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A JOURNAt OF FREE 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. SINCE 1954 Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: Allan Freedman Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Editorial Assistant: Brett Campbell Editorial Interns: Eva Llorefis, Stephen Merelman Washington Correspondent: Mary Anne Reilly Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, John Henry Faulk, Terry FitzPatrick, Gregg Franzwa, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Mary Lenz, Dana Loy, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Greg Moses, Debbie Nathan, Gary Pomerantz, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh Editorial Advisory Board: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; 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, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana; Susan Reid, Austin; Geoffrey Rips, Schmidt, Fredericksburg; Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. Layout and Design: Lana Kaupp Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Special Projects Director: Bill Simmons Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $27, two years $48, three years $69. Fulltime students $15 per year. Back issues S3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zed , Road, Ann Arbor, MI 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. 1990, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval Texas Observer Publishing Co., 307 West 7th Street, Austin, paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to .THE TEXAS OBSERVER, P.O. Box 49019. Austin, Texas 78765 Lest Ye Be Judged This is self-defense against the doublebarrelled barrage leveled by Judge Bob Gammage and his former law clerk, Cappy, White. They objected to my criticism of a very important case in which Gammage voted against worker’s privacy rights and, even worse, voted to assess $51,000 in attorney’s fees against our client, Brenda Jennings. Cappy mentioned that he had sat at Ms. Jennings’s counsel table during some of the trial in which we had tried to stop suspicionless random urinalysis; but what he didn’t say and what would have been fairer to tell the Observer readers was that he had worked for Gammage a few years ago, and remains a close friend which is quite alright; but it’s helpful to have all the cards on the table. Nor did Cappy have anything to do with the case when the appeal crystallized. There are two issues at stake. One is whether “employment-at-will” means that a company can force a worker to surrender all her privacy rights on the job without justification. Gammage supported this arcane 19th Century precursor of Reaganomics. That was not as shocking as his vote to make Ms. Jennings pay attorney’s fees to her company, even though her husband was disabled and her son was receiving reduced-cost meals at school. This was the first time that a Texas court upheld attorney’s fees against a plaintiff in a state civil rights case like this. The decision has devastating consequences for workers and the civil rights community. This is not to say that Gammage’s record is all bad as I pointed out the first time around just that he’s no saint. One should be able to criticize and debate a judge’s electoral merits without being branded an “assassin” by the judge. James C. Harrington Austin Hispanic Choices I was heartened by your recent article dealing with what you call “Cisnerismo.” It is particularly important that Hispanics lend their voice to yours in taking to task our arrogance that turns logic and good sense on its head. I too have seen Mr. Cisneros travel the state for the last six months or so calling on white liberals to support Hispanics who run for state-wide office regardless of their ideology, history, or program. And when any liberal arises to possibly challenge such a candidate or such an argument, Cisneros is quick to label them racists. My community has a long history of progressive activism consonant with our objective social, political, and economic conditions. Our self-interest lies in supporting candidates who promote progressive policies, regardless of their ethnicity or gender. Obviously, because our people have been excluded from running for the state’s highest offices, there is a tendency to support the symbolism of any Hispanic state-wide candidacy. Mr. Cisneros preys on that tendency and on white liberal consciousness of that exclusion to try to browbeat Hispanics and whites alike to support such a candidate. You do well to flush out the absurdity, arrogance, and danger of such a ploy. Mr. Cisneros often talks of his disdain for white liberals. Yet, when