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, t Pho tos by Ke it h Da nne m iller Pecan tree The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1979 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 71, No. 2 February 2,-1979′ Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITORS EDITOR AT LARGE Jim Hightower Linda Rocawich Eric Hartman Ronnie Dugger PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Reid, Beth Epstein ASSISTANT EDITORS: Vicki Vaughan, Bob Sindermann Jr STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margot Beutler, Viki Florence, Jeannette Garrett, Helen Jardine, Ann Kriss, Donna Ng, Beverly Palmer, Martha Owen, Karen White, Harris Worcester CONTRIBUTORS: Thomas D. Bleich, Ave Bonar, Berke Breathed, Warren Burnett, Bob Clare, Jo Clifton, Bruce Cory, Keith Dannemiller, Jeff Danziger; Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, David Guarino, Roy Hamric, Doug Harlan, Jack Hopper, Dan Hubig, Molly Ivins, Susan Lee, Tim Mahoney, Maury Maverick Jr., Dave McNeely, Kaye Northcott, Lois Rankin, Ray Reece, Laura Richardson, Ben Sargent, Lisa Spann, John Spragens Jr., Sheila R. Taylor, Stanley Walker, Eje Wray, Ralph Yarborough 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 responsi ble 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 of free voices. e pecans Austin Here in Austin, several stately pecan trees grace the Capitol grounds. In late November and December, when the pecans drop, it’s common to see Austin old-timers and an occasional gaggle of off-season tourists bent over, circling under the public’s trees, harvesting the bounty. Business lobbyists don’t control the pecan trees, at least not yet, but that’s about all the lobby doesn’t have a firm grip on this year, and if you didn’t get any pecans from the state Capitol this winter, good luck on getting anything else. Unless, of course, you’re a savings and loan president, a timber tycoon, a loan company executive, a chain-store retailer, or some such. If so, you’re likely to get a great deal from the Capitol in the next four months. Things are tailor-made for corporate interests in the 66th Legislaturethe governor, speaker of the House, and most committee chairmen are their kind of people, and they have a host of lobbyists already going full-tilt in their behalf. Like droughts, legislative sessions seem to run in cycles, and there are more bad years than good. The 63rd Legislature was known as a reform biennium, producing important laws on state open records, consumer protection, financial disclosure, deceptive trade practices, and more. In the 64th and 65th, however, business interests reclaimed the government and used Dolph Briscoe and Billy Clayton to prop open the door so highway builders, coal-slurry pipeline firms, and others among them could make a good haul. This time, after spending an unprecedented sum of money in 1978 political campaigns \(Obs ., Dec. 1, their political cycle, and from the way things are shaping up here in the opening days, they are viewing last year’s election results as nothing less than a license to loot. While they’re at it, they also intend to dismantle most of the reforms passed in ’73. Doing business at the Capitol There is some little lobby in Austin for about every cause in the book. This year’s listing includes registrants of all stripes, 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 #541300. ISSN 0040-4519. ,2 prepaid. One year, $14: two years, $25; three years, $36. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilmed by MCA, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452, POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to The Texas Observer at address below. Editorial and Business Offices 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Cover art: Beth Epstein