the beaumont enterprise
Thomas Taschinger, editorial page editor
1880 2005 (409) 838-2887, TTaschinger@hearstnp.com
NOVEMBER 4, 2005
for teachers Christopher Clausen
can aid Texas Residents need
T on bills from city
he teacher pay incentives unveiled
Wednesday by Gov. Rick Perry aren’t as
big as they should be, and they aren’t
the only things that Texas schools Successful competitors in
need. But they can help more students learn, today’s economy often are those
and the proposal focuses on improving cam- who value their customers. They
puses that need it most and linking pay to know keeping them happy is easi-
progress that can be documented. er and cheaper than finding new
Perry’s executive order provides $10 mil- ones or reforming grumpy ones.
lion for grants up to $100,000 to 100 campus- It’s something Beaumont city
es with large numbers of at-risk students. He officials should work on.
also will ask the Legislative Budget Board to Less than 45 days after Hurri-
provide another $25 million for 250 more cane Rita left a trail a devastation
campuses. That extra money is needed in a of downed limbs and power lines,
state as big as Texas — and which has so many and neighborhoods redecorated
low-income students. Perry also ordered the with blue-tarped roofs, the city
Texas Education Agency to add $600,000 to a
pilot project at three Richardson schools that
◆ READERS WRITE sent out October water bills with
boosts pay for high-achieving teachers who Unfortunately, many of those
also serve as mentors to other educators.
This focus is welcome. The state is proper-
Beaumonter asks state to watch potential abuse by insurers receiving the notices weren’t late,
and city officials seem convinced
ly committing more resources to the areas they did no wrong.
with the greatest need. After Hurricane Katrina, consumers saw out. But please help us little people, and make
evidence of widespread abuse by the insur- Allstate empty their “good hands” to what’s An attitude like that toward
These incentives shouldn’t obscure the fact customers might be understood
that all teachers deserve pay increases, espe- ance industry. We should not let that happen owed to us.
in Texas. We pay top dollar for our insurance and get from different sources.
cially those in some smaller districts that have ◆ If the nasty notice had come
a hard time attracting high-quality applicants. As a victim of Hurricane Rita, I’m asking nothing in return. Come on people, wake up.
Our leaders should punish any company that from an out-of-town company
The Legislature’s failure to approve a new sys- that my state leaders put the insurance indus- that financed a home or car, well,
tem of school financing earlier this year also try on notice that if they engage in unfair tries to take advantage of families struggling
to rebuild after Hurricane Rita. perhaps a customer could over-
cost teachers across-the-board raises. practices, the state will pursue action against look that. That company didn’t
Turnover rates remain uncomfortably high them. ERIC HENDERSON understand what the hurricane
for Texas teachers. Without good teachers, I know Gov. Rick Perry has been bought Beaumont did to them and to this area.
school districts can be dogged with low test But most of these companies
scores no matter how much they spend on pledged early in the recovery that
buildings or extra-curricular activities. they’d work with customers rather
Inmate at Rusk says judges disregarded law on confinement than resort to something punitive.
◆ If it was a large-scale, pub-
While a patient at Rusk State Hospital, I and law? In January 2005, Judge Walker even resist- licly traded utility, perhaps it could
my family have written several letters to the ed the Appeals Court, which ruled that he had be dismissed as bottom-line cor-
Region should seek court concerning my release from inpatient
confinement. As proved to be the case with
both judges Layne Walker and Leonard Giblin,
erred in sending me back to a mental hospital.
Without obedience to the law and its prin-
The companies doing business
here haven’t had that approach.
ciples at the highest levels, how can we expect
generating project all our efforts fell on deaf ears. Both judges
showed a complete disregard for the law.
There are certain conditions that must be
the common, everyday citizen to obey it?
