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Posts published in March 2010

Congressman Ron Paul: Legislation doesn’t stand up well against economic realities

Congressman Ron Paul issued the following editorial following the March 20 vote.

Following months of heated public debate and aggressive closed-door negotiations, Congress finally cast a historic vote on healthcare late Sunday evening. It was truly a sad weekend on the House floor as we witnessed further dismantling of the Constitution, disregard of the will of the people, explosive expansion of the reach of government, unprecedented corporate favoritism, and the impending end of quality healthcare as we know it.

Those in favor of this bill touted their good intentions of ensuring quality healthcare for all Americans, as if those of us against the bill are against good medical care. They cite fanciful statistics of deficit reduction, while simultaneously planning to expand the already struggling medical welfare programs we currently have. They somehow think that healthcare in this country will be improved by swelling our welfare rolls and cutting reimbursement payments to doctors who are already losing money. It is estimated that thousands of doctors will be economically forced out of the profession should this government fuzzy math actually try to become healthcare reality. No one has thought to ask what good mandatory health insurance will be if people can’t find a doctor.

Legislative hopes and dreams don’t always stand up well against economic realities. Frustratingly, this legislation does not deal at all with the real reasons access to healthcare is a struggle for so many – the astronomical costs. If tort reform was seriously discussed, if the massive regulatory burden on healthcare was reduced and reformed, if the free market was allowed to function and apply downward pressure on healthcare costs as it does with everything else, perhaps people wouldn’t be so beholden to insurance companies in the first place. If costs were lowered, more people could simply pay for what they need out of pocket, as they were able to do before government got so involved. Instead, in the name of going after greedy insurance companies, the federal government is going to make people even more beholden to them by mandating that everyone buy their product! Hefty fines are due from anyone found to have committed the heinous crime of not being a customer of a health insurance company. We will need to hire some 16,500 new IRS agents to police compliance with all these new mandates and administer various fines. So in government terms, this is also a jobs bill. Never mind that this program is also likely to cost the private sector some 5 million jobs.

Of course, the most troubling aspect of this bill is that it is so blatantly unconstitutional and contrary to the ideals of liberty. Nowhere in the constitution is there anything approaching authority for the Federal government to do any of this. The founders would have been horrified at the idea of government forcing citizens to become consumers of a particular product from certain government approved companies. 38 states are said to already be preparing legal and constitutional challenges to this legislation, and if the courts stand by their oaths, they will win. Protecting the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, should be the court’s responsibility. Citizens have a responsibility over their own life, but they also have the liberty to choose how they will live and protect their lives. Healthcare choices are a part of liberty, another part that is being stripped away. Government interference in healthcare has already infringed on choices available to people, but rather than getting out of the way, it is entrenching itself, and its corporatist cronies, even more deeply.

Editor’s Note: Ron Paul is the Republican Congressman from District 14. The district includes Chambers County. He has served District 14 since 1997.

Rep. Gene Green Votes in Support of Health Care Reform

Rep. Gene Green voted in support of H.R. 3590, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and H.R. 4872, The Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Rep. Green released the following statement in support of the legislation:

“While no bill is perfect, my greatest concern is ensuring that the people of our district have greater access to healthcare. Your health care decisions shouldn’t be made by the government or by an insurance company. Your health care decisions should be made by you. This bill expands coverage to 30 million U.S. citizens including 223,500 in our district.

This is middle-of-the-road legislation that builds on the private insurance system that we current have. This is also a market-based approach, not a government takeover or government option, that utilizes insurance exchanges to pool individuals together – who don’t have employer-based insurance and would otherwise be on their own to secure insurance – in order to reduce exorbitant premiums. The legislation includes significant consumer protections and improves Medicare benefits for 56,000 seniors in our district.

In addition 217,000 residents in our district will receive improved employer-based coverage, 34,500 residents will no longer be denied coverage for preexisting conditions and no one will be denied coverage because of health status or gender. The time for health reform has come and these benefits to our district are essential.”

Editor’s Note: Gene Green is the Democratic Congressman from District 29. The district includes Baytown (south of I-10), Channelview, South Houston and Northeast Harris County. He has served in Congress since 1992.

Congressman Ted Poe: The government control of healthcare in unconstitutional

Congressman Ted Poe presented the following speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Mar 20.

Mr. Speaker, the Constitution of the United States of America was written by our Founding Fathers to limit the size of government. The Constitution sets limits on what the government can do for us and what the government can do to us.

