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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

The power of

the princess dress

If you see me walking around in a pretty pink dress someday, there is nothing to worry about.

I know what you are thinking, but it is not like that.

Just give me a moment and I will explain.

My youngest daughter, Carson Mae, is two years old, coming on three.

She has a princess dress, and let me tell you, a princess dress is a fine thing to own.

Now, just to look at it, you would not think that a poofy bundle of pink saffron, ribbons and sparkles could be so powerful.

Where the power comes from I do not know, but I know it exists.

Carson Mae would wear her princess dress everyday if her mom would let her. Apparently jelly stains and a little mud do not affect the power of the dress.

Like the solid-plate armor worn by the knights of old, bit of rust do nothing to diminish its protective characteristics.

The princess dress is good for feeding chickens, working on trucks with her dad, painting with mom, instructing young Barbie dolls on proper dress and behavior, and playing with big sister.

It also seems to ward off evil, protect from physical harm, and generally prevent the world from hurting you.

Messing up Carson's day when she wears the force of the princess dress is no small matter.

Apparently its powers are similar to that of one of the minor deities of Greek mythology. When walking about with mere mortals not much can really screw up your day.

When she has her princess dress on, Carson is going to have a good day. You can see it in her shining eyes as she shrugs into it and then darts out the door barefoot despite her mother's warnings to the contrary.

That look says, "Today I am immune to the evils of the world. Today is my day and I will prevail, and have fun doing it."

And, she pretty much does.

Maybe it is a placebo affect but somehow I doubt it. I think it really is the dress.

There are days when I wish I had a princess dress.

Those mornings when I feel like full-football pads and war paint would be more appropriate than my usual attire.

Those are the days when I know the world is going to be gunning for me. I can feel it.

I am special that way. Some say it is akin to the gift - the ability to see into the future. Of course, it might have something to do with what was on the front page the day before, or my last column, or whoever's name appeared in the police report.

Somedays though, you just know.

On those days, I wish I had a princess dress.

Maybe I'll get one.

I have considered just dressing however whim dictates on those days.

War paint and my favorite work shirt might do the trick.

We could call it "Comfort Dress Monday," kind of like "Casual Friday."

Somehow though, I do not think that it would have the same power as the princess dress.

So, maybe I will get me a princess dress, complete with pink saffron bows and purple and pink flowers.

Come to think of it, that might back a few folks off when they walked into the publisher's office all ready to unload.

Especially if I go ahead and rub a little burned cork under my eyes for good measure.

Maybe next Monday won't be so bad.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and pulblisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. H can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Race and politics in Pecos

All number of complaints float through the doors of a newspaper.

Some are legitimate - some not.

One that resurfaces on occasion is the claim that the Pecos Enterprise is involved in a conspiracy to "keep Hispanics down. "

That usually surfaces in relation to either an editorial criticizing an elected official who is Hispanic or occasionally after an article where someone feels they were not treated fairly.

Relating this complaint to a member of the community the other day prompted a well-spoken response that deserves repeating.

"About 10 percent of the people in Pecos think that Hispanics ruined this town and hate them all. Another 10 percent of the people in Pecos hate Caucasians and think that all of Pecos' troubles would be over if you got rid of them."

"The other 80 percent just wish that those two 10-percents would leave town. Pecos really would be better off."

That is about as accurate a description of Pecos race relations as we have heard.

For the record, it seems that a person with a Hispanic surname should be able to criticize the actions of a public official with an Anglo-Saxon surname without being accused of racism, and vice versa.

In Pecos 90 percent of our elected officials are Hispanic, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

That makes sense when you look at the population. The majority of eligible candidates for any elected office are going to be Hispanic.

Some will be good public servants and some not so good.

Criticism of those public servants, by citizen or newspaper, is not a bad thing. It is an integral part of our system of self-government.

Being able to trace your ancestors back to Mexico does not make you anymore a good or bad public servant than being able to trace your ancestors back to England.

Nor does your ancestry make your comments about public officials any more or less valid.

The comments should stand on their own, as should the actions of public officials.

County, City irresponsible on paying bills

Dear Editor:
I'm not a Greek chorus for the editor of the Pecos Enterprise. I continue to be outraged by the conduct of our County Judge and our Court of Commissioners. Thankfully we have a free press where I can voice my outrage... perhaps to motivate others.

Judge Walter Holcombe should decline any raise whether or not it's funded by a state grant. The taxpayers are the "state." So, nothing is given, not even a grant, unless it's compelled from someone else. It takes only minimal research to find that grants for salary or personnel increases have a history of becoming "defunded" over time. The recipient, by then, has become dependent on their raise and the $35,000 "grant" becomes a $35,000 line item in need of funding. Salary grants, therefore, often become contributing factors to further deficit spending. There's no free lunch.

Mr. Galindo inquires, "whether some of the cost (of indigent defense) might be offset by getting some of the local attorneys to do pro bono (free) work for the county." Only if you live where Internationale is the state anthem. Why, sir, are local professionals tapped to donate services? Why not donate the salaries, benefit packages, and expense accounts of the County Judge to offset any deficit. If I own a bulldozer, will you commandeer its use for county roads? The suggestion bares Mr. Galindo's contempt for the principle that workers are entitled to their full wage and that they may donate their services only by free will. How, sir, do you propose to "get" local attorneys to donate their professional services? Mr. Galindo, and like-minded elected officials see their sole function to spend other people's money; the voter is merely a source of revenue. It's an outrage that Mr. Galindo feels somehow entitled to free labor by a lawyer or any other worker.

Mr. Galindo attempts an OJ-like "rope-a-dope" by mentioning the failure of the city to pay the agreed-upon $5,000 per year maintenance costs for the Civic Center. Suddenly, the city is as irresponsible as the county. How dare they call the county to pay their bills? This is a typical shuffle used by someone seeking to avoid paying a bill. Find some specious reason not to pay or some minor fault with the service rendered. Better yet, shift attention from the matter at hand.

The city must answer for their non-payment by writing a check for the principle owed, plus 10% interest. Pay the county by certified check. Then, demand full and immediate payment of $422,000, plus 10% interest, from the county. Mr. Galindo expects that, by pointing out the error of the creditor (the city) that he can shift some of the blame and attention away from the deadbeat conduct of the county. The answer is not, likewise, "returning" the Civic Center, rodeo grounds, golf course, and parks to the city. This is a akin to giving the soon-to-be winner of a monopoly game "Baltic Avenue" and "Mediterranean Avenue" title to those low-rent properties. It only delays the inevitable.

Finally, I find it sad that we will fully fund indigent care and cut our library book fund by $2,500. Heat, electricity, and transportation (unlike legal representation) are not constitutional mandates. Funding the poor is the duty of our houses of worship. If the darn taxes weren't so high, we'd have more money to give to them! The idea of faith-based charity isn't popular because some religious education might be dispensed with the cash. Secular education in America is free but very few of who were immigrants; some from very poor countries. Ask yourself, "Why did they succeed?" If education is paramount to the prevention of poverty, perhaps we should pass out welfare checks at the library? We should simply stop passing out checks, period.

We can't spend our way into prosperity. Trim the budget.


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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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