=1= –_-:-.-4—– c FOE . —- ‘..’ HE PEOPt 4$ A …….. S –, L ‘.” r n –, ………… _….__________:,__ , -_ 11,,7;1,;;;0,,1.,, nimpr —-__ -__ –______ –____. ,,-……z. .–__. .,.–. ..–,——-____is –1: .———-. . TEZOB sER. The Texas Observer Publishing Ca.. 1987 Vol. 79, No. 23 ..,14t.t. November 20 ; 1987 Copyright 1987 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. . PUBLISHER Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Dave Denison ASSOCIATE EDITOR Louis Dubose EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Kathleen Fitzgerald LAYOUT: Layne Jackson CALENDAR: Kathleen Fitzgerald EDITORIAL INTERNS: Stephanie Roth, Sabrina Bermingham, Susan Boren WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Richard Ryan TYPESETTER: Becky Willard EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth, Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg; Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Jo Clif Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk. Terry FitzPatrick, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Jack Hopper. Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Vic Hinterlang, Bill Leissner, Alan Pogue. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. A free journal of voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager Stefan Wanstrom Publishing Consultant Frances Barton Development Consultant Hanno T. Beck The Texas Observer paid at Austin, Texas. Subscription: one year $27. two years $48, three years $69. Full-time students $15 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group. and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time. No one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. Copyright 1987 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 28th Street, #105, Austin, Texas 78705. EDITORIAL Gramm Strikes Out WHEN PHIL GRAMM begins a “Dear Colleague” letter claiming “We can increase direct spending for legal services to the poor without spending one additional dollar of the taxpayer’s money,” somehow it just doesn’t require a Hemingwayesque crap-detector to sense that something here is not right. Gramm’s utter contempt for the poor is a matter of record; his disdain for publicly-funded legal services for the indigent was spelled out in a May 1985 proposal to transfer the entire $300 million Legal Services budget to the Department of Agriculture where it would have been used for crop insurance and soil and water conservation programs. That 70 of his colleagues voted against his attempt to defund a program signed into law by Richard Nixon suggests that Gramm’s initiative had more to with demagoguery and posturing than with the legislative process. The proposal that Gramm lays out in an October 1 letter is a devious scheme to defund programs such as Texas Rural migrant farmworkers. Gramm would adjust the funding formula by amending the continuing resolution on appropriations to transfer the $9.7 million approved for migrant legal services to a single fund that provides for all client services. The Gramm amendment, if adopted, would also transfer $7 million from Native American services to a general fund, eliminate computer centers, national and state support and training centers and the Legal Services Clearinghouse. On paper, the proposal appears to streamline legal assistance programs, eliminating eight ancillary offices that the Senator claims are involved in social engineering and promotion of “various causes from a class struggle perspective. ” But there is, in all of this, a powerful odor of mendacity. The average TRLA lawyer is a recent law school graduate earning $18,000 a year and will usually remain with Legal Services for three or four years. That these lawyers intelligence and dedication notwithstanding win 90 percent of the cases that they litigate, has much to do with the existence of the services that the Gramm funding formula would eliminate. TRLA lawyers are usually opposed by attorneys from the private bar on issues such as minimum wage, labor contract violations, substandard housing and segregation. \(Jane Grandolfo’s story, in this issue, on migrant housing in Caseloads are overwhelming and the program has been historically underfunded. National and state support centers provide training, consultants and co-counsel, and a flow of information to lawyers in the field. Computer centers allow attorneys to conduct legal research and share information so that successful litigation strategies and techniques developed in one region or state can be applied in another. In a sense, the support centers allow Legal Services to operate like a large lawfirm. Dismantle them and young attorneys are left out there on their own, with a set of lawbooks, a shoeshine and a smile. The Gramm amendment is only another attempt in a sevenyear-long struggle to completely dismantle Legal Services. 2 NOVEMBER 20, 1987
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