro, an R.N. who works on Bryan's
intensive care wards. He started his professional career as
a Navy Russian language expert who was attached to the
National Security Agency.

William Flores, a Reaganaut Republican from Houston with 30
years experience in the oil and gas business.

Chuck Wilson, a Waco business man and former CIA case
officer with many years of experience in African nations
experiencing brushfire wars of national liberation, places
such as Zimbabwe and The Sudan. His diligence is credited
with leading to the capture of the international terrorist,
Carlos The Jackal, in Sudan.

Dennis A. Yokie, an Independent and an over-the-road truck
driver who served a 20-year career as a Navy enlisted man.
He claims to have seen foreign national U.N. troops
supervising civilian police officers in identity checks on
North Carolina roads.

Tommy L. Smith, an Independent from Hillsboro who espouses
government by the people and for the people.

Each candidate answered the audience's written questions
after they were screened by the two masters of ceremonies.

One question was, "What is the most important issue needing
change in (Congressional) District 17?"

There was an overwhelming shout from the audience.

They cried out in unison, "Chet Edwards!"

The next most pressing problem that faces Americans, the
candidates all agreed, is what they term as a "radical
legislative agenda."

Said Chuck Wilson, CIA officer and business man, "We have
to reject this radical legislative agends so business people
can know the cost of doing business...Most people have
already figured out how many people they will have to lay
off, what part of their program they will have to cut out."

He pointed to the anticipated costs of the national effort
to reform health care. "Business is in a holding pattern."

Federal deficit spending is at crisis proportions, the
candidates all agreed.

Said candidate Dave McIntyre, "We're headed for the place
where Nazi Germany was before World War Two. We can't keep
writing checks for money we don't have." He evoked memories
of historic news photos of Germans pushing shopping baskets
laden to the top with bundles of marks, the monumental
amount of money required to buy a loaf of bread during that
time of runaway inflation of that nation's currency.

Speaking of Representative Edwards, Mr. Smith said, "Why
isn't he here today answering these questions? Because he's
afraid of facing the people, that's why." There was an
overwhelming cheer from the audience.

In a response to a question about gun rights, all of the
candidates recoiled in horror at the mention of troops and
Blackwater security contractors going house to house to
confiscate firearms in New Orleans during the height of the
flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina.

In response to a question about the Posse Comitatus Act, Mr.
McIntyre said the act applies to the Army and Air Force, but
not to the Navy and Marine Corps. The President can call out
Federal troops under the provision of the Insurrection Act
or during a natural disaster if requested to do so by the
Governor of a state.

Speaking as a man who has lived under the strictures of both
Sharia and Socialism, Chuck Wilson said of the Second
Amendment right to keep and bear arms, "You never give up
your rights."

He said he witnessed the deterioration of Zimbabwe into a
bankrupt international pariah after the takeover by Robert

"It's an unsettling experience when men with
alcohol on their breath armed with AK-47 rifles come up to
your window to question you. I will say that."

About health care reform, Timothy Delassandro asked the
audience, "Where's the constitutional authority to change
health care?" They rewarded him with sustained applause.

"Someone asked Nancy Pelosi if the Constitution says you can
enact a law that changes the health care system. She
answered, 'You've got to be kidding.'"

He called for an end to her leadership role.

According to Mr. Delassandro, the Constitution gives the
Federal government only two roles to play. First, it is the
duty of the U.S. government to maintain secure borders
through military means. Secondly, it is the obligation of
the government to engage the enemies of the nation through
its war powers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

KOME Radio 95.3 Back On The Air In Meridian, Texas

Programming a play list of "classic hits," LKCM Radio
Group's KOME 95.3 FM returned to the air last week.

The 25,000-watt station is licensed for the Bosque County
listening area and operated by the Ft. Worth-based company
which boasts about a dozen stations in Texas and Oklahoma.

KOME gives up no news reports, commercial announcements,
traffic updates or talk radio shows.

It's just a solid stream of rock, oldies, soul and the
occasional country hit from yesteryear punctuated by the
occasional station identification delivered in the
mellifluous dee-jay pipes of an unidentified professional

The station beams its line of sight signal from its Ft.
Worth Ranch Radio KFWR studios to the broadcasting tower
located high on a hill above downtown Meridian. The tower
is the property of Bosque County, which uses it as an outlet
for communicating with its emergency services vehicles,
police and fire departments and ambulances.

The cooperative agreement is in place due to a need for
Bosque County to have a commercial radio outlet in place so
that programming may be interrupted for emergency
announcements regarding weather disasters, fires, floods and
other deadly events, according to County Emergency Services
Manager Dewey Ratliff.

The station's non-stop programming had been interrupted due
to technical difficulties, according to a broadcast
engineering specialist who works at The Ranch Radio Group.

In an interesting aside, KOME was once the call letters of a
San Jose, California, "album oriented rock" station that
pioneered the genre in the Bay Area in the early seventies.

At the time, Chevy Chase, who first achieved fame as a
member of the repertory troupe starring on NBC's late night
comedy show, "Saturday Night Live" and in motion pictures,
worked at the station as a dee-jay. His trademark sign-off
remark was "Don't touch that dial, it's got KOME on it!" He
thereby gained some early notoriety if not a small measure
of fame when "Playboy" Magazine mentioned his expoits in

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cargill's Confirms 44 laid off at area turkey farms

A Cargill's corporate official confirmed that 44 people
have been laid off at "company owned" turkey farms in the
Waco area.

Mark Klein, Director of Communications at the corporation's
headquarters in Minneapolis, said 730 employees are still
employed at the Waco locations, including the processing
plant and feed mill.

Numerous Hispanic people had claimed an estimated 60 people
had been laid off recently.

Sixty jobs in this country is a hefty number of jobs.

Those who were laid off say "los guajolotes" were loaded on
trucks and shipped away. They say that the farms have been
closed down and they have been laid off.

Managers at the Cargill's plant in Waco were quick to say
they cannot comment. A manager who supervises the turkey
farms located in the Bosque area was unavailable for
comment. A man who answered the local Cargill's phone
number said he is unauthorized to make any statement

Ms. Lindsay Wright, an employee in Cargill's Human Resources
Department at Waco offered to direct any inquiries to
management, but stopped short of confirming that many people
have been let go and the farms shut down.

