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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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Monday, November 3, 1997

McLaren faces life in Tuesday sentencing

Associated Press Writer
ALPINE, Nov. 3 -- Separatist Richard McLaren's unorthodox legal
maneuvering has brought him to this: an organized crime conviction and a
possible life prison sentence.

The Republic of Texas leader and a top aide, Robert Otto, will learn
their punishment Tuesday for plotting the kidnapping that led to their
group's armed standoff with hundreds of police officers last spring.

State District Judge Kenneth DeHart will determine the sentence after
what should be a brief hearing in a Brewster County courtroom. McLaren
and Otto could face five to 99 years or life in prison and possibly a
$10,000 fine.

Both men were convicted last week of engaging in organized criminal
activity for their role in the abduction of Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe, a
couple who lived near Republic members in the Davis Mountains Resort, a
rural community 175 miles southeast of El Paso.

The April 27 kidnapping, allegedly carried out by three of McLaren's
followers, eventually brought some 300 state troopers and Texas Rangers
to the resort where the Republic maintained its headquarters.

They laid siege to the group's so-called embassy until McLaren and
others agreed to lay down their weapons May 3.

McLaren and Otto were the first of five charged in the abduction to go
on trial and quickly became involved in a bizarre legal spectacle.

The pair decided to represent themselves, even though they had
court-appointed attorneys, and embarked on a defensive strategy that
made little sense.

McLaren and Otto said they believed the trial to be a sham and instead
focused their attention on ``perfecting'' the court record for a federal
case they say is pending in a court in Washington, D.C.

Republic members contend the United States' annexation of Texas in 1845
was illegal and refuse to recognize Texas' statehood and institutions,
including the court system.

Neither McLaren nor Otto mounted a legitimate defense until after the
prosecution had rested. At that point they asked their standby counsel
to intervene and file motions for a mistrial and for directed verdicts
of acquittal.

DeHart denied both and a jury eventually took two less than two hours to
find the men guilty. Defense attorneys say they will appeal.

Lawyers have easier time in federal court

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 3 -- Jurors got a break today when all the federal court
defendants opted to enter guilty pleas before Senior Judge Lucius Bunton.

That is, all but one. Mike Barclay's client, Andres Herrera-Olivas,
filed a motion to suppress evidence, and that hearing was set for this
morning, along with eight guilty pleas and 16 sentencings.

Judge Bunton warned lawyers and defendants that he will no longer allow
sentenced convicts to voluntarily surrender for their prison terms,
giving them more time to get their affairs in order.

"They have at least two months from the time of conviction to
sentencing," he said. "Sixty days is enough to get your business in
order. If you can't do it, maybe you need to be in prison."

While Barclay was at the lectern, Judge Bunton asked him to convey
thanks to Alpine Judge Kenneth DeHart for setting arguments in the
Republic of Texas sentencings for Tuesday to allow Barclay and fellow
attorney Frank Brown to appear in federal court this morning.

"It will be a pretty short argument," said Barclay.

"I know it will be a brilliant argument," Judge Bunton said.

Brown represents Richard McLaren, while Barclay represents Robert "White
Eagle" Otto.

McLaren and Otto were convicted Thursday of engaging in organized
criminal activity for plotting to kidnap Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe on
April 27.

They claim that state and federal courts have no jurisdiction over them,
as do other ROT defendants. One of their arguments is that courtroom
flags are edged in gold fringe, signifying they are operating under war

"Magistrate (Stuart) Platt has spent some government money and bought a
flag without fringe," said Judge Bunton. "On Nov. 24, we will probably
be flying the flag without fringe. That will save the court reporter's
time, because there will be about 30 minutes less of the record when you
don't have fringe."

Two ROT members will be in court that day: Jeffrey Lindsay as claimant
for seven firearms seized by Pecos Police and Texas Rangers on April 30
when seven men from the Dallas area were arrested on their way to rescue
McLaren, Otto and others from their besieged "embassy" near Fort Davis;
and Dudley Edward Vandergiff, who is to be sentenced on his conviction
for felon in possession of a firearm. He was driving one of the two
vehicles carrying the men and weapons.

