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Our outstanding lunches have been an Austin must for eleven years. Our international grocery features food and wine from around the world. Come see us at our new home. Oommori MIVIKET 1610 San Antonio Austin, Tex. 78701 472-1900 Hours: 7am 7pm Mon. to Fri. and Sam 6pm on Sat main arteries. There are curbs and sidewalks and a light on Gen. McMullen for children crossing to Las Palmas School. Drainage for the blocks immediately surrounding the Mancilla house is included in the Driftwood project, scheduled for an April 1987 bond election. Angelina Garza conducted the house meeting in Spanish. In conversation with those attending, she seems to operate as a local ward heeler, working through COPS to get a bar moved and a block cleaned up. She speaks with a woman who lived near the bar, reminds her of that victory, and encourages her to inform the parents of children attending her children’s parochial school about the spending cap. Some 26 people sit in the living room and dining room as a Mr. Rangel, who says he’d worked with COPS since 1974, recounted a few of the improvements precipitated by COPS action. This included improvements in housing and services in the local neighborhoods, such as Colonia Santa Cruz, Colonia Amistad, CoIonia Romero, Colonia San Alfonso, and in Government Hill. It included $800 million in drainage projects and four libraries. Mr. Vallejo, an older man saying he’d worked with COPS for 13 years, reminded his neighbors of the new curbs and sidewalks. Then he denounced the spending cap. “It is a negative mentality,” he said, “against working people, poor people, Mexican people, people of color.” “This spending cap is a complete disaster,” chimed in Mr. Mancilla, adding, “If we have spending caps, we will have handicaps.” Angelina Garza then produced homemade posters outlining the reasons COPS opposes the spending cap. The spending cap, she said, destroys the common good, the future of San Antonio as a totality. It divides the city into rich and poor, haves and have nots. It destroys communication between politicians and their constituents. The spending cap becomes the reason for all council action or inaction, thus ending council member accountability. It means a reduction in city services, such as those provided by police, fire and emergency departments, and an end to special city projects, including sewer, home improvement, and road projects. Public services, such as clinics, daycare, elderly nutrition, will be cut. Residents with money can form their own districts to provide their own services, while those who cannot afford to do so will go without. Finally, Garza explained, the spending cap will, in effect, negate the single-member districting of the city council because the cap will restrict any neighborhood, constituent, or council district initiative. Any special measures to exceed the cap, such as for capital improvements, must be voted on twice by the entire city, thereby re-instituting at-large control. “It’s very important that you work together,” Garza said. “Unless you do, you will live like we used to live. Four streets [in the neighborhood] are in the works now, but if there is no bond . . . it will be just as sad as it was before.” Garza then asked if city services were adequate as they exist today. Several people mentioned recent killings at the church and at Las Palmas shopping center, saying more police protection was needed. A woman said she reported a burglary twice, but the police never came. She had to go look for a police car driving down Gen. McMullen. Another woman worried that, if elderly nutrition programs were cut, they would have to find a way to subsidize these meals by paying through the church. “If it [the spending cap] “The cap does not discriminate good projects from bad, good administrators from bad.” passes,” she said, “it’s a disgrace for us all.” The Mancilla son, in his twenties, came into the room, saying it was his first experience with a COPS meeting. He said he doesn’t like the way the city spends money but he is against the cap “as it is.” He said he receives most of his information on the spending cap from the Allen Dale radio show. “People who work in my department,” he said, “drive around all day and listen to talk shows.” A Mrs. Martinez, who lived on the block from which the bar had been moved, told the group, “I was for the spending cap because we pay too much taxes, but it [the house meeting] has definitely turned my way of thinking. I’m willing to help you telephone and walk. We need to let more people know.” Most of those gathered in the Mancilla house agreed to walk door-todoor, to host other house meetings or to call their friends. Mr. Vallejo said, “I won’t be walking for my health but for the benefit of the whole community.” COPS VICE PRESIDENT Evelyn Garcia conducted a meeting that same evening for 20 people in a classroom at St. John Berchmans Church. She presented transparencies outlining the reasons COPS opposes the spending cap. They were colored by her daughter. She told the gathering that Stubbs was reported that day to have said that his goal is to eliminate city council districts altogether. She enumerated the various capital improvement projects in the area that would not be possible without a spending cap, including the new Kennedy Park. With the spending cap, she told the group, “we’re going to return to 10 or 15 years ago . . . to a legacy of neglect.” After the meeting, Garcia told Sister Maribeth Larkin that she thinks they are making progress in educating people about the proposed cap. “It [the cap] looks good superficially,” she said, “but when you start gnawing away at it. . . .” 4. We’re Presenting Values IN THE SPARE OFFICES of Communities Organized for Public Service on the second floor of an annex of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by IH35 in downtown San Antonio, Father Rosendo Urrabazo, C.M.F., discussed the ironies of the spending cap proposal. “It increases spending,” he said, “instead of capping it. The higher the consumer price index, the more the city can spend. So it behooves the city to raise the price of services and thereby raise the consumer price index. The cap does not discriminate good projects from bad, good administrators from bad.” Father Urrabazo believes the impetus for the referendum was generated in part by anger over county taxes and the lack of county services, issues the Stubbs referendum leaves untouched. The referendum is attractive to “anybody with a gripe against City Hall or against Cisneros.” The referendum has “nothing to do with City Manager Lou Fox” or his four well-paid assistants. It has nothing to do with property taxes, but, Father Urrabazo believes, these THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17