24 The Texas Observer OBSERVER READERS …SAVE ON BOOKS Titles listed below, and all others stocked by the Texas Observer Bookstore, are offered to Observer subscribers at a 20% discount. The Texas Observer Bookstore pays for the postage and handling. Amounts shown are for discounted prices, plus the 5% sales tax. To Order with your name, address and remittance to the Texas Observer Bookstore. RULES FOR RADICALS $ 1.64* LOS MOJADOS: The Wetback Story $ 2.48* $ 1.64* EL ESPEJOTHE MIRROR $ 2.48* A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE MEXICAN AMERICANS \(Moquin and THE LAST OF THE SOUTHERN $5.84 $5.00 $2.23* MARIHUANA RECONSIDERED $1.26* AMERICAN REVIEW 16 $1.64* $1.26* HERBLOCK’S STATE OF THE $5.84 FIRE IN THE LAKE $10.50 $10.50 $2.94* JOURNEY TO IXTLAN $ 5.84 THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MALCOLM $ 7.52 I’M OK YOU’RE OK $ 5.00 ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN $ 1.64* ADVENTURES WITH A TEXAS NATUR $ 5.46 CONFESSIONS OF A WHITE RACIST $ 1.64* WHISTLE BLOWING \(Nader Study $ 1.64* $ 6.68 $5.84* WHO RUNS CONGRESS? Nader Report $1.64* $4.20 $4.20 LAST WHOLE EARTH CATALOG $4.20* THE FOXFI RE BOOK \(Ed. Wiggin $ 3.32* *Paperback \(Non-Texas addressees exempt from THE TEXAS OBSERVER BOOKSTORE 600 W. 7, Austin, Texas 78701 weekend. Saturday afternoon we rode a raft down the Blanco River but were forced to leave the river at gun point, as we were told by a so-called owner that we were trespassing. I have always thought all rivers were owned by the state and could be enjoyed by all. Is it true that the state does not own all rivers that flow through it? I have been given all kinds of answers to this question. As I am a law abiding citizen and want to be officially and legally advised of my rights, I ask your help in this matter. To me it is important, as a similar situation could occur. “Sincerely yours, Mrs. Bob Holland, Box 654, Crane, Tex., 79731.” Briscoe’s administrative assistant, Jay Floyd, sent the letter to the Parks and Wildlife Department. That department’s executive director, Clayton T. Garrison, wrote Ms. Holland, “The administration of all publicly owned lands in the State of Texas, including rivers and streams, is the responsibility of the General Land Office.” Land Commissioner Armstrong wrote her May 14, “I am an avid canoeist, as are several members of my staff, and I have a personal interest in this matter.” He referred her to a report bearing on this subject, “This Land is Still Our Land,” which was distributed late to legislators and other officials in the last several days of the current session. It proposes a new carless park on Matagorda Island, a new ten-mile international wilderness park on the Rio Grande above the Big Bend, a national-state park in the 15 square miles which the state now owns, state land use planning, state assistance to help cities and towns develop their in-town riverways the way San Antonio has, a statewide system of nature trails, and a great deal else. But on Ms. Holland’s question the report places its central emphasis, proposing a Texas Public Rivers Act similar to the Texas Open Beaches Act. The General Land Office provided the senators an important memorandum on the legal background of the public rights to the rivers, the starting point for the serious consideration of the topic. The committee, \(Kennard, Herring, Sherman and Harrington, but with Snelson Legislature solidify and implement the law on the public’s right to the rivers. Here is the Senate committee’s answer to Ms. Holland’s specific question: “The rivers belong to the people. Ancient, common and statutory laws say so. . . . The difference between privately owned creeks and the navigable, public rivers, is a subject for careful attention. But the rivers belong to the people just as the beaches do. This is the law and the fact.” The Texas environmental coalition, “Environmental Action for Texas,” had nothing going to stop the easy killing off of bills to go into this matter on behalf of the general public this session. The opposition of intensely alarmed adjacent landowners was decisive; the bills were killed. This cause, securing the right of the Holland family and of every citizen to use the rivers that belong to the public, should, I think, become a central purpose of the Texas environmental movement. Nothing else can more happily relieve the unfair and dangerous pressures of city life, especially but not at all only the poor. For this cause, and all the other causes which we summarize as saving our common environment, the development of the environmental coalition into a genuine mass movement will be well worth the trouble. Capital Eye Winston Bode’s “Capital Eye” is the only Texas-wide public issues program on the news-panel format, and it has gotten better and better. The journalist-panelists have set new standards of sharp, tough questioning for the often bland Texas press corps, and Bode has played it fair, giving the different sides their turns, vigorously practicing the First Amendment in a region which sorely needs that practice. Its guests convey its balance and seriousness: John Tower, Ralph Yarborough, George Bush, William Hobby, Frank Erwin, Bob Eckhardt, Byron Fullerton, Sissy Farenthold, Henry Gonzalez, Jimmy Banks, Barefoot Sanders, Bob Bullock, Albert Fay, Roy Evans, Hank Grover, Babe Schwartz, Larry Temple, George Christian, Fred Agnich, John Hill, Sarah Weddington. Its endorsements convey its value: “It is an objective type of ‘Meet the Press’ program that we ought to have if our political system is to function as it should” “performs one of the highest functions of any public service program it enables the public to educate itself by exposing fact and opinion about state government in amazed me that the television industry has not instituted more regional broadcasting professional, first-class operation” \(Dick the first Bode has had a close time of it making his independent nonprofit corporation go. People with their own political or commercial priorities believe in the First Amendment and public discussion of the real issues, all right, but in practice there is a real question whether this regional culture will sufficiently sustain such a TV panel show outside of the enswathing, controversy-muting establishments. I respect what Bode has done and hope his show flourishes. There will be something fundamentally discouraging about it if his dedication, personal sacrifice and able work do not result in a permanent feature of the public discourse in Texas. R.D.
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