A human resources specialist at Texas Work Force said that
many people have been laid
off from agribusiness jobs in the past few days. That
source refused to be identified or quoted for attribution.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Political Complications Plague Dist. 22 State Senate Race

Complications, the kind of tangles and snarls that come when
wheels run within wheels in circles within circles, have
reared their ugly heads in the District 22 State Senate

Comes now prominent Waco lawyer Chris DeCluitt, who is
triple-hatting as a Brazos River Authority board member and
State Republican Party committeeman and ventures his opinion
that Republicans should draft Senator Kip Averitt for
another term, whether he wants to serve, or not.


This way, the County Republican Chairmen of District 22
would get a crack at appointing a candidate to face the
Democratic Party's challenger in the General Election in

In firm opposition we find former Senator Joe Sibley who is
at present a lobbyist working the legislative floors of the
House and Senate in Austin.

When this year's redistricting comes, he told a political
blogger, "McLennan County could get cut up like a boarding
house pie," he said. "I've seen it happen before..."

He says it always takes years and years of lean times to get
over the resulting shakeup.

But the wheels don't stop turning there.

The Brazos Electric Co-Op is suing the Brazos River
Authority in the 414th District Court of The Honorable Judge
Vicki Menard over an alleged breach of contract. It seems
the Authority has failed to honor an obligation to sell
electric power to the Co-Op in spite of a nearly half
million dollar contract to do so.

So far, the Co-Op is claiming that the Authority must
forfeit its local governmental immunity from a suit because
of the provisions of Texas Local Government Code Sec.
271.152. Numerous holdings disallow any immunity for a
governmental entity that is involved in a suit over a breach
of contract with another corporate entity, government or

The sticking point seems to be this. Mr. DeCluitt was the
campaign manager in Judge Menard's first campaign.

Some people in Republican circles are muttering that a
change of venue out of Waco is in order in the matter - at

Friday, January 22, 2010

State Health Department Gives Free Flu Shots, Nasal Spray

First, the good news.

If you are a kid, you won't be getting a flu shot to
immunize yourself against the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus.

Kids get a nasal spray, which isn't a much different
experience than the nose drops their mommies give them when
they have a cold.

See, kiddos, that's not so bad is it?

Second, there is still more good news.

So far, about 600 kids have been immunized against H1N1 flu
virus in Bosque County. An equal number will be inoculated
during the remainder of the seven-week program.

But the real story, according to County Emergency Services
Manager Dewey Ratliff, is this.

"I just put out a notice by word of mouth - an e-mail -
asking for volunteers to be here today to help the people
from State Department of Health Services. Just like that,
23 people showed up, put on their volunteer t-shirts and
they're working hard to help get everyone who shows up

More than 50 people were waiting at Clifton Civic Center on
Friday before the doors opened. They were all inoculated
before the 11 a.m. starting time.

That's how much importance people in the community place on
the immunization program.

"We haven't been doing any publicity on the children's
inoculations," Mr. Ratliff said. "They've just been going
to the schools and inoculating them."

There is a follow-up inoculation that will be given to each
child to protect them from the pandemic flu virus that has
attacked people all over the globe, in its northern,
southern, eastern and western hemispheres.

There is no charge for the service, no matter if one is
inoculated at the offices of private health care providers,
or at free public clinics such as the one held in Clifton on
Friday. Private clinics do charge a $10 administration fee.

The vaccine takes about 14 days to become effective, so
health authorities urge people to take their immunization

State epidemiologists have emphasized the very real truth
that when there is no epidemic or pandemic, it's the best
indication available that they have been performing their
professional work as well as it may be performed.

Let's hope they're right.

How dangerous is a flu pandemic?

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is credited for stopping
World War One dead in its tracks.

Quite simply, there was no one left to fight. They were
either too sick to fight or already dead from the flu.

No one knows for sure, but many authorities have estimated a
total death toll of about 100 million people in that
particular pandemic.

For more information on the flu immunization program or to
report any ill effects, call Texas Department of State
Health Services, Region 7, at 254-778-6744.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New, Radical Republican Wing Cites 2nd Amendment:

Only Guarantee against tyranny, dictatorship -

It's the keystone, the linchpin of conservative activism -
the issue of gun ownership, the right to keep and bear arms.

Shake a conservative palm anywhere in the jungle and the
coconut that falls out has the message written on it in
plain English: The liberals are going to take our guns.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed.

The American Bar Association published an opinion of these
27 words, stating that there is more disagreement and less
understanding about this right than of any other current
issue regarding the Constitution.

And yet the issue of an armed public unfettered by federal,
state or local regulation of firearms ownership is paramount
to all others, according to literature distributed by New
Revolution Now, sponsors of nullification rallies nationwide
and a key supporter to Republican challengers for local
office in the mid-term elections.

In a questionnaire aimed at new candidates seeking office at
the state level, this Political Action Committee asks, "Do
you agree that the Second Amendment is 'the Palladium of
rights,' that all others codified in the Bill of Rights are
made possible by the second?"

They don't stop there.

In another question, they ask of office seekers, "Do you
agree that the primary protection of the U.S. citizenry
from tyranny is exercise of Second Amendment rights?"

Further, they question those who seek contributions from the
PAC, "Will you work to ensure that Second Amendment rights
are not further infringed, and roll back existing federal
infringement on same?"

Finally, "Will you introduce or support legislation
nullifying in Texas any future federal law or regulations
infringing on Second Amendment rights?"

It is a question that is under present Supreme Court review
following the Seventh Circuit Court Appeals' holding that
states have the right to determine the extent of stricture
of the right to keep and bear arms in McDonald v. City of

In that case, Mr. Otis McDonald and David Lawson were denied
the right to register their firearms under the tough and
exacting regulations of the code of the City of Chicago,
which "requires inhabitants to register their firearms, but
generally prohibits the registration of handguns," according
to the brief filed in support of the Supreme Court appeal.
"This handgun ban functions identically to that struck down
as infringing the Second Amendment rights of District of
Columbia residents" in District of Columbia v. Heller.

In that case, the Court held by a vote of 5 to 4 that it is
unconstitutional for the District of Columbia to prohibit
the ownership of handguns under the terms of the Second

The holding regards a political subdivision of the Federal
government, the District of Columbia, the seat of
government, and not a separate state.

When the Seventh Circuit issued its conflicting holding, it
set the stage for a showdown in the Supreme Court to settle
the conflict, once and for all.

Attorneys for the petitioners argue that the Seventh Circuit
Court erred when it granted Chicago's oral motion for
judgment on the pleadings, giving the opinion that the
Second Amendment does not apply to that city. They further
argue that Chicago is not granting the petitioners the due
process of law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Their argument asserts that "the failure to honor the
Fourteenth Amendment's original public meaning foments
confusion and controversy as courts pursue other approaches
to protecting core individual rights."

