LULAC passes the torch The Texas press babbled about the contest of style: “outspoken” Cor pus Christi attorney Ruben Bonilla versus “demure” Eduardo Pena of Washington, D.C. But when Bonilla wrested the national presidency of the League of United Latin American Citizens from incumbent Pena by a healthy majority \(317 niversary convention in Houston this month, the delegates thought the change in leadership had to do more with substanceBonilla’s strong stands on Hispanic and women’s issues and his opponent’s failure to sense the progressive shift in the country’s largest organization representing the Hispanic community. “I’ve seen so many press reports lately about my ‘outspoken’ manner,” Bonilla sighed when we spoke to him. As Texas state LULAC director in recent years. he adroitly used press conferences to protest police brutality and challenge recalcitrance in Washington on Hispanic issues. He’d rather talk now about a pro Alan Pogue Ruben Bonilla gram to bring Hispanics “into the politi cal sphere in America,” something he says LULAC’s past leadership balked at. “Hispanics have been largely an invisible minority,” he says. “LULAC has always maintained a low profile. We’ve been easily intimidated. We’ll not be intimidated.” Coalition politics and the forging of alliances with other minorities and like-minded groups \(the NAACP, Urban League, and the Progressive AlRemembering that a large number of LULAC delegates would be women, Bonilla came into the Houston convention with a separate platform on women’s issues to augment his more comprehensive platform on the 1980 census, redistricting, undocumented workers, U.S.-Mexican relations, unemployment, education, health care, minority business, and expanded Hispanic representation in government appointments, among other issues. Posters, leaflets, T-shirts, a tabloid campaign newspaper, and hats emblazoned with “Bonilla’s Bees” worn by walkie-talkie-toting campaign workers, helped convince convention delegates that Bonilla’s program should be LULAC’s. Matthew Lyon Tahoe anyone? To the victors belong the spoils, and there’s no doubt the legislators who sponsored the anti-consumer bills of the auto dealers’ lobby came out on top after the dust of the 66th session settled. Sen. Tom Creighton and Reps. Nub Donaldson, Danny Hill. and Bob Davis were rewarded for their labors on behalf of the lobby with a week-long junket to Lake Tahoe. The Texas Auto Dealers Association paid for the foursome’s airfare to and from the Nevada resort, along with their . meals and the $50.40-a-day tab at the Sahara Tahoe Hotel. Ostensibly, the group was invited to the auto dealers’ annual convention to “give a balanced impression of last session’s legislature,” according to the dealers’ chief man in Austin, Gene Fondren. David Lancaster, the dealers’ PR man, added that “we’re not so crazy as to pay their way because they carried our bills.” But the four did carry the dealers’ bills and they did have their way paid to the resort. Creighton and Donaldson sponsored the bill which would allow Texas auto dealers to add a $25 fee to the price of a car after August 27, 1979, and Hill sponsored a billsoon to be lawweakening the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Davis pushed the only heavily lobbied measures that didn’t passthe products liability bills. Other legislators popular with the auto dealers who were invited but did not attend the convention were Sen. Bill Moore, author of a lobby-backed bill recreating the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission; Sen. Bill Meier, the Senate sponsor of crippling changes in the deceptive trade act; and Rep. Bob McFarland, another sponsor of the products liability bills. Vicki Vaughan Duck pond lives The American Association of Uni versity Professors voted to censure the University of Texas of the Permian Basin early in June, raising the number of Texas institutions of higher learning currently under formal censure by the AAUP to an ignominious eight. That’s a tall portion of the 46 censured institu tions nationwide. AAUP members, at their annual meeting in Houston, ac cepted the report of a state investigating committee that found violations of due process and academic freedom in the 1977 firings of three UT-PB professors. The murky waters of the university’s duck pond fiascostemming from deception in the use of state funds to build the pond and a three-hole golf course on the Odessa campus several years ago \(Obs., play at the beginning of the investigating committee’s report. “I don’t know why they even brought that into it. It’s irrelevant,” says UT-Permian Basin president V. R. Cardozier, who replaced Billy H. Amstead when embarrassment and legislative scrutiny bore down on his office in 1974. Reading between the lines with the help of some AAUP insiders, it seems there was lingering animosity from that affair between the new president and R. C. Thompson, one of the professors who was later fired. Cardozier and Thompson were both vice presidents at the school during the Amstead regime, but shortly after Cardozier took over he banished Thompson from the administration, reducing his appointment to an associate professorship. “After the duck pond incident they just didn’t get along,” confided an AAUP member. “Thompson went into disfavor. There were very hard feelings between the two. It looked like the administration was out to get one personThompson.” Matthew Lyon THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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