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Candidates Enter Races for New House Districts
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Candidates Enter Races for New House Districts

BY C. D. Kirkpatrick

Candidates for state House and Senate seats filed Monday and Friday under new legislative maps drawn by a judge after the original maps were thrown out by the state Supreme Court. The filing period reopened Friday morning, and is expected to run eight days. The new House and Senate seats are now single-member districts, instead of the larger multi-member areas that the court struck down. House District 32 Democrat Bernard Holliday of Creedmoor filed to run for the new House District 32 seat. The district covers Granville County, a northern section of Durham County and a southern section of Vance County. The 70-year-old ordained minister ran in the last two election cycles in races that did not affect Durham County. Holliday said Monday that the Legislature needs to have the "internal discipline" to run shorter sessions and to be more fiscally responsible. The state Department of Public Instruction needs more staffing to monitor the progress of children in all facets of education, including those who are home schooled, he said. "Education is still critical," he said. "We've got a major problem in our state." He pointed out that a recent court decision said that the state has the responsibility to educate all children. "I think there are too many gaps, there's not enough staff in the [Department of Public Instruction]," he said. "And let's not forget our fiscal situation. We need to revisit the tax structure in our state." House District 55 Kathy Hartkopf, an Orange County Republican, filed Monday to run for state House District 55, which covers 12 precincts in central and northern Orange County and all of Person County. The self-described fiscal conservative joins two Democrats: Ken Rothrock, a Hillsborough attorney who filed Friday, and Rep. Gordon Allen, a Person County Democrat who currently serves in House District 22, and who filed Monday. Allen's current district includes Person and parts of Granville, Vance, Warren, Halifax and Franklin counties. Hartkopf has been the spokeswoman for Citizens for a Better Way, a local group that formed last year and campaigned against the $ 75 million bond package in Orange County, which the voters ended up approving in November. The group argued in part that the bond package was too large, dollar-wise, given persistent doubts about the health of the economy. Hartkopf said last year that, in spite of the fact that one of her daughters attends Hillsborough Elementary, she would vote against the bond package, which included $ 900,000 for renovations at Hillsborough Elementary as part of $ 47 million for county and city schools. She said she felt the renovations were needed, but that she couldn't support the entire schools bond referendum. Kathy Hartkopf also has helped establish a local chapter of the Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group based in Washington, D.C., that has regional offices and calls for lower taxes and limited government. "I believe my candidacy represents an opportunity for the values of the people of northern Orange and Person counties to be heard in the North Carolina General Assembly," Hartkopf said in a statement. "I am proud to be known as a fiscal conservative. I look forward to continuing this ideology and this work on the state level. Just as we do in our own homes, our state must function within its means." Unless another Republican joins the race, Hartkopf will face the winner of the Sept. 10 Democratic primary that will include Allen, Rothrock and any other Democrat who files for the 55th. Allen said Monday that he believed many of the issues that concerned his constituents in District 22 were similar to those in central and northern Orange County. He specifically mentioned economic development and education. "The problems that [Orange residents] have are the same problems that Person has, and also the other five counties I'm serving right now," he said. "The issues are very similar. "Education, of course, is the biggest issue that affects all of us," he said. "Recruiting teachers, finding teachers. We're producing 3,000 teachers a year, and we need 10,000." Allen, 73, lives on Crestwood Drive in Roxboro and was principal owner of the family insurance business, Thompson-Allen Inc., until recently, when his son took over ownership. He is a combat veteran of the Korean War and has five children and 17 grandchildren. Allen is in his third House term, and also served three terms in the N.C. Senate in the 1970s. He said Monday that Orange County wouldn't be new to him, in part because his district during his first two Senate terms included Orange, Person and Durham counties. Allen currently is co-chairman of the House Finance Committee, and serves on the Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Legislative Redistricting, Rules and Transportation committees. Like Allen, Rothrock, 52, said residents of northern Orange County and Person County share the same concerns. "The people in these precincts are homogeneous; we think alike," he said. Rothrock said he would be a good candidate because of his contacts in both counties. The attorney and 1985 Hillsborough mayoral candidate owns land in Person County and has many clients there, he said. Also, his wife is from Person County, he said. "I've always felt a need to be involved with public service," he said. Other races State House Democratic incumbents Paul Luebke, Mickey Michaux and Paul Miller filed for their new respective Durham seats, districts 30, 31 and 29. The three redrawn districts are inside the county borders. State Senate Democratic incumbents Wib Gulley and Jeanne Lucas filed for their respective seats under the new state Senate map, Districts 18 and 20. District 18 covers part of Durham and all of Person and Granville counties. Senate District 20 was designed as a minority district and is inside the county borders. Non-legislative races, unaffected by the redistricting lawsuit brought by the GOP, do not have new filing periods. The new primary date is set for Sept. 10. The May 7 primary was delayed by the lawsuit. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 5.

