Page 39


HOUSTON’S FABULOUS Dick Maegle, V.P. 47417R DISCOUNT $3995 DBL. KIDS FREE . .18 & UNDER MOTOR INN 6700 SOUTH MAIN _ OUR HOTEL GUESTS GET ASTROWORLD & WATERWORLD TICKETS AT A DISCOUNT!!! SOLD AT OUR FRONT DESK FREE PARKING 713-522-2811 HOUSTON, TEXAS Across From Texas Medical Center Immm .1 5 Minutes to Astrodome, Astroworid and Waterworid Rice Stadium Zoo Golf CourseFat Stock ShowThe Summit is a strong middle-class component, addressing the needs of an increasingly disenfranchised middle class. Their needs include the ability to influence government action that affects property values and the quality of life. Nowhere was this more evident than in the list of issues drawn bp by the TMO representatives on September 9. Rev. John Stevens was concerned by the transport of hazardous chemicals through the neighborhoods of southeast Houston. “Are they [the mayoral candidates] prepared to address this question?” he asked, “to find some rational way to control transportation? Sooner or later we’re going to have a major disaster, and you know as well as I do where that disaster is going to be we’re right in the middle of it.” This, of course, transcends economic divisions, but it was followed by a series of issues of concern in middle-class neighborhoods everywhere. Walter Bauer of Mt. Carmel parish decried the scheduled move of Southeast . Memorial Hospital from the area. He said that would take the last major hospital from the area, as well as the doctors whose offices are nearby. He 6 SEPTEMBER 27, 1985 called for “a commitment from a prospective mayor to get capital improvement in our area.” Bauer also complained about the increase in strip joints in the neighborhood. This struck a responsive chord. A man stood up to say he didn’t like Houston’s bearing the distinction of having the most sex shops of any American city. Another said, “You don’t see them in Galleria or River Oaks, or if you do, they’re so high class, you don’t recognize them.” Open Agendas A woman stood up to say that, as a mother of young children, it is important to her to have good park facilities and park safety, and that should be an issue the candidates address. A man followed her, proposing that the city require preformance bonds from the owners of apartments and businesses that are otherwise abandoned and lead to the deterioration of the neighborhood. A day-care center for senior citizens in the area was proposed. A representative of an Episcopal church urged the group to ask candidates for a commitment to carry out deed restriction ordinances. Bill Crosier of the Garden Villas neighborhood told the group that there are “more jets out of Hobby [airport] now than when it was the only airport.” He proposed a noise-abatement ordinance. Then Herbert Hart introduced his proposal to have the candidates state their positions on the pass-through charges for the South Texas Nuclear Project. A final proposal called for citizen participation in the designation of capital improvement projects by the city. It’s not enough, said one participant, to just take part in the establishment of a commission. Continued participation in the decision-making process is required. “We fought very hard for the utility commission [Public Utility Commission] that’s putting the screws to us right now.” CONCERN about porn shops, parks, and hazardous chemicals. These concerns will be added to the TMO olla podrida when representatives from the ten issues meetings get together in early October to draw up a final list of issues for which they want to hold the mayoral candidates accountable. There will be input from middle-class, brown and black neighborhoods and from less-affluent areas. There is nothing hidden about these agendas. They are not decided in boardrooms or secret meetings. They well up from the needs of communities finally given a mechanism for redressing those needs. And the beauty is that the questions of a white middle-class homeowner in southeast Houston must be answered by mayoral candidates because the questions of a black resident of a Houston housing project must also be answered. Airport noise must be addressed because low-cost housing must be addressed. Before the last election, TMO registered 16,000 new voters. Its membership includes parishes and civic clubs throughout the city. There may come a time when the issues of various TMO constituencies come into conflict. But for now the empowerment of all means the empowerment of each. There exists no other mechanism through which these middle and lower-income Houstonians can influence the institutions that shape their lives. Says Anthony Collins: “We live in what I consider a disposable neighborhood. Many people would be very happy writing us off. We’re interested in having Louie Welch and Kathy Whitmire and Steve Stagner and the Lieutenant Governor listen to us with respect. We don’t have the money others have. All we have is people.”