Page 11


IN DALLAS: 4528 McKINNEY AVE. 209 S. AKARD, downtown RICHARDSON: 508 LOCKWOOD FARMERS BRANCH SHOPPING CTR. SW CORNER, VALLEY VIEW IN WACO: 25TH & COLUMBUS IN AUSTIN: 1514 LAVACA 6103 BURNET RD. IN FORT WORTH: 6301 CAMP BOWIE BLVD. 1524 E. Anderson Lane, Austin bonds stocks insurance mutual funds optional retirement program Progressive typists Typists needed to progress through sheafs of Observer manuscripts. ‘benefits include training on a cassette computer terminal and association with Texas’ classiest po, litical riff-raff. Volunteer Now! THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 HALF PRICE RECORDS MAGAZINES an unprecedented opportunity for citizen control of the federal colossus, but proponents confidently cite the initiative experience at the state level in response to remaining criticisms. No state has ever rescinded the initiative right. Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield, a co-sponsor of Abourezk’s resolution, notes that in his state, initiatives have been responsible since 1902 for the abolition of capital punishment and the establishment of women’s suffrage and compulsory education. In California, the same initiative mechanism that made this year’s Proposition 13 possible gave petitioners in 1976 the means to pressure their legislature into passing progressive farm labor legislation andover the vehement and well-financed opposition of power company lobbyistsa stringent nuclear waste disposal law. According to Abourezk, six states now have initiative bills pending, and similar bills are being prepared in four others. His federal version has meanwhile attracted several more Senate sponsors, and 25 or so congressmen have joined to sponsor a counterpart resolution in the House. To help speed the federal proposal on its way through the cumbersome constitutional amendment process, a national citizens’ group calling itself Initiative America was formed last February. However, Bill Harrington, the group’s leader, cautiously forecasts that it may take six years to gain the needed twothirds approval in the Senate and House and secure ratification by three-fourths of the states. However long the process takes, national initiative supporters see reasons to suppose that broadcast commentator David Brinkley may have been wrong when he said last year that “Congress would never pass it. It would have to give up some of its power.” Early this year, Congress readily approved an initiative system for the District of Columbia \(83 percent of district residents had Stephan Carter reports that pollsters Patrick Caddell and George Gallup recently found that 57 percent of the people favor the Voter Initiative Amendment. Carter also mentions a little-noted feature of the California balloting on June 6: in Los Angeles County, where voters approved the Jarvis property tax initiative by a two-to-one margin, a ballot question on the desirability of the national initiative idea drew an even higher favorable vote. Election returns like that may convince members of Congress who see danger in the national initiative idea that the greatest danger of all for them i lies in opposing it. Staff assistant Harris Worcester is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University. Corporations sense the danger By John S. Shockley Macomb, Illinois Grassroots citizens’ groups aren’t the only ones who have figured out that they can use the initiative process to pry popular measures out of the dusty pigeonholes to which legislators and lobbyists consign them: corporations have sensed the danger, and they’re spending unprecedented sums to defeat measures they consider to be anti-business. In 1976, for example, nuclear safety laws were on the ballot in six states. Proponents were able to spend a combined total of roughly $1.75 million; corporations broke all-time spending records to oppose the initiatives, shelling out $11 million to defeat all six proposals. Citizens’ organizations also placed on four 1976 state ballots propositions that would have banned no-deposit, noreturn bottles and cans. Backers of these conservation measures managed to spend just over $200,000, but beverage and canning manufacturers amassed a war chest of over $3 million to defeat them. The corporations succeeded in two of the four states. These ten nuclear safety and returnable bottle bills amounted to less than one-fourth of all initiatives voted on in 1976, yet business interests spent almost $15 million opposing them. If , you recall that Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had only $20 million apiece to spend on their fall campaigns, you’ll have some sense of the massive proportions corporate anti-initiative spending reached. To counter the corrosive impact of this deluge of business dollars on the initiative process, a number of states passed laws limiting or prohibiting the use of corporate funds in initiative campaigns. But on April 26 of this year, the Supreme Court overturned these laws in First National Bank Qif Boston v. Bellotti. Massachusetts had tried merely to prevent corporations from contributing to initiative campaigns in which they were not “materially affected”; however, a five-man majority on the court struck even this measure down, ruling that states could not restrict the right of corporations to spend as much as they please on whatever initiatives they want to support or oppose. \(Corporations, however, are still prohibited from giving directly to The majority relied on the hoary notion that corporations, although they are state-sanctioned creatures of legal ar Personal Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 805A E. 48th, Austin, Texas 45941677 Good books in every field JENKINS PUBLISHING CO. The Pemberton Press John H. Jenkins, Publisher Austin 78768 Box 2085 Bob and Sara Roebuck Anchor National Financial Services THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21