07/23/2002
Bush Administration Criticizes Israeli Missile Attack
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Bush Administration Criticizes Israeli Missile Attack

BY Phil Donahue

07/23/2002
Chamber of Commerce will Support County's 2% Bed Tax
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Chamber of Commerce will Support County's 2% Bed Tax

BY Jim Turner

STUART - The Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will support the hospitality industry's efforts for a county 2 percent bed tax. "This effort is a wonderful example of a users' tax, which this chamber endorses over the option of taxing business," said Joe Catrambone, president of the chamber. The chamber opposed a similar referendum in 1995 but is now "confident this board of commissioners will use the funds as intended," Catrambone said. County voters will be asked on Sept. 10 to approve a tax plan that would add 2 percent to the cost of staying at a hotel, condominium or other short-term accommodation. The tax is opposed by the county chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Republican Executive Committee in Martin County because "government money shouldn't be going into private industry," according to the groups. The tax plan is expected to generate about $665,000 in the first year - going into effect Nov. 1 if approved in September - and possibly more than $1.2 million annually by 2007, chamber officials said. Money generated by the tax would be used to market the county's tourism opportunities.

07/23/2002
SBOE Members, Citizens Make Impact at SBOE Hearing
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Press Release

SBOE Members, Citizens Make Impact at SBOE Hearing

CSE members from across Texas testified before the State Board of Education on Wednesday, July 17. The 31 CSE representatives comprised the largest group at the hearing. The central resounding theme was that Texans demand that patriotism, free markets and democracy be taught to our children and we will not tolerate “revisionist” history or books which have propaganda.

07/22/2002
Texas Wrangles Over Bias In School Textbooks
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Texas Wrangles Over Bias In School Textbooks

BY Kris Axtman

What if a junior-high school textbook wrongly stated that John Marshall was the United States' first Supreme Court Chief Justice, instead of John Jay? Or that the Louisiana Purchase occurred in 1804, not 1803? No one would fault textbook publishers for fixing factual errors likethese found in recent textbooks.

07/22/2002
Dozens of Texans Try to Help Write History at Textbook Hearing
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Dozens of Texans Try to Help Write History at Textbook Hearing

BY Jim Suydam

Some spoke of a failure to mention the religious beliefs of the founding fathers. A busload of students from the University of Texas at Brownsville bemoaned the lack of Hispanics. One man argued that what he called the "violent nature" of Muslims should be included. Drawn by the chance to influence what the state's schoolchildren read when they open up their history and social studies books next year, dozens of Texans from across the state testified before the State Board of Education on Wednesday. In November, the board will vote on more than 150 proposed social studies and history texts, selecting which ones Texas school districts may choose from for the next six years. "I don't expect that the board will reject any of them," said board Chairwoman Grace Shore, R-Longview. As the more than 67 speakers came before the board, a general consensus emerged from the politically disparate group: The textbooks just need a little more history in them. Publishers appear to have followed the curriculum elements that the state requires, said Chris Patterson of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. But in following the state's guidelines, critics said, the books have omitted crucial aspects of history not specifically asked for by the state and lost the narrative line that makes history so compelling. "As one of our reviewers noted, these books are just one damn fact after another," Patterson said. The foundation, a pro-business group, paid nearly $100,000 for a review of the drafts of the books, which it says found more than 500 errors. There's plenty that needs to be added to the books, each of which already weigh in at about 10 pounds, said Jose Angel Gutierrez, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, who spoke of the need to tell students more about the influence of Spain and Hispanics in American history. "Mexico is not even discussed in the section on North America," he said, referring to a sixth-grade text on world cultures and geography. Maria Louisa Garza came from Corpus Christi to ask the board to make publishers include the names of those killed in the Alamo. As a child, Garza said, she felt bad about the Alamo. "The battle of the Alamo had always been an us-against-them thing, and I was on the wrong side," she said. But when she visited it as an adult and saw the names of the Hispanics killed in the fight against Santa Anna's tyranny, she "finally felt like a fully franchised Texan," she said. More than 20 speakers from Citizens for a Sound Economy, another pro-business group, asked that more be included about the American Revolution and capitalism. The books have too much about socialist Karl Marx and not enough about classic liberal John Locke, one said. But unlike in past years, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Texas Public Policy Foundation will not be asking that any books be rejected, both groups said. Publishers attending the meeting said they would respond in writing to all of the concerns raised at the meeting. Joe Bill Watkins, an Austin attorney who represents the American Association of Publishers, said that although it would be great to add much of what was asked for in the hearing, it's not fair to ask publishers to rewrite their books at this point. "If they've covered the (curriculum required by the state) then they've done what's required," Watkins said. If there are things that should be covered, then the Legislature needs to change its requirements, he said.

