By Ron Munden – December 31, 2018

In November I decided I would name a group as “Person of the Year for 2018.”  That all changed in early December when the City Finance Director informed the City Commissioners they had approved expenditures that exhausted the $900,000 in the excess reserve and cut $500,000 into the mandatory 90-day reserve.  This announcement caused me to rethink my selection.

In December 2017 I wrote:

Based on the data I have concluded that the City of Marshall is headed into “troubled waters” and is likely to encounter difficult economic issues in the near future. Unfortunately, the City Commissioners don’t appear to be aware of these economic problems or they choose not to address the problems. There is one exception and that person is EastTexasExposed Person of the Year – Commissioner “Doc” Halliday.

Commissioner Halliday has sounded the alarm on many occasions, but the other Commissioners seem to be tone-deaf.

Nothing has changed since 2017 except the lack of responsible actions by the current City Commissioners has accelerated the financial problems of the City more than I predicted in 2017.

Once again, this year Commissioner Halliday stood alone warning the other Commissioners and suggesting responsible actions while the other City Commissioners held hands, sang Cum By Ya as they moved the City of Marshall dangerously close to an economic cliff.

Not only did the other Commissions not embrace Commissioner Halliday’s suggestion, they worked to ensure that his suggestions did not even get a vote by repeatably refusing to second Commissioner Halliday’s motions thus avoiding a vote.

To avoid Commissioner Halliday agenda items from even being discussed Commissioner Doug Lewis has made a dangerous suggestion.  He has suggested that the City’s governance policy be modified to require a Commissioner have a second on the agenda item before it can be placed on the agenda for a meeting. 

Today Commissioner Halliday is fighting alone for the Citizens of Marshall.  This year other City Commissioners have demonstrated that they don’t understand budget management or don’t give a damn about responsible financial management.

It takes guts to fight for what is right when you know you will loose the fight – time after time after time.  Commissioner Halliday continues the fight.

It is for this reason William “Doc” Halliday is EastTexasExposed.com Person of the Year for 2018.

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Torrijos-Carter Treaties

By William “Doc” Halliday

Are you familiar with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties?  I believe you are, even though you may not recognize the name.  There are two separate treaties December 31st is the nineteenth anniversary of the completion of the second of those treaties. 

Many United States citizens were opposed to the treaties.  They felt that this was tantamount to giving Alaska back to Russia, or giving the Louisiana Purchase back to France.  But perhaps we should start at the beginning. 

On September 1, 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa led a group of 190 Spaniards and approximately 1,000 local Indians south from Santa María la Antigua del Darién across the Isthmus of Panama.  In late September (25th or 27th) he sighted the Pacific Ocean alone from a peak.  Four days later Balboa and his men reached the shore of the ocean and he claimed it and all lands that touched it for Spain.  Almost immediately (in historical terms) a search began for a natural waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans began. 

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was also Charles I of Spain ordered the Panama regional governor to survey a route to the Pacific following the Chagres River in 1534.  This was the first survey for a proposed ship canal through Panama, and it more or less followed the course of the current Panama Canal.  At the time the survey was completed, it was the surveyor’s opinion that it would be impossible for anyone to accomplish such a feat. 

In 1848, gold was discovered in California which resulted in a tremendous volume of trans-isthmus business.  This created an impetus for the development of the Panama Railway which was initiated in 1850 and began operations along its entire length in January 1855.  The United States interest in a canal across the Central American Isthmus was intensified, but was not solely directed at Panama. 

In 1879 the International Congress of Geographical Sciences voted in favor of the construction of the Panama Canal.  Ferdinand de Lesseps who had successfully completed construction of the Suez Canal took on the task.  He initially thought he could build the canal without locks, but in what turned out to be the final days of the effort it became increasingly obvious to the French that the sea level plan would not work after all.   Gustave Eiffel, builder of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, was approached about building canal locks.  However it was too late.  The venture failed before the changes could be made.  When the venture failed, Ferdinand de Lesseps and his son Charles were charged with fraud and mismanagement and each sentenced to five years in prison in 1893. 

In 1894 a second French firm took over the assets and attempted to complete the project.  They abandoned their efforts that same year. 

Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century the United States had been interested in the building of a canal.  However, they had favored a route through Nicaragua.  In the late 1890s Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla began lobbying American lawmakers to buy the French canal assets in Panama, and eventually convinced a number of them that Nicaragua had dangerous volcanoes, making Panama the safer choice. 

In 1902 the United States purchased the assets of the French company.  The Hay–Herrán Treaty (Jan. 22, 1903), was rejected by the Colombian government (the area was part of Columbia at this time) as an infringement on its national sovereignty but primarily because Columbia considered the offered payment insufficient.  With the indirect approval of the U.S. government and the shielding presence of the U.S. Navy in nearby waters, Panama declared its independence from Colombia on November 3, followed by de facto U.S. recognition three days later. 