The argument advanced in a friend of the court brief by Jews
For the Preservation of Firearms strikes the most resounding
chord. Based in nearby Wisconsin, the JPFO works to
preserve gunowners rights by fighting against registration
or any other strictures regarding the ownership of guns.

They cite Nazi laws enacted in 1928 and 1938 that denied
people of Jewish ancestry the right to keep and bear arms.

It's not their only example of what happens when an armed
public loses the right to own guns.

"During the 20th Century, more than 70 million people, after
first being disarmed, were slaughtered by their own
governments. This pattern appeared in Ottoman Turkey (1915-
17), the Soviet Union (1929-45), Nazi Germany and Occpied
Europe (1933-1945), Nationalist China (1927-1949), Communist
China (1949-52, 1957-60, and 1966-70), Guatemala (1960-81),
Uganda (1971-79), Cambodia (1975-79), and Rwanda (1994),
just to name a few."

In 19th Century America, the U.S. Army slaughtered the Ghost
Dancers at the Oglala Sioux Reservation at Wounded Knee
after first confiscating their firearms.

In the 19th Century, Acadian people were forcibly removed
from the Canadian Province of Quebec and transported to the
swamps of Louisiana under force of arms by British troops
after France lost a war with Britain. They had first
voluntarily surrendered their firearms. Many died of exposure.

They starved to death in those swamps.

"In many cases, firearm confiscation proceeded only after
the groundwork was laid by purportedly 'reasonable'
regulation and registration of firearms," the JPFO brief
continues. "History illustrates just how readily the
standardless 'reasonable' regulation of firearms invites
large-scale abuse by the state and ultimately paves the way
for wholesale confiscation of arms and the mass slaughter of
the disarmed (much like the massive censorship that likely
would arise under a rule permiting "reasonable" regulation
of speech and press.)"

They cite a dissenting opinion filed by Judge J. Kozinski of
the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco in a
similar case, Silveira v. Lockyer.

"The position urged by Respondents, that the guarantee
afforded by the Second Amendment is effective only against
the federal government, would eviscerate one of the
esssential purposes of the Second Amendment - to ensure that
an armed populace is available to discourage the amibitons
of a potential tyrant."

All briefs filed in the Supreme Court review in McDonald v.
cite numerous examples of the legislative intent
espoused by those who framed the Second Amendment. In "The
Federalist Papers," Alexander Hamilton and James Madison
held that an armed populace is the only real guarantee
against tyranny and aggression of the government against the

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waco Hispanic Republican Club Finds Need, Fills It

They met at a TEA Party and discovered that their desire to
volunteer to help local Republican Party officials had
fallen on deaf ears.

Ann Giordini had gone to the McLennan County Republican
Headquarters on Lakeshore Drive five times.

Five times.

In each case, her inquiries went unheeded. She confided in
Bert Hernandez, a veteran of the Army's Special Forces. He,
too, felt a need to branch out and find a place to make
himself useful.

And then the conflict wound up in the columns of the local
daily newspaper. The incumbent County Republican Chairman
made remarks questioning the propriety of their breaking the
chain of command and communicating with the press - off
message. That settled it. People can work with each other
any time they choose to do it. They are forging ahead.
They seek no further approval. They're just going to do it.

Period. Paragraph.

There is a need for volunteers, people who are willing to
serve as phone bank operators, deputy voter registrars,
precinct walkers and sign committemen.

"It's going to take all of us," Ms. Giordini said. "We've
got to work together, whether we live in Woodway, Waco,
McGregor, Midway or Hewitt...It's time to get out the vote
and make this election pay."

So, along with Duke Machado and others, they formed the
McLennan County Hispanic Republican Club. Wednesday night
they met in the basement of the Waco Public Library to
discuss their plans for the future. Political candidates
such as State Representative "Doc" Anderson and Will Jones
who is seeking the nomination as the candidate for County
Republican Chairman gave their hearty approval. They are
looking for votes, wearing out shoe leather while they're at

Mr. Machado turned the program over to Mr. Hernandez. He
explained the unorthodox structure of the organization.
It's not vertical as in a conventional chain-of-command.

"We didn't want to have the kind of situation like you have
in the Army where the communication has to flow up and flow
back down," he said.

This organization is community oriented - almost tribal in
its structure. There is a lateral array of four committees
that report to a board of directors.

Volunteers handle elections, voter registration, signs, make
block walks talking to voters to make them aware of Hispanic
Repubicans, staff phone banks and data entry - who needs a
ride to the polls, who wants to vote early, who wants what
signs, and where. There is a youth outreach effort to
familiarize people who are too young to vote with the
candidates, the issues, and to educate those who do not know
how the parties select their candidates for the General
Election in November.

Marketing handles internet communications, media inquiries,
printing and production of supplies for all who do what they
do. They are the logistics experts, something like the
supply department in a military operation.

Adminisration consists of accounting and membership

Dues of $10 are to be waived, said Mr. Hernandez. "We're
not going to put up any barriers to people to want to join
the club. Frankly, in times like these, the people we want
to serve, $10 could be a little too much for them." So, it
won't matter. There's room for everyone.

Events staffers will coordinate training sessions - how to
register voters, how to take job initiatives to qualified
people who would like to work - and make the jobs
understandable and attractive to those would need them.
Fundraising is an art in itself.

Mr. Hernandez compared the approach to two very evil and
very radical organizations that are nevertheless very
effective, the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.

"They're not corrupt and they're in the neighborhood doing
good things for the people who live there. The people they
serve support them..We won't be working McGregor, Woodway
and Hewitt. We'll be working where our people live."

He pointed out that every Hispanic family is usually only
three generations out of Mexico. "They can remember what it
was like to live there and they know the difference."

"People who want to volunteer are sick and tired of doing
nothing," he added. If the need arises, members of the
Hispanic club can do double duty anywhere they are needed.

"We want our members to supply services to candidates
instead of the candidates going out and spending four or
five thousand dollars on a consultant. Use our people. They
have the know how."

That's when Mr. Machado chimed in.

"How do you go in the Hispanic community and convince them
they are conservative, that they share our values?

