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Thursday, June 25, 1998

Non-profit status to improve

Staff Writer
After accepting his new job in Pecos last year, City Manager
Kenneth Neal contacted a Midland-based grant agency known to
be fairly liberal with their money.

He asked the young woman who answered the phone what
municipal projects would qualify for a grant from her
organization. She parried Neal's question with another
question. She asked if Neal had something called a 501 (c) 3.

"I told her, `No, I don't,'" said Neal this morning. "She
told me, `If you don't have a 501 (c) 3, you are wasting
your time and you are wasting my time. Call me back when you
get one.'"

After months of work, which included drafting articles of
incorporation and a slew of by-laws with City Attorney Scott
W. Johnson, Neal may place that call today.

That's because the City Council today ratified the creation
of the non-profit Pecos City Foundation. The approval
came after the Internal Revenue Service granted the 501 (c)
3 designation on Tuesday, and opens up a whole new world of
possibilities for the City Manager.

The archaic string of digits, 501 (c) 3, represents the
power of non-profit --or, charitable -- status. Possession
of it opens up literally thousands of doors.

"There are only four organizations that have grant money
available to agencies without this designation," said Neal,
"and they get hammered by groups from all over the States.
They certainly can't give to every need."

The number of grant agencies jumps from four to the tens of
thousands for non-profit corporations, and, as Neal pledged
this morning, "They can rest assured, they will be

Projects Neal is able to consider include construction of a
new EMS building, upgrades for the Pecos Fire Department and

"I'd like to do something with the old (State) theater over
here, and some other historical buildings downtown."

Councilman Danny Rodriguez suggested that the council
consider appointing a grant writer at its next meeting.

"A part-time, temporary position," Johnson agreed with
Rodriguez, "could possibly pay for itself one hundred times

The council, as Neal said, "are very excited and are anxious
to get started. Anything would look good right now."

Council approves closing of park

Staff Writer
Town of Pecos City Council members met briefly this morning,
approving a day in the park for Anchor West employees,
authorizing the purchase of two 3/4-ton pickups and a
front-end loader for the city water department, and
accepting several May reports.

The council voted to approve Anchor's request to close Maxey
Park on Saturday, October 17, for a private company picnic.
Anchor hopes to increase attendance over last year's 1,000
picnic-goers, with possibly as many as 1,200 attending this
year's event.

The company also requested use of the park's miniature golf
course. City Attorney Scott Johnson said that the company
would have to make arrangements with those leasing the golf

If the lease should expire by the picnic date, he said,
Anchor could make arrangements with Park and Zoo Director
Armando Gil.

The council approved the purchase of two 1999 model 3/4-ton
trucks at just over $18,700 from Colt Chevrolet. The
purchase of a Caterpillar front end loader from West Texas
Caterpillar was approved at $62,129.

Entering an interlocal agreement with the town of Balmorhea
for animal control was tabled until a representative from
there could be present at a meeting.

The tax collector's report was approved at $20,730.63 for
the month of May and accounts payable was approved at

The municipal court report for May was approved at $9,231.75
in collections.
Creation of positions of an assistant city manager and city
grant writer will be discussed at the council's next

OPEC hopes major cutback lifts oil prices

AP Business Writer
VIENNA, Austria -- OPEC plans to drastically slash oil
output, hoping to undo the damage it did to oil prices by an
ill-judged decision to start pumping more crude last winter.

World oil supplies are so glutted that OPEC acknowledged its
plan to withdraw 1.355 million barrels a day from the market
-- reducing daily output to 26.5 million barrels -- is
unlikely to have an immediate impact.

Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete suggested at a meeting of
OPEC ministers in Vienna that it might take until October or
November for prices to improve by around $3 per barrel.

But experts say that if OPEC sticks to its promises -- and
this is far from certain given the group's previous lack of
willpower -- then prices could move sharply higher by early
next year, shifting the fortunes of global economies.

The OPEC president, United Arab Emirates oil minister Obaid
bin Saif al-Nasseri, said the new cuts will ``banish the
volatility so plaguing the market.''