The people decide what is best for themselves and our country, not the all-seeing eye of the federal government. James Monroe said in 1788 at the Virginia convention to ratify the United States Constitution, “how prone all human institutions have been to decay, how difficult it has been for mankind in the ages and countries to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, imperiled as they were by an irresistible fate of tyranny.”

Now the tyrannical all-seeing eye of the federal government is trying to take care of us. The government doesn’t think we know how to take care of ourselves, so it must come in and take care of us. We are to be made subjects incapable of taking care of our own health. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given any authority to control the people’s health, not one place. George Washington didn’t fight the redcoats so people could be the subjects of the new, oppressive, and untrustworthy federal bureaucracy. The colonists didn’t die in the War of Independence so a healthcare czar could rule over us.

The government takeover of healthcare is unconstitutional. And if this bill passes, the Texas attorney general and 30 other State attorneys general are prepared to sue the federal government for an exercise of unconstitutional action because this bill is unconstitutional. It forces Americans to buy health insurance against their will. And if people don’t buy the insurance, they will face fines or go to jail. And on top of that, it forces people to buy government-approved health insurance. That means the Feds tell people they have to buy the federal-approved insurance, and it tells them what insurance they must buy. That’s not allowed under any stretch of the law or imagination. That is unconstitutional.

And of course, in this bill they are hiring 16,000 new IRS healthcare police to enforce that dictate. The IRS healthcare police will verify that American citizens have acceptable healthcare insurance every month. I say American citizens because illegals are exempt from paying healthcare fines and taxes, although illegals can receive coverage in this bill.

The healthcare bill also violates the people’s right to privacy. People’s most secret, private, intimate medical records will become the property of the U.S. government. Healthcare busybody bureaucrats will burrow through private medical records and decide what medical care people are allowed to have. Healthcare bureaucrats will stick their nose into private banking accounts and their records to decide how much people have to pay for that health insurance. They will be able to seize tax refunds, bank accounts, garnished wages all in the name of forcing people to buy insurance for their own good. And of course, this is in the bill.

This power grab is not about health, and it’s certainly not about care. It’s about liberty. It’s about federal government control over people’s lives against their will. The federal government has no right to dictate to the people their healthcare needs. And in my opinion, it’s unconstitutional.

Most of the American people oppose the government plan to take over this healthcare. There were thousands of people here today making their voices known that they are opposed to this bill. It costs too much, it borrows too much, it taxes too much, it’s inefficient, and it gives government bureaucrats the control of our medical decisions.

Even Thomas Jefferson talked about government-run healthcare. He said, “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

Mr. Speaker, government-run healthcare is unconstitutional, and it’s unhealthy for everyone. We must remember the Constitution says and begins with “We the People,” not “We the Subjects.”

And that’s just the way it is.

Editor’s Note: Ted Poe is the Republican Congressman from District 2. The district includes Highlands, Crosby and Liberty County. He has served in Congress since 2006.

Drunk driving must stop before someone else dies


To the Editor,

On March 18, 2006 my daughter Jessica Ortiz, age 4, and my mother Karen McCollum, age 61, were killed by a drunk driver on Crosby-Eastgate Rd.

I would like to remind everyone that drunk drivers hurt and kill people. This is a problem that we need to do something about NOW!!!

Tammalyn McCollum-Ortiz

Crosby ISD board meeting: building plans change, UIL celebrated


CROSBY – An exhaustive, regular Crosby I.S.D. board meeting was held Monday night, March 22 that was packed with parents and students for the recognition of Drew and Crosby Middle School students. They participated in the University Interscholastic League accomplishments at the March 6 competition. The meeting was extended through two executive sessions about personnel changes, recognition of the students who went to Hawaii on a Band trip, highlights of the efforts at Barrett Primary, the painstaking technology updates for application to the schools and the architects presenting schematics for renovations to each of the campuses.

Retirements included Barrett Primary Principal Bob York and Crosby High Associate Principal Victoria Clapp at the end of May. Also noted were the resignation of three English/Language Arts teachers, a Special Education teacher, a high school Math teacher, and a health teacher.

Finance Superintendent Diane Fleming received most Kudos for her role in managing finances to show that the district was sound enough to sell bonds at the most advantageous rates available. Doug Whitt reviewed Bids on the Maintenance Tax Notes and Adopt the Order Authorizing the Issuance of Notes for $7.2 Million to be used for renovations to each of the campuses.

