NOTA BENE Defining Dallas Ecstatic Yuppies and Calloused Hands BY TOM McCLELLAN THERE ARE SO many things to write about. For instance, I could remind you what it is like to live in one of those city-states whose boundary is defined by the reach of its TV and radio station. You know you’re in Dallas when.. . Every other radio commercial features a pair of yuppies elevated to sexual excitement by ownership of credit cards, or what must be lots of ground-up cantharides in some dietetic food substitute. The rest of the ads feature either Tom Bodette droning for motel sex or people squealing at you in British. You note that despite your sedentary occupation your hands are calloused by constant contact with a steering wheel. No week goes by without at least one newsperson posing the question or quoting a city official attempting to answer the question “Are we world-class yet?” Well the answer of course is, “Since you keep using that term, no.” You wonder whether today’s City News roundup will include two murders or just one, and just how the Business Page will update the Feral Takeover list of the local banking industry. You occasionally remember that there is a sleepy burg to the south with amazing pretensions to being the capital of something called “texas,” which is a. state you get into if you drive too far off the expressway. \(I’m irked at a friend from Colorado quoting Molly Ivins quoting the Lounge Lizards’ lyric, “I’m going back to Dallas to see if anything is worse than losing you.” I can forgive those Austin stoneheads the Lizards, I mean for saying that, because they wrote a lovely hymn of praise to Pflugerville, but I wish people who aren’t even from here would just lay off. Also, I want Jim Hightower to define Populism in terms that make sense in a North Dallas suburb: about 385,000 folks live in the Third Congressional district and only 171,441 of them are registered to vote. And the Demos just keep writing the place off as Republican by definition and therefore not “of the COLUMN, INCH! as the Dallas Times Herald’s Dick Hitt might say. Tom McClellan,. who lives in Dallas, writes a regular column for the Observer. Local political news, aside from the recent accession to the, Democratic County chairmanship of another de facto Bentsen appointee, John Pouland \(Not that I mind; the Senator has paid for that chair, why No week passes without one newsperson asking, “Are we world-class yet?” wherein criminal lawyer Peter Lesser, sporting a ‘seventies beard, will go up against Annette Strauss; hopeful, I’d guess, of not getting mangled too badly: I don’t Lipscomb, a man who talks more constantly and vacuously each city council meeting in hopes of gaining. the respect he’s lost by talking constantly and vacuously, will garner Lesser enough black votes to cut it. At least one local political oddsmaker is giving Lesser some 40 percent in a race against Strauss. The pair of also-runners includes a man whose name I can neither remember nor want to: one of those perpetual candidates who makes you wish for literacy or IQ tests for every elective office. WHILE WE’RE ON the topic of There Oughta Be An Election Law, I received a question naire from State Rep. Bill Hammond, Republican, proudly announcing he’d been appointed to a committee where Gib Lewis figured he couldn’t do too much damage: Election Reform. He wanted to know what I thought of.. . Repeal of the It-Let-Bentsen-Run-TwoRaces Law. Answer: not much. Laws restricting contributions to judicial candidates. Answer: If you won’t consider phasing in a gubernatorially appointed judiciary, I’m not all that enthusiastic one way or another. Repeal of the Sorry-You-Can’t-Vote Law and the No-You-Can’t Take-That-ListInto-The-Polling-Booth Law. Answer, oh hell yes and please get rid of those things. If a voter wants to vote the way the nice young man outside told her to, or wants to follow the recommendations of the Committee for a Qualified Judiciary or the editorial staff of the Christian Sodomite, or take the League of Women Voters Guide into the booth with her, then it is the voter’s private and individual business, not that of some rule-loving election judge. Should unregistered residents be allowed to register on election day? Yes. We who serve Democracy at the polls come election time ought to be “the people who help you vote,” not the “bastards who won’t let you vote.” A No-PAC-Money Law. Answer: in the context of a modest \($29,600 per or else Bill Clements gets his veto overrode by fellow Republicans like you, Bill context of . a State Campaign Fund; otherwise, forget the naivete: pigs always find a way to buy pigs; you know they do, and if we, hoi polloi, won’t pay a humane salary, then we’ve got no right to expect anything but a hog farm. Where do you, dear Readers, stand on these potential bits of legislation, and on the half-dozen or so brewing in the same committee? THE REFORM I REALLY WANT TO SEE is not election reform, but electorate reform. For an instance, I would like those Jackson supporters who threatened to take their marbles and go home because Jesse wasn’t getting anything, to get hip to Realpolitik: even while you were bellyaching and columnists were writing about a populist splinter party, two Jackson supporters just in Texas, now were being levered onto the Democratic National Committee. Bottom Line: Take note of the party’s new National Chair, and next time don’t piss on the people who’re moving the outhouse. “I know why so few people are good citizens,” a student told me, after leafing through two inch-thick books on a dozen or so proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution and two referenda. “It’s too much work.” Can anyone tell me: How many State Senators will it take to kill H.B.1? THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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