Letters to the editor


As I leave Hughen Center after four and a half years as the director, I look back over the extraordinary progress that was made possible because of a great staff, generous supporters and fantastic community! This community should be very proud of what has occurred due to their unwavering love for the children of Hughen Center. Hughen Center has seen the addition of a licensed adult day care, a charter school honoring Bob Hope, extensive renovations, a historical marker, creation of a healthy building fund, and financial stability through tough economic times and several hurricanes.

Although I could never name everyone that played a part in our success, I would like to name a few that were particularly special to me.

Thank you Myrna Cedars. As CFO you were a true partner in creating a wonderful place for these special children to call home. I so greatly appreciate the Hughen staff – the true unsung heroes of these children’s lives. I also want to thank Pattilea Wilson, Steve Jordan, Ken Whitlow, Randy Cashiola and Bobby Simon for their guidance and support.

My admiration and respect definitely are extended to Walter Umphrey, Greg Gentry and Steve Mostyn for their ongoing efforts to improve the lives of those with special needs. Each of you has been extraordinary in your participation of moving our mission forward and recognizing the value of the person’s ability rather than disability.Brock Industries, Valero, United Way, Chevron, Veolia, Mostyn Law Firm, Provost Umphrey Law Firm, as well as their employees, were particularly generous of their time and efforts.

Barbara Phillips, Janice Kimler, Sharon Boutte, Bob West, Art Belle-Isle, Raymond Patterson, Jerry Brown, Dora Breaux, Deborah Hebert, Bonnie Guidry, Kennie Duhon, Yvonne Sutherlin, Sue Greenway, Doug Jackson, Chuck Burch, Tony Castillo, Zona Jones, Joe Carter, Mark Chesnutt and Bill Leger deserve special thanks for doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons.

I deeply appreciate the support and friendship of Bum and Debbie Phillips.

Thank you, Southeast Texas, for your efforts in making Hughen Center such a quality program for the most vulnerable of our children. Please continue to support this cause and keep these children and those that care for them every day in your thoughts and prayers.

For the children,Monte Osburn



We want to know what you’re thinking! We welcome snail-mail, emails and phone calls. Please, address your correspondence to Letters to the Editor, 795 Willow, Beaumont, Texas, 77701, email dodd [at] theexaminer [dot] com, or call (409) 832-1400. As the Independent Voice of Southeast Texas, we look forward to continuing to provide the area with in-depth coverage of local news.



Reorganizing Texas Constitution

I am ¼ of a group who has taken on the task of reorganizing the Texas Constitution. Our work was introduced to the House by “Doc” Anderson of McLennan County. We hope you find a place for this in the Beaumont Examiner.

Paul Holder

If Not Us, Who? If Not Now,When?

Re-organizing Texas Archaic Constitution

The 1876 Texas Constitution was adopted during Reconstruction, and has now been in effect for 135 years. The document is among the most lengthy government charters in the world, has been amended 467 times, and is among the oldest unreformed state charters in America.
The Texas Legislature has proposed ten additional amendments for consideration by Texas voters on November 8th. Although these proposed amendments add more language to the already bloated document, they are all well thought-out and each deserves serious consideration. The proposed amendments deal primarily with property tax exemptions and bonding authority.
Our state charter contains many laudable provisions concerning the rights of citizens, the conduct of public officials and generally protecting citizens against undue government interference in their lives. These are among the virtues of this document crafted under the direction of Governor Richard Coke of Waco during the federal occupation of Texas by Union troops.
In addition to being too lengthy and out of date, this charter contains numerous other problems. There seems to be a consensus that it is too chaotic, incoherent, unreadable, unusable and full of deadwood. It wasn’t until the 21stcentury that all of the old provisions about the poll tax and restrictions on voting by women and minorities were finally removed.
Our Constitution contains one complete article and over one hundred sections that have already been repealed. Another forty or so sections (similar to those we will be voting on in the upcoming November election) relate to bonded indebtedness--even though many of these bonds have long since been repaid. Yet these provisions continue to clutter up this document.
In a democracy, there is no right more important than the right to vote. Constitutional amendments, court decisions and statutory changes have resulted in a massive diffusion of the provisions relating to suffrage. Wouldn’t these provisions be better suited in our Article I - the Texas Bill of Rights?
There are over one hundred sections in the Constitution that are quasi-statutory in nature, meaning they do not relate to the rules for governing, conduct of officials, or constitutional structure. Again, wouldn’t these sections make more sense if they were placed together in a separate article relating to the statutory codes to which they each pertain? This would significantly reduce and simplify the remaining Legislative, Executive and Judicial articles.
Simply eliminating the deadwood in the Constitution would substantially reduce its size. Countless sections contained in its’ general provisions and its’ legislative article, the two most lengthy and ambiguous articles, more properly belong in other articles of the document.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a former Texas Attorney General and state Supreme Court Justice put it best when he told us, “It’s just plain hard to read and understand”.
These problems do not diminish the authority of our Constitution, but they do create clutter, making it virtually impossible to read and use. This is why four individuals, two of whom were involved in five unsuccessful efforts to revise the Constitution over the last four decades, came together to construct a first draft for reorganizing the Texas Constitution of 1876.
This bi-partisan group met in Waco over a six-month period during 2010 to accomplish this tedious task without making any substantive changes to Texas’ 1876 Constitution. We sought and received advice and comments from the three living former Lieutenant Governors (of both parties)--each of whom had a significant role in past efforts to revise the Constitution.
Our first draft for a reorganized Texas Constitution demonstrates the possibility of refining the document to create a logical and coherent charter suitable for governing Texas’ future. Cross-indexed with the current Constitution, our draft can easily be viewed on this website.
A concurrent resolution was introduced in the last session of the Texas Legislature to continue our work into the next phase, by creating a Joint Interim Legislative Committee, or having the staff of the Legislative Council study and report on our proposal.
Our motto has always been ‘If not us, who? If not now, when? We urge all Texans to join our effort by supporting the work of any legislative effort, created by their leadership, that would create a readable, usable, reorganized Constitution for Texas for the 21st Century.


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