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March 20, 2001

Six more candidates enter local elections

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 20, 2001 - Late filings have turned a pair of races for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board and one for the Town of Pecos City Council into contested elections, with a 5 p.m. deadline on Wednesday for candidates to enter all of the May 5 area races.

Six people filed on Monday and early today to run in the P-B-T, Town of Pecos City and Reeves County Hospital District Board elections, three adding their names to races that previously had no candidates.

Francisco "Frankie" Rodriguez has filed for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board for the unexpired one-year term on Monday and has been joined by Michelle Galindo. The term is currently held by Paul Deishler, who has filed to run for a full three-year term on the board this May.

Deishler, who was appointed last year to replace Frank Apolinar, Jr., and incumbent Brent Shaw filed to run last month, and in the past 24 hours have been joined by

Veronica "Ronnie" Dutchover and Crissy Martinez, while Saul "Chip" Flores filed for one of the three available seats late last week.

Along with Shaw, Earl Bates and board president Louis Matta currently hold the other three-year terms up for election.

In the Town of Pecos City elections, the third incumbent filed to retain his seat on the council on Monday. Three seats will be voted on May 5 and Johnny Terrazas has joined Gerald Tellez and Larry Levario in filing for new two-year terms on the council. The fourth candidate in the race is former Pecos mayor Frank Sanchez.

In the hospital district race, Hugh Box became the first person to file for the Precinct 4 seat on the hospital board on Monday, a position currently held by Holly Key. Clark Lindley and Linda Gholson previously filed for the Precinct 2 seat currently held by Marcella Lovett, who has not filed for a new two-year term.

In the Balmorhea city election incumbent Ike Ward has filed to retain a seat along with Olga Lopez who had filed earlier to retain her seat. Both positions are up in the May 5 elections.

Incumbent Diana Tollet of Toyah has filed to retain her seat on the council and has been joined by newcomers Danny Wayne Enmon and Laura E. Budlong. There are three positions open in the Toyah election.

In the Barstow City Council race, all three incumbents whose terms are up have filed to retain their seats.

Aldermen Olga Abila, Dora Villanueva and Lucio Florez have filed to seek new two-year terms in the upcoming local elections.

If there are no opposed candidates, along with no propositions and no vacancies to be filled by special election in any of the city, school and hospital board races, those elections may be canceled between this Thursday and Election Day. For seats on the various board for which no candidate either files by Wednesday or opts to run as a write-in candidate, the boards can appoint someone to fill the vacancy following the May 5 election.

The last day a person may register to vote in the local elections is April 5. Early voting by personal appearance will be April 18 through May 1. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Election Day, May 5.

Only minor changes seen from redistricting in area

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, March 20, 2001 - Reeves County's representatives in the United States Congress, Texas House and Senate may not change much as a result of the upcoming legislative redistricting session, while redistricting of the county's four commissioners' precincts will not begin until after the current Reeves County Hospital District election is completed.

U.S Census figures released last week are the basis for all election redistricting. The Texas Legislature will determine the new district lines within the next month and half for the county's Congressional and state House seats and for the two State Senate seats. How it will affect Reeves County will be known at that time, according to Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

"In April, they will get the final figures from the Census Bureau," said Galindo. "The Legislatures takes those figures and uses them to re-district the Congress and the Texas Legislature District."

"After the session is over, we get the numbers from those Legislative Districts and do individual counties," said Galindo. "The counties are reapportioned according to the numbers."

Austin attorney Rolando Rios has been hired to help out with re-districting in this county. "He's been keeping up with all the numbers and helps with all the legal requirements regarding re-districting," said Galindo.

Galindo stated that this won't happen until sometime this summer.

The boundaries of all four precincts in Reeves County will also be adjusted to reflect population changes, so that the population of all four precincts is relatively equal.

The new precinct boundaries will first come into play this December, when candidate filings begin for the 2002 elections, which will include the Precinct 2 and 4 commissioner's races. Voters in those two precincts will cast ballots on May 5 for seats on the Reeves County Hospital district board, but that election will be held using the boundaries in effect since the 1992 election.

Reeves County's population dropped 17 percent over the past 10 years, according to the new Census numbers, but the loss of population only may have a major effect on the District 80 seat in the Texas Legislature, current held by Gary Walker (R-Plains). The size of Walker's district will have to be expanded or altered in some way to increase the population, because of the overall rise in Texas' population over the past decade.

