the esoteric world of particle physics fear that other important research needs will be swallowed up by the awesome political gravity of the SCC, which has become the technological equivalent of a black hole. These denunciations haven’t cooled the enthusiasm of the Texas delegation for the project: the Department of Energy has released a revised list of eight candidate sites, which includes Texas. If, God forbid, Congress should actually vote to fund this fiasco, and Texas gets the nod, it would mean $5.3 billion worth of pork for the district of Joe Barton, the Republican nonentity from Waxahachie. \(Waxahachie was nominated by a state-funded research committee, which squandered over Not a single Texas Congressman has, as of yet, pitched a stone at this citadel of glass. O ESSAY Our Invaded Capital BY LOUIS DUBOSE SO ONE TRIES to make some sense of all of this. The collective euphoria: the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Speaker of the House, the Mayor of Austin, the President and Chancellor of the University of Texas, all seated at ‘the front of the Senate chamber, the Eyth portrait of good and celibate Stephen F. Austin hanging at their backs between ‘the flags of France and the Republic of Texas, all are listening to Congressman Jake Pickle, who during his tenure in the House has endured five presidencies and who at the moment is doing his best to explain what Sematech will mean to Austin and Texas. Sematech, the research consortium organized by ’13 major American semiconductor Manufacturers, the research and development consortium that, within five years, is expected to bring the American semiconductor industry abreast of the Japanese, who today lead in research, developm,ent,. and marketing, has selected Austin as its home. And nothing, we are led to believe, will ever be quite the same. Even Max, the not entirely reformed hippie flowervendor Who represents South Austin on the City Counril, sounds a little silly when he offers uP`a hilfhearted criticism of the city’s growing dependence on high-technology defense spending. So he equivocates. s A dispassionate look at what has been bestowed upon us, it seems, is nowhere to be found. The usually staid Austin American-Statesman throws typographical decorum to the wind and mixes Sematech’s red, white, and Columbia blue logo right in there with the paper’s standard, inky type in frontpage headlines, then goes on to devote three full pages to the company, including graphics explaining the workings of a semiconductor. Television anchors all’ enthusiastically lead off with Sematech stories. “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” soundbites Governor Bill Clements across four local stations. And Jake Pickle, a Congressman not usually given over to gross hyperbole, says: “I’m as happy as I was the night Lyndon Johnson was elected president.” And, “It’s like igniting a booster rocket to Mars.” Might we here, in a small voice, suggest that something about the Sematech deal is not right? So far, only Statesman humor columnist John Kelso and James Sledd, the idealistic University of Texas English professor of Ronnie Dugger’s Our Invaded Universities, have dared what must be considered a regional heresy. Kelso weighs in with 24 column inches of his standard, heard-in-the-roadhouse schtick. And, in a brief letter to the American-Statesman editors, Sledd decried Sematech’s “drivers of welfare Cadillacs. . . . Bribed by millions and millions of the taxpayer’s dollars.” But mostly, everyone is, well, ebullient. And, indeed, it is welfare that brings Sematech to Texas. During one of those moments when it abandoned its front-page theerleading and attended to the exigencies of journalism, the American-Statesman staff laid out the incentives package by which Texas taxpayers and consumers seduced Sematech. Almost $10 million will assure transferred engineers and executives discounted mortgage rates when they purchase homes in Austin. By legislative fiat, children immediately become Texas residents; this will cost the state’s universities read taxpayers some $312,000 in tuition. Seventy-five thousand dollars in kiddieperks, such as summer camp fees, are now available for Sematech children. Country club memberships will be subsidized by $100,000 in community-based incentives. FOrty-thousand dollars will provide tickets to professional sporting events in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. And, I suspect, to those cultural events that remain, as the financially overburdened University of Texas curtails its arts funding. Another $100,000 will help relocating spouses find employment. Three-quarters of a million dollars will provide for transportation. Fifty thousand dollars is allocated for recruitment assistance, $100,000 for local family sponsors. “Good grief,” blue collar columnist Kelso concluded, “When Hannibal showed up in somebody else’s town, at least he rode in on his own elephants.” p ORK IS PORK, however. And that is precisely what Sematech is about. Not unlike the big military posts that Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, and Richard Russell brought home to the South some 30 years ago, Sematech is a pork barrel defense project. Mark Nelson, of the Dallas Morning News Washington bureau, writes \(in one of the best pieces of reporting to come out of the Sematech Texas House delegation, and House Speaker Jim Wright, prevailed in Washington and delivered $100 million in start-up money for Sematech. The appropriation bill was heard in the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, where Lufkin Democrat Charles Wilson serves. In the Senate, Sematech lobbyists found an ally in Lloyd Bentsen, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. And when funding was threatened in a House-Senate conference committee, Pickle, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, persuaded Wright to apply sufficient pressure to assure the $100 million funding level. Sematech officials, who will be dependent on the federal government for future funding, see the Texas delegation as one that can deliver; this proved more important than the much more substantial local offers put together by cities like Boston and San Jose. What the Texas delegation has delivered for Austin then is some 800 new jobs; at least half of the new positions will be filled THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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