Review followed of the schematics of CRE8 architect Jerry Bevel, for renovations of existing school buildings to derive the most use for the space available. The discussion lasted over one hour alone. A more detailed story about the proposed changes and the boards’ likely amendments is much too lengthy for here but considerable work is going into adjusting to technological advancement and changing space within existing schools and playgrounds, including some changes for immediate needs.

A report on Math, Science, and Lifeskills Stipends was approved per advice of the Superintendent. Textbooks were adopted unanimously.

A TASB Policy update was approved unanimously.

The Board submitted votes for a candidate to Region IV Board of Directors.

A calendar for the 2010 -2011 School Year was adopted unanimously.

JoAnne Carfield and David Haapala presented updates on the on-going explorations of the Technology available and/or feasible for Crosby ISD, as the committee continues to review how to spend the funds.

State water board OKs $200K loan to MUD 50


BARRETT STATION – The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), on March 18, approved by resolution a loan in the amount of $200,000 from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to the Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 50 (Barrett Station) to finance development costs for a water supply project.

According to the state. the MUD No. 50 (District) plans to use the funds to prepare for an Engineering Feasibility Report, an Environmental Information Document and preliminary design work.

MUD 50 is located in Barrett Station. The District serves an State water board OKs $200K loan to MUD 50 estimated 1,177 water and 1,090 wastewater connections and was created in 1973 pursuant to Chapters 49 and 54 of the Texas Water Code.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning and preparing the State Water Plan for the development of the state’s water resources.

The TWDB administers cost-effective financial programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.

Youth baseball begins Saturday


Baseball season will begin this weekend with festivities planned in Highlands and Crosby.

HIGHLANDS — On Friday night, the annual Highlands Little League Pageant will be held at the Highlands Junior School Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

For the past couple of months each of the Little League teams have held fundraisers. At the pageant, the teams will be represented by a queen.

The team that raised the most money will have their queen named Highlands Little League Queen for 2010. That girl will throw out the first pitch in Saturday’s Opening Day Ceremony. The pageant will also feature an optional talent contest.

On Saturday floats representing the Highlands Little League and Highlands Sports Association will make their way south on Main Street at 9 a.m. in a parade.

Opening Day will continue at the Little League fields after the parade with games and food.

CROSBY — The Crosby Sports Association season opening parade will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Line up will begin for floats at 7:30 am in the Crosby High School parking lot. Following the parade there will be moonwalks, games, barbeque and lots of fun for all at the Main Sports Complex next to the Crosby Community Center and library on Hare Road.

Team and individual pictures will begin at 12 p.m. at the main sports complex.

Crosby Rodeo hosts Fowler, Bowen at Cook-Off


CROSBY – The Crosby Fair & Rodeo Board announced their featured performers line up for the Cook-Off and next month’s Spring Dance for this year.

Jake Hooker and the Outsiders will perform at the Spring Dance to be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 1508 Crosby-Dayton Road beginning at 9:00 p.m. on April 24. General admission is $15 and everyone is invited. Tickets are available on line or at the Rodeo Office.

Kevin Fowler’s concert on March 5 during the Crosby Rodeo Cook-Off Party with a lead off act after the Cook-Off winners have been announced, is certain to be a highlight of the new event. That is the day of the Rodeo Parade up Main Street in Crosby beginning at 10:00 a.m. The night before that, March 4, Wade Bowen will return to Crosby to play as the Cook-Off Party starts its first night. Lead act will be Phillip Griffin.

This year the limit on cooking teams is 60. Interested teams are invited to go to www.crosbyfairandrodeo.net to get all the information they need or visit the office inside the Fairgrounds during regular business hours or call (281) 328-2113.

This story has been shortened for the web. For the full story, please see our print edition.

Garcia hosting Town Hall April 8


HIGHLANDS — Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia will host a town hall meeting for constituents in Baytown, Barrett Station, Crosby, Highlands, Linus, Lynchburg and McNair on Thursday, April 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the San Jacinto Community Center at 604 Highland Woods Drive in Highlands.

“This meeting provides an opportunity for residents to ask questions, offer solutions and work with their county government,” said Garcia. “I welcome the opportunity to bring decision makers and department heads together with the taxpayer.”

Commissioner Garcia and members of her staff will be at the meeting, as will staffers from the Harris County Flood Control District and other county departments. They will be available to answer questions about a variety of projects and issues.

For more information on the event call (281) 427-7311.