to be a tax drain, because the loans from the state are to be paid back from the companies’ profits. Proposition 4 lets it all happen, and Prop 6 provides for the $125 million in bond money. Related to these amendments is Proposition 1, which is also designed to help the troubled agricultural sector by setting up a self-insurance fund with state backing for grain storage companies. The problem here is that some grain elevators have been going out of business, causing losses for farmers who were storing their grain. The amendment is a way of extending the state’s credit to help the grain storage industry. state government and private business, by allowing the state to contribute money to the Texas Turnpike Authority for toll roads. It’s pretty easy to vote against the turnpike barons, but the loans to aid agricultural businesses are another story. The state is essentially being asked to step in and play banker because private banks are either too shaky or too smart to be of much help to the farm sector. Though state intervention in the economy may well be an idea whose time has come, this has a flavor of “lemon socialism” to it, whereby the state gets to make a go of it with enterprises most likely to fail. Larger questions about precedent are raised, as well. Though the state may now be helping small businesses and farmers, what other sweet deals might be cooked up to bring private businesses to the public banquet, all in the name of “economic development”? This kind of scrapping of Constitutional prohibitions is making some people uneasy. The leaders of the League of Women Voters got so flustered by the multitude of amendments this year that they refused to make recommendations on how to vote, suggesting instead that citizens complain to their legislators. Something must be done about the Constitution, the League is saying; it needs revision, not constant amendment. We are adding just this year nearly as many amendments to the state Constitution as the federal Constitution The Wheels Of Justice AT 7:45 A.M. on October 20 of last year 16 students entered University of Texas President Bill Cunningham’s office, suspended an anti-apartheid banner from the balcony, made phone calls to the local news media and state Senator Gonzalo Barrientos informing them of their actions, then barricaded the doors and sat in a circle on the floor. Three university officials in the office free to leave but that the group intended to occupy the building until the regents agreed to discuss the university policy of investing in companies doing business in South Africa. By 8:20 a.m., university police had broken through the glass doors and taken the protesters into custody. Misdemeanor charges were filed and eleven of the 16 were tried in the courtroom of Travis County court-at-law Judge Leslie Taylor. At the end of last month, all were found guilty of disruptive activity, a misdemeanor violation of the education code. Judge Taylor did the sentencing. Seven of the young women and one of the men were assessed three months in jail, $200 fines plus court costs. Three of the men, whom the judge singled out has had in 200 years. The Texas Constitution currently has 287 amendments. As Texas Civil Liberties Union legal director Jim Harrington points out, the state’s Constitution is a populist-inspired document. Drafted in 1875, it came at a period of great concern over economic concentration and the state’s sometimes adversarial relationship with the business sector. What has been happening over the years, Harrington says, is that the legislature has been taking more power than the Constitution orginally allowed to finance programs with state debt, or to spur economic development with aid to business, for example. The populist proscriptions in the Constitution are increasingly thought to be out of touch with the modern economy. \(Recall that last year the voters amended the Constitution to allow branch banking and interstate bank mergers, which had been prohibited out of fear of banks way, the people are amending the Constitution. We have discussed only eight of the 25 amendments. As for the the other 17, you’re on your own. They seem to us to be neither especially useful nor especially horrible. \(Although it is worth voting against Proposition 9 which would allow the governor to appoint legislators to other state positions if for no other reason than that it might open the way to the appointment of Houston Republican Rep. Mike Toomey be for all voters to make a symbolic protest of this election by singling out one amendment and voting it down. The most suitable amendment for this purpose would be Proposition 21, which is to allow the Speaker of the House to sit on executive committees, even though he is of the legislative branch. Speaker Gib Lewis cannot be blamed entirely for creating this mess but he is a sitting duck up there in Proposition 21 and the voters ought to have somebody to shoot down. Vote no on the Gibber! Take the opportunity to abuse a public official in retribution for the abuse voters are being put through on November 3. D.D. as leaders, were sentenced to five months in jail, $200 fines and court costs. And Chester Wilson, a 39-year-old doctoral candidate was admonished by the judge for “inciting younger people to lawless activity,” and sentenced to six months in jail, a $200 fine and required to pay $94 in court costs. “The sentences handed down here today,” the judge told the students, “are intended as a strong statement to you and others who would consider following your examples. \(Here is a judge who doesn’t read Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, William 0. Douglas and the rest. And let the record show that her husband, Richard Banks, is a recent Ed Meese appointee to the office of Assistant United States As disturbing as Judge Taylor’s excessive sentences was the spectacle of deputy sheriffs swarming into the courtroom with writs of commitment and rushing to frisk and handcuff the convicted. The judge had also opened the chambers to the news media and distributed collated copies of her admonishment of the students. This is the broad constructionist approach to sentencing. “It was shocking,” said Virginia Schramm, one of a half-dozen Lawyers Guild attorneys defending the students. “We had to remind her that notices of appeal had been filed, bonds had been posted, no one was going to jail at the time.” On the day after sentencing, University of Texas law professor Michael Tigar publicly criticized Judge Taylor, writing in an open letter that the judge had displayed “a disqualifying lack of judicial discretion and temperament.” Tigar challenged Taylor for stating, as she began her THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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