Port Aransas South Jetty (Port Aransas, Tex.), Vol. 27, No. 48, Ed. 1 Thursday, November 27, 1997 Page: 2 of 66

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Murray and Mary Judson
Mary Judson
n|r “
Secrets and good
■ Wf
| government don't mix
[hditor's note: In lieu of Donald haul's column ,
(his editorial by Texas Attorney (General Dan Morales
is being published !
When dots a government employee or a public official
have a right to keep secrets from the people who pay his or
her salary? My answer is "Almost never."
Most citi/ens understand there are times when govern
inent secrecy
is required, such as m cases mv olv mg national sec uriiy
or investigations to determine criminal wrongdoing In
fact, there are other reasonable "exceptions' to the require-
ment of open government, such as the protection ol per-
sonal records of children who attend public schools
Nonetheless, most Texans also understand that the prin-
ciple of open government is more than a good idea It is a
bedrock principle ol our democracy Thoseot us who serve
as public officials and government employees should
never forget that we work lor the public, to benefit the
public, and we should expect our work to be subiect to
public scrutiny
I asi spring, die lex.is I .egislatute passed a bill making
public information about tialhc accidents harder to get
The problem they were nv mg to hx was a legitimate one
Many people felt that certain professionals were engaged
m "ambulance chasing" bv scrutinizing public accident
reports and then calling people who had suffered severe
injuries in these acc idents m ordei to solicit their business
These victims were being harassed
llic cl tort to pioiect privaev was well intended, but it
created a real obstac le to the public s light to know In one
c ase. the may ot ol a
Texas c itv and Ins w de were involved in a cai clash that
involveda latahiv I he I ex. s I )epartmeniol Rubin Safely,
in its efloit to billow the new law re I used to release
information regarding that iCcident
Seveial Texas news oigam/ations challenged the law.
and bn good icason I hcv uiuletstood that it interfered
with their tight to know and c onsequentlv. the public's
right to know
As I homas let tci son once w iole. "()ui lilxitv depends
on the Ireedom ol die1 picss. and dial cannot be limited
w nhoul being lusi
llie Texas Dailv Newspapci Assoc'nation and the lexas
Press Assoc lalion w ant the I ex.is I .egislatute to rev isit this
issue and I md a w av to deal w nh the "ambulance chasers
w 11 In Hit mlimgmg on the public's light to know W c
support that elloit In anothci recent instance our ollice
was asked bv a non prolit orgam/atioii u helher the phone
records ol the lexas Supreme Court were open to the
public according to the lexas Public Information Act
We drew on a numbci ol court cases winch made a
distinction between the court records ol the indiciary
which are exc luded, and the administrative records ol die
ludiciary. which ate not. in out view excluded Irom the
Act We ruled that w hilc the |udic tary w as c Icarly gianled
an exemption undei the Act. the telephone teeords that
were suh|ect to the request were administrative m nature,
not (iidic nil
I he state Stipieme ( dint m w hat we believe was a gi>od
l.nth disagreement, i c1 |ec ted out ruling, and reading the law
verv literallv. said that all oltfie n records were exempt and
thev had no intention ol releasing anv ol them
It will surprise no one that law vers disagree We inter
prcl the law ddleientlv than the Supreme Court But that
disagreement can serve as an opportunity lor all ot us to
look hevond dillenng interpretations ol ihe law We musi
never lose sight ol the spnit ol our ojvn government laws
whic h aitic ulate a moial obligation lor I exas government
to operate openlv in the light ol dav We must nevet lose
sight ol the plain trnth that darkness breeds secrets
Ifonest open government is the essential obligation of
every person
whose salarv is paid bv lax dollars No one is exc luded
from that obligation, not presidents ot governors or attor
nevs general oi |udges
I he preamble ol the ()pen Rec ords Ac t t since renamed
Public Inlorm.ition Act I savs it best It is the policy of
this stale that each person is entitled, unless otherwise
expresslv piovidcd bv law at all times to complete inlot
mat ion about the a I Ians ol gov eminent and the official ads
of public officials and employees The people, in dclegat
mg authority, do not give then public servants the right to
decide what is good lot the people to know and what is not
good lor them to know Ihe people msisi on remaining
informed so that they may retain control ovet the insiru
ments they have created "
Modern holidays
How was your Thanksgiving? Our's was a little compli
cated. We did the traditional We went over the river and
through ihe wexxis to grandfather's house. But the horse
got lost because grandfather moved in with the widow
down the lane since grandmother ran off to Bermuda with
an Arthur Murray dance instructor.
