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Charter foundering… Briscoe added that he didn’t see how the proposed merger of the State Supreme Court, and the Court of Criminal Appeals “can do anything but slow the process of justice.” He said he opposed removal of the constitutional restraint on welfare spending, opposes increasing the bonding authority of the Permanent University Fund, and opposes the environmental statement in the new charter. Briscoe’s announcement was greeted by a chorus of condemnations by Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, Atty. Gen. John Hill, House Speaker Bill Clayton, and Robert W. Calvert, the retired Supreme Court chief justice who headed the citizens’ revision effort. Clayton said he was “appalled” by the governor’s position. Calvert insisted that Briscoe’s contention that the new constitution would require extensive and costly legal interpretation is “flatly untrue,” not to mention “specious and ridiculous.” The Houston Chronicle, however, opined that Briscoe was simply “being realistic” in speaking out against the constitution. “The Chronicle believes the voters of Texas should pay close heed to the governor’s advice,” the paper concluded, Briscoe’s press conference, timed for the first day of absentee balloting, gave new ammunition to opponents who already have a full armory. The antis, primarly Sen. Peyton McKnight’s Citizens to Preserve the Texas Constitution, have a bit more money and, it seems, more zealous troops than the pros. The funding, on both sides of the issue, is chicken feed compared to the sums spent in statewide political races. The Citizens to Preserve reported $14,850 in contributions as of Oct. 8, most of it from Houston \(The Bayou City is crucial to the constitutional battle because the bulk of votes will probably be cast there. Houston has a semi-hot mayoral election on the Some $11,000 of the opposition funds came from six Houston businessmen $3,000 from George R. Brown of Brown & Root; $2,000 each from banker Walter Mischer, mining executive Anthony J. A. Bryan, and manufacturer Paul N. Howell, and $1,000 each from insurance company owner Gus Wortham and banker J. A. Elkins, Jr. In addition to Brown, eight Brown & Root officers and directors contributed a total-of $2,300 to the cause. Brown, never very fond of publicity, has been identified in various news stories as a key organizer of the opposition. In an effort to refute the stories, Brown, 77, gave an unusual interview to Houston Post reporter Darrell Hancock on Sept. 27. The story was headlined, “Brown denies anticharter ties.” Brown said he specifically opposed the legislative and financial articles. “The main things I oppose are continuous sessions and taking the lid off of a lot of give-away programs,” he said. “I never argue with success and we have been pretty successful doing it the way we have been doing it.” Brown is retired as chairman of the board of Brown & Root, one of the largest construction firms in the world. He still serves on the boards of Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., the First City Bancorporation of Texas, and Halliburton and Co. He told Hancock that efforts to label opponents of the new charter as wealthy special interests is “demagoguery.” He said, “I am a. taxpayer the same as anybody else and got a right to my opinion the same as they [the proponents] have.” Searcy Bracewell, a Houston lobbyist who has carried water for a number of big corporate interests, set up the Committee to Preserve. In July, Bracewell told the Post he registered the organization with the Texas secretary of state after “talking about the plan with Brown.” But Brown specifically denied to Hancock that he asked Bracewell to set up the opposition group. Bracewell then confirmed to the Post that Brown “didn’t have any role in it particularly. I just sort of took the initiative and did it,” he said. Brown was right in insisting that antis not be simply characterized as “wealthy business interests.” State Sen. Oscar Mauzy of Dallas, who has launched more than one crusade against the fat cats, is opposing the Bob Wieland Hobby: ‘No rational objection’ judicial and education propositions because Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals “would do away with the specialization in criminal jurisprudence and civil jurisprucated funds for the University of Texas and Texas A&M should be abolished. But Mauzy does not oppose the entire constitu tion and he lit out after Governor Briscoe for taking a “shotgun approach to a rifle situation.” Mauzy said, “The governor, as usual, was late and was ill advised and was unresponsive. It strikes me that if it takes him six months to read the document, it may take him another six months to understand it.” State Comptroller Bob Bullock, another independent soul, is against the financial and local government propositions and for Propositions 1 and 2, dealing with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The Texas AFL-CIO and the . Texas Civil Liberties Union have come out against the judicial article because it gives the state the right to appeal criminal cases. The labor group also opposes the local government proposition on the grounds that taxing authority is not sufficiently restricted and that special districts will probably multiply. The TCLU, which is taking positions only on those propositions with civil liberties ramifications, is against Proposition 3, voter qualifications, because it allows property ownership to be a qualification in certain local elections. The TCLU is supporting Proposition 7, the general provisions section, because it approves of new statements concerning the environment, access to beaches, treatment of the handicapped, and marital property rights. Some of the opponents make weird bedfellows. In addition to Bullock and the TCLU and the AFL-CIO, you have the Harris County Republican Party. The Harris GOP spent $200,000 studying the constitution and decided to reject seven of the eight propositions. The only section meeting their approval is Proposition 8, which governs the methods of amending the constitution. That section, however, has aroused considerable opposition from scholars of government. Dr. George D. Braden, who wrote a Citizens’ Guide to the new constitution for the U of H Institute for Urban Studies, criticized the stipulation requiring that the product of any future convention be approved by two-thirds of the delegates the very stumbling block of the 1973 con con. Braden pointed out that no other state has such a limitation. “A convention is called because change is wanted. It is illogical to call for change and then make change difficult,” he wrote. On the affirmative, the State ‘Bar of Texas has endorsed the judiciary proposition and the Texas State Teachers Association has approved the education proposition. Both The Dallas Morning News and Common Cause of Texas are urging approval of all eight propositions. The proponents who are out working for passage of the new document are primarily state officials and lawmakers who were involved in the writing process. State Rep. Ronnie Earle of Austin, campaign coordinator of the Citizens for the Texas Constitution, is playing David to George Brown’s reluctant Goliath. Earle is empha October 31, 1975 7 ..144,04140M1011,*100.1.0000,1100,s064. ..e r. fAol.yeete..40,_ *11.10$101se4.4 0_4.110111.4…0″9,*: