Dallas, and Austin, the highway department is more a part of the problem than the solution,” he wrote. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, is also making critical noises about highway spending. He has taken a look at six overpasses being built on Highway 59, southwest of Houston, each one at a cost of $1.1 million. Three of the overpasses are for roads leading directly to ranch gates, he says. “If they’re doing that in a small way, what are they doing in a large way? It raises some questions.” DeLay says he won’t support raising taxes unless he’s assured the highway money will be well spent. There are signs that austerity for the highway department will bring creative solutions to the transportation problems of the state. Highway Commissioner Robert Lanier has made a point in the last few months of telling businesses and developers that their chances of getting roads to serve them may depend on their donations of right of way. Donated land has already saved the state millions of dollars. That’s the good thing about budget constraints; they force new ideas. For the highway department, that would mean not scattering dollars the length and width of Texas. Maybe we would find, with the right touch of austerity, there are other places the highway department could save money if it really had to. D.D. DIALOGUE DISABILITIES I read with interest the piece headlined ment” \(by Nina Butts, Observer, As one who was a proponent of affirmative action long before changes in recruitment and hiring practices were mandated by federal statutes or Executive Orders and as an occasional consultant on affirmative action matters to various federal agencies including the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, I found the account of the efforts of the “golden kids of progressive Texas Democrats” to be generally encourag 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. ing. Having roughly 20 years of experience in affirmative action matters behind my belt now, I most certainly was not insensitive to the quite practical reasons why the actual outcomes achieved by date been more auspicious. What galled me about this piece, however, was the inferential continuation of what has rather consistently been a “blind spot” in the Observer’s coverage of pertinent issues: Selfimposed ignorance as to the existence of legally protected classes other than our friends in the Black and Hispanic communities and an apparent institutional insensitivity as to the compelling reasons why legal protections for these other vulnerable classes have been so overwhelmingly approved by legislative bodies after careful consideration of the merits of the issues at the local, state and national levels. My reference is to 850,000 Texans with disabilities or, if you prefer, to 35,000,000 handicapped Americans. This is most certainly the most disadvantaged, deprived, and discriminatedagainst special population within our society. It is a special population for which people like U.S. Senators Dole and Hatch have demonstrably exhibited considerably greater concern than have most of the current contenders for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. Coincidentally, these individuals with disabilities are also becoming increasingly more aware politically and better organized under the general slogan, “Disabled But Able To Vote.” In general, the preponderance of these hundreds of thousands of Texans with disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed. Therefore, few of them are in any position to throw a lot of money into particular political campaigns or to set about doing things like organizing PAC’s. On the other hand, many of these citizens do have several sophistication in recognizing who their friends really are in the realm of public service. In the last general election in Texas, this block had an impact that, in my opinion and experience, has largely gone unrecognized \(certainly by the and that has been largely unappreciated by at least some \(including, presumably, various of your “golden kids of progressive Texas up citizens helped bring into office. And, in my opinion, they will have a substantial and possibly decisive impact in this year’s elections, just as in the ’80 campaigns. A decade of accessibility to and support from candidates such as Doggett and Barrientos is not going to be forgotten. That Krueger was one of the few members of Congress to oppose the landmark “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” is not going unnoted or unpublicized in this particular community. Perhaps most significantly of all, candidates for offices at all levels are being questioned to determine their awareness, sensitivity and enlightenment and their responses are being, on a nonpartisan basis, shared throughout this special population. I regret that Nine Butts didn’t expand her article to also include a few facts about how these “golden kids of progressive Texas Democrats” were acquitting themselves of their affirmative action obligations as related to Texans with disabilities. The bottom line on such reportage, I suspect, would have been that, in most cases, not very much has changed at all at least not for the better. Charles W. Hoehne Austin 6 JUNE 1, 1984
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