There should be some kind of control or high-
CenterPoint Energy’s bills
include a separate flier advising
that since winter heating season
er authority to see that judges like Walker and — such as it is — has started, there
met before someone can be committed as an Giblin uphold and abide by the law.
outheast Texas should compete for the inpatient in a mental hospital. Since 1998, all are procedures it will follow before
chance to be selected as the site of a of my doctors testified I did not meet those cri- What is the U.S. Constitution for? What is disconnecting service.
new $1 billion Department of Energy teria. However, both judges Walker and Giblin the purpose of a legal system if judges are Entergy Corp., whose customer
project to generate electricity. Despite disregarded the law, ignored recommenda- going to do their own thing, with complete service approach and manage-
problems caused by Hurricane Rita, opportu- tions of several highly qualified doctors, and disregard for the rules and conditions speci- ment was changed as a result of
nities like this don’t come along that often. committed me as an inpatient anyway. fied by the law? the 1997 ice storm, was polite, if
The project would generate power from If the law is not going to be upheld, what firm, in its bill.
coal or petroleum coke and use the resulting MILLET HARRISON JR. “Please continue to send pay-
recourse does a patient or defendant have? Are
carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery. All 24 certain judges in Jefferson County above the Rusk ments as usual,” it read in normal,
regional councils of government in the state letter-sized type. Several lines
have been invited to apply for the project, and later, in similar sized type, it
state officials expect only half or fewer to do advised: “Amount due considered
so. Other states are also competing for the delinquent after due date.”
project, called FutureGen. It reads like a velvet glove-iron
A spokesman for the project noted that this
region has two of the three main things need-
ed — old oilfields that could benefit from
enhanced recovery and refineries that could
Big oil empties our pockets fist approach, the hardness care-
fully contained within the civil
request to pay a bill.
In contrast, the city’s water bills
treat that oil. This area doesn’t have coal, but for October included many that
that resource isn’t that far away in Central By ELIZABETH SCHUETT And that’s about how long the bargain last- announced, in red, almost double
Texas. The project also could use petroleum N.Y. TIMES NEWS SERVICE ed — one month. the normal-sized type in all capital
coke, a byproduct of oil refining. Natural gas companies have predicted bot- letters “DISCONNECTION
Southeast Texas has one of the greatest GIBSONBURG, Ohio — What a surprise! tom-line disasters unless, once again, their NOTICE.”
concentrations of oil industry know-how in Oil companies are making money. Who would prices increase by 30 percent, some insist it’ll Weary from the hurricane and
the nation. We have a good chance of getting have guessed after all of the poor-mouth sto- take as much as 56 percent. resulting cleanup, some who
something like this. Besides, if we keep trying ries circulating about hurricanes, interrupted So, what was their excuse last year? And the received the notices stormed City
to land a big fish, eventually we will hook one. pipelines and, oh my, the “unfortunate” effect year before that, long before Katrina and Rita Hall on Tuesday. Several were
all of this will have at the gas pumps. came sashaying into the oil belt with hurri- amazed to see their water bills had
Unfortunate? Yes. But for whom? cane conditions? increased. They had evacuated
Last quarter — wait, I have to sit down But I’m not worried because my gas com- prior to Sept. 24 and hadn’t
before I write this — ExxonMobil Corp. pany feels my pain. returned for several weeks.
became the first U.S. company to ring up Along with last month’s zeppelin-like
◆ PAUSE TO PRAY sales within spitting distance of the $100 bil- inflated gas bill for a relatively warm month in
City officials were resolute.
They had done no wrong.
lion mark; that’s 75 percent higher than the Ohio, came instructions on how to apply for No late fees had been added.
Lord, may we not look at yesterday’s prob- same time last year. aid after I go broke paying my gas bill.
lems, but instead focus on today’s blessings. Also, those disconnected were
Royal Dutch Shell PLC also reported its Ungrateful wretch that I am, I returned the past due by at least 60 days, and
Amen. best quarterly results ever with a 68 percent enclosure to sender with a note: “Thanks for some who paid prior to the storm
jump to a piddling $9.03 billion. your help. How about a job?” did so with bad checks.