That would be a welcome relief to oil producers who recently
saw prices plunge to levels unseen since the industry's
disaster year of 1986. OPEC's average price was less than
$11 per barrel last week, barely half the group's official
target of $21, though it since has shown modest recovery.

If OPEC's plans succeed, then consumers, including
gas-guzzling Americans, and oil-dependent economies like
Japan and Germany, would stop getting a huge break on their
fuel bills.

Leo Drollas, chief economist at the London-based Center for
Global Energy Studies, said OPEC's promised production cuts
are severe enough to make supplies extremely tight in the
longer term.

OPEC said its new production figures will stay in effect for
a year, starting July 1.

``The duration, that's the key,'' Drollas said. ``That's the
sting in the tail. This, on paper, looks hideous for next
year. You're talking $25 oil.''

Not so fast, though.

OPEC was forced into action after its disastrous decision in
November to raise stated output by 10 percent. The extra oil
started flooding the market just as the southeast Asian
economic crisis began cutting into demand for crude oil, the
world's most vital commodity.

The new round of cuts, following an earlier batch in March,
would put the group's total output at around 26.5 million
barrels a day, said the OPEC secretary-general, Rilwanu
Lukman of Nigeria.

That would be about a half-million barrels less than OPEC
was pumping before its most influential player, Saudi oil
minister Ali Naimi, pushed through last year's plan for
higher production.

A wild card remains Iraq, which is not participating in the
effort to produce less oil.

The Iraqis have huge petroleum reserves, but they still are
producing limited amounts of oil under sanctions imposed in
1990 after President Saddam Hussein invaded fellow OPEC
member Kuwait. At some point, Iraq's eventual full-scale
return to the market will cause OPEC big problems.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries are Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,
Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and

Judge says no dice to tribe's games

AUSTIN (AP) -- Electronic gaming machines at the Lucky Eagle casino in Eagle Pass are illegal, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision means Lucky Tab II machines, which look like
slot machines, can be used only if the state grants
permission. The odds of that aren't good, according to Linda
Edwards, spokeswoman for Gov. George W. Bush.

The court ruling, handed down in Washington this week, is
the latest chapter in a saga pitting Bush against two
Indian-run casinos in Texas.

The Kickapoo casino in Eagle Pass is the smaller of the two.
The Tigua Indians run the other casino in El Paso. They have
a separate federal lawsuit pending in Pecos to decide the
legality of their gambling machines.

``What we've said before is casino gambling is illegal in
Texas, whether it's in malls, gas stations or Indian
reservations, and the governor has a responsibility to
uphold the laws fairly and evenly across the state,'' Ms.
Edwards told the Austin American-Statesman for a story
published today.

``Governor Bush is pleased the federal court has agreed that
these types of gambling machines are illegal in Texas.''

Kickapoo lawyer Lee Bergen declined to comment.

The Kickapoos argued in their lawsuit that the Lucky Tab II
gaming machines were legal because they were only aids to
playing the traditional game of pull-tab bingo. They argued
the pull-tab machines are only dispensers with a video
display that duplicates what's shown when the pull tab is
peeled open.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina disagreed, ruling that
there was little difference between a Lucky Tab II and slot
machines or other electronic games of chance.

The Tiguas say the Kickapoo decision was unfortunate but
probably won't affect their case. ``These are two separate
cases, and we're arguing different things,'' said Tigua
attorney Tom Diamond.

He said the Tigua slot machines are legal because they are
no different than Cash 5 and other state-run lottery games.

Line-item veto, Starr suffer court defeats

Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court today struck down as
unconstitutional the line-item veto law that let the
president cancel specific items in tax and spending

The 6-3 decision said the law violates that part of the
Constitution requiring every bill to be presented to the
president for his approval or veto.

The court said the Constitution does not allow for what, in
effect, are partial vetoes.

That type of line-item veto can be authorized only through a
constitutional amendment, the justices said. The law was
challenged by New York City and an Idaho potato growers'
group after provisions they sought were vetoed by President

In addition to striking down the presidential line item-veto
today, the Supreme Court:

--Thwarted Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr's effort to
get the notes taken by White House aide Vincent Foster's
lawyer during a meeting shortly before Foster's 1993

The court, by a 6-3 vote, ruled that the attorney-client
privilege of confidentiality protects against disclosure of
the notes even after Foster's death. The decision, a setback
for Starr, will have an enormous lasting impact on the legal
profession and all Americans who at some time seek a
lawyer's help.