Others hunted after Friday's area drug raid

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 3 -- A sweep of residences around Pecos on Friday resulted
in the arrest of nearly 20 people on drug charges, while several others
are still being sought by local law enforcement officials.

The raids were carried out by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves
County Sheriff's Department, in co-operation with the Permian Basin Drug
Task Force and the U.S. Border Patrol. Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo
"Andy" Gomez said this morning that most of those arrested were on
warrants for the delivery of a controlled substance.

"We have 24 defendants, and 30 warrants," said Gomez, "There's still
more we need to pick up."

Pecos police officials were out of town today, attending the funeral of
Nancy Moore, wife of Police Chief Troy Moore, who died on Saturday. As a
result, a complete list of the two dozen people being sought by the law
enforcement agencies was not available from the department.

Arrest warrants were issued by Municipal Court Judge Phyllis Salyer,
and according to municipal court records this morning, some of those
arrested and charged with delivery of a controlled substance include
Daniel Fuentes, Hector Pando, Francisco Perez, Alberto Prieto, Julian
Rodriguez, Dulces Mata, Felipe Cabada, Lucy Vela, Francisco Manchaca,
Leon Vega, Alonzo Mendoza, Carol Cone, Gilbert Ortega, Concepcion
Garcia, Arthur Williams, Ruben Rayos, Raul Barrera, Antonio Suchil, and
Aaron Howell.

Pedestrian critical after Saturday accident

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 3 -- Two persons were injured Saturday night and Sunday
morning in accidents on the east and west sides of Pecos.

Auda Bradford of Pecos was injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident
Saturday night. The accident was reported to the Pecos Police Department
at 9:34 p.m., according to Investigator Kelly Davis.

Bradford was struck by a 1986 Oldsmobile two-door car, driven by Agapito
Rodriguez, who was travelling eastbound in the 1300 block of East Third
Street. The windshield of the car was shattered and the frame above it
dented by the impact, and both the Oldsmobile and Bradford ended up in a
field on the north side of Third Street, near the intersection with East
Second Street.

Bradford suffered a broken leg and head injuries in the collision. He
was first taken to Reeves County Hospital, then flown to Lubbock
Methodist Hospital, where he remains in critical condition, according to
a hospital spokesperson. Neither Rodriguez nor two children in the
vehicle with him required hospitalization following the accident.

In the second incident, which occurred late Sunday morning, a local man
ran into a balloonists' ground support van and was taken to Reeves
County Hospital.

DPS Corporal Emmit Moore said Ciro Ortiz of Pecos was driving a Chrysler
New Yorker Sunday at around 11 a.m. travelling in the westbound lane of
the north service road of Interstate 20 when he apparently attempted to
make a U-turn across the westbound lanes of I-20 and was struck by a
modified recreational vehicle. The RV was the Kellogg's Corn Flakes
"Team Tiger" hot-air balloon support team van, operated by Phogg
Enterprises from Michigan.

Ortiz was transported to Reeves County Hospital and released.

Voters set to decide on 14 amendments

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 3 -- Area voters will be going to the polls to decide 14
constitutional amendments Tuesday, with the polls opening at 7 a.m. and
closing at 7 p.m. on election day.

Already 265 voters have cast their ballots in early voting, which came
to an end on Friday.

The 14 proposed amendments to the state constitution are the only items
on the ballot, with the most interest coming from Proposition 8, which
would allow Texas homeowners to use their home equity to secure credit
and reverse mortgages.

Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez had stated earlier, that individuals
could get a sample ballot, take it home and study it before casting
their ballots.

She had also been giving out `hand-outs' for individuals to learn more
about what the election is about and what exactly is on the ballot.

In town voters will cast their ballots at Reeves County Civic Center.