In the Texas Senate, Frank Madla's District 19 lost population in the Permian Basin, but increased in population around San Antonio. Madla, a San Antonio Democrat, represents all but far northern Reeves County, which is part of District 26, represented by Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock).

Duncan's district stretches through Reeves County in order to reach areas of eastern El Paso County, and there is an outside chance Pecos and other sections of Reeves County could be added to District 26 by the legislature.

The Associated Press reported last week that despite a slight increase in population, the section of Duncan's district in El Paso be removed because El Paso's population growth has lagged behind the state average.

"One of my No. 1 priorities is to remain in El Paso if possible," said Duncan. "I'm concerned by the numbers."

Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, said El Paso would suffer if Duncan no longer represents the area.

"Cities with multiple senators have many voices for their issues," Shapleigh said Wednesday. "To limit us to one is not in our interest."

Duncan and Shapleigh are working on a plan that will allow the Republican senator to keep some El Paso precincts while Shapleigh gains the people he needs to get closer to the state's ideal size for a Senate district.

Shapleigh's district is more than 14 percent below the ideal size of 672,000 residents. Duncan also must pick up people, since his district's population is slightly more than 6 percent below the ideal. If Duncan remains in El Paso, sections of other counties like Reeves, Culberson or Ward, could be added to his district to make up for the 6 percent shortfall.

"My view is that El Paso is big enough to have two senators," Duncan said. "We've worked pretty hard and there's a bipartisan approach. While we don't always agree, we work well together."

Shapleigh agreed. "While I cover the Democratic side, he covers the Republican side," he said. "The end result is that El Paso is better off."

Congressman Henry Bonilla's District 23 is expected to undergo only minor changes. The San Antonio Republican may lose some of El Paso County within his district to District 16 Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso), but that loss will be mostly offset by population growth in South Central Texas, around San Antonio and Laredo.

While West Texans were coping with losses, some Central Texas legislators were enjoying huge population gains that are expected to allow the creation of two new congressional seats.

The big gainers appear to be lawmakers representing suburban areas around Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin. Austin replaced El Paso as the state's fourth largest city, according to the new census figures.

An area north of Dallas-Fort Worth may get one of the state's new congressional seats, according to some estimations.

Where the other new seat would be located is more questionable. Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, has said it may be located in the Austin-San Antonio corridor.

But arguments are being made for it to be in South Texas or in the Harris County area.

State Rep. Terry Keel, R-Austin, whose district tallied the biggest population gain of any House district, also is a member of the House Redistricting Committee.

Keel said it isn't necessarily accurate to say a new congressional district will be located in one spot or another, at this point. If two new seats are put into the state's whole mix, it could shift where other districts are located, he said.

Republicans control the Texas Senate and ultimately, perhaps, the redistricting process. Republican Gov. Rick Perry could veto any redistricting bill. The GOP controls the state's redistricting board, which could come up with its own plan for state lawmakers' districts if the Legislature fails to or if there is a veto.

The average Texan should care about redistricting, Wentworth said, because it affects who will decide important issues in education, taxes and criminal justice.

"It's absolutely fundamental to who gets elected," he said.

Wentworth would like to see more citizen involvement and for years has pushed for a bipartisan citizens' commission to oversee redistricting, removing the process from "self-interest" in the Legislature, he said.

A scenario likely to occur sooner, he said, is his proposed special 45-day redistricting session that would prevent the regular legislative session from getting overtaken by redistricting.

Whatever the new political districts are, they likely will face a legal challenge, as traditionally happens.

Two lawsuits already have been filed. One is in federal court in Marshall and the other is in state district court in Austin.

OC Center offers truck school info this Wednesday

PECOS, March 20, 2001 - The Pecos Technical Training Center of Odessa College announces that representatives from the Odessa College Truck Driving School will be available to speak to anyone interested in pursing a career in commercial truck driving from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Wednesday.

Representatives from the Swift Trucking Corp. will also be on hand with job information.

For more information contact the center at 445-5535.


PECOS, March 20, 2001 - High Monday 68. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low near 40. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny and warm. High in the upper 80s. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s. Thursday: Increasing clouds. High near 80. Friday: Mostly cloudy and cooler. Low near 40. High in the upper 60s.

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