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The $10 Program We invite organizations and individuals to sell new one-year Observer subscriptions. For each subscription the selling organization or individual will receive $10 commission. Like most publications, the Observer spends almost that obtaining a new subscription by mail. We prefer, however, that the money go to hard-working groups or individuals instead of to the post office and paper companies. Organizations and individuals authorized to sell subscriptions under the program will be provided with forms and sample copies. The only requirement is that individuals who wish to try this must have their own subscription paid up at the regular $20 rate. Commissions on subscriptions to be billed will be paid on receipt of the bill payment. Neither renewals nor subscriptions for a period shorter than a year receive commissions. If you want to take part in this program, contact the Observer at 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Tx. 78701, or phone 512-477-0746. No PAC’s or campaigns, please. Who Will it Be? let them in on the action and tell them the truth from the start. In rejecting the statehouse power structure’s plan to get control of the budget in years in which the legislature doesn’t meet, the voters once again refused to trust a few insiders to do what the legislature should do. Let, then, forward-looking politicians renew the call for annual sessions of the legislature so that budget-making can be done annually. Positive Plans, Please The national newspapers paid attention when the voters in Austin decided, 58 percent to 42 percent, to authorize the city council to sell the city’s 16 percent interest in the South Texas Nuclear Project. But this, too, is a negative achievement, and here, too, the progressives are challenged to produce positive solutions. There was another liberal majority on the Austin city council in recent years, and it was a disaster. Politicians who were skilled in criticizing conservative solutions came forward with no program of their own. We can hope for much better this time. The present council majority is especially interested in developing solar power and conservation as alternatives to nuclear power. The practical difficulties of selling the 16 percent interest are the first question, of course, but the second question is a real challenge. In what arenas, now that Reagan has ravaged Washington and the Congress, are progressive social experiments to go forward? In the states and cities. The wisdom of Andrew Young in returning to Atlanta to run for mayor reflects this fact. The demoralization of the central government by a reaction without parallel in this century means that the cities and the states must now step into the social vacuum. If the council members in Austin will proceed imaginatively, practically, and carefully, they can set up demonstration projects on energy conservation and solar power that will inspire the country. The success of, say, publicly-funded neighborhood solar energy generating and distribution systems could spread from Austin to anywhere. Everything must have a dollar-cost assigned; the state of the art must control. The cost of photovoltaic cells cannot be reduced rapidly until the central government, especially the military, start using them in large numbers, as Barry Commoner has made clear. But the urgency of the energy need in Austin and the highmindedness of the new council together provide an opportunity that must not be missed, an opportunity for the city coun cil to create new energy forms in a city whose people have showed they are ready for a future freed, at least somewhat, from the national corporate energy systems. Social Security We cheer the 18-14 majority of the U.S. House subcommittee on Social Security that defeated Cong. Jake Pickle’s program to cut Social . Security benefits. Democratic Majority Leader Jim Wright is correct: Social Security benefits should not be cut at’all, and if it takes a nickel more on cigarettes or a quarter on a fifth of whiskey, why not? First things first, and the contract -the government “I don’t want another cliffhanger like in 1978 once in a lifetime is enough,” Bill Clements told supporters in Corpus Christi the other day during his three-day swing around the state to announce his re-election bid. “This time I want to win by a large margin.” And he will too unless a Democratic candidate soon emerges with brains and brass enough to take the fight to the governor. I guess we’re getting restless around here. We saw little merit in Bob Slagle’s plan to avoid a Democratic bloodbath with some kind of unofficial mini-convention, but we’re ready for a candidate to step forward a candidate who, in the best of all possible worlds, will engage the issues, force Bill Clements to run on his record, and who will articulate a principled progressive alternative to what we have known for the past three or is it thirty? years. With Peyton McKnight an unabashed conservative now making strategic shufflings toward the center the only announced candidate, with John Hill and has made with the citizens about Social Security benefits must be honored. All the rhetoric about responsibility, crises, and shortfalls in the Social Security system’s funding conceals the brutal determination of Ronald Reagan to cut, and perhaps to abolish, Social Security. For what he believed were good reasons, Cong. Pickle became the leader of the Democrats who were trying to mollify the Reaganites on this topic. Bipartisanship on Social Security was the watchword of the Pickle approach. The right watchword is, Fight. No doubt in part because of the hard-line positions now being taken by Wright and Speaker Tip O’Neill, the majority on the subcommittee did fight. It’s about time. R.D. Bob Armstrong wearing Alphonse and Gaston disguises, and more private planes than usual flying into Uvalde, Democrats are off to a less than auspicious start. What we’re looking for in the governor’s race is another Jim Hightower. Agriculture Commissioner Reagan Brown, who recently announced for re. election, claims never to have heard of Jim Hightower, but he’s already beginning to realize he’s in the fight of his political career. Mustering a measure of bravado the other day, he proclaimed, “I beat the. Medfly, and now I’m going to beat the gadfly.” “We’re going to do something real ugly to him,” Hightower responded. “We’re going to make him run on his record. It’s like Joe Louis said of one of his ring opponents, ‘He can run, but he can’t hide.’ ” Now if only the governor’s race will be as interesting and as fun as the race for agriculture commissioner promises to be. J. H. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3