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CONTENTS FEATURES 2 Born Under A Bad, Sign 4 Gov. White’s Algebra 5 Observations 8 The Resurrection of Louie Welch 10 A New Strategy Against the Death Penalty 14 Searching for the Disappeared in Guatemala Dave Denison Geoffrey Rips Ronnie Dugger Louis Dubose Gara LaMarche DEPARTMENTS 13 Political Intelligence 21 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 16 Ajoblanco’s Last Reflections Afterword: 22 Goodbye, Old Place Arturo Arias Dave Denison Cover Art by Tom Ballenger million is earmarked for sewage-treatment plants in areas that could not otherwise finance them, and another $190 million would go to water supply projects in such areas. be available for bigger projects: wastewater treatment plants, water pipelines, and, most important, state participation in new reservoir projects. What citizens are voting on here is the first tentative step of the 50-year water plan drawn up by the state water bureaucracy in 1984. And, beyond that, legislators have the option to create even more funds for water development, without having to go first to the voters for approval. A section in the resolution that is up for voter approval in November says, “The legislature by law may create one or more special funds in the state treasury for use for or in aid of water conservation, water development, water quality enhancement, flood control . . . [and] may make money in a special fund available to cities, counties, special governmental districts and authorities. . . .” Senator John Montford, D-Lubbock, who was one of the main architects behind the bill, says the legislature wanted to make it clear that “if we determined a project were necessary, in an emergency, for instance, [then money could be appropriated]. But there is no intent to appropriate grand amounts of money,” he says. “We don’t have the money.” A Dallas group led by environmentalist Ned Fritz is opposing the water propositions because of the open-ended funding clause and out of the belief that the plan calls for more new reservoir capacity than the state will need. The National Audubon Society is also opposed to the water plan on environmental grounds as is state Sen. Carlos Truan, DCorpus Christi. The Sierra Club has remained neutral, saying that the sins of the water plan are sins of omission rather than comission. One thing omitted from the water bill as it was pushed and pulled through the legislative process was strict language safeguarding environmental conditions in the bays and estuaries along the Gulf Coast. The shrimp and other wildlife in the estuaries depend on the flow from the rivers. Sen. Truan and others made a strong effort to put language in the bill that would specifically protect the amount of shrimp production along the coast, but in the end weaker language requiring “beneficial inflows” was all that was included. What constitutes a “beneficial inflow” will have to be decided by the three-member Texas Water Commission, a board not overrun with environmentalists. At bottom, what citizens are voting on here is the first We have moved. Our new address is: The Texas Observer 600 W. 28th Street #105 Austin, Texas 78705 tentative step of the 50-year water plan drawn up by the state water bureaucracy in 1984. The defining attitude of the plan, as written in the document “Water for Texas,” is: “Although water conservation is a viable method of extending water supplies, the development of additional sources . . . will be required to ensure adequate future water supplies.” The water department sees a need for 44 new reservoirs over the next five decades in addition to the 184 major reservoirs now in operation in Texas. Some of those proposed reservoirs stand to be helped along by the approval of Proposition 1. The Eastex reservoir on Mud Creek near Nacogdoches and the Little Cypress reservoir north of Longview are two likely candidates for state money. East Texas residents are already organizing against the Little Cypress project, saying it is unnecessary and will submerge valuable natural habitats. Downstate near Cuero, residents are also alarmed about two potential major reservoirs on the Guadalupe River. The Lindenau reservoir is suggested for construction in 1990 by the water board; Gene Finney of the DeWitt Gonzales River Association fears that start-up money for the project could come out of the $400 million in the currently proposed water bonds. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3