On November 18, 1903 the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty was agreed to.  This treaty gave the United States a strip 10 miles (16 km) wide across the isthmus for canal construction in perpetuity. The United States was allowed to govern and fortify this Canal Zone. In return Panama was guaranteed its independence and received $10 million outright plus an annuity of $250,000 beginning nine years later. The treaty was ratified by both countries in 1904, and the Panama Canal itself was completed in 1914. 

The workers had to face a variety of problems, including difficult terrain, hot, humid weather, torrential rainfalls and widespread tropical diseases including yellow fever and malaria.  Over 25,000 died during the construction of the canal including the efforts of both the French and the United States. 

In 1964 there was a dispute over the rights of Panamanians to fly their flag in the Canal Zone.  The dispute erupted into riots and diplomatic relations between Panama and the United States were severed for several months.  Over the course of several years negotiations continued between the two countries for new treaties.  There was a coup in Panama and elections in the United States. 

The negotiators decided that their best chance for ratification in the United States was to submit two treaties.  The two treaties were signed on September 7, 1977 and given to the U.S. Senate. The first, the Neutrality Treaty, stated that the United States could use its military to defend the Panama Canal against any threat to its neutrality, thus allowing perpetual U.S. usage of the Canal. The second, called The Panama Canal Treaty stated that the Panama Canal Zone would cease to exist on October 1, 1979, and the Canal itself would be turned over to Panama on December 31, 1999.

And thus the terms of the second of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties were completed 19 years ago. 

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Importance of a Community Animal Shelter

This is the full text of the Guest Column published on Wednesday in the Marshall News Messenger  

By Katie Jarl (Dec 26, 2018)

For more than six years, Marshall has been trying to determine what to do about its antiquated, 50-year-old animal shelter. Several years ago, I visited the shelter in Marshall myself. In my position as the Texas Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, I have visited many shelters, and Marshall’s is one of the saddest and most outdated facilities I’ve encountered. It really is a relic from the past that is incapable of functioning to today’s standards. It should have been replaced decades ago. Unfortunately, it’s still in use because of arguments over money. Specifically, how much to invest.

I would like to make a point that many may not have considered but relates to the financial welfare of your community for years to come.
If you build the cheapest facility you can, you may end up losing huge amounts of money over the lifetime of the new shelter.

Why is that?

Most shelters rely heavily on grant funding.
National and local organizations are on the lookout for innovative programs and offer grants to shelters that are succeeding on various metrics or are capable of meeting the needs of the communities that they serve.

A while back, I saw two of the plans being considered; Scheme P and Scheme U.

The smaller plan (P) would struggle to meet these standards because it would be inadequate from the day it opened its doors.

It was only 1,000 square feet larger than your current 1,475 square foot shelter.

The other plan (U) had the capacity to serve your region and potentially achieve low-kill status.

At just over a million dollars, it was still quite inexpensive but would likely attract grant funding and would be seen by those on the outside as a sign of serious commitment by the local community.

If Marshall had built an adequate new shelter years ago, the town could have had several years of grant funding already in the shelter’s coffers.

This amount is lost forever now due to the delays, but if you spend enough to build the right kind of shelter, Marshall’s people and animals will benefit from this.

If you do not build a facility that meets your needs and is up to today’s standards, that money, and more importantly the lives of so many animals, will be lost to you forever.

Attempting to save money by under-building will cost you untold sums in the future.

I’ve seen communities make this mistake before and regret it.
Don’t be one of them. Build your shelter with the future in mind.
You aren’t building something for the next five years.

If history is any gauge you may be building it for the next fifty. Choose wisely.


Katie Jarl

Katie Jarl is the Texas Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States.

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Feedback for the week – 12/23/2018


12/29/2018 — Peggy Byassee — facebook
Is Mr. Halliday the only financially savvy commissioner up there? Who is supposed to be in charge of the money and how it is spent? Doug Lewis, if only one of the seven comes up with a valid question, it is STILL a valid question, especially if it makes sense for the city.


12/20/2018 — William Halliday — facebook
I believe Mr. Munden is an optimist.

12/18/2018 — Gene Younger — facebook
What say ye, commissioners?

12/20/2018 — Robert Jones — facebook
They’re in it way too deep to walk away now. They need , and others before them, to own this. Accept the responsibility and get this elephant completed ASAP. Oh and then we have to come up with the new city managers $170,000 too!! Awesome! The future looks ……..

12/18/2018 — Mark Opperman — facebook
Looks like egg on their face.

