Page 2


b HTE TEXAS server Available at the follozving locations: Bookstop 9070 Research Austin Brazos Bookstore 2314 Bissonett Houston College News 1101 University Lubbock Custom Photographic Labs 601 W. Martin Luther King Austin Daily News & Tobacco 309-A Andrews Highway Midland Guild Books 2456 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, Illinois Guy’s News Stand 3700 Main Street Houston Las Manitas Cafe 211 Congress Austin Old World Bakery 814 W. 12th Street Austin Paperbacks & Mas 1819 Blanco Road San Antonio The Stoneleigh P 2926 Maple Avenue Dallas Student Center Midwestern State Univ. 3400 Taft Boulevard Wichita Falls Wheatsville Food Coop 3101 Guadalupe Austin demonstrated a complete disregard for the independence of the Third Branch. And, it would seem, the integrity and independence of the three justices who shared the podium with him. No longer, Clements said, will he have to explain what is wrong with the Texas Supreme Court when he is traveling about and speaking to Chief Executive Officers in an recruit new business and industry for the state. No more apologies. Not with the simpatico court. The Governor also displayed a disregard for those Justices who were not present, yet who where counted as co-simpaticos in absentia. Justice Raul Gonzalez, elected to his second term has earned a reputation as a moderately conservative but independent Justice. And Justice-elect Jack Hightower has no experience on the bench by which to predict his behavior on the High Court. \(In fact, at least one source close to Hightower insists that as a conservative Congressman from Amarillo Hightower responded to a very small and conservative constituency. As a Supreme Court Justice, Hightower will not be restrained by that Interpersonal dynamics now become far more important as the court divides into three factions, with Lloyd Doggett, Oscar Mauzy, Franklin Spears and C.L. Ray representing the liberal faction, Raul Gonzalez and Jack Hightower staking out the middle, and Tom Phillips, Eugene Cook, and Nathan Hecht following the Governor’s orders. ‘Chief Justice Tom Phillips is the court’s resident scholar of electoral politics. Perhaps he’s the one to ask for the historical precedent in which a Texas governor spoke so candidly about having three of the court’s justices in his pocket. L.D. Back to Basics IF WE ARE to find some consolation in the election of George Bush perhaps it will be found in Tip O’Neill’s observation that all politics is local. And in nine cities in the state local politics is in part defined by the Texas Interfaith Network, the statewide Industrial Areas Foundation’s organization of political activists who deserve much of the credit for holding the line on budget cuts in social services and public education during the last legislative session. It was the Interfaith Network, some will remember, that brought some 1,800 grassroots activists to Austin in July of 1987 to demand sufficient funding for public education. The moment was high noon in the special legislative session and the interfaithers enlisted a half dozen heavyweights to speak on behalf of their legislative agenda: Attorney General Jim Mattox, Senator Hugh Parmer, Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby, Austin Rep. Wilhelmina Delco, all made the argument against a bare-bones public education budget But it was San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros who drove the message home with the sort of rhetorical and emotional power usually associated with Rev. Jesse Jackson. Cisneros’s “There’s enough wealth to educate our children” speech was a ringing condemnation of the Governor’s scheme to avoid tax increases by cutting education expenditures. Two years earlier, in 1985, it was the Interfaith Network working with Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and the late Helen Farabee who had saved indigent health care. On October 30, Interfaith’s flagship organization, Citizens Organized for Public convention in San Antonio. There were, as always, the rituals of accountability where elected officials such as Mattox, Cisneros, and State Treasurer Ann Richards took the pledge here before some 1,200 delegates from San Antonio parishes and congregations to support the COPS agenda. What is the COPS agenda? “It’s education,” COPS co-chair Margaret De La Torre said, “I’m the first person in the three generations that my family has been in Texas to have graduated from college.” De La Torre insisted that COPS will be involved with a variety of issues in the coming legislative session. “But the reason that education is our focus,” she explained, “is that we have found that it’s the one issue that touches everyone.” Education is likely to be the issue in the 71st Legislature as the Governor continues to posture and reinvent his opposition to the redistribution of public education funds required by the Edgewood v. Kirby the rich school-poor school lawsuit to be reviewed by the Texas Supreme Court this session. At the local level the COPS constituency is demanding a quality-of-life bond election to provide funds for libraries, literacy centers, the San Antonio Housing Trust Fund, and improvements in residential neighborhood security. And they are opposing a citywide referendum on a half-cent increase in the sales tax to fund a domed stadium the Alamodome. “We’re not against increased taxation when the money is going to provide basic services,” Father Rosendo Urrabazo. said. “But let the high stake gamblers in our city gamble with their own money.” Much of the COPS agenda is supported by other public interest lobbyists working in the legislature. But no other organization in the state can claim the broad base of support that the network has built after 14 years of organizing in Texas. The Interfaith Network continues as an important political force at the local and state levels as sociologist/historian David Montejano describes them: “our best hope for social justice.” LD THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5