"We want to take a video camera and go to people's houses
and interview them. For instance, a couple, they are here
for thirty years. They're Hispanic. They're as Hispanic as
anyone could be and we interview them. We go house to
house. Once that starts, it's all over," he said. "It's all

Mr. Machado operates a start-up website and video company that
specializes in musical features. Video is easily linked to

Deadline for voter registration before the primary election
is February 1. As soon as that election is over, however,
there will be more time to register voters for the General
Election in November.

"There will be plenty of time," he said, nodding. People
all over the room began to nod and repeat his words.

There will be plenty of time.

Preponderance of National Security types vie for Congressional seat

During this mid-term primary season, there is something
different, something more urgent and closer to the bone in
the air. One sees and feels it at the kind of routine
political meetings that have always taken place.

But now, the mood is very, very different.

Though it was a gathering of well-groomed, very polite
people, many of them professional, still more of them
proprietors of businesses in a generally upbeat meeting in a
squeaky clean, utilitarian, tilt-wall municipal building and
partaking of a catered meal of roast beef, potatoes and
green beans, there was a palpable undercurrent of rage -

It oozed out of every comment that was made, every
candidate's presentation, every announcement. There were
numerous references to the dire nature of the times and "how
bad things really are."

It's all about - this - just this, the shrugging speakers
said. They make a certain gesture universally understood to
signify this. Palms upraised, shrugging the shoulders,
nearly all who spoke said something must be done about this.

Their remarks were met with nods of approval and
understanding from their audience.

So, what is this and how will the question of whither the
national ship of state should be steered?

There will be a mid-term election in November, primaries for
which come in the first week of March.

The Republicans of the Bosque Valley and Waco and greater
Central Texas intend to reverse - this!

A candidate was tracking the special Senatorial election in
Massachusetts on his Blackberry. He made numerous
interruptions to keep people abreast of the progress of
projected vote as the polls closed.

When the announcement came that Republican Scott Brown had
defeated Democratic candidate Martha Coakley by a solid
majority in the special election to occupy the seat vacated
by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, there was
thunderous applause. There was a feeling of jubilation in
the air.

The addition of a 41st Republican Senator is expected to
thwart, through filibuster, the Democratic Party's effort to
pass health care reform during the current Congress.

And, so, it became totally apparent that this crowd that
occupied every seat at every table in the auditorium, these
polite, well-groomed, affluent people of the managerial
class, are terribly involved with what was happening in
faraway Massachusetts. It's of vital importance to them in
their businesses, their families, their lives.

Obamacare scares them to death and they're going to do
something about it.


Money. It's that simple.

These are the people who meet the payrolls, plan the
budgets, write the checks. They're staring down the twin
barrels of a depression and they are scared to death.

Deficit spending is perceived in their circles as something
that will eventually drive the United States into the status
of a Third World nation - one that can't pay its debts no
matter how much money it prints or how much money it borrows
from foreign creditors.

Why does this huge issue, one that is played out on a
worldwide stage, affect these people in this way, in their
world, Central Texas?

They are concerned that if and when the national financial
collapse they foresee occurs, the government will confiscate
all they have worked and saved and borrowed and leveraged to
acquire. It will leave them penniless - broke - with the
status of people who have never hit a lick at a snake. In
this doomsday scenario, the government will then begin to
borrow against the collateral of what was once private
property, creating even more national debt.

Wealth, both corporate and personal, would then become a
thing of the past.

In fact, many in that club that met at the Clifton Civic
Center on Tuesday night - The Bosque County Republican Club
- think that is the actual overall strategy of the current
national leadership. They see deficit spending as a
socialist plot to eliminate private property. They blame
President Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and the present
liberal majority in Congress.

Then there is an opposing minority view held by such
economic luminaries as Peter G. Peterson, a former Secretary
of Commerce in the Nixon Administration, CEO of Bell &
Howell and Lehman Brothers, and the successor to David
Rockefeller as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He has held that the current recession and the huge rate of
deficit spending was spurred on by Republican recklessness
and a reliance on supply side economics.

No matter who or what one may blame, the numbers are grim to

The current national debt is about $12.3 trillion and
counting. A trillion is a thousand billion and a billion is
a thousand million, so to speak. The numbers are so
astronomical that they are difficult to understand.

Ask the Republican candidates what - this - is, of what does
it consist, and why is it a problem of such a pressing

Ask Dave McIntyre, a candidate for U.S. House of
Representatives from College Station. He is a professor at
Texas A&M following a 30-year career as an Army officer, a
paratrooper by training who was at one time dean of
instructors at the National War College and served in the
Office of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

His normally expressive countenance nearly explodes as the
figures trip off his tongue. His outrage grows with each
statement he makes. There is a definite sense of urgency,
the kind of motivation an experienced senior officer can
project when he's talking about needing some results - and

Here are some figures from his campaign literature.

"The coming bill that the Social Security and Disability
account cannot pay has risen from $3.98 trillion to $5.66
trillion in the past five years.

"The coming bill that Medicare Part B cannot pay has risen
from $11.5 trillion to #17.2 trillion in the same period.

"The prescription drug plan that looked so good in 2004 has
a coming bill of $8 trillion that it cannot pay.

"Overall, just in the area of health care for seniors, we
have a bill coming due of $43 trillion that we cannot pay."

What kind of person is Mr. McIntyre? His specialty is
national security, the kind that the Armed Forces can
provide so that business can be done here - in America - no
matter what is going on in other countries. His experience?
He has led or been involved in missions to two dozen foreign
nations. Recently, since the war has come to American
shores, his area of expertise has become what is now called
homeland security.

His concern is that America is borrowing money at a dizzying
rate - money it can't possibly pay back - in very dangerous
neighborhoods from very dangerous people, the kind of people
who don't have much regard for the safety of the American
people and their children.

"...the biggest single concern is the national debt and the annual deficit which is adding to it every year. We can recover from every other challenge we face - no nation can recover from the crushing debt we soon face if Washington does not turn from its reckless ways," according to Mr. McIntyre.

"Here are the specifics of the debt crisis we face Last year the US took in about $3 billion in revenues. We spent about $4.2 billion. That means we borrowed about $1.2 billion from our future and our children. That is 1.2 thousand billions of dollars. This year. One of every 4 dollars spent by the US government was borrowed. What family could stand to spend 25% more than it earns every year, year after year?

"That debt mounts up. Today we owe $12 trillion dollars that we borrowed from our children and grandchildren. We borrowed it from the Chinese, the Arabs, and others mostly overseas. That is 12 thousand billion dollars. And that debt is increasing at about 10% each year. Soon we will be spending 8 cents of every dollar just to pay the interest.