07/18/2002
State Begins Hearings On School Textbooks
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State Begins Hearings On School Textbooks

BY Matt Frazier

AUSTIN - The social studies, history and government books being considered for Texas' 4.1 million students should be more accurate, more balanced and do a better job instilling U.S. values and freedoms, speakers told the State Board of Education on Wednesday. Others stressed that textbooks must properly portray the roles women and minorities have played in the nation's history. Nevertheless, many speakers at the board's first public hearing on proposed textbooks said the texts should remain on the state's "acceptable list" so individual teachers and school districts can choose which ones best suit their classrooms. They did ask for changes, however. And in most cases, they complained not about what was in the books, but what was left out. The board can only reject textbooks if factual errors are found. State board member Mary Helen Berlanga, who helped organize symposiums on the inclusion of Hispanic history in the textbooks, said omissions of minorities could be considered errors, because such omissions give students an incomplete understanding of history. "If they go back and make the additions, of course I would be satisfied," Berlanga said. Board Chairwoman Grace Shore said she believes the board will approve the proposed textbooks. "The public hearing gives parents the opportunity to interact with the publishers," Shore said during a break. "It also gives teachers as much information as possible when choosing textbooks for their class." The state is updating textbooks for a variety of high school subjects under the broad heading of "social studies," including U.S. history, comparative government and politics, human geography, psychology and sociology. English and Spanish textbooks for elementary and middle school students also are being reviewed. Publishers eager to earn the $344.7 million Texas will spend on textbooks this year have already been working with some concerned groups to correct factual errors and consider possible revisions. And because Texas is the nation's second-largest purchaser of textbooks, the board's decision will affect the education of students throughout the nation. Sixty-seven individuals and organizations signed up to speak at Wednesday's hearing, including state representatives and members of foundations and organizations that reviewed the texts. In the past, groups have complained about the ways textbooks portray a variety of subjects, including God, sex, slavery, evolution, patriotism and gender bias. State Rep. Rick Green, R-Dripping Springs, began the hearing by refuting the Texas Freedom Network's claim that right-wing conservatives are censoring Texas' textbooks while attempting to instill conservative values. Green said a majority of Texans believe that instilling values is the primary purpose of education. "If our people don't know their freedoms, how can they know if they have been violated?" Green asked. "You are literally on the front lines of freedom today." The Freedom Network, which started the "I Object" campaign against textbook censorship, did not have any speakers at the hearing. Most speakers said they wanted to add material to the books rather than remove offensive text. "My request would be that no book be approved for any grade that does not ... explain that the foundation for our republic is the biblical principle that our rights come from our creator," said Margie Raborn, with the Citizens for a Sound Economy. Other speakers said they wanted the books to properly portray the role minorities and women played in history. For example, one text does not recognize early Hispanic settlers, saying instead that Stephen F. Austin brought the first 300 settlers to Texas. Anthony Quiroz, assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, said the omissions could have long-range repercussions. "I encourage you to seek out books that tell a thick story that involves the historical actions of all Americans, including Mexican-Americans," Quiroz told state board members. "If we settle for this type of history, we will be doing our children an unforgivable disservice." Because it has been 10 years since Texas classrooms have had new social studies and history books, Linda Massey, a 31-year Dallas school district teacher, said that the new texts are needed and that teachers and districts should be allowed to choose which best serve their teaching style. "We are really looking forward to having new textbooks," said Massey, president of Citizens for Sound Economy. "They are getting bigger, and they are getting better. If there is a mistake after adoption, the teacher will correct that." Public hearings Three more public hearings on proposed textbooks will be Aug. 23, Sept. 11 and Nov. 14 in Austin. A final decision is expected after the last hearing. To register to speak or for other ways of giving input, go to the State Board of Education Web site, www.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/input.

