Page 22


would negatively affect their chances of getting appropriations. Finally, there was the argument that Speaker Clayton was simply “throwing money at the problem.” Since there were few restrictions on the money, the point was valid. The voters had no guarantee that a comprehensive program would have been established; perhaps water development would have been a haphazard granting of money to local entities that applied for financing. Even before the trust fund was drafted, the lines were drawn: Billy Clayton against the Sierra Club, West Texas against the rest of the state. Speaker Billy Clayton was the main proponent. This was Clayton’s last session as a member of the Texas House; he had been Speaker longer than anyone in the history of that body. Water, Inc., of course, had a network of state representatives as well as monied members. Formed in 1967, the organization now has about 1,900 members. By charter, Water, Inc. is prohibited from making contributions to political campaigns and candidates. \(Its members, however, are free to make contributions independent of Water, Inc. supported Clayton’s proposal. Providing and coordinating information was the TDWR, with Herb Grubb being a main proponent of the plan. The TDWR is supposed to be neutral by law; however, the department members testified as expert witnesses and as expected insisted that water development needed more funding. The TDWR is primarily a pro-growth, prodevelopment agency. “The objective of the Texas Water Resources program,” according to a paper by Grubb and J. D. Beffort, “is to serve the public interests of the state through orderly development and management of water resources in order that sufficient water will be available at a reasonable cost to further the economic development of the entire state.”‘” Herb Grubb, for example, a Briscoe appointee, is an economist first; he sees water as a resource to be used to promote the economic growth of Texas. Ray Hutchison, a bond lawyer, former state representative, and Sierra Club member, assisted Clayton in the drafting of the proposal. Hutchison was accused by Stuart Henry of supporting the trust fund because “bond lawyers and banks are . . . going to make money on this.” 4′ A proponent of “no new taxes,” Bill Clements worked with Billy Clayton in campaigning for the trust fund, and he helped promote an atmosphere conducive to the passage of the trust fund. In the spring of 1981, Clements made statements about importing water from Arkansas, to whiih Gov. Frank White of Arkansas responded with a firm “no!” Clements sat on the High Plains Study Task Force. Somewhere in the middle or at least difficult to pinpoint was Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby. Hobby was not pushing the water fund, but he did not hold it up, and during the last few days of the regular session, it seemed that he was trying to facilitate its passage. Eventually, when the amendment got on the November ballot, Hobby came out against the trust fund because of his consistent opposition to dedicated funds. The Sierra Club had its newsletter, its lobbyists, and a pool of interested citizens. The Sierra Club also had the information and knowledge having worked with \(or, more appropriately, about the “Texas Water Plan” and about Texas water policy. The Texas League of Women Voters, a group which has a solid reputation of working for “good government,” and a history of involvement with water issues, came out against the amendment. Other groups joining the fight against the fund were the Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas Federation of Teachers, both concerned about education funding, the Travis County Audubon Society, the Austin AFL-CIO Council, and the Central Austin Democrats. Probably one of the most outspoken legislators against the fund was Austin state Senator Lloyd Doggett. He along with other state officials toured Texas to speak against the bill. His campaign manager, Rus Tidwell, even took time off from Doggett’s campaign to run the Citizens Against Water Taxes campaign. A powerful figure in Texas conservative politics, former Gov. Allan Shivers, also took a stand against the trust fund. Shivers apparently called Doggett’s office, said he didn’t think the trust fund was such a good idea, and asked if there were anything he could do to help. The next day Shivers was talking with the media. The state media also did their share of “water crisis” stories. No matter how “objective” the media tried and professed to be, any mention of a “water crisis” further legitimated the concept. But when time for endorsements came around, most of the major newspapers came out against the trust fund. No one can say for sure why Texas voters rejected the plan. Probably the major reasons were the expense \($500 that West Texas would end up with all the money, and the realization that there was no water plan. As Citizens Against Water Taxes emphasized and reemphasized, the citizens of Texas would have been writing a blank check for a water trust fund \(which they called a A political factor came into play, also: it was not an off-election year in Houston and Austin. In Houston, there was a run-off for mayor, and in Austin, a nuclear power plant referendum. Lloyd Doggett cited “heavy voting in those areas” as a primary reason the trust fund failed. He said voters opposed the plan because it was “fiscally irresponsible, benefiting one part of the state.” 42 A study of voting patterns done for the Secretary of State’s office found that West Texans supported Proposition No. 4 while the rest of the state was much less enthusiastic: “Voting patterns for Proposition 4, Water Development, were clearly regionalized with West Texas, the most drought-prone region of the State, strongly supporting passage of the Proposition, and East Texas, with an abundance of rainfall and access to water sources, defeating the measure. This suggests that voters perceived the proposed amendment to clearly favor one area of the state and consequently voted according to whether or not their area of the state would benefit from the proposed amendment.” 42 s INCE THE WATER plan failed, the TDWR has been on the “verge of rational paranoia,” says one observer of the department. He argues that the board came under such attack that they are now trying to “protect their credibility.” The department, along with Clements’ Water Task Force, sponsored 13 forums -across the state to discuss the “Texas Water Plan.” The forums, held in March and April, 1982, were in Texarkana, McAllen, Midland, Houston, El Paso, Temple, San Antonio, Tyler, Corpus Christi, Abilene, Beaumont, Lubbock, and Arlington. The public forums were attended by a total of 648 people; of that 156 were concerned citizens, 121 were with a business, 84 were city officials, and 79 were with a water-related district. No U.S. senators or congressmen attended the forums, and only 11 state officials participated. The issue addressed by most speakers was water conservation. In addition to public forums, the TDWR encouraged and accepted 102 written statements. Of these 32 came from concerned citizens, 17 from business people, and 12 from those from a water-related district. Personal interviews of 187 people across the state were also conducted. Those interviewed came from local gov THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11