"So 33 cents of every dollar the federal government spends will soon be borrowed or spent on interest.

"No nation can survive this. We must turn the situation around now. Now.

"And the best way to turn this around is the creation of new, well paying jobs. Not more old jobs - where pay is declining. And not jobs with big business - which is not creating jobs but is laying people off and has been for 10 years.

"We have to train and educate people for new jobs on a large scale. I know how to do this -- I have been doing it for the last 10 years.

"Fire Chet - Hire Dave - and lets get started returning America to greatness."

When he asked me if I have any questions, I said, "Sir, I have no questions. Thou art a bodacious good communicator and I am hereby motivated."

Republicans are vigorously challenging Democratic office
holders on every level, but there are no races anywhere near
as hot as that of the 17th Congressional District, home of
long-term Democratic Representative Chet Edwards of Waco.

Rob Curnock, a former KWTX sports anchorman and owner of Dub
L Tape Video Services of Waco, nearly beat Edwards in the
latest election of 2008. Though he was outspent by his
Democratic opponent 23 to 1, he still came up with 45.5
percent of the vote.

Along with Dave McIntyre, the Republican challengers include
Chuck Wilson, a Waco homebuilder who is a former CIA case
agent whose team helped apprehend the infamous Venezuelan
international terrorist, Carlos the Jackal, and turned him
over to the French authorities where he now languishes in Le
Sante Prison, Paris.

Timothy Delasandro is a former Naval intelligence Russian
language specialist who is now a Registered Nurse at Bryan.

Eric Finley has an intelligence background with the U.S. Air
Force, chiefly in the Iraq campaigns, and today is a small
business owner.

William Flores is a recent arrival to the College Station -
Bryan area, a transplant from Sugarland.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Republican knives out for "Obamacare"

Right wing activists intend to turn the tide in the mid-term

They have a definite strategy and it's coming to local polls.

Republicans nationwide are prepared to rewrite huge areas of
the U.S. and state constitutions to address their grievances
with Federal taxation, gun rights, border control,
immigration and court procedures.

What's more, they are advocating a repeal of the 16th
amendment that authorizes the Federal income tax levy
without apportionment to the states, as well as a repeal of
the 17th amendment that provides for popular election of
Senators and the right for the state executive to make
appointments to fill vacancies of Senate seats.

Texas is a hotbed of radical political action in this regard
and the pressures applied are starting to have an effect,
especially in negotiations between Congressmen and the Obama

Word came late last week that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson
moved conferees in marathon talks off dead center when he requested
elimination of an amendment to Senate health care reform
legislation that would have allowed a one of a kind federal
subsidy to cover the entire cost of a Medicaid expansion in
his home state.

Republican governors were outraged by the proposal, rallying
party faithful nationwide to protest what Governor Rick
Perry termed "a deal to secure the vote of Nebraska Senator
Ben Nelson." In a letter to Alabama Governor Bob Riley,
Perry said, "As a result, Nebraska will be exempt from
increased Medicaid costs resulting from this bill's
passage." He estimated a cost to Texans of $21 billion to
pay for the scheme over the next decade.

The political action committee "New Revolution Now" met on
the State Capitol steps today to hear speakers such as John
Stacy, a Republican operative from Dallas, inveigh for the
"nullification" of certain Federal laws and Constitutional
provisions - all in the name of states' rights as guaranteed
by the 10th amendment, which reserves to the states all powers
not covered by the U.S. Constitution.

Texas Republicans find particularly aggravating the proposed
National Health Care Reform law under consideration in

They demanded that Governor Perry immediately:

"File suit against the Government of the United States for
violation of constitutional authority causing harm to the
State of Texas;

"Call a special session of the legislature to write and pass
a nullification resolution focused specifically on this law;

"Consider impounding any taxation upon businesses or
citizens within the State of Texas, or compulsory
withholding of income mandated by this unconstitutional law,
until such time as the United States Supreme Court has
issued a final ruling on the State's lawsuit, nullification
resolution, or both."

A lot of "soft money" contributions to state and national
Republican parties are up for grabs in the upcoming Republican
primaries, as well as Political Action Committee assistance
to key Republican candidates who are prepared to go the
route outlined by the New Revolution Now activists.

Soft money contributions to state and national political
parties are unlimited. Contributions to PAC's by individual
are limited to $5,000 yearly, but contributions made in
primary seasons to PAC's and candidates are counted
separately. Though corporations are precluded from making
contributions to PAC's, it's perfectly legal for them to
"sponsor" such slush funds. In fact, the majority of PAC's
are sponsored by corporations who administer the record
keeping, banking and compliance functions for the
committees. Corporate employees and officials are thereby
empowered to use the clout of their money to influence
candidacies and elections at any level of the process.

Here are a few of the pointed questions asked in a
questionnaire circulated to candidates applying to New
Revolution Now for campaign funding.

"Will you advocate and author or co-sponsor legislation to
establish a recall procedure wherein the citizenry of Texas
can vote on the suitability of an existing elected
representative to continue in office in the state of Texas?

"Will you advocate and author or co-sponsor legislation for
a U.S. constitutional amendment to repeal the (income tax
levy) 16th Amendment?

"Will you advocate and author or co-sponsor legislation to
reform the state tax system by replacing the property tax
with a sales tax system?

"Will you author or co-sponsor legislation to repeal the
(popular election of Senators) 17th Amendment?

"...Would you support Texas' rejection of federal control of
the southern border and assumption of the responsibility to
close and protect that area?

"Will you advocate and author or co-sponsor legislation that
strengthens citizenship requirements and enhances
opportunity for immigrants by making English the official
language of Texas?

"Should the state place reasonable limits on punitive
damages and specify the standards under which they can be

"Should the state implement medical liability reform by
capping non economic damages and limiting attorney
contingency fees?

"Do you oppose state attorneys general from using private
law firms to prosecute actions on behalf of states when
compensation is based on a contingency fee agreement?

"Do you support enforcement of the 10th Amendment by the
State of Texas , so that when the federal government passes
increases in Medicaid to be borne by the states, these
increases are rejected by the State of Texas?"

In other areas, there are questions about "sanctuary cities"
in which is it illegal for anyone employed by the city to
ask questions about citizenship or national origins of
people under investigation, a provision generally considered
friendly to illegal aliens in the workforce.

According to the PAC's campaign literature, "The next
American revolution will be won or lost at the ballot box."

Local Republican Chairmen are taking that to heart.

