Mobe Meets in Austin, olsheviks Not in Si\(oht -f IS Latest Twist in Austin STNP Debate By Nina Butts Pho to by Fre d Ba ldw in Austin Austin voters go to the polls January 15 to grant or deny the city council $97 million in bonding authority to keep up payments on Austin’s share of the South Texas Nuclear Project, the mammoth power plant under construction on the Gulf coast. STNP is managed by Houston Lighting and Power. It is seven years behind schedule and $4.5 billion over budget and has been fined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for faulty construction. In an election 14 months ago, Austin authorized the city council to sell the city’s 16% share of STNP, but no one wants to buy it; so the city council finds itself in the uncomfortable position of asking Austinites to borrow more money Austin The Mobe convened in Texas this month. But Reader’s Digest insinuations notwithstanding, hardly a Bolshevik was in sight. Mobe is the Mobilization for Survival, an umbrella peace organization and prime mover in the current U.S. wave of nuclear freeze activism. Nearly 300 Mobe supporters gathered in Austin December 10-12 for their sixth annual national conference. They rode planes and buses, drove, and backpacked from across the country to meet at UT’s Stu Jim Jones is an Austin freelance writer and coordinator of Austin Lutheran Peace Fellowship. to continue paying a million dollars a week for a project they want out of. Austin’s alternatives to selling the new bonds are to default on their contract with HL&P or to raise electric rates 42 % to make payments. Defaulting would cost Austin its high bond rating and, some Austinites claim, devastate the city’s finances. The city council, up for reelection in April, has no desire to announce an electric rate hike and ask to be reelected in the same breath. Local response to the upcoming bond election varies. Austin Electric Utility . Commissioners Shudde Fath and Peck Young, long-time liberals, vociferously favor passage of the bonds to keep Austin from defaulting and to buy time to By Jim Jones dent Union for three days of speeches, workshops, and planning for 1983. The theme was “Beyond Survival.” The spirit was ecumenical, with issues ranging from El Salvador to feminism to alternative sources of energy. The common cause of nuclear disarmament surfaced often enough to keep most attendees listening. But it was occasionally hard to tell which way the ship was heading, and where it might dock when it got to port. Mobe wears a battle star that may some day be a badge of honor among peacemakers. It was among several groups cited in a November ’82 Reader’s Digest article called “The KGB’s Magical War for Peace. ” The article negotiate a way out of the project with Austin’s $400 million investment or at least some of it intact. Some local anti-nuclear activists are planning a stopthe-bonds campaign, based on the principle that every time citizens have a chance to vote on spending for nuclear power they should say no. Other antinuke activists will neither support nor oppose the bonds, but plan to use the election to begin an STNP cancellation campaign, gathering signatures on petitions and, distributing literature at the polls on January 15. They plan to convince Austin and the other STNP partners Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi that cutting their losses and canceling the project is the happiest possible ending to the protracted, grueling saga of STNP. El Dave Dellinger in Austin smeared the U.S. nuclear freeze movement as a Kremlin-engineered plot. Despite subsequent discrediting of the article’s primary information source, it has been cited as influencing the president’s distrust of the current peace movement. If the KGB was indeed in sinister charge, it showed its slyness by remaining invisible. The only Reds in evidence were three unmenacing youngsters manning a forlorn Revolutionary Communist Party book table in the back of the literature room. They hawked their wares with fervor, but the crowd’s indifference left doubt that they would net the bus fare back to Houston. JANUARY 14, 1983 Pho to by Jim Jon es
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