We finally found the old home place. Cousin Ann and
John are living there now since he lost his job with (he
savings and loan. Ann had moved in since the fight she had
with her live-in boyfriend. Some things re-
mained. Of Jawler heard the hells
of our sleigh and came running to
meet us. He was in hoi water for
biting Ann s boyfriend when he
came for the car that Ann said was
Grandf ather came for dinner since
his widow friend had gone to L A
to be with her daughter whose hus-
band had just left her. The maid
who was going to cook dinner didn't
make it because she was at the court-
house taking out a peace bond
against her ex-husband who had beaten up her current
Sister came late for dinner because her ex-husbund was
late bringing her daughter back-frum Thanksgiving dinner.
But they did finally arrive, their toes and noses stinging
from the cold since the electric window lifts weren't
We did get a turkey from the delicatessen. No pudding
■Orandpa's choke *cml and twglyewidc
is too high since he started drinking again But we
do. We kissed them all. and we played snowball. I
i we had. if not a first-rale, a second rate
I “Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day” But
Cactus Pryor
' _ • ■ P«t Aransas
f •*-
Hjouth Jetty
Shop the island for Christmas
SPIN! >1 I
M VK'l
! 11 NKI I
11 I>S( >\
'i mi may not be ,ihlc in get a Barbie
doll m Pori Aianxax. and vou probably
can I get a t i I loc Iicic. either you
can them un\ u In n
Here, v otic, in gel one ot a kmdgitls
ranging tiom clothing to |ewelry. lo
c.illv created potter v. ,n I wi>i k Iishmg
gear and special gilts Pom the sea
These are Port Aransas signaiuie gills
unique lo out island
(let nd ol the notion that island
shops ate lot tom i st son I v I he se shops
ate here v ear round ol lei mg then spe
c i .i I ireasmes lot visiiois AM) iesi
di'lll s
I lie Meichants Assix muon ol Port
Aiansas w.mis io miiodtice vou lo the
(.oncept ol ( hnsimas shopping on the island away Irom
the hassle, headaches, traffic and crowds ol the big city
Shopping the island lor Christmas is an alternative dial
ollcis Inendlv, personal service with a smile
While vou re shopping, don't forget the many service
and adventure-oriented businesses here that ollet gill
(.citdicales A lishing trip, dmnci. manicure, bud watch
mg excursion or massage may be |usi the in. ket lot some
one spec ml on vour Christmas hsi
\ gill that savs "Port Aransas exclusive is not some
tiling everyone can give We are in the unique position of
being able to share a bit ol paradise w ith li tends and family
at < hnsimas
lake a look around the island the merchants are
making a special ellort this yeai to bring you into then
shops lor the holidays
Join them vou II be glad you did'
Letters to the editor
Thanks for law enforcement Something’s changed
Hav mg arriv ed on this tan island 14 y ears or so ago. I d like
to pul some per spec 11 v e to the law enforcement" issue that
has recently been in question, the night I arrived. Mi
(iates w as murdered m Ins bar (no one ev cr convicted), his
beloved nutther. Shoitv killed next door a couple of years
I ici all ihe gram operaloi w ho stole a million or so staging
his boat sinking/disappeararu e Irom the south |etty Then
there was the counterfeiter tat the lime on the I Bi s 10
most wanted list i w h(> lived in a motor home owtied by one
ot the more prominent law enforcement oilicers This is a
lishing village / out ol the wav island and as such is a
natural haven to all sorts ol scalawags It probably w ill be
even w ith a golf course, but personally I led real hie kv we
have someone ol Robert Sherwood’s abililv on the |ob
Sure he can be "sell serving at limes dhal used to he
called ambition), but I'm amazed that he can walk that
tightrope ot dealing wnh druggies, riltratf. kids wnh
normal out ol control hormones, narrow minded old bid
toons, and endless protecti v c law s i A K A political correc i
ness) wnli suc h grace and c hcerlulness
To that end. I sav three i hccis and a big thank you
Bob ( oi >k
Port Aransas
Criticism out of line
In re Letter Irom Inn Anderson
You evidentlv need an attitude adjustment' I Ins is not a
major city w nh major crime and gangs Oui kids are some
ol the best around and many grow up lo be great sm cesses
So you had a great experience wnh one ol them W heic do
our kids have to ride their skateboards oi use their skates'’
I’m quite sure the child was as I Tightened as you were He
used bad judgement but is that a crime ’ II so many ol us
are criminals
As lor law enforcement you are wav out ol line Having
served 27 years in this held docs not give you the right to
criticize them. We have the best oil icers m the w hole state,
t hey have a thankless |oh and do not receive the gratitude
they deserve. Many ol us have exjierienced lust hand their
dedication and professionalism they are compassionate
and caring and they deserve praise not criticism, so back
As for the safety ol oui community, you can walk any
where on this island unalraid ol being assaulted or robbed
Usually walking you are offered lilts from several and can
accept without being afraid of being attacked
Our community is not a drug infested hell hole you imply.