The sole candidate for Bosque County Republican Chairman,
outgoing Republican Club President Dr. Tom Bratcher, said in
a recent press release, "Texans will begin this cycle
holding elected officials accountable, replacing liberals
and RINO (Republicans In Name Only) with true conservatives.
Minorities are beginning to understand that real opportunity
lies with the GOP...This can happen only if you work to make
it happen."

Dr. Bratcher is a Baylor Professor of long experience whose
specialty is statistics.

"For myself, I intend to walk with God, seek His guidance,
and treat all as I would have them treat me. The Democrats
have successfully taken God out of our culture...However,
Jesus said 'My kingdom is not of this world.' The Muslims
have perverted this by making their religion their
government. The Democrats have it wrong and the Muslims
have it wrong."

Dr. Bratcher is calling for an end to the multi-term tenure
of Democratic U.S. Representative Chet Edwards of Waco,
chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on
Veterans Affairs and a long-term member of the Water
Resources Committee.

Son of the Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church of Waco,
Mr. Edwards's alma mater is Texas A&M University. He served
as a staffer in former Representative Olin E. Teague's
office following his graduation. Mr. Teague was a power on
the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Water Resources
Committee, which has broad influence over the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, for many terms.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bosque Growing: Vacation, Holiday bill approaches $.25 mil

County Commissioners got a jarring, grating informal
indication during their Monday meeting that the population
is growing steadily.

According to accounts reckoned by County Treasurer Diana
Wellborn, unpaid compensation owed employees for vacation,
sick leave, compensatory time for working days off and
uncollected pay for working holidays is at the level of a
whopping $210,474.84.

"This is the amount we will pay, plus the hours they worked
that pay period, if they terminate employment," she stated
in a report prepared for County Judge Cole Word and the four
commissioners. "There are some large amounts that I think
you should be aware of."

The largest amount owed employees of a single department is
$102,279.69 for accumulated unpaid sick leave, vacation pay,
comp time and holiday pay.

The remedy?

"There is a snowball effect," said Sheriff Anthony Malott.
"If you give one the time off, you just have to pay another
to work it."

"It's pretty much a wash, isn't it?" Judge Word commented.

"Yeah, and that's because we're a 24-hour a day, 365 day a
year agency. That's why," replied the Sheriff.

"When this next (2010) census comes out, we're going to see
that our population has gone up by at least 4,000 to 5,000,"
declared Commissioner Alton K. Harbison.

It's a unique county...Our population grows Thursday through
Sunday," said Judge Word.

The panel immediately began to argue pro or con on whether
the population census will show an increase. Some feel that
since the population influx is represented by weekending
visitors to hunting camps, fishing cottages and retirement
homes, there will be no net increase in population. Others
hold that there will be a sizable increase in total
population when the census return is final.

Some recalled that when a similar situation developed in the
nineties, the Sheriff sent his deputies home for weeks until
the accounts were balanced.

"This all grew out of a commitment made in the last
administration that there would be no less than two deputies
on duty 24 hours a day," said Commissioner Harbison.

"We don't have the personnel to have two deputies on 24
hours a day," replied Sheriff Malott. The department employs
19 sworn peace officers.

The Sheriff and others shook their heads as they
contemplated the notion of two deputies covering disaster,
crime and emergencies from the lakeshore to Cranfills Gap
and as far away as Iredell to Valley Mills.

Amounts owed employees of other departments range from a
zero sum owed to 220th District Judge James Morgan and
Emergency Services Coordinator Dewey Ratliff to as high as a
total of $18,523.52 in benefits pay due to David L. Pack of
the Sheriff's Department.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Anatomy of an Unfunded Mandate:

Rural Texas county slated to build a new $10 million jail

When it comes to building a new jail - something taxpayers
are not all that sure they even need - it takes quite a
sales job to get the project completed in some reasonable
fashion. After all, nothing happens until the sale is made.

Just ask the Ft. Worth man who has the job of planning and
designing - and finding the way to pay for - Bosque County's
new Law Enforcement Center and County Jail.

He has a lot of experience and he will be glad to tell you.

In fact, that's why he was speaking to a select group of
citizens at the Courthouse this week.

"It's the guy you don't ask who becomes your biggest 'again-
er,'" the architect told a grim-faced gathering of County
Commissioners and jail development committeemen.

"If I don't bring out all the possible parties, I'm going to
know it."

That's why Jeffrey E. Hefflefinger strives to involve the
community at every turn and twist of the critical path to
completion of jails mandated by the requirements of the
Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

His Fort Worth firm has built jails in towns all across the
state. Current projects trip off the tongue like locations
in Larry McMurtry's epic novel, Lonesome Dove.

In fact, Southwest Architects, Inc., are presently at work
developing a Law Enforcement Center in McMurtry's hometown,
the location of "The Last Picture Show," and "Texasville,"
Archer City. It will be a 24,800 square foot Law Enforcement
Center and County Jail.

Then, there is the Brewster County Justice Center in the Big
Bend community of Marathon - 1,600 square feet, and the
Terrell County Convntion Center at Sanderson on the Rio
Grande - 1,500 square feet.

These completed projects have hefty price tags. They built
the Bill Clayton Detention Center at Littlefield, an 89,000
square foot jail project they brought in on budget for $8.6

* Hays County Juvenile Center, 96 beds in San Marcos - $5
million for 43,000 square feet
* Howard County LEC, 144 beds developed for $10.5 million -
39,925 square feet at Big Spring
* Lynn County LEC at Tahoka, 48 beds, 17,615 square feet,
$2.2 million
* Pecos County LEC at Ft. Stockton, 54 beds, $3.5 million
* Rains County, 5,000 square feet,, 32 beds $500,000
* Somervell County LEC, Glen Rose, 18,712 square feet, 48
beds, $3.25 million
* Wise County LEC, 86,000 square feet, 216 bed addition 120
bed remodel, $11 million
* Yoakum County LEC at Plains, 26,850 square feet, 48
beds, $5.5 million
* Young County LEC, Graham, 144 beds, 54,000 square feet,
$12 million
* San Jacinto LEC, 14,000 square feet, a 93 bed addition -
$5 million

Turnkey construction costs average anywhere from $95 per
square foot to $125.

"The facility to be constructed will be approximately 30,000
square feet and will house the County Court at Law, Justice
of the Peace Court, the Sheriff's Offices and the County
Jail," according to a document prepared by the architect.

Later, they approved limiting the scope of the project to a
Law Enforcement Center and Jail only. They feel that the
County Court at Law and Justice Courts are well provided for
in the Courthouse.

