OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South June 29, 1973 250 New Towns: 1 up, 1 down San Antonio, Austin The decision of the Texas Senate, opaquely taken in the closing days and hours of the regular legislative session, not to pass legislation to legalize the funding of San Antonio’s new town in town with remitted local taxes has killed that ambitiously planned project at least for some time. Certain federal programs necessary to the complex funding expire June 30 and may not be available again for a few years or more. The falling of the downtown new town into limbo has weakened the political basis on which the planned new town for San Antonio Ranch northwest of the city has been advancing toward construction. It seemed that the decision of Federal Judge Adrian Spears in the lawsuit brought to protect the aquifer from pollution a decision fully sustaining the ranch new-town planners on all points of law while commending the environmentalists and local units of government that brought the suit cleared the way for the new town north of the city, especially since the city council had just approved the downtown new town 7-2. However, then the Legislature made its decision, and now an appeal of Spears’ decision in probable. The federal agency that fosters new towns, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, asked Spears to set aside his retention of jurisdiction over the ranch new town to see that the aquifer is not polluted. Spears refused the request. This may raise a question of how HUD will regard supporting a new town over which such a judicial surveillance is to be maintained. Finally, there is still a matter of the ranch new town’s application for the approval of a municipal utility district \(a Commission, which had not held its hearing on the application as the Observer went to press this time. The opposition of San Antonio Congressman Henry Gonzalez to plans of the group who are behind both new towns has been so effective and relentless, and the city council has so extensively modified the ground rules in the last month to assert its public authority over new town projects, the terms and meanings of the controversy have changed from day to day and arena to arena. No one can say where these processes will come to rest, in what eventuations. THE FIRST part of the Observer’s story on this subject of the San Antonio new towns appeared in the May 25 issue and was taken up in the main with political dimensions. While this second part of the report continues these dimensions, including vigorous ob jections from George Christian and others to some of the ways they have appeared so far here, substan tive questions about the new towns have been finding their arenas in Judge Spears’ court and the Legislature in Austin. Many of the questions concern the mysterious and important underground limestone formation that is the source of water for about a million people, including the San Antonians, the Edwards aquifer.