Sure there are drugs what place doesn't have the prob
lem? But this is still one of the best and safest towns to live
and raise a family
I resent you remarks and if our community is so unaccept
able lo your standards, maybe you should look tor a better
place - Good luck*
Lucy Jones
Port Aransas
I spent seveial Novembers in Port Aransas about 10years
ago While there I became addicted to the Port Aransas
South Jetts I still read it every week I always read C M
Henkel. Jws column and I practically never agreed with
A strange thing has happened over this period ol years
lather I fenkcl has changed m this thinking. I hav e changed
or we boih have changed Now I find his column not only
interesting, but I find myscll increasingly in agreement
wnh his thinking.
I lurry ( I arrell. Jr
First-hand knowledge needed
I read C. M Henkel s recent article "Chinese Leader's
Visit a Vaudev ille Act " Somehow when you think of
Chinese it reminds you ol Israeli’s Maybe it is because
languages you don’t understand all sound alike
Henkel seems nev er to miss an opportunity to lake a sw qx’
at Israel and it's people "Third hand reporting on a
conversation wnh a friend who v isited the Middle l ast is
seldom reliable I have been to Israel three tunes and will
be ihere again in January. and my exjx'i icncc has been that
most Israelis are extremely friendly They love Americans
and emulate many things that are American
lor less than "SI (MX) vou can 11 v I >IW to Tel Aviv I
suggest you find out what Israelis arc like in person
Smart Isgur
Port Worth
Letters to the Editor
Letters should be limited to approximately
300 words and contain valid signatures,
mailing addresses, as well as day and evening
telephone numbers where the writers may be
reached Names of persons writing letters will
not be withheld from publication Mass-
produced form letters will not be published.
Only one letter per person will be published in
a 30-day period Letters of thanks should be
submitted with payment to the Classified
Advertising Department. Mail letters to: Letters
to the Editor, P O Box 1116, Port Aransas, TX
The South Jetty (946:020) pays
Periodicals postage at Port
Aransas, TX
POSTMASTER: Send address
PO. Box 1116, Port Aransas 78373
Stuff a Christmas Stocking
with a Gift Subscription
C M. Henkel Jr.
[m. , »rd]
*21.50 per year in Nueces County, Ai
Elsewhere in the
Send to: P.O. Box
Pass and Ingleside.
addresses *19.90
or Charge it
South Texas Prase Association
Texas Gulf Coast Press Association
Texap Press Association
National Newspaper Association
More quality books to
’ ' ' 4
read than time to read
Venerable curmudgeon: - "The originof the absurd idea
of immortal life is easy to discover: it is kept alive by hope
and fear, by childish faith, and by cowardice.” —Clarence
OF MY adopted home town of more than two decades,
Rockporl, l have often noted that the asset of which it
should he most proud is the circumstance of its supporting
two bcxik shops,
one of w hich spe
cializes in lexas
books, as well as
hard-to-find and
out-of-print publi
cations. The tow n
also supports a
public library
from w Inch any of
the world's great
esi books may be
obtained. This is
noi to mention
several shops that
oiler used books
at modest prices and several general stores that carry jiajx*r
backs, often of dubious worth "All books aredivixible into
two classes, those ot the hour, and the books lor all time."