The architect explained that it's usually much cheaper to
install a "video court." But it depends on what the judges
want. "Some of them want the defendant behind bullet proof
glass" when they charge him. "Others want him on a video
screen and still others want to get right in his face and
shake their finger at him."

Officials propose to build a jail that will house as many as
96 inmates - to begin with. There will always be a demand
for more space as the population increases. That's a key
factor when it comes to costs.

"After all, we have a lot of people from the Metroplex who
visit us at Lake Whitney," said Judge Cole Word. "We're a
recreation center what with deer hunting and fishing."

Square footage and cubic space are important figures. Each
inmate must be given a minimum amount of square feet of
space in which to live and a minimum amount of cubic feet of
breathing room.

It's all geared to making sure an inmate is housed securely
in humane conditions and not subjected to any cruel or
unusual punishment while awaiting justice.

But that's not all. True costs include sophisticated forms
of smoke detection. It's not fire that kills, it's smoke.
There are automatic electronic locks to buy and install,
video surveillance cameras and monitors, telephones and
intercoms, fire-rated doors and escape proof windows and
skylights, special plumbing, wiring and ventilation systems.

Infrastructure is paramount when it comes to planning a new
jail - one that will stand up to standards.

"It's like building a house and including a spare bedroom
for that unexpected child," Mr. Heffelfinger said. "Then
there's all the new items you will buy and need to store.
Nothing you have is ever good enough in a new house...Think
about it."

It's better to build with a view to the future and the
growth in population that will force expansion than it is to
have to start over from scratch and install new water,
sewer, electrical, communications and electronic systems.

It's not only easier, it's inevitable and cheaper by huge
percentage points.

Ask the man; he knows. It's what he does for a living and
he's paid by the job, not by a percentage of what is spent.

"We make the same amount of money whether we save you a lot
of money - or not. We have no incentive not to bring a job
in on budget or below."

First things first.

How do you pay for this bespoke prison space mandated by
faceless state bureaucrats who have tailored their
regulations to legislation, Federal case law and other
factors, factors which cannot be ignored, such as
Constitutional strictures against cruel and unusual

Costs are high and sinking fund debt service on bonds or
certificates of obligation are bound to go up.

It's crucial to keep one eye on the tab and the other on the

You start by hiring someone with some savvy to run the job.
That's why the Bosque County Commissioner's Court retained
Southwest Architects. They build jails.

County Judge Cole Word told the Court and committee members,
"Time is money."

Mr. Heffelfinger chimed in. If they start down the critical
path this month, the project could be completed by July of
2011. If they hold out for a bond election in November of
this year, the project would be delayed until April of 2012.

It's called critical path for a reason.

It's a concept developed by a World War One Naval officer
and architect from Chicago, an engineer and visionary - R.
Buckminster Fuller, the designer of the first geodesic

Why is the path of progress so critical? Because there's a
catch. As ever, it involves money.

"I expect interest rates to go up...In the fall, you might
see a point to a point and a half," he said. Statutes
require any bond election to take place on the day of the
General Election, November 8. The delay could cost the
people as much as a half million dollars in debt service - a
cost they could easily avoid, according to the architect.

"I don't know if that's a good thing, or not," Judge Word
interjected. He spoke in terms of waiting for the election.

"It's never a good time," replied Mr. Heffelfinger. "You
take it out of the realm of a pubic project and make it into
a personal thing."

Sometimes people try to avoid the painful process.

After all, the average citizen, the hardworking property
owner and business operator, the one who has to pay the bill
for all this, is not usually that concerned about the care
and feeding of accused drunk drivers, wife beaters,
murderers, robbers, rapists, child molesters, arsonists, or

A nearby community balked, he said. Finally, the state came
down on them hard. "If you don't build, we're gonna close
you down."

That would mean having no jail whatsoever - or, that is,
having a jail and not being able to use it because of its
substandard design characteristics.

Their only alternative would have been to ship their
prisoners off-site, housing them in a neighboring county's
jail for a price, plus the added expense of transporting
them back and forth for court appearances, medical care,
interviews with law enforcement officers, and the like.

"They checked and you know what? It was cheaper for them to
build than it was to ship."

To mandate a bond election, it is required that five percent
of registered voters must sign a petition. By the time
electiion judges examine each and every signature for its
authenticity, the truth of the registration and the like,
you could wind up with a very small percentage of the
signatures you have collected. He's seen it happen.

Meanwhile, the debt service interest rate clock is always
ticking. Time takes no holiday when it comes to money.

In view of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke's recent
remarks, he predicts that the prime interest rate can only
go up.

The only solution is utter public transparency, according to
Judge Word, a fifth generation County Judge whose family has
been in the legal, land abstract and title services
profession about as long as there has been a Bosque County

That is why the Commissioner's Court appointed a committee
of ten men to oversee the entire process - from financing
and site selection to cutting the ribbon on opening day.

What's the alternative?

Certificates of Obligation may be issued by the
Commissioner's Court under the same basic rules - except
they don't require the approval of voters. If you issue
them now, when rates are low, you won't be burdened by
unexpected interest costs.

It makes it much, much easier to plan to do something you
have no choice in doing, anyway. It's something that must
be done and it has to be paid for. Why not choose the
method whereby you lose the least, Mr. Heffelfinger asked
the group of citizens charged with oversight.

"If you have an election, it takes the Court out of this
process." What's more, he argued, once an election is
slated, members of the Commissioner's Court are precluded by
law from making any comments, pro or con, about the planning
and development of the people's new County Jail.

So there are many tips, tricks and techniques available to
keep the people's elected representatives and their
constitutents in control.

For instance, who will supervise the construction?

You can go two routes. You can act as your own general
contractor, riding herd on as many as 60 to 100 subs and
using a construction supervisor, or you can hire a
Construction Manager At Risk.

How does that work?

He works for a set price. He doesn't cut his own throat by
cutting costs, so there's no incentive to complicate
matters. Plus, this way, you deal with only one contractor.
He deals with the rest of the subcontractors.

Planned expansion through existing infrastructure is a key
element of Southwest Architects' work, according to Mr.

If you have infrastructure already existing to 96 beds and
only 72 inmates, there's really no problem. You can use the
extra space for storage. When it's time to expand, it
already exists.

Multi-purpose locker and conference spaces can double as
work stations for outside agencies such as DPS, Game
Wardens, FBI, DEA and Texas Rangers.

This way, every officer can have a work station without
furnishing a private office for each one. Corrections
officers and patrol officers can double up on the use of
locker, conference and office space.

