CONTENTS FEATURES 2 Dollarcrats and Democrats Geoffrey Rips 5 Lessons From a “Meaningless” Election Thomas Ferguson 6 The Myths of Immigration Reform Mary Lenz 8 How a Bad Bill Became Law James Ridgeway 10 A Westside Story Ricardo Romo 13 Setting Language Borders Mary Lenz DEPARTMENTS 4 Dialogue 14 Political Intelligence 20 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 17 Bilingualism in los Estados Unidos Louis Dubose 18 Protecting Equal Protection James C. Harrington Afterword: 23 The Pan American Trail Louis Dubose Cover photo and other border photos by Alan Pogue. Above, Border Patrol agents meet potential immigrants near Tijuana. well-being and our sense of moral superiority. A by-product of this would be the increased funding, or at least stabilized funding, of state colleges and universities. They form the largest part of the state’s investment in the venture capital research picture. The first trickle-down benefit we all would reap, then, would be in the maintenance of higher education in the state. Perhaps that is all well and good. After all, we should take heart when Larry Temple, chairman of the Select Committee and of the Texas College and University System Coordinating Board, told a gathering at the LBJ Library that the “business of higher education is education. It is not job training. It is not economic development. It is not building campuses. . . . It’s obvious that economic benefits flow from a quality and accessible higher education system. But that is a benefit of higher education, not the purpose.” At the same time, however, in issuing a preliminary report of the Select Committee, Temple said the higher education system should be four-tiered and that funding should be based on a school’s position in this hierarchy, with junior colleges \(which, he said, should be devoted to vocational and technical In talking about venture capital as economic development, politicians are only talking about developing the economy for those who invest. This, in its most enlightened state, is a vision Mark White and Henry Cisneros have fostered. It is something Bill Clements can live with, particularly with Republican funder Peter O’Donnell playing an important role on the Select Committee. It is a corporate model designed to serve corporate interests what is called the “center” in this country’s politics. The problem with this model is that it is designed to serve not the state but the interests of perhaps half the people of the state. What we’ve seen taking place in this country since” the1970s, and accelerating since the ascension of Ronald Reagan, is the division of the middle class into two classes a professional, technical, managerial class, which makes up about one-quarter of the population and a greater percentage of the voting electorate; and service workers, people who are largely unorganized, have a hard time making ends meet, and do not vote in large numbers. It represents a significant shift from the New Deal majority of the ’50s and ’60s, characterized by labor strength, relative blue collar economic independence, possibilities for upward mobility, and electoral participation. These days the only people who vote besides those community groups organized to try to protect their interests are those to whom the politicians speak. And, in talking about venture capital and high technology, the politicians are only speaking to those who can invest or be employed in these capital-intensive, rather than labor-intensive, industries. As San Antonio Communities Organized for Public Service one set of workers employed at $50,000 a year in high technology buying hamburgers from another set of workers employed at $3.50 an hour. At least it should not mean that. Nor should it mean that those who have to stay at home and work while going to junior college should have poorly paid teachers and inadequate resources for learning in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The purpose of their education should be education, too. We have to do better than that. We have to recognize that the tax advantages that this state waved in front of corporate interests as enticements have become our fiscal downfall. We have to recognize that any economic advantages to be realized by this state’s investment in high technology must be realized through a system of taxation we’re talking about an income tax that will recycle some of the profit made with the state’s involvement for the good of the entire state. The state’s Democratic leaders cannot just be talking about making the state attractive for investors and conglomerates to come in here and gobble up companies and markets, but they must also present ways for minority and small business people to get a leg up, create a few advantages for them and for turning a dollar over and over within a single community. Democrat’s have to go speak to real people about their real needs, open up possibilities for real mobility, let a little .light in. Then they won’t have to spend millions of dollars to go hunt up potential voters to drag to the polls. Instead, they’ll already be in line, waiting to vote in their own behalf. G.R. THE TEXAS OBSERVER
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