Politicians are fielding a whole lot of flack Like a good friend, the gas company also Mayor Guy Goodson, an attor-
from constituents. DO SOMETHING! offers monthly tips on how to keep my house ney by trade, offered a more san-
SOMETHING? Sure. Let’s begin by picking warmer in winter without burning an excess guine view.
the pockets of a few of the oily bigwigs. of their gassy gold. “I mailed my check the week of
The average 2004 salary for oil executives New windows! What a great idea. If I could the storm,” he said. “Then I got a
was $17 million. Exxon’s CEO pulled down $38 afford new windows, then I wouldn’t be hav- disconnect notice after the storm.
THE ADVOCATE FOR SOUTHEAST TEXAS SINCE 1880 million. ing a problem paying my gas bill, would I? They crossed in the mail.”
Aubrey L. Webb Last year Royal Dutch Shell had to sack two Heavy draperies, they suggest, help keep That does seem reasonable.
Publisher of its top dogs for prevarication and general warm in and cold out. Clever, eh? And no one can deny the city its
naughtiness. One collected a yearly salary of So far, the only thing that hasn’t been sug- due. For local government to do its
Timothy M. Kelly Thomas Taschinger $3.2 million and a pension worth $851,232 a gested is setting fire to the family homestead
Editor Opinions editor work — in this case supplying
year. The other, pretty much the same. and warming ourselves by the flames. clean water and functioning sewer
The editorial is the opinion of The Beaumont Enterprise as Do we know anyone who is now, or who But, listen, we really shouldn’t complain and water treatment systems — its
determined by its editorial board. Columns, cartoons, letters and ever has been involved in the oil business? about doing our patriotic duty for oil and customers must pay their bills.
other items in the Opinions Section are the views of the writers or Naa-aah. country. All across our great nation, real
artists credited, and not necessarily the views of this newspaper. But this incident is as much
Letters must include the writer’s address and daytime tele- But wait — the prices at the pump have Americans are, as I write, stepping up to their about what city officials value as it
phone number so letters can be verified. Letters must not exceed plummeted — all the way into the $2.40 per thermostats and lowering them to chilblain is the value of a bill.
250 words and must be the original words of the writer. gallon range. Gasoline really is getting cheap- setting. Not that it makes a damned bit of dif- They have bragged, rightfully,
Letters may be edited for length, libel, grammar, clarity and er by the day; aren’t we lucky? ference other than consumers are less likely to
newspaper style, without changing the meaning and intent of the about how friendly Southeast Tex-
letter. Readers are limited to one letter every 30 days to ensure a Uh, no. Some of us, whose long-term complain if their jaws are frozen shut. ans are to visitors, including the
diversity and variety of viewpoints. memories have not been impaired by the Meanwhile, winter’s on its way. Pretty soon thousands of workers who rushed
The Enterprise will not publish poetry, anonymous letters, industry’s daily doublespeak, are pretty sure we’ll be shivering our rear ends off; Rover will here to help after Rita.
"open" or "third-party" letters written to someone else, letters that we can remember paying about $1.20 per gal- be wrapped in Junior’s old sweats and our hol-
constitute advertisements, letters about political candidates during City officials should extend that
election campaigns, letters concerning private legal disputes or con- lon less last fall. idays will be warmed by the knowledge that same friendly courtesy to city resi-
flicts between individuals, letters that are part of organized writing There was a time when electricity was the the “Big Boys” will be taking home a fat seven- dents, especially after a hurricane,
campaigns and letters that include previously published material. cheaper way to heat a home. Lots of folks paid figure bonus this Christmas. rather than send bills suggesting
Opinions, The Beaumont Enterprise some big bucks to convert. Then what hap- Hoo! Ha! Let’s hear it for free enterprise and they are deadbeats.
P Box 3071
.O. pened? Electricity went sky high. So, we flummery.
Beaumont, Texas 77704 switched back to gas because it was the bar- Reach this columnist at: firstname.lastname@example.org
e-mail The Enterprise at: email@example.com gain of the month. firstname.lastname@example.org (409) 833-3311, ext. 451
◆ Pages designed and copy-edited by Julian Galiano, (409) 833-3311, ext. 447 ◆ ●