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he finds himself before a group not hostile to H.B. 72. At the same time, he acts in a manner which indicates that he thinks he and his questioners are conspirators in a ritual of accountability to which there is no real substance. For instance, in answer to the question asking if COPS has White’s commitment to keeping H.B. 72 as it is, White answers, “Yes you do. Yes you do. Yes you do.” Answering another proposition, White says, “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” Perhaps he is only trying to be emphatic or trying to join the rhythm of the evening, but that is not the impression he gives. Instead, White’s performance at the COPS congress is more suited to the undemocratic practices of party politics, where the scenarios acted out on public stage are worked out beforehand by power brokers and ward heelers in smoke-filled rooms. But, while COPS leaders have engaged in many closeddoor discussions with political officeholders, those discussions serve as an adjunct to the public accounting, not as its replacement. This distinction seems to have eluded White. Instead, he uses single syllable words \(even though translation into Spanish was provided for show that he can appreciate the ritual in which he is involved and, also, as a signal that he does not want it lost on any of his audience that, on these issues, Mark White and COPS are allied. It is as if he does not want to leave any of his audience behind. But many are way ahead of him: For Mark White’s lesson this night does not take place during his questioning, but during the questioning that preceded his the cross-examination of Mayor Henry Cisneros. And whether or not he understands that lesson as it takes place, many of the COPS leaders know that sooner or later it will sink in. Besides, behind White’s eager-to-please exterior there must be some unease. Several times he tries to do some educating of his own, apparently feeling that officeholders and other “civic leaders” do not receive the proper obeisance from members of the COPS organization. To quell concerns about the make-up of the Higher Education Select Committee, White points to Gen. Bill. McBride of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, seated in the auditorium, as an example of a state education board member who would have COPS interests at heart. At another point, White speaks directly to the delegates in order to tell them what an outstanding job Cisneros has done in building “Team San Antonio,” what a great job Gen. McBride is doing, and what a brave man ., House Speaker Gib Lewis was to vote for indigent health care. There is something in White, for at least as long as he is standing onstage, that needs to re-affirm the notion that power starts at the top and works its way down. Privatization and Reagan Hood E BELIEVE,” Helen Ayala tells the COPS congress, ‘government should be lean and effective and responsible in serving the interests of all the people. The way to have government effectiveness is by accountability, not by putting a cap on budgets.” After twelve years, San Antonio’s Communities Organized for Public Service is undergoing some changes. What was described in some newspapers as an organizational identity crisis could be more accurately described as a selfanalysis in order to determine how better to meet power with power. For four months a group of COPS leaders and former leaders met with COPS organizers in a series of strategy and planning sessions in order to come up with a structure that would allow the organization to answer an ever-growing agenda while at the same time maintaining the neighborhood organizing and educational process that is at the heart of the organization’s business. The capacities of COPS’s elected leaders were being stretched to the breaking point by a growing state-based agenda education equalization, indigent health care, economic development added to the demands of its city government concerns. The major impetus for change, however, was provided by the recent encroachment of what one COPS member described as “Reagan Hood rob from the poor to give to the rich,” what Helen Ayala calls “the Gramm-Rudman mentality, or to bring it closer to home, the cap on public spending mentality.” San Antonio COPS began as an organization demanding public services for underserved neighborhoods on the South and West Sides of San Antonio. This included drainage systems, road systems, housing subsidies. It was able to marshall early power to change an at-large city council system to election by single-member districts, which transformed the reigning imbalance of power in the city \(dominated for years by the white business community living in the representational seating on the council and, ultimately, improved public services for those areas that had, through the years, paid for services other Ernesto Cortes, Jr. sections received. Suddenly, COPS is confronted with the prospect that public services from the federal to the local level will be virtually eliminated by a Gramm-Rudman mentality spreading like a cancer from Washington to Austin to San Antonio. At the final COPS strategy and planning meeting, held at St. John Berchmans ChUrch on January 11, Ernesto Cortes, Jr., original organizer of COPS and director of the Texas Interfaith Network, talked about the impending crisis: “Our whole strategy on equalization was that the education of children should be based on the wealth of the state as a whole rather than on the wealth of a district. Otherwise you have no public sector but private sectors and basically private schools. Ronald Reagan and Phil Gramm believe the public sector should be privatized or contracted out. You don’t do garbage collection, you hire Browning-Ferris. It eliminates accountability. There are studies on privatizing fire services and police services. They would be unaccountable. With Gramm-Rudman, there will be no more Community Development Block Grants money. It will be eliminated in 1987. Urban Development Action Grants will be gone. The Economic Development Administration, gone. Revenue sharing for the police department. gone. “Where do we then get money for 4 4 Pho to by Alan Pog u e THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11