Hugh Yantis’ original rules were severely disputed during the Ranch Town case, and so the Board came up with a new set of regulations early in 1975. Sinkin called them “totally inadequate.” The San Antonio Express called them “grossly inadequate.” They contained no rules concerning runoff, no rules concerning density, and very permissive rules on subdividing. Since the state’s regulations were so weak, the APA and the League of Women Voters decided the next step was to monitor the city Zoning and Planning Commission on every case concerning the recharge zone. After a few weeks of such scrutiny, the commission declared an unofficial moratorium on zoning changes for the recharge area. Next, the city council set up a task force which designed a zoning overlay ordinance for the recharge zone. But the task force, said Sinkin, “was heavily weighted with vested interests. The only citizens group represented on the 18-member group was the APA.” The APA refused to support the ordinance. “It was full of loopholes,” Sinkin said. “There were no runoff regulations. It was business as usual. About all it did was prohibit asbestos plants or sauerkraut factories over the recharge zone.” Nevertheless, the city council passed the ordinance. Then, in Octber, with neither an economic nor environmental impact statement, the council voted 5-4 to grant B-2 \(department over the recharge zone \(specifically where and some city bureaucrats assured the council that the mall would not endanger the city’s water supply. The APA thought differently. The mall would be the biggest in the region, twice the size of North Star, which is currently the largest shopping center in San Antonio. North Star has 55 acres with parking space for 4,500 cars. The new mall, Sinkin guessed, would accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 autos, and the runoff from such a monster parking lot certainly wouldn’t help the country of 1100 springs any. In granting the commercial zoning permit for the mall, the city council seemed to be giving the go ahead for full commercial and residential development of the recharge zone. At present, the area north of San Antonio has only about 8,000 residents, nowhere near enough conspicuous consumers to populate a 129-acre shopping mecca. Such a mall, however, would make the area even more attractive to subdividers. The APA considered trying to recall the five council members who voted for the zoning change, but the group decided instead to go for a referendum on the mall zoning. They had to get the signatures of 10 percent of the city’s qualified voters \(27,000 signatures in ficult task, but the APA was quickly joined in the referendum effort by COPS \(Comspin-off of the old Saul Alinsky organization out of Chicago. APA and COPS operated out of booths in shopping centers and put clip out petitions in the local newspapers. To their surprise, they managed to come up with more than 47,000 signatures in two weeks. Sinkin speculated that if they’d had two weeks more, they could have gotten 100,000 signatures. Support for the referendum was city wide. Sinkin told the Observer that APA got most of the funding for the petition drive from retired military men, who want to protect their future in San Antonio; from doctors, who understand the health problems associated with polluted water; and from environmentalists. COPS, which primarily operates in the chicano barrios on the west side and the south side of San Antonio, found that, in addition to the issue of clean water, they could interest inner city, residents in signing the petition as a means of discouraging suburban sprawl. The COPS people explained that as the middle class moves north into the aquifer recharge area, the city has to spend more and more of its limited resources on new services in the area, money that might otherwise go to the barrios. All over the city, petition signers, recently hit with high gas bills, said they were afraid that their water bills would go up if the water supply had to be treated for pollution. Hugh Yantis, a month after his assurances to the council concerning the shopping mall, backtracked on television and said that the city would eventually have to treat its water and that San Antonians should be the ones to foot the bill. This brought questions by Councilmen Glen Hartman and Henry Cisneros and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Teniente as to Yantis’ credibility, the San Antonio Express reported. And Yantis’ contradictory statements gave the APA new ammunition for its charge that the Q Board could not be trusted to protect the city water supply. Both COPS and APA are now doing doorto-door voter registration drives. The Express is predicting that the mall will be overwhelmingly defeated on Jan. 17. Some of the proponents of the mall seemed resigned to failure. The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce originally pledged to raise $50,000 to run a campaign in favor of the mall. In early December, Chamber President Fred Burtner wrote in a newsletter, “A close study of the so-called Edwards aquifer issue leads me to conclude that the aquifer is not now, and never was, the primary issue of the recent petition drive. Either they [the petition backers] are anti-growth, or radical environmentalists, or possibly a part of the new egalitarian push to equalize incomes and lifestyles.” In mid-December, however, Burtner announced that the Chamber had decided to take no active role in the referendum after all. Clean water, of course, is a fairly simple issue for the public, if not the San Antonio city council, to understand. Still, it’s not often that retired military men, doctors, barrio residents, and the League of Women Voterspeople who normally wouldn’t be caught dead in a ditch togetherjoin forces to try to do something to protect their mutual environment. K.N. January 16, 1976 7 And We Prove It … with soft, big-room comforts, cozy cocktail lounges, Trader Vic’s and 2 more fine restaurants…with gardens, a pool, color TV, full meeting facilities, free parking and limousine service. Next time, let us care for you ever so nicely! DALLAS HILTON INN N. Central Expressway at Mockingbird Dallas, Texas 75206 For reservations, Hilton Reservations Service Office. Jim Franklin has been commissioned to paint Leon Russell’s swimming pool, a Times Square billboard for the New York Museum of Modem Art, several walls of Armadillo World Headquarters, posters to preserve the longneck, and album covers for the rock & roll world. Now, twelve paintings borrowed from private collections have been reproduced in full color as a wall calendar for 1976. If the medium is the message, Jim Franklin’s message has surfaced on and around us for the last ten years in a most unique and humorous way. Though best known for his work involving Armadillos \(indeed the fostering of a statewide other equally interesting subjects. Order now for yourself and a friend money order to: EDENTATA PRESS, 503 West 17th, Austin, Texas 78701. 250 signed and numbered copies of the 12″ x 24″ calendar are available for S15.00 each.
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