Out of town boxes will be placed in the same spots as in previous years.
Toyah voters will cast their ballots at the Toyah City Hall; Saragosa
voters will go to the Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center; Balmorhea
individuals will vote at the Senior Center and people in Orla will vote
at the Red Bluff office.

Voters in the Barstow area of western Ward County will cast their
ballots on Tuesday at the Barstow Community Center.

In conjunction with Election Day, a Chili and Fixin's luncheon will be
held at the West of the Pecos Museum, 120 E. First St.

Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and will include beef
chili, tamales, frijole beans, cornbread, onion, cheese, crackers,
tortillas, tea and coffee, for $6.75. Dessert will cost $1.

Proceeds will help support the museum and the event is co-sponsored this
year by Texas-New Mexico Power Company.

Tuesday's ballot amendments

AUSTIN, Nov. 3 (AP) -- Here, at a glance, are arguments for and against
each of the 14 proposed constitutional amendments on Tuesday's election

The amendments were placed on the ballot after receiving two-thirds
votes of the House and Senate.

(Sources for the summaries included the League of Women Voters of Texas,
Texas Legislative Council and House Research Organization.)


Allowing a person to hold the position of municipal judge in more than
one municipality.

Arguments for: Small cities could hire better-qualified judges for
part-time positions. Appointed judges are allowed to serve more than one
community, so elected judges should have the same right.

Arguments against: Elected judges wouldn't need to live in the
communities they serve. There is no data showing the change would
improve administration of justice.


Permitting the Legislature to limit the maximum average annual increase
in homestead appraisal valuations to 10 percent or more for each year
since the most recent tax appraisal. Also would permit school districts
to retroactively apply the 65-and-over property tax freeze to a person's
new homestead.

Arguments for: The amendment would allow the gradual phasing-in of
increased property valuations for homeowners, adding predictability to
the system. Retroactive application would enable elderly Texans who
transferred their homestead residences earlier to get the benefit of a
tax freeze.

Arguments against: Capping taxation for homeowners would cause other
types of property, primarily businesses, to bear a higher percentage of
the school tax burden. Since some school districts would choose to make
the freeze retroactive and others would not, the amendment would have a
discriminatory impact on elderly homeowners in some districts.


Allowing counties, cities, towns and other local taxing entities the
power to grant exemptions or other property tax relief on property where
approved water conservation initiatives have been implemented.

Arguments for: Local governments can create incentives for voluntary
water conservation, helping curb future water shortages. Loss in
property tax revenue would be minimal.

Arguments against: This wouldn't require that all jurisdictions
participate in statewide water conservation tax relief measures. Local
self-interests could decide on conservation initiatives, which might not
be as important as regional or watershed conservation initiatives.


To update the Texas Constitution to reflect amendments to federal law,
delete obsolete provisions and renumber provisions with duplicate

Arguments for: The amendment would eliminate the confusion of having two
different provisions of the constitution identified by the sane section
number; and eliminating obsolete terminology would improve the clarity
of the document.

Arguments against: The constitution needs a rewrite, not a piecemeal,
cosmetic overhaul such as this.


Allowing the Texas Supreme Court to hold sessions at any location in the

Arguments for: A traveling Supreme Court would enable all Texans to
attend hearings and improve their knowledge of the judicial system. The
current justices support this.

Arguments against: There would be more costs and paperwork using
different locations. The Court of Criminal Appeals has had the power to
sit in panels of three judges outside of Austin since 1966, but after
trying off-site hearings for several years that court discontinued the


Repealing prohibition on Texas Growth Fund investment in companies that
fail to disclose investment in South Africa or Namibia.

Arguments for: South Africa has a democratically elected government, so
investing there no longer constitutes support for apartheid. Namibia now
is independent and no longer under South African control.

Arguments against: Neither the League of Women Voters nor House Research
Organization found any opposition.


Allowing the Texas Water Development Board to consolidate existing
voter-approved bond authorizations for water supply, water quality,
flood control and other programs into a new fund.

Arguments for: This would allow for more efficient use of bonds for
water projects. An additional $77 million in lending capacity would
create more reduced-interest loans for water projects.

Arguments against: This money should be used for the original purposes.
It could lead to use of state funds for construction of reservoirs that
may be unnecessary and not represent the best use of limited water


Allowing Texas homeowners to use their home equity to secure credit and
reverse mortgages.

Arguments for: This would give Texans a safe and reasonable means to
have more flexibility in the way they use money invested in their homes.
The interest on home equity loans is tax-deductible and lower than on
unsecured loans. Making home equity loans available would increase the
availability of borrowed money and could stimulate the economy.

Arguments against: The constitutional protection of homestead property
is a valuable right that ensures that Texans' homes are secure from debt
collectors. Lenders could force homeowners to put up their homes for
credit. The consumer protections in the proposed amendment, especially
the requirement that a lender go to court to foreclose, would put small
banks at a competitive disadvantage and make it prohibitively expensive
for them to do so.


Permitting Harris County rural fire districts to increase tax rate.

Arguments for: Fire departments can't meet emergency needs in rural
Harris County. Residents can chose to improve services in their areas.

Arguments against: The amendment would increase the overall tax burden
for homeowners and other property owners. This problem exists across
Texas, and a solution should address all counties not just Harris


Dedicating the crime victims' compensation fund and its auxiliary fund
only for victim-related compensation, services or assistance.

Arguments for: This would guarantee that the money isn't diverted to
other spending programs and would continue an almost 20-year commitment
of the state to provide services to crime victims.

Arguments against: This amendment would unfairly dedicate funds for a
particular purpose, while denying that protection to other worthy


Prohibiting the Legislature from authorizing additional state debt
payable from general revenue if the resulting annual payments would
exceed 5 percent of the average general revenue available over the past
three years.

Arguments for: Putting the current statutory restrictions in the
constitution will ensure that the Legislature can't change them without
voter approval. Excessive debt impinges on the state's ability to fund
future projects since taxpayers end up paying interest on borrowed money
for years.

Arguments against: Texas ranks low in state debt compared with other
states. This measure wouldn't allow the state flexibility to meet
unanticipated needs.


To require the Texas Supreme Court to rule on a motion for rehearing
within 180 days of its filing or have the motion deemed denied.

Arguments for: While most motions for rehearings are acted upon in less
than six months, those that take longer create financial and other
hardships for the parties involved.

Arguments against: The court shouldn't be restrained by arbitrary
deadlines. This amendment doesn't address a more serious problem because
it doesn't affect the time required to decide a case once it's accepted
by the Supreme Court.


Making the state's prepaid college tuition program a constitutionally
protected fund.

Arguments for: The amendment would help guarantee the success of the
pre-paid college tuition program. The added security it provides would
encourage people to invest in the fund. Two other loan programs which
have the full faith and credit of the state have never had to use the

Arguments against: The fund should exist only as a self-supporting
entity, without relying on the state treasury. If it became necessary to
provide money to meet this guarantee, funding for other needs would be
reduced accordingly.


Authorizing the Legislature to establish qualifications for constables.

Arguments for: This will make certain elected constables have a clean
criminal history and can perform their jobs well. Voters passed a
similar requirement for sheriffs, and constables should meet basic
qualifications as well.

Arguments against: Under current law, voters in each county make the
final decision regarding the best-qualified candidate. Such decisions
are best left to voters, not the Legislature.

Arlington man wins Terlingua chili cookoff

TERLINGUA, Nov. 3 (AP) -- Glenn Dickey of Arlington served up the best
bowl of red before a record crowd at Saturday's 31st Annual Terlingua
International Chili Championship.

The Chili Appreciation Society International said there were 6,000
people, including 278 cooks and 31 showmanship teams at this ghost town
in the remote Big Bend of Southwest Texas.

Rodney Lilly of Amarillo placed second and Janie Bauer of Alexandria,
Va., was third, CASI said.

The Merry-Go-Round team of Odessa was No. 1 in showmanship in the small
team category.

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