07/18/2002
Sounding Off on Textbooks
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Sounding Off on Textbooks

BY ARmando Villifranca

AUSTIN - Some simply want Texas towns, rivers and regions marked correctly when mentioned in school textbooks. Others find the scant references to women's rights - and other civil right struggles - deplorable. And then there are those who seek the inclusion of little-known facts so obscure and trivial - such as San Antonio supplying meat to patriots during the American Revolution - that they are probably better suited for a board game about trivia than a young Texan's mind. Throughout Wednesday, teachers, citizen groups and public citizens sounded off on what they thought should be included in social studies textbooks during a hearing before the State Board of Education. "Citizens have pretty much been asleep at the wheel. We've complained a lot after the fact, but only a few citizens have over the years rolled up their sleeves, reviewed the textbooks and weighed in," said Peggy Venable of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy. Concerns ranged from omissions to misrepresentations, especially about the cultural, political and racial landscape of the state. Texas, which has about 4.1 million students in its public school system, adopts new social studies books every eight years. The state will spend $ 344.7 million on the textbooks, which will be used in classrooms in 2003. The elected State Board of Education has no say over textbook content but can reject books because of errors or failure to follow the state curriculum. The board is scheduled to make its final decisions in November. Tony Bonilla, a Corpus Christi attorney and former League of United Latin American Citizens president, said state history textbooks were "woefully inadequate" when it came to depicting the role Hispanics played in state and national history. The list for public testimony included a contingent from the University of Texas-Brownsville that left the Rio Grande Valley at 3 a.m. to attend Wednesday's hearing. Venable said her group is focusing on ensuring that textbooks teach patriotism, free market and democracy in a favorable light. During the last round of hearings, her group sought the rejection of one textbook, but will not make such recommendations this year. An example of someof the problems, she said, was a reference in a sixth-grade textbook claiming that socialism and communism were good for all citizens. "We believe strongly that those are failed systems . . . and that sixth-grade students need that explained to them," she said.

07/18/2002
Texas Textbook Selection Under Scrutiny
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Texas Textbook Selection Under Scrutiny

BY Katherine Sayre

Two political groups debated the selection of public school textbooks Wednesday outside the Texas State Board of Education hearing on social studies texts. Groups that support the ban on the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools should not be involved in the selection of textbooks, said Peggy Venable, director of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy. TCSE is a conservative activist group that claims to have found errors of omission and propaganda in textbooks. "We are here today as proud Americans who support teaching patriotism, democracy and the free market, as required by state law," Venable said. "We support the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools and stand in stark contrast to the so-called Texas Freedom Network, who has publicly opposed the pledge in schools." The Texas Education Code includes a provision that states that textbooks should promote democracy, patriotism and the free-enterprise system. That statute has served as the base of the TCSE's argument over textbook content. Samantha Smoot, the executive director of the Texas Freedom Network, arrived to defend the organization after Venable had stopped speaking. TFN, an organization that describes itself as fighting for freedom from the religious right, agrees with the recent ruling that bans the pledge in public schools. "I denounce that this group of self-appointed would-be censors are trying to inject their narrow political ideology into textbooks," Smoot said. Smoot said local school boards should be allowed to decide what textbooks are viable for use rather than censoring the books beforehand. This debate took place outside the day-long meeting with the Texas State Board of Education, which heard more than 100 speakers from organizations such as Daughters of the American Revolution and the Texas Justice Foundation. The speakers had reviewed textbooks that were up for approval by the board, and they argued for or against different textbooks. Each year, the board compiles a list of qualified textbooks for local school systems to choose from. Venable said textbooks should not contain favorable views of communist and socialist ideology and should instead promote patriotic and democratic ideals. Smoot said TCSE is a group made up of "extremists who want to decide for themselves what the rest of us have access to." Debate over the content of textbooks has happened before in Texas. In 2001, the debate over textbooks resulted in the removal of two science textbooks after conservative groups criticized them in front of the board. Venable also said the Texas State Teachers Association should end its "cozy relationship" with the TFN. "We further call on the Texas State Teachers Association-PAC [political action committee] to demand return of the thousands of dollars they have contributed to the Texas Freedom Network," Venable said. Richard Kouri, a spokesman for the TSTA, said the TSTA will not consider asking for the return of the donations. "What we do with our PAC money is none of TCSE's business," Kouri said. "[Texas Freedom Network] is an organization that we do agree with most of the time." Kouri also said the State Board of Education is responsible only for the factual accuracy of textbooks. "We'll be watching to see if the Board of Education is doing what they're legally bound to do," Kouri said.

