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The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1978 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 70, No. 6 March 31, 1978 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower MANAGING EDITOR Lawrence Walsh ASSOCIATE EDITOR Linda Rocawich EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger ASSISTANT EDITORS: Colin Hunter, Teresa Acosta, Vicki Vaughan PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Lee, Susan Reid STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margaret Watson, Bob Sinderrnann, Debbie Wormser, Margot Beutler, Leah Miller, Connie Larson, David Guarino, Beth Epstein, Beverly Palmer, Harris Worcester, Gerald McLeod, Larry Zinn, Janie Leigh Frank CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Ray Reece, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Luther Sperberg, Roy Hamric. Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph Yarborough, Laura Richardson, Eric Hartman, Tim Mahoney, John Spragens Jr. BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Alice Embree, Ricky Cruz A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal offree voices. Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin. Texas. Publication no. 541300. soe prepaid. One year, $12; two years, $22; three years, $30. Foreign, except APOIFPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. 74134D Editorial and Business Offices: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 2 MARCH 31, 1978 ‘ENDORSEMENTS Our choice: Striking farmers, massed to dramatize some of the causes of their declining economic condition, attempted early this month to block northbound trucks laden with Mexican produce from crossing the international bridge at Hidalgo. Local police, responding with tear gas and billy clubs, rounded up and jailed about 200 of the protesters. When the farmers called for help, Texas politicians took coverGov. Dolph Briscoe, speaking from the campaign trail in Houston, sided with the constabulary, and wouldn’t lift a finger. The only state official sympathetic to the farmers and willing to stand with them when it counted was John Hill. The attorney general immediately began to bargain with local officials ,for the farmers’ release and stayed in the Valley with them until the job was done. When the AFL-CIO went to the airwaves in 1975 to counter last-minute lobbying by private utilities bent on defeating the bill that created a public utilities commission, the only state official willing to appear on labor’s TV show and fight for the commission was the attorney general. When mobile home manufacturers and dealers sought in 1975 to kill or at least cripple the bill that applied strict warranty requirements to their industry, Hill was Texas’ only major officeholder to stand against the lobby and fight to protect the interests of low-income consumers. Hill and the public won. As attorney general, John Hill has taken more than a few principled stands and stuck with them even when some of the state’s entrenched economic powers objected \(Obs., Feb. 25, expect from those in high office, and it is enough to make Hill the Observer’s choice in this spring’s gubernatorial primary. Ours is no reluctant endorsement, made merely because Dolph Briscoe is so bad; rather, we embrace Hill with enthusiasm, though we remain mindful of his flaws. To us, what is important about the man is not just who he has been, but who he can become. As governor, Hill could be expected to come down on the side of the people about half the time simply by dint of his political and moral makeup; but if Texas progressives throw in with him now and press for a major voice in his administration, he could be the best chief executive the state has seen since Jimmy Allred. Admittedly, that’s not saying a lotTexans have had a rotten run of luck with their governors since Allred. It’s been a 40-year dry spell, so it’s not that hard for Hill to look good. No one should be fooledHill is something less than a direct descendant of our great populist politicians. Coming from deep within the confines of the state’s legal establishment, he shows a has never uttered a word about the maldistribution of Texas’ wealth. But neither is John Hill a big business ideologue, as Shivers and Connally were, nor is he a dolt, as the last two residents of the governor’s mansion have been. Simply put, Hill represents r