12/20/2018 — Mark Opperman — facebook
Mark Opperman Looks like egg on their face.

12/18/2018 — Johnny Frazier — facebook
SUR prise

Origin of Christmas on December 25th

By William “Doc” Halliday

Christmas, or Christmas Day is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.  This event is celebrated on December 25th in the United States and in many other countries.  However, most scholars do not believe the December 25th date.  The date is not given in the bible, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they receive the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season.  On the other hand, sheep might well have been enclosed in the cold month of December. 

The earliest historical recording of birthdays occurs in the bible.  Birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible on three separate occasions and, in each case, something terrible occurred. I use a Geneva Bible (1599) for my documentation.  In Genesis 40:20 the birthday of the Pharaoh of Egypt is referred to.  In Matthew 14:6 and in Mark 6:21, the birthday of Herod Antipater is referred to.  And, perhaps Job 1:4 is referring to the birthdays of Job’s sons.  Nowhere in the bible is the date of Jesus’ birth mentioned. 

The early Christians did not celebrate Christ’s birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.  For the same reason, ancient Jews did not celebrate birthdays.  The first century Jewish historian Josephus noted that Jewish families did not celebrate birthdays.  It was common for kings and rulers to have their horoscopes made by astrologers.  Their birthdays were considered very important omens of the future.  Thus birthdays started as a celebration for kings and deities.  It was a pagan celebration. 

Instead, early Christians celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Easter was the dominant celebration for members of the Christian faith.  As time passed, Jesus’ origins became of increasing speculation.  You can begin to see this shift in the New Testament. The earliest writings of both Paul and Mark make no mention of Jesus’ birth. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide familiar but quite different accounts of the event.  Still, neither Matthew nor Luke specifies a date for the birth of Jesus.

In about 200 A.D., Clement of Alexandria, a Christian teacher in Egypt, records a reference to the date Jesus was born. According to this man, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups.  Interestingly, Clement doesn’t mention the December 25th date at all. 

In the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized, and are now also celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.  These dates are December 25 in the Western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East, especially in Egypt and Asia Minor.  The celebration of Christmas by the modern Armenian Church remains on January 6.  However, for the vast majority of Christians December 25th prevails.  January 6 would eventually come to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany.  The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between the two dates became the holiday season which has become known as the 12 days of Christmas.

In 354 A.D., Bishop Liberius of Rome ordered the people to celebrate the solstice as the anniversary of Christ’s birth. He probably chose this date because the people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the sun.  This was an effort to recruit pagans into the church.  These idol worshippers held pagan festivals to celebrate the “rebirth” of the sun when the days began to lengthen.  The solstice of course takes place on December 21st, so why do we celebrate December 25th?  The difference is due to the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendars. 

For Christians, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is significant regardless of the day. 

Photo of the nativity scene is from interruptingthesilence.com

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Feedback for the week – 12/16/2018

Marshall Texas Financial Reserves Under Funded

12/20/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
☝️☝️ yes, where will half a million be found that wasn’t there. Magic tricks with wands & tophats!

“Papa was so proud he couldn’t talk, just smiled….. cause everyone knows, 5 is greater than 1”

12/18/2018 — Julie Richey — facebook
They can’t fix it. It’s all broken

12/20/2018 — Randy Reeves — facebook
Glad I moved….

F$&(ing unbelievable…

12/20/2018 — Shawne Brophy Somerford — facebook
I can’t wait to hear how the Mayor is going to make sure we find 500,000 to cover our short fall before the end of the year. Get out and spend people!

12/20/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
And worth the question …. is the Animal Shelter portion in reserves Gone!!???!?!

12/18/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
Well Well Well Look who spent your $$$$$

So in case you weren’t paying attention, or worried about who didnt get a job promotion, maybe Take Note of this.

Reserves Went from Excess to Lacking in a very short time. Financial stewards some of these are not.

There’s an old saying…….

“Always watch where the money goes”. Havent you heard it before? (Oh yeah, I’m sure somebody said something about this 😄)

12/20/2018 — Tyler Watson — facebook

12/20/2018 — Bertha Maples — facebook
Memorial hall?????

12/20/2018 — Don Parks — facebook
Just print some more cash!!

12/20/2018 — Heath Parker — facebook
Sounds like the Commissioners are doing a great job!!!

12/20/2018 — Linda Coker — facebook
Let the games begin!!

12/20/2018 — Sheila Harber Watson — facebook

12/20/2018 — David Granger — facebook
I would say that I’m shocked, but I am not.

12/18/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
Who would have ever known?

Uncertain Christmas Parade

12/18/2018 — Jan — text message
Great photos.

12/18/2018 — anonymous — text message
Sounds like you had skin in the game.