A Case of Sexual Discrimination By Susan Melnick Bexar County Democratic leader Kathleen Voigt, think the idea of a San Antonio referendum on the freeze may be premature. Alderete concurs: “Part of the problem with the referendum is the newness of the issue and the strong military influence in our community.” Both Alderete and Voigt look to the 1984 elections as the time for a city or state referendum on the freeze. Supporters of a nuclear freeze referendum in San Antonio represent a coalition of religious, professional, labor, political, and civic organizations. Alderete suggested that they initially approached him to present the resolution because “I am regarded as more moderate than some other members of the council. They thought the resolution had a better chance of passing if I showed my support for it. I think they were surprised by how much I knew about it. I don’t know that I have a problem with weapons in general everything is a weapon but with the people who handle the weapons. With the Reagan administration, the solution to a problem they can’t solve is ‘Let’s roll up our sleeves and fight about it.’ The issue is not whether the Soviets are ahead of us. The issue is that we now have the power to destroy the world. When you have a weapon that can destroy the world, you don’t need to refine that weapon anymore. The world will not become a more difficult target.” During the citizens’ segment of the November 18 meeting, Alderete’s resolution was supported in a letter from Archbishop Patrick Flores, read by Rev. Charles Pugh, Vicar General of the San Antonio Catholic Archdiocese. He was joined by representatives of People for Peace, a local organization instrumental in initiating the local referendum, Bexar County Democratic Chairwoman Marilyn Jones, San Antonio AFL-CIO Council President Joan Suarez, speaking as a member of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, a representative of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and other religious leaders. Cisneros answered these petitioners by cautioning against what he characterized as “the Soviet devil,” saying, “I don’t believe that when we freeze that they automatically will.” He then offered his own resolution, which, he said, “tracks Senate Resolution 177” \(the JacksonWHEREAS, a nuclear war would kill or injure millions and millions of people and threaten the survival of the human race; WHEREAS, there can be no assurance that a nuclear war, once initiated, would remain limited in scope; WHEREAS, there exists the everpresent risk that nuclear weapons might be employed through accident or miscalculations; WHEREAS, sizeable and verifiable mutual reductions of Soviet and United States nuclear forces to an equal and far-lower level would enhance stability and the maintenance of peace: and, WHEREAS, President Reagan, on November 18, 1981, states that the United States “will seek to negotiate substantial reductions in nuclear arms which would result in levels that are equal and verifiable”: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The City Council of San Antonio urges the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union to engage in negotiations leading to substantial, equitable, and verifiable reductions of their nuclear weapons in a manner which would contribute to peace and stability; The United States should propose to the Dallas IN COURTS of law, justice is often a slow process. And when the persons in question are big-city attorneys and a Dallas County district judge, the obstacles can be considerable. No one knows this better than Sheila Porter, former Dallas County law librarian. In August of this year Porter, who is also an attorney, filed her second sexual discrimination complaint in two years with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas County Commissioners. The fight to try and keep her job has been tedious and frustrating. From August 1980, until June 1982, Porter was fired three times, reinstated twice, and forced to spend hours in two different sets of hearings being interrogated about everything from her sex life to how well she did her job. It has not been pleasant for Sheila Porter or for members of the Dallas Bar Association, who are reluctant to discuss the case. Sheila Porter’s story began two years Susan Melnick is a contributing editor to the Dallas Observer and a freelance writer. Soviet Union practical measures to reduce the danger of nuclear war through accident or miscalculation and to prevent the use of nuclear weapons by third parties, including terrorists; The United States should challenge the Soviet Union to join in this historic effort to channel the genius of our two peoples away from the amassing of nuclear armaments and to focus the energy and’resources of both nations on attacking the ancient enemies of mankind poverty, hunger. and disease. There was no immediate show of support for the mayor’s resolution. Alderete says Cisneros has challenged him to work out a resolution that both of them can support. He believes some sort of compromise resolution can be reached as it contained the idea of a freeze. “And it will be important. No matter what the language is, people will know it is a nuclear freeze resolution. It’s important that the symbolism stay alive.” 0 ago, only months after she’d completed her first year as Dallas County law librarian. On August 30, 1980, she was fired from the $27,000-a-year position by Dallas County District Judge Dee Brown Walker, then the 20-year veteran chairman of the law library committee. Porter says she was given no reasons for her termination. She suspected she was fired because she refused to cooperate when Walker allegedly made sexual advances toward her. She promptly appealed the firing and, along with her lawyers, requested a hearing before the Dallas Bar Association’s Board of Directors. “We thought in the fall there’d be a hearing. But they delayed for one reason or another,” she said. She was finally reinstated temporarily by the County Commissioners Court in December 1980. Bar association members, however, refused to talk about the sexual harassment issue. In December 1980, Porter filed her first EEOC complaint against Dee Brown Walker. That was all it took. The bar association granted a hearing. Meanwhile, Porter was transferred to work at the library in the Belo Mansion, home of the Dallas Bar Association. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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