County will get out of this lawsuit, we’ll get out.’ ” Burris said the county would do no such thing. “We’re going to defend the citizens of Bexar County,” he told Yantis. “Why are you here? ” Attorney General Hill turned to Yantis, saying he had heard what had been said and asking Yantis, “Why are you in it, Hugh? ” Yantis said they had studied it and concluded the new town would not pollute the aquifer. In addition, he said, the local authorities were intruding on the state agency’s jurisdiction and authority. The attorney general asked him if he meant that the only reason the state was siding with the developers was to protect the state agency’s jurisdiction? According to Hardberger, Yantis replied, No, they thought it was a good project; they liked the Ranch Town project. justify the federal support. “At stake here,” editorialized the Express, “are millions of taxpayers’ dollars, possible siphoning of federal funds … and a further drain on downtown.” With the at-first opposed city council hesitating, the promoters came forward in January, 1972, with their companion proposal for a new town “in town” obviously hoping to neutralize some of the objections. But then the downtown proposal ran afoul of troubles, too, mainly of three kinds: Concern that the traditional downtown would be hurt by development of a more attractive downtown just north of it. *Yantis wrote Burris’ superior, DA Ted Butler, accusing Burris of trying to “try this case in the newspaper.” Besides, Yantis said, the plaintiffs could have taken Bob Hill’s deposition before it became too late to do so if they had wanted to. Butler replied that Burris had not made any news releases; that the press could have gotten Burris’ letter from the open files of the court. Concern that the proposal, under which the city would buy the land and lease it to the one private group including all the San Antonio Ranch investors, would be dealing with a private land and development monopoly and giving the investors special, even unconstitutional tax advantages. Concerns that poverty-alleviating, historic, conservationist and educational values were not being sufficiently respected and that the river in the “new town in town” would be dwarfed between high rises. With the conservationists’ lawsuit proceeding in the federal courthouse and the city council pressed to say yes or no on the downtown project in time for a June 30 federal deadline, the future of both projects may soon be settled and the future shape of San Antonio profoundly affected. R.D. And they’re off HARDBERGER says he has it from a very good source that Attorney General Hill called Yantis and asked him about geologist Bob Hill’s memo. The attorney general told Yantis he wanted to talk to geologist Hill. Yantis told the attorney general he would not send his geologist over to talk to him. Hill expostulated: he just wanted to get the facts. Yantis told him if he wanted Bob Hill over there, he would have to subpoena him. Atty. Gen. John Hill then told the executive director of the Texas Water Quality Board he could try his own lawsuit. Yantis reportedly replied, “Well, I don’t like the job youall been doin’, anyway.” Burris, for the county, wrote Assistant Attorney General Taylor, thanking him for his aid, but also saying: “It is perplexing to note . . . that Hugh Yantis while serving in his capacity as an employee of the public citizens of Texas has refused to allow communication between plaintiffs’ counsel and Mr. Yantis’ underlings, who are also on the public payroll. Mr. Yantis’ actions become even more perplexing when it is noted that he \(in his public capacity as executive director maintained a continuous communication and disclosure with the defendant, `Ranchtown,’ throughout this litigation. . . . Surely, as executive director of a public agency, Mr. Yantis would not want to harness any thoughts that Mr. [B ob] Hill might have on the matter.”* Opposition in San Antonio developed also on grounds that the Ranch Town might siphon off federal funds from the city, would take business, jobs and income away from the city, would not be a “new town” but rather just another subdivision, and would not help the poor enough to 6 The Texas Observer Austin As the legislative session cranks toward its close, with bills abundant dying, getting gutted, and suffering various other assorted unpleasant fates, one of the great biennial pastimes is picking up the Speaker’s race has started. In between the last minute rush of bills, menmunts, deals and all-purpose horsing around, there is taking place, in capitol corridors, private clubs and one-to-one conversations, one of the most important, bitterly fought and invisible elections our system of state government offers. More than a year and a half stretches before the formal balloting takes place, but the race now stands at a point comparable, in normal political races, to a hot primary contest. The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is at least the third most powerful man in state government and, given the weak-governor system we have and depending on the character of the lieutenant governor, may actually rank higher than that. Despite the reform rules passed under Speaker Price Daniel, Jr., the rule the House with some degree of autocracy. The speaker is elected by the 150 members of the House and by the lobby. “The lobby” is an unfortunate designation, since it calls to mind a united group, working together with one hand and one voice. In fact, the lobby frequently gets into fights with itself \(you see how known to fractionate into hopelessly uninfluential splinters. But in speaker’s races, the lobby is always on the same side with the winner. “They’ll listen to anyone with 45 votes,” said one House member, “and they’ll go with anyone who’s got 76. They can count too.” Their support abruptly reversed course and flowed to Daniel last year after the then-incumbent speaker Rayford Price was beaten by Rep. Fred Head in the spring primary. But in these early stages, the lobby tends to divide its support among those candidates who favor “a healthy business climate.” At present, they have two favorites in a field of eight men and one woman. Billy Clayton of Springlake represents both the rural right in the House and what you might call your radical right-wingers anti-welfare, anti-urban, anti-black, a nti-brown, anti-labor, anti-bleeding heart and much exercised over the gut issues, such as coyotes, fire ants and cattle dipping. Clayton himself is known primarily as a proponent of the Texas Water Plan, the thousand-mile ditch that would be such a boon to West Texas. DAVE FINNEY OF Fort Worth probably qualifies as a political moderate ties. He carried the unitization bill this session, thus picking up the support of part of the oil and gas lobby, the mother of them all. Unitization was a question that pitted the oil majors against the minors: the majors won. Finney is also close to the loan shark lobby, particularly Clarence Helmer of Household Finance. Helmer, aside from his unfortunate profession, is considered a nice guy and has been known candidates. Moving left, one finds the redoubtable
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