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The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1978 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 70, No. 12 June 23, 1978 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat. which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITORS EDITOR AT LARGE Jim Hightower Lawrence Walsh Linda Rocawich Eric Hartman Ronnie Dugger PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Reid, Susan Lee, Beth Epstein ASSISTANT EDITORS: Vicki Vaughan, Teresa Acosta STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margaret Watson, Bob Sindegnann, Margot Beutler, Beverly Palmer, Harris Worcester, Larry Zinn, Connie Jacowitz, Jamie Murphy, Karrie Key, Christy Hoppe, Cathy Stevens, Lisa Spann CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly lvins, Ralph Yarborough, Laura Richardson, Tim Mahoney, John Spragens Jr., Sheila R. Taylor, Doug Harlan BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, 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. years. $30. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $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. Editorial and Business Offices: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 7.45DYs”li t Photos by Judy Pszenica By Joe Nick Patoski Austin It is the province of a fool to oppose the rehabilitation of Texas’ urban cores, but in the midst of all the celebratory cornmotion over downtown renewal and growth in the state, it is important that a few killjoy questions be asked: To whom should redevelopment decisions be entrusted? Who stands to benefit from them, and who to suffer? What constitutes legitimate, life-enhancing urban growth? These matters suggested themselves back in May, when some of Austin’s most prominent movers and shakers met for two days to address the subject of downtown revitalization in the capital city. There was much wringing of hands over the declining quality of life in the city’s center and much mourning about the lack of parking space. A parade of city officials, urban planners, and even a few ordinary citizens tried to come up with some ideas for saving downtown Austin without destroying it. But from all the theorizing emerged only one concrete proposalthat of a consortium of three developers working as BWC Associates to refurbish the Littlefield Building on the northeast corner of Sixth and Congress. Sadly, it was the only gesture of support made by private developers either during or after the renewal conference. On the surface, theirs is a good scheme. The Littlefield has a low occupancy rate at present despite its location at Austin’s busiest corner. BWC’s three principalsCarl Burnette, John Watson and Jim Caseyare respected realtors and developers, each with extensive individual apartment, retail and land holdings in greater Austin. One local real estate salesman described 2 JUNE 23, 1978