In a recent conversation w ith a young woman in which
we briefly remarked on a recent publication of area histon
cal significance. I w as then and even now am unable to find
winds to express my delight and admiration when she
observed that she and her husband were reading the lxx>k
as they do others, by ending the day in bed alternately
reading to eac h othei I rom this desk. a salute to an unusual
couple, uncommon in a time when so many ol their
countrymen depend upon the boob lube for whatever they
know ol events at home, not to mention the world
()l books I would say more It often seems there are more
ol worth and otherwise being jmblished today than ever
before. All ux> infrequently I see fh< AVu )mk Times
Review of Bcxvks. which is only one ol rather many
sources. Among friends I am sometimes thought to be a bit
of a panjandrum, and pretentious w hen admitting to rarely
reading fiction, the while contending to have read over the
years most of the great classics, even including the re-
nowned Russian Short Stories This makes no claim to
thinking there is no great fiction today Definitely untrue
Someday I may lind the time For the nonce I am over-
loaded with history, political and philosophical concepts,
m the last fascination w ith the w isdom of Asia Blushing,
I confess I am only reading for the first time The- Jefferson
Bible, more appropriately titled by the author "The Lite
and Morals ol Jesus of Nazareth" extracted from the
Gospels m Greek. Latin. French and English. frequently
revised by the author Little known is the fact that Jef ferson
was harassed and hounded by the clergy ol his day.
particularly in his native Virginia
Alex is de Tocquevi I le was obi iged to comment: "A merica
has hitherto produced very few writers ol distinction...."
Remember he was referring to a nation of 26 states at the
time ol his visit in 1831. and before the advent of such great
writers as Longfellow. Emerson and Thoreau ol the New
England school, to name a few
MOVING ON. Jefferson was in accord wnh Washing
ton in his views regarding foreign affairs, besi articulated
in his Farewell Address in which he advocated avoiding
"entangling foreign alliances." a precaution long since
forgotten. Washington was, ol course, thinking of Euro
jx*an countries, and with no thought to the Middle and Ear
Last which are of such moment to our nation today, and
now engross our concern to such high degree, particularly
with regard to something we call "human rights " On that
count I venture lo presume that all iiki lew among us are
capable ol offering an intelligently informed opinion the
subject is one on which hundreds, thousands might dwell,
ad infinitum On that score our own record has never been
jx-rlcct. nor is u likely lo ever be Disregard for human
rights exists even in this country ongoing For the moment
reference is to workers in New York's garment district
where pay. work hours and conditions are or have been
nearly inhuman and close to slavery Where else ’ Last
week a young Chinese dissident, imprisoned in China tor
some 17 years on account ol his advocacy ol democracy,
was released and permitted to come here lor medical
attention That prompts me to remember that on the road to
power China's Mao Tse lung won the hearts of the peas
ants in the countryside who were among other things over
burdened w nh C 'hiang Kai shek s taxation and other abuses
There comes to mind thai great observer of China, the
American foreign correspondent Edgar Snow and others
among his countrymen who became aware ol Chiang's
tyrannical inhumanity, something also fairly charged
against the military controlled government ol today which
is ol course the consequence ot Mao’s misdeeds in his
years in jxiwer
All this prompts, gives me occasion to return to de
Tocqueville’s’ great bcxik 'Democracy in America." Al-
though he never visited China, he rioted that Europeans
first visited that country 3(X) years before his time, and
found that "China had existed peacefully for centuries, and
that invaders who had conquered the country had assumed
the manners of its inhabitants, and order prevailed there A
sort of physical prosperity was everywhere discernible,
revolutions were rare, and war was. so to speak, un-
known " That prompts me to suggest that the Chinese, not
to mention the rest of the world, might do well to emulate
their ancestors. Chinese ol that distanl time were, without
knowing it. following the precepts of Jesus Christ and their
own men of wisdom, especially Laotse who wrote his book
ofTao between 400 and S00B.C. So. a deserving compan-
ion read with the earlier mentioned Jefferson's “Life and
Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.” Unlikely of course you will
find either in your local library from which of course, your
librarian may secure copies. In that regard I must note, the
cover title on Jefferson's work is "The Jefferson Bible. "
Good reading.
IN LAST week's edition of my preferred news maga-
zine. U.S. News and World Report, of half a dozen
Idlers, all hut one were in praise of a recent editorial by at-
large editor David Gergen who wrote of the dumbing down
of America- a condition which extends to so many of this
craft who on assignments abroad know no more of the
country they are in than its name — nothing of its people,
pct)pt^iy:1iwitwytintl^tivmwnfflt Rc mat king on the pap
Americans are served in the evening broadcast news, one
correspondent referred to tube news as reports of crime,
accidents, vitamins and what is happening in the National
Basketball Association. Pap indeed.
"* #rT /*■ P.> %
t. Henkel Jr. is a retired new spaper publisher living

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Judson, Mary. Port Aransas South Jetty (Port Aransas, Tex.), Vol. 27, No. 48, Ed. 1 Thursday, November 27, 1997, newspaper, November 27, 1997; Port Aransas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth623433/m1/2/ocr/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Ellis Memorial Library.

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