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NE MORE THING. I would be remiss in saying farewell without adding my voice to that of my predecessors regarding the future of the Observer. During my time here, I have tried to make the Observer a place to think. But it could be more. Any reader of the state’s newspapers and magazines cannot help but notice that the journalistic Renaissance heralded in this state in the late 1970s is no more. Given money to work with, the Observer could break the investigative stories on state politics and money that are not being written. Thanks to Cliff Olofson’s good offices and the patience and hard work of my wife, Nancy Maniscalco, I have been able to make part of a living of sorts. But the Observer should be able to hire the best people available and pay them what they deserve. It should be able to reach more people and provide them with perspectives and investigations they find nowhere else. There is no easy solution to the Observer’s continued financial marginality, but there are possible solutions. I hope friends of the Observer will help Ronnie and Cliff devise a reorganization plan in the very near future and help implement that plan. Adelante. G.R. ously in the restructuring of power relationships and in the development of their own understanding and that of others. Now, more than a decade later, with COPS and other Interfaith Network organizations operating on local and statewide fronts, Cortes’s philosophy has not changed. In a recent interview, he told me the Industrial Areas Foundation organizations in the years ahead will be focusing on issues such as indigent health care, education equalization, affordable housing, and economic development on a statewide level. “But the most important thing,” he said, is to continue to organize, to continue to identify, test out, and develop leadership.” There is no moral to this story yet. For large sectors of the state’s population, the economy is going down the tubes. A process of social darwinism has taken hold: capital is being accumulated in fewer and more powerful centers; the big fish are gobbling the little with abandon. It may ultimately mean the destruction of the entire ecosystem, big fish and all, but what minnow will be able to get an audience with a shark concerning mutual self-interest? We need to organize. And it has become all that much more difficult since the working class in this country achieved a level of affluence which brought about the identification of its interests in terms of consumption rather than work. We tend to work collectively but to consume individually a condition that has relegated Naderism to but a shadow of what many once thought it would be. Perhaps, then, the only solution is to organize people where they live, addressing the conditions of their lives. And if the process is not devoted to issues but, instead, is devoted to empowerment, things might change, first locally, then in larger arenas. is a lot of native courage and genius out there on which I’ve been able to draw. Then there are the readers, some of you whom we hear from quite regularly, most of you who never write but are a continuing presence in the development and writing of our stories. Thanks to Ronnie for giving me the chance. How many times is someone given the editorship of a publication with no more instruction than “Go do it”? More important, how many editors can openly disagree with their publishers on a major issue such as Nicaragua without fearing for their jobs, using that disagreement, instead, to spur public debate? Ronnie’s devotion to editorial independence is at the heart of this enterprise. Thanks to Cliff for seeing to it that there is a publication to go do. Thanks to Frances Barton, the Observer’s spiritual counselor as well as former business manager and current typesetter; to Joe Espinosa and Stefan Wanstrom, who keep the machine rolling; to Dana Loy, Alicia Daniel, and Valerie Fowler. Thanks to all our contributing artists. Thanks to Chula Sims and Kate Fitzgerald. And particular thanks to my two editorial cohorts during my four years here. First, to Joe Holley, who taught me what to do and how to do it, how to frame and reflect on what we observed. And thanks to Dave Denison, a creative and thoughtful colleague. Dave has not only been generous, in allowing me time to see my daughter and to take a six-week hiatus from the Observer, but he is also probably the best investigative reporter on the Observer lot since the days of Dugger, Sherrill, and, later,” Kaye Northcott. Readers should be looking forward to his stint as the next Observer editor. AVING said my piece, it is time to move on. I’ve been hired by Jim Hightower’s Agriculture Depart ment to work on the farm crisis and economic development in this state, to help bring his populist perspective to the problems we’re confronting, to see if it can help people “see, themselves experimenting in democratic forms” \(Larry of our non-readers have often accused us of being subject to self-destructive idealism, every Observer writer and editor I know has been part of a continual wrestling match between the ideal and the actual. It is that tension which marks the Observer at its best. I’ve decided to take my personal inquiry into the belly of the beast, into the only government agency I know where such investigations are possible and ongoing. Being editor of the Observer is a little like being the proverbial turtle on a fence post. Not only do you feel a little vulnerable and out of place, but it’s obvious you had some help getting there. A lot of that help came in the form of the personal education I received from talking to scores of people too numerous to name and thank individually. There t stemmirmesortIVSMTWICIFIWATeiVtgerVIMICTMVIIW Rfer””J’Atois fie.eititAINS~C;INVifraritildesit Whole Earth i Provision Company Nature Discovery Gifts amaze, inform, delight, Choose from our business or family gifts of lasting value, for all ages, price ranges and any occasion. Call or stop by and let us make suggestions. 2410 San Antonio St. 4006 South Lamar Blvd. 8868 Research Blvd. –41P4r.tdc.::::x>44044.44-4.1044.1.4147d411darIostilliihlikrAaWiAtigaiLii,AilAiaitiAPJ1acl dicAzteca 2600 E. 7th St. Austin, Texas 477-4701 vegetarian food and Associates 1117 West 5th Street Austin, Texas 78703 REALTOR Representing all types of properties in Austin and Central Texas Interesting & unusual property a specialty. I It 477-3651 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5