22 The Texas Observer Some good ideas ALAN POGUE Photographer of political events & pseudo events, of people in their natural surroundings Rag office 478-0452 Austin You’ll be glad you came to the Ve eac HOTEL 45 luxurious, air conditioned hotel rooms, each with private balcony . . . Large swimming pool, lounge area, fine dining, bar, entertainment … 5 minutes from airport, shopping, sightseeing, golf, horseback riding, white sand beach and Caribbean directly in front of hotel Open year ’round . .. For rates and brochure see your Travel Agent or write P.O. Box 469 MONTEGO BAY JAMAICA Classified advertising is 204 1 per word. Discounts for multiple insertions within a 12-month period; 26 times, 50%; 12 times, 25%; 6 times, 10%. BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, P.O. Box 28-1, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. JOIN THE ACLU. Membership $15. Texas Civil Liberties Union, 600 West 7th, Austin, Texas 78701. CHOOSE FROM 24 gourmet coffees, 12 teas, plus unique gift assortments. Send for free brochure. House of Coffee Beans, Inc., 1728 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77006. PLAYING THE RECORDER IS EASY. Free catalog, best recorders, recorder music. Beginner’s Pearwood Soprano Book, $11.95. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. Ms. Ivins reports that Texas is the only state without a public utility commission \(Observer, of the other 49 and of the feds with the FCC, ICC, SEC, and FTC should make you skittish about government by a fifth branch of government \(lobbyists being the P.U.C. suggest something comparable to putting the Mafia in charge of the church’s poor box: the proceeds increase dramatically without noticeable improvement for the intended beneficiaries. Since the creation of the first regulatory commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887, the almost invariable result of such commissions is that their creation cools the public rage and the regulatees have fewer officials to lean on to get their way. It is easier to influence a few appointments to such commissions, and no doubt far cheaper, than it is to have to shape up a majority of the legislature every couple of years. The chairman of one state’s public utilities commission admits without embarrassment to having been on Bell’s payroll before his current job. Direct election of commissioners only offers a little hope of honest regulation for the public’s benefit, providing the commissioners are immune to bribes. Even on the federal level, the commissioners too often move from a regulated industry to the commission and back to the industry when their terms expire. Nicholas Johnson of the FCC stands out as the only prominent exception in recent memory. Southwestern Bell’s apparent .antics in Texas are the type which are probably GUITAR PICKERS. Buy your guitar strings from us and save 20%. Mail orders accepted. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. WRITERS: “UNSALEABLE” MANUSCRIPT? Try AUTHOR AID ASSOCIATES, Dept. TO, 340 East 52nd Street, N.Y.C. 10022. ANARCHO-ABSURDIST CANDIDATE for Place 5 wishes to run Austin City Council out of town. To enlist, send resume to 472-1398. Political operators, please dial “0.” THE TEXAS SLOUGH, a magazine packet of prose, poetry, and art. Includes poster broadsheets, poetry postcards, and stationery. 3 issues yearly / special $4. Write 5303 Ravensdale, Austin, Texas 78723. Communication beyond the power of a fallible commission to uncover, let alone control. Even the Internal Revenue squads have to take Ma Bell’s reports pretty much at face value for lack of resources to examine AT&T’s balkanized empire. Keeping up with the dance steps of Bell’s assorted tentacles is simply beyond the ability of the commissions, granting the reluctance of state legislatures to allot funds to snoop on such a pillar of respectability as The Telephone Company. Dismemberment of the monster might provide the first opportunity to dissect it and examine it. I can remember being shocked to find that a call from Amarillo to Abilene cost about the same as one to New York, After moving to New York, however, I found the rates in this “regulated” state to be no better, unless the call crossed state lines. I would suggest that before Texas rushes blindly into the New Deal era of regulation, some alternatives should be service with a separate commission, even though some companies provide more than each commission at each general election commissioners high enough salaries at least to discourage petty from office those who have directly or indirectly received pay or any special benefits of any type from said utility service, or from ANY OTHER utility. agreement not to accept jobs, benefits, or pay from utilities while in office and for a period of four years after completion of his term. A supplementary alternative would be to encourage municipalities that are unhappy with a particular utility to use their power of eminent domain to condemn and take over ONLY the distribution network for the utility. The constitution and laws may need to be amended to make this relatively easy. This takeover is not a Kremlin-inspired plot. The incorporated municipality has usually owned the streets used by private commerce, the sewer lines, and often the water lines. Extend this principle to the ownership of the power lines, telephone lines, gas pipelines, generating stations, dial exchanges, and pumping stations within the ,municipal limits. The current owners would be reimbursed by bond-issues or other easy-payment schemes at the price they themselves claimed they were worth for CLASSIFIED
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