We often hear the argument that Texas and a starving world can’t afford to abandon the High Plains, since it has the potential to be the breadbasket of the world. Well, the High Plains primarily produces cotton, cattle feed, and beef. Cotton is certainly an important crop, and most Americans support a healthy, one could say gluttonous, beef habit. But while we’re talking about the future, we’d best face up to the fact that beef is a highly inefficient protein source. Frances Moore Lappe in Diet For a Small Planet points out that an acre of cereal can produce five times more protein than an acre devoted to meat production. It we insist on eating livestock products, then eggs, milk, poultry, and even pork are more efficient. While it takes only 4.3 pounds of protein for a chicken to produce one pound of eggs, it takes 21.4 pounds of protein for a cow to produce one pound of beef. If we were really serious about feeding the hungry, we’d reduce our beef habit and use a greater portion of our abundant farmland to grow cereals for human consumption. Instead we continue to use 78 percent of our grain nationwide to feed animals. But to get back to the immediate subject at hand, Proposition 1: If you ask folks at the TWDB what they want to do with an additional $400 million in funds \(which may or may not be revolvingsee Oct. 1 they will say that they want to develop Texas water resources for the future. What specifically? you may ask. They will explain that they are still studying Texas’ water needs and that a new Texas Water Plan will be submitted to the Texas Legislature for approval after voters sign the $400 million check. Why don’t we voters simply wait until the new water plan is unveiled before we decide whether we want to foot the bill? The TWDB still has $194 million to spend from its last bond referendum. Surely that’s enough money for the present. We strongly recommend a “no” vote on Proposition 1. R R Commission Republican Walter Wendlandt is our choice for railroad commissioner. Wendlandt has the technical expertise and independence to make a first-rate addition to the industry-dominated commission. As a former employee of the RRC \(16 years experience, including stints as director of both ‘gas utilities and transportation divisuited for the job. He knows the commission’s weaknesses and has been outspoken in recommending much-needed improvements for this non-regulating regulatory body. As hearing officer in the Coastal States/Lo-Vaca Gas case a few years ago, he advocated a plan of action that might have saved Lo-Vaca’s customers hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs. The 6 The Texas Observer commissioners, of course, ignored his advice and allowed the Lo-Vaca situation to deteriorate into a major crisis. Wendlandt’s Democratic opponent, State Rep. Jon Newton of Beeville, is a creature of the oil industry. During the hard-fought Democratic primary, Newton collected more campaign contributions and loans than six or his seven opponents combined. We’re going to explain the game plan in the Supreme Court race without making an endorsement. Remember that in the spring Don Yarbrough won the Democratic primary in what is . generally interpreted as a disastrous case of mistaken identity. Once nominated, Yarbrough promptly announced that the Lord had told him to run for the Supreme Court and that he would refer to the Bible more than to state law in deciding cases. Texas lawyers started having hissy fits. Since Yarbrough has no Republican opponent, two attorneys, Tom Lorance of Houston and State Dist. Judge Sam Houston of Denton, are running against him as write-ins. Houston has the easiest name to remember, but Lorance seems to have the better reputation in legal circles. Lorance is known as a “lawyer’s lawyer,” a man with a thorough grounding in the law. He’s also known to have a massive ego. Sam Houston is a Briscoe-appointed judge of no particular distinction. We know people who are going to vote for him because his name is easy to remember and that makes him the best bet for a successful write-in campaign. \(These considerations are probably moot, since no write-in candidate in Texas history has won a state-wide Since the Observer is not particularly sold on any of the candidates, we will not make an endorsement. If M.I. were still with us, she’d probably vote for Yarbrough because his tenure on the court should be a hoot. But wait. We can’t close down this editorial without a snide aside concerning the Bar’s treatment of Yarbrough. In its afterthe-fact campaign against him, the state’s legal establishment has acted more like a lynch mob than a group dedicated to due process. Members of the Bar have encouraged reporters to run derogatory stories concerning Yarbrough’s fundamentalist beliefs and his legal troubles \(about 16 civil been leaked concerning a Bar grievance committee’s disbarment proceedings against him. We know a reporter who told an attorney that lawyers were trying to railroad Don Yarbrough. “Of course he’s being railroaded,” the attorney conceded. “The question is: Does he deserve to be railroaded?” Due process, indeed. To date he has raised almost $553,000 for the primary and general elections. Most of the money came from the state’s top industrialists. The choice is between a man who has already committed himself to major oil and gas interests and an independent expert with 16 years experience in the regulatory field. It’s Wendlandt by a country mile. The Observer suspects that Yarbrough will get a number of votes as a protest against the Bar’s high-handed tactics. Congress Just for the record, we’d like to point out that three good men are running hard races for congressional seats. Just a glance at these Democrats’ Republican opponents would be enough to convince most Observer readers of the importance of these contests. But there’s more to it than that. U.S. Rep. Bob Eckhardt of Houston is campaigning hot and heavy against a television type. He probably has the race aced, but if an Observer endorsement will help any, he’s got it in spades. Meanwhile, State Sen. Bob Gammage of Houston, a veteran Dirty Thirtian, is taking another crack at Republican Ron Paul of Lake Jackson. And liberal State Rep. Jim Mattox of Dallas is battling Republican Nancy Judy to see who will succeed to Alan Steelman’s old seat. Both men would make worthy additions to the U.S. Congress. President People need jobs. They also need housing and a much more responsive health system. They need an end to monopoly pricing, especially on food, utilities, and other basics. They need an equitable tax system. And those people who are operating a small business, who are family farmers, or who are involved in a cooperative enterprise need a, fairer economic chance. These are rock-solid reasons to vote for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Not that Carter is going to achieve all this or even go as far toward it as he could, but at least he will head us in that direction instead of continuing to let the giant corporations run everything. Is Carter sincere? Who knows? One thing we do know is that Ford is sincere. He’s the most sincere Republican we’ve had since Herbert Hoover, and the result is that our economy is a wreck, our system of justice continues to be repressive, and our foreign policy is a shame. Only the multinational corporations benefit from the Ford presidency. SUPREME COURT
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