--Said the government can deny cash grants to artists
because their work is considered indecent, saying the policy
does not violate artists' free-speech rights.

The 8-1 decision said the National Endowment for the Arts
can consider decency, as well as artistic merit, in deciding
who gets public money for the arts. The court said the law
requires the NEA to judge grant applications on artistic
merit, ``taking into consideration general standards of
decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of
the American public.''

--Ruled that HIV-infected people are protected by a federal
ban on discrimination against the disabled even if they
suffer no symptoms of AIDS.

The 5-4 ruling ordered a lower court to reconsider whether
a Maine dentist violated the Americans With Disabilities Act
when he refused to fill an HIV-infected woman's tooth in his
office. ``HIV infection satisfies the statutory and
regulatory definition of a physical impairment during every
stage of the disease,'' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for
the court.

Clinton was the first president to exercise a line-item
veto, an authority sought by nearly every president this
century as a tool to limit pork-barrel spending. Congress
voted in 1996 to give the president such authority, and
Clinton used the veto 82 times last year.

A federal judge ruled the line-item veto unconstitutional in
February, saying Congress could not delegate such authority
to the president.

The line-item veto law is the only major provision of the
1994 House Republican ``Contract with America'' campaign
manifesto that Clinton endorsed.

The law let the president sign a bill and within five days
go back to reject specific spending items or tax breaks in
it. Congress then could reinstate the item by passing a
separate bill.

White House officials had no immediate comment on the

Some Republicans who were elected in 1994 on a platform that
included the veto said they would keep trying. ``We promised
the American people we'd pass this, and we did,'' said Sen.
Spencer Abraham, R-Mich. ``We have a challenge now to do it
the right way.''

Opponents of the line-item veto argued that once a law is
signed by the president, it can be changed only in the way
prescribed by the Constitution for enacting a law -- a
congressional vote followed by the president's signature.
Once the president has exercised a line-item veto, they
contended, the final law would not be the same as the
measure approved by Congress.

The Clinton administration contended a line-item veto would
not actually repeal part of a law, but would be a
presidential exercise of spending authority delegated by

Today, the Supreme Court said the administration and the
veto law's backers in Congress were wrong.

Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens cited the
``profound importance'' of the issue and almost reluctantly
concluded that ``the procedures authorized by the line-item
veto act are not authorized by the Constitution.''

``If there is to be a new procedure in which the president
will play a different role in determining the text of what
may become a law, such change must come not by legislation
but through the amendment procedures set forth in Article V
of the Constitution,'' Stevens said.

He was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and
Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Clarence
Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen G.
Breyer dissented, with Scalia emphasizing his disagreement
by taking the unusual step of reading for nine minutes in
court from his dissenting opinion.

``The title of the Line Item Veto Act, which was perhaps
designed to simplify for public comprehension, or perhaps
merely to comply with the terms of a campaign pledge, has
succeeded in faking out the Supreme Court,'' Scalia said.
``The president's action it authorizes in fact is not a
line-item veto.''

One of the disputes began when New York City, a hospital and
two hospital associations sued to restore a provision that
would have given New York state preferential treatment in
receiving federal matching funds under the Medicaid program.

In the other, the Snake River Potato Growers and an officer
of the Idaho group sued over Clinton's veto of a tax measure
that would have allowed agricultural processors to defer
capital-gains taxes when they sell such facilities to
farmers' cooperatives.

In ruling the line-item veto law unconstitutional last
February, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said it
amounted to a surrender by Congress of an ``inherently
legislative function'' to the president. Once a bill becomes
law, the president's sole duty is to carry it out, the judge

Today, the Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

The case is Clinton vs. City of New York, 97-1374.


High Wednesday 109 degrees Low this morning was 76.
Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low 70 75. South to southeast
wind 10-20 mph. Friday, sunny and hot. High around 107.
South wind 10-20 mph and gusty.

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