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A report to our friends Austin The Observer is somewhat embattled at present by inflation and the costs of defending a libel suit. This is a time when we need our friends. Costs are up again for the Observer as for everyone, especially printing and the rent, but inflation has cut into our income, also, as subscribers themselves squeezed by inflation have skipped renewing. Circulation is down 15% in the last two years. Belt-tightening at the already belt-tight Observer has meant a decrease in the outlay for salaries, and now, looking on into 1975, we see that to keep sound financially we have to increase the subscription rate from $8.40 to $10 a year, including the sales tax. Raising the subscription rate is the last thing any of us around here ever wants to do. We do it now only because we must. By acting now, subscribers who wish to renew at the $8.40 rate may do so, regardless of when their present subscription expires. \(The last four digits of the top line of your address label show the month and year your subscription Our defense in the libel suit brought against the Observer by Brother Lester Roloff, the Corpus Christi evangelist, is proceeding satisfactorily, but is costly. After consulting with many good and friendly lawyers, we concluded that the key to security in the case was a good Corpus Christi attorney, and with excellent assistance we selected Dudley Foy, Jr. The costs of the defense are estimated to be in the range of $30,000. Since the Observer spends its income on producing the best journal we can, the lawsuit costs have to be raised outside the regular budget, so we have created the Texas Observer Legal Defense Fund, and with invaluable help from Bernard Rapoport of Waco and others, we have begun soliciting contributions. As of Jan. 31 we have raised about a third of the sum we guess to be needed, and we are much encouraged by the moral and material support we are getting. Contributions to the fund can be mailed to the Observer at 600 West 7th St., Austin 78701. Last year at the Observer there was no room in the budget to adjust the already modest salaries to keep pace with inflation. Nevertheless, the editors continued to expand the editorial space given over to editorial matter, which has increased 32% since 1968, and which we plan to increase further in 1975. One way we expect to be able to fund this is by opening up the Observer to more advertising. The Observer always has hoped for, and Observations to some extent has actively sought, advertising from book publishers, political groups and organizations, entertainment and cultural events, and other enterprises we assumed a substantial number of our readers would be interested in. Beyond these categories, though, we have not really been interested. The striking success of the advertising push conducted by Cliff Olofson and Keith Stanford for the 20th Anniversary edition has caused us to think all this over. The Observer is very well established, and we have concluded that there is no reason why we should not engage in a more aggressive and systematic search for advertising. Each page of advertising can fund the printing of three more editorial pages. Substantial advertising income can let us pay our people and our contributors more nearly what they’re worth, fund a better paper, and later perhaps build a surplus for one-time needs that might come along. We have been having some practical. conversations with friends who know about advertising, and \(to use the Texas more of them. Keith Stanford will be communicating with local, state, and national advertisers. We are also considering a program that would let local advertisers circulate their Observer ads only in the Observers distributed in their areas, at reduced ad rates, under some circustances. If our new attitude and activity in advertising works out, the ad income will help absorb the steadily rising costs of printing, paper, and postage and, we hope, will let us avoid passing on the full burden of these rises to our subscribers. Times are tough, dear readers, old friends, but we hope you will stay with us at $10 a year and get some friend of yours to join us. We are going for 25. Our mailing list We have never let politicians use the Observer’s mailing list, nor have we sold that list. Now, with considerable reluctance, we have decided, in order to obtain new subscribers, to exchange our subscriber list with periodicals and organizations with which we feel a consanguinity of interests or purposes. Each proposed such exchange will be discussed by the entire Observer group, and the objection of a single person will be sufficient to veto it. Precautions will be taken to insure that the subscriber list will be used only according to the terms of the exchange agreement and will not be used for politicians’ purposes. Any subscriber who objects to having his or her name exchanged can prevent it by dropping us a note now or later and telling us not to do it. Our computerized mailing system lets us honor such instructions very easily and without error. \(It would help if you could enclose a recent mailing label, but this is About 75 people from different parts of the state \(Fort Worth, Dallas, Amarillo, 18 to talk over what plain citizens can do, if February 14, 1975 17 CLASSIFIED Classified advertising is 20d 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. PLAYING THE RECORDER IS EASY. Free catalog, best recorders, recorder music. Beginner’s Pearwood Soprano Book, $11.95. Amster Music, 1624 Lavaca, Austin. 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. JOIN THE ACLU. Membership $15. Texas Civil Liberties Union, 600 West 7th, Austin, Texas 78701. 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.” NOTICE: We are growing too fast. We have over $100,000 in printing and publishing jobs, but we need an angel to provide working capital. Will BOOK FIND SERVICE. Any book. Library and collector’s Want Lists appreciated. Write. Cleve Leshikar, 607 West 9th, Austin, Texas 78701. THE ENLIGHTENED REALTORS. If you don’t need to buy a house in North Dallas, call us anyway. Still in business after supporting Adlai and Sissy. Jac A. Austin Co. Realtors, 7007 Preston