07/18/2002
The Battle over Texas' Textbooks
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The Battle over Texas' Textbooks

Education process It is interesting to note that those checking for flaws in potential textbooks are themselves flawed ("New books, another battle," July 10). Their claim that Rosa Parks did not sit in the middle of the bus is inaccurate. According to the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Parks sat in the front row of the "colored" section of the bus, which was behind the whites-only section. She was arrested when she refused to give up her seat in the colored section to a white man after the whites-only section filled. She did not sit in the front of the bus and the front of the colored section is arguably the middle of the bus. If the fact-checkers of our children's textbooks cannot get the facts correct, is there any real purpose to this process? The focus of improving our school systems should not be on minor errors in one tool of education, but the broader education process itself. DAVID ROBINSON Austin Get computers I read that the state of Texas will, over the next two years, spend more than $700 million on textbooks for public schools. Why? Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent every few years trying to decide which texts will be purchased. These books presented for consideration are filled with errors, omissions or worse. These same books must be replaced even more frequently now in selected subjects. These proposed texts are squabbled over, lobbied both for and against, perused by educators, hawked by publishers and yet still found to exhibit problems. I think it is time we moved the school systems in Texas in the 21st century. Schools should have a computer for every child in school, and those computers should contain their textbooks. Textbooks could consist of the same text and graphics they do now. The big plus is they could be as extensive or as brief as the educators so desired. They could continually be improved and or updated as needed. Let's get our legislators to make an investment in education of our children that will keep on paying off in years to come. NEVEL PATRICK HALEY Carrollton Unhealthy connection In the July 10 American-Statesman are two more baffling examples of the connection between right-wing Christian conservatives and anti-environment sentiment. One, a story regarding textbook selection in Texas discusses how in the past, conservative organizations previewing books have wanted to omit references to environmental degradation and endangered species, etc. In the second article, Marvin Olasky describes his trip (no doubt paid for by the oil company) to a refinery in Alaska and was pleased to find it wasn't nearly as dirty as he expected. He urged us to "dig in" and begin drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge soon. These same conservatives don't want their children polluted by any discussion of evolution but have no problem with their children drinking polluted water and breathing dirty air. The conundrum that these people should be facing is how they reconcile their stated love of God and God's creations, while bashing any attempt to educate this generation and the next about just how dire the state of this planet has become. DIANE HOGAN Austin Keeping our rights It is good that our federal and local governments are taking steps to prevent another terrorist attack. However, our civil liberties are slowly being taken away in the name of security. Our government should not have the power to hold military tribunals where defendants who are U.S. citizens cannot appeal decisions to a civilian court. Our government should not be allowed to hold military tribunals in secret. Our government should not be holding the alleged "dirty bomb" suspect in custody for an indefinite amount of time. The federal government has given enormous power to itself since Sept. 11. We need to try our best to prevent another attack. But this does not mean we should throw the Constitution out the window. And we should not throw out our system of checks and balances, either. We are made to feel unpatriotic or divisive if we bring up things like this to the government, but it is our responsibility to stand up for our rights. CHELSEA RIVERA Austin Price for security Marvin Olasky's June 26 column about the privatized social security system in Chile fails to inform us that it took a bloody military coup, thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousand exiled citizens like myself for Augusto Pinochet and others to impose such an "independence from government control." Olasky also fails to tell us that the funds in those private "libretitas" are guaranteed by all Chileans whether or not they choose to participate. For the operators of those funds, it is a profitable, risk-free business. I have lived and worked in the United States for 28 years. I own one "libretita" from 14 years of service with the Texas Employee Retirement System that will pay me a fixed pension guaranteed for life. The other half of my work life is invested in a well-managed, nonprofit mutual fund. That fund has lost about one-third of its book value in the past five years. At the rate we are going, we may get the autocratic government needed to impose such a system. RENATO ESPINOZA Austin Podiatrist power Re: July 2 article "Orthopedists denied a chance to go toe-to-toe with podiatrists": In 1986, I incurred a fracture to my left lower extremity. Various orthopedists, including an ankle specialist treated it as "a classic sprain." Their therapies included an air cast and my being told the pain was normal. In 1995, I was living in Corpus Christi and had the good fortune to become the patient of podiatrist Dr. Donald Rhodes. Based on the extensive X-ray series that he made, the fracture was at long last detected. He stated that there were also two bone chips, one the size of his thumbnail. I was casted to the knee until I healed. I will never let it be said that a foot doctor does not know enough to treat the lower ankle. More power to the podiatrists. ELSA POTTER Austin

07/17/2002

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