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TRLA officials say is an attempt to roadblock representation; it would have required TRLA to disclose the name of any worker it was representing; and it would have prohibited TRLA from recruiting clients in farm worker camps. Stenholm, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee and is a leader of conservative southern Democrats in Congress called the Boll Weevils, says the measure was neither controversial nor onerous and would have required TRLA to refocus its efforts on representing the poor, instead of pursuing political and social change. Furthermore, Stenholm contends it would prevent frivolous litigation. “People are suing farmers who have never been employed by those farmers,” Stenholm says. “That’s called harassment.” “My main concern and I seem to have such a difficult time getting this across is reforming the program to the point where it is supposed to be,” Stenholm says. But legal aid supporters claim that is hardly the case. Many of the people pushing for “reform” are the same people who wanted to kill legal services outright, Clark says. Furthermore, legal aid officials dispute Stenholm’s position that they pursue frivolous litigation and contend they bargain in good faith. It is more often the farm owner than the farm worker who fails to enter into pretrial negotiations, Clark says. The National Legal Aid and Defenders Association points out that there is not a single case anywhere in the country in which damages awarded to a worker have been reduced because a worker’s legal-services attorney failed to negotiate beforehand. With the measure’s narrow defeat this year, the question now is what will happen complete personal and business Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY 808-A East 46th P.O. Box 4666. Austin 78765 next year. Both sides hold out hope that Congress will reform its handling of the beleaguered agency, that Congress will approve LSC funding and regulations at the committee level. For the past decade, Congress has tacked on numerous amendments to appropriations bills on the floor, instead of hashing out differences on funding and other restrictions in committee. The practice has allowed Congress to slip in LSC restrictions without close scrutiny. In the meantime, Legal Services, like other federally funded programs, faces another problem. If Congress does not come up with a budget agreement before November 20, Legal Services Corporation will see its budget slashed by the buzz saw created by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act. Instead of getting a 4.3 percent increase in funding, it would see a 5.3 percent decrease. IN OCTOBER, 1987, U.S. Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez walked onto the floor of Congress and spoke his mind. The San Antonio media had “vehemently attacked” him with “venomous slander,” he said to a nearly empty chamber. Obviously, the Congressman was not happy. Gonzalez’s October outburst was the third instance in which he had used his powers to speak on the House floor on a matter he had been enjoined from commenting on outside of court. In 1986, Gonzalez had gotten into a fight with a patron in a San Antonio restaurant and the press had given Gonzalez grief both for the incident and for getting up on the House floor to talk about it. It was not the high point of Gonzalez’s 27-year Congressional career. The Washingtonian magazine went so far as to list him as one of the biggest flakes in Congress. Just two years later the public’s perception of the 73-year-old Democrat, who has since become chairman of the House Banking Committee, has changed completely. Gonzalez’s mailbags would make most politicians envious. Hefty and full of letters, hand-written by people who are neither lawyers nor lobbyists, the message the San Antonio Democrat is now receiving from the American public is even more encouraging than the support he received after he introduced a bill to impeach Ronald Reagan. “We average citizens don’t have a champion other than you, and your brave efforts give us some hope that our voices may still be heard,” writes a fan from Marina Del Rey, California. “Bless you and may you consider running for President. You have my vote even though I am a registered Republican.” Many of his letters begin this way: “enclosed please find a check for your reelection . ” Gonzalez returns these, stating that he won’t accept contributions until he formally announces in January. What has Gonzalez done? He has chaired the House Banking Committee competently at a time when crises and scandals are rife. And compared to the lawyers and lobbyists who represent the S&L industry, and the politicians who apologize for it, Gonzalez comes off as a grandfather figure, urging his colleagues to be “as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice” a line he borrowed from abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. During debate this summer over the S&L bailout bill,. a number of Gonzalez’s colleagues lavished him with praise, saying what an improvement he was over his predecessor, Banking Committee Chair Rep. Ferdinand St. Germain of Rhode Island. Now the praise line is forming again. This time the lawmakers are lauding Gonzalez’s handling of hearings on the collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan Association in California, and the role of five U.S. who lobbied on behalf of the S&L’s owner, Charles Keating. Keating is the subject of a huge fraud suit and is a major contributor to each of the five Senators’ re-election funds. Much of Gonzalez’s fan mail specifically mentions a favorable article and editorial in The Wall Street Journal, an institution that generally does not dote on populist Texans. Gonzalez also thinks the coverage of committee ‘hearings by C-Span might have an impact on his quantity of mail. “Some of the letters are most touching and at the same time humbling,” Gonzalez says, assuming the more relaxed tone he normally exhibits these days. His biggest test, though, may come when he presides over hearings on the so-called Southwest Plan, a series of sell-offs of insolvent Texas thrifts made by the nowdefunct Federal Home Loan Bank in 1988. Critics of the plan contend that it benefited a few wealthy investors at the expense of taxpayers. Gonzalez is expected to weather intense pressure from fellow Texans, and the battle could be the biggest measure yet of his populist resolve. Data Processing Typesetting Printing Mailing FUTUM COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 3019 Alvin DeVane Suite 500 Austin, Texas 78741 Fax 512.389.0867 512.389.1500 10 NOVEMBER 24, 1989