Parmer suggests that if the attorney general follows a few of the threads of the bishops’ report, we might see the Clements governorship unravel further. “As I’ve observed these government scandals occur,” he said, “what you learn at the start is not necessarily all there is to know.” Perhaps the bishops’ report doesn’t tell us all we need to know about whether the governor broke the law, but it provides ample evidence that Gov. Clements is unsuitable for public office. He is unsuitable because he established a record of lying to the public. He is unsuitable because he can not be trusted to run an open government. His campaign for office was a fraud; how can his governorship be legitimate? And why tolerate the kind of ethical judgement that Bill Clements has demonstrated? If we are now ready to disqualify public officials, on grounds of sexual misconduct, as seems to be the fashion this season, why is it not just as grievous when a candidate lies his way into public office? It would only do honor to the concept of “the public trust” for us to take these matters seriously enough to give them a full and open hearing in the House of Representatives. It may or may not lead to the impeachment of the governor. But to sweep this sordid affair under the rug is to say “Oh well. This, is just how politicians are.” That’s the kind of attitude that puts and keeps people in office who should not be there. D.D. DIALOGUE Required Reading As someone in the business of knowing about cities, I found your special issue on Urban Texas \(TO, essays that I’ve come across in a long time. It should be required reading 93r all who want to know about what is going on. It will be required reading for my students. Keep up the good work. Norman J. Glickman Hogg Professor of Urban Policy LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas at Austin The Charge: Austinitis Your issue on urban Texas graphically demonstrated that the editors of the Observer, both past and present, despise big cities, and do not understand them. It is not possible to fully demonstrate this in a letter, but let me at least make a start. A good place to start is with the concept of what constitutes a city. There are two huge urban areas in Texas: Dallas/Fort Worth \(DFW, 1.5 million 1.4 million areas combined \(San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, McAllen/Brownsville and holds than either Houston or DFW. It takes a small town view of things to uniformly note the differences between Dallas and Fort Worth and to fail to note the many similarities. One gets little sense of how Houston and DFW dominate the state from reading the Observer. That is a defect which should be rectified. Let us now turn our attention to what Observer editors have to say about big cities. Dave Denison recommends that for cities to survive they need to turn away from large buildings and large businesses to “weave together a new texture of small companies.” If so, it is difficult to understand why he admires New York. Does anyone think that New York, home of far more Fortune 500 corporations and skyscrapers than any other city, has done better in this regard than Houston? Molly Ivins criticizes Dallas for being self-conscious, apparently implying that people in other cities or’ Texans in some idealized past were otherwise. People all over urban America are “other directed” \(worrying about Riesman pointed out several decades ago. Despite the closing observation that Dallas is a nice place to live, Ms. Ivins does not appear to evince an understanding of or liking for cities, in Texas or elsewhere. Rod Davis is the most direct about disliking cities. His lament about Austin is that it is becoming a city, instead of the, university town it used to be like, Madison and Boulder. No longer, it seems, is Austin a liberal oasis in the conservative redneck desert. It certainly is nice that you enlightened Austin people deign to devote your time to ‘publishing a magazine to educate us rednecks that populate the rest of Texas. Cities are quintessentially about large businesses \(please drop the affectation highways, sprawl, pollution, crime, and rapid change. The Observer editors and guest authors who lament these things reflect not a critique of Texas cities, but a dislike of cities. So, dear Observer editors, please put your Austin-induced myths of a golden age aside and begin to deal with urban reality. Too often what the Observer passes off as Populism is merely “a reactionary wail of protest for a passing way of life” \(T.R. The good old days in Texas were characterized by a rural society and dreadful poverty. The golden age in Texas began with World War II and it continues today. This period has been characterized by an enormous increase in population and movement within the state from rural to urban areas. Even with the explosive population growth in Texas since 1940, about two-thirds of all counties have lost population. This golden age is characterized by big cities and urbanization, so it is time for the Observer to start focusing on Texas as it is instead of foolishly lamenting that it isn’t like it used to be. The Observer suffers from a serious case of Austinitis, a defect that can be overcome only by relocating the editors. One editor should be based in Houston and the other in Dallas. This is the only way the Observer can avoid crying in its collective beer about the good old days when Austin was still a nice university town like Madison, and such naive assertions as that the salvation of big cities lies in smaller businesses and buildings. It may also correct the sort of absurd imbalance that takes place now, where more coverage is given to the Department of Agriculture than to political events in Houston and DFW combined, and where news about Austin is wildly over-represented. Stephen K. Huber Houston It’s Great Isn’t it great to have Molly Ivins, the world’s greatest writer, back \(“Hello Only problem is she doesn’t know how to spell bidniz. Dick Henderson San Marcos Best Ever It was well past dark when I arrived home to find that my mailbox had been knocked down by some drunk or prankster. I rummaged through the soggy contents and came across your “Urban Texas” issue. Perhaps it was because I had just returned from a mini-reunion at one of Houston’s struggling new jazz bars with a group of friends who had once lived here. Or maybe it was because I’ve recently been considering whether or not THE TEXAS OBSERVER .5
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