A sallyport for patrol cars that does not require a juvenile
prisoner be led through the adult jail facilities to a DWI
breath-a-lyzer and blood collection room is paramount.
Under state laws, juveniles may not be required to even walk
through an adult jail.

Not only that, but there is a distinct need for medical
facilities that will double up in the blood collection area.

"Not everyone who drinks a half gallon of whiskey wants to
donate their blood," quipped Judge Word, causing a moment of
comic relief.

Then there's the style of design. There are linear
cellblocks and there are "pods" with central control units
in their center. Which is best?

When it comes to overall design, staffing is a key to costs
because of state laws which require a minimum number of
officers to supervise and control any given number of

"It's not how many beds you have that matters," said Mr.
Heffelfinger, "it's the number of inmates you have at the

For instance, after hours, a dispatcher can double as a
corrections officer if the dispatcher has been properly
cross trained and certified.

"You can control a modern pod jail with a PC no bigger than
that one," he said, pointing to a laptop computer on the
conference table in the Commissioners' Courtroom.

Critical path, construction manager at risk, and citizen
planning committees are representative of "an evolution of
the industry," according to Mr. Heffelfinger.

Transparency between the county government and the citizens
is a matter of communication.

Communication is a matter of information.

The Court took its first steps at the meeting.

They appointed a three-man subcommittee headed by David Duke
to select and investigate possible building sites.

The site will have to be located within two miles of the
Courthouse under state regulations, be an estimated 5 to
seven acres in size and be best located for development of
infrastructure - road access, electrical, water and sewer
service, radio communications and a minimal impact on the
surrounding commmunity.

"You don't want to have officers responding to an emergency
at the jail running hot through school zones to get back
there in a hurry," the architect explained.

An advertisement for a Financial Advisor to draw up the
certificates of obligation and issue them got their
approval, subject to a review by the County Attorney. The
Court stipulated that in this position, only the County
Judge will communicate with candidates for the position.
The avoidance of confusion is a key to good communications.
The commissioners gave their assent.

They also approved an advertisement for a Request For
Qualifications for the position of the Construction Manager
at Risk, also subject to the approval of the County

A field trip to the Howard County LEC, the 144-bed jail at
Big Spring, for the committee members and County
Commissioners is scheduled for January 13. They will tour
the 39,925 square-foot facility, built at a cost to
taxpayers of $10.5 million.

It's a project similar in scope and size to Bosque County's
proposed new LEC and Jail.

Questionnaires for each department and phase of the project
are approved and committee members will be working with
representatives of the Sheriff's Department, the Emergency
Services Coordinator, the communications staff, the Courts
and Clerks to determine exactly what they want in each case.

Citizen members of the committee are:

Gene Blakely
Tom Bratcher
David Duke
George Hallmark
Larry Harian
Tom Henderson
Don Howard
Bruce McCombs
Olenn Morrison
Dick Owens

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mt. Vernon, New Hampshire - Home Invasion: Community braces for details of a murder

First, the four young men circled the house on the night of
October 4. They shut off the electricity and forced their
way inside.

Lighting the way with the glow of the display panel of an
iPod, they made their way to the master bedroom where they
found 42-year-old Kimberly Cates asleep.

One of them raised the machete he held, then rained blows
upon her with enough force to kill the woman. She had worked
as a nurse in a nearby Massachusetts town.

Her child, 11-year-old Jaimie, had been asleep in the same
room. She jumped over her mother's bleeding body as she
tried to escape the deadly attack. Another man stabbed her
repeatedly, trying to pierce her heart.

After he threw her against a door, he left the little girl
there bleeding while the four of them rifled the house for

The child survived only because she pretended to be dead.

Later she would tell police officers who carried her out of
the death house, "They killed my mommy."

When the police officers went back in, they found her mother
naked from the waist down, her body broken and bleeding from
the savage machete attack to her head, arms, torso and

One of the killers told police that when they awakened her,
the mother asked, "Jaimie, is that you?" At that moment, the
onslaught of the steel blades began.

The affidavit contains many sordid details that bring the
horror into sharp relief.

Another man helped them dispose of their clothing and other
personal items in the nearby Nashua River after they
stripped and wiped the bloody knife clean on a Burger King

Though he led police to the place where they threw the
evidence in the water, prosecutors also charged him as a
party to the offenses after he at first lied and tried to
make them believe the two killers spent the night at his

The story is considered so grim, so horrific that local
officials are on a watch for parents and children who become
upset with the facts of the home invasion and thrill
killing. They suspect some will need psychological

They predict these and other details contained in the
probable cause affidavit that led to the arrest of the five
murder conspirators will inevitably sweep the rural area
with enough terror and anger that it will likely cause a
need for therapy on a large scale. The town, population 2,000
is situated on the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The judge who issued the arrest warrants had sealed the
document throughout October, November and December, fearing
that it would prematurely tip off the scope and direction of
the investigation.

Three public forums are planned for later this month.

The local school superintendent and her faculty met the day
previous to the release of the information to plan a watch
for students and parents who appear to be upset.

Particularly aggravating is the statement of one of the
attackers, 18-year-old Steven Spader, who told investigators
they had planned to break into the house and if anyone was
home, "they would just kill the people for fun," according
to the affidavit.

Christopher Gribble, 20, stated that his only regret was
that he did not kill the little girl "because now she had to
live with this." He and his co-conspirators learned of her
survival only after scanning the internet for news of their

Her father will also have to live with the grim realities of
the attack. At the time of the murderous home invasion,
David Cates was traveling out of town. They found a military
dog tag with his name on it, submerged in the river where
the killers threw it along with other evidence.

Prosecutors charged Christopher Gribble, 20, and Stephen
Spader, 18, with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit
murder and attempted murder.

At first, Spader told police he had no knowledge of the
crimes. Not only did he claim to not know who carried out
the vicious attack, he also said that "whoever did it should
get the death penalty," according to the affidavit.

Police accused him of striking the mother repeatedly with
the machete after he planned the burglary and drove the
group to the house. Gribble is accused of stabbing her with
a knife.

Officials charged both with trying to kill the woman's
daughter, Jaimie.

They charged William Marks and Quinn Glover, both 18, of
Amherst, with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and

Twenty year-old Autumn Savoy of Hollis is charged with lying
to police about the whereabouts of the killers the night of
the murder and coming up with the plan to throw the evidence
into the river.

None of the attorneys representing the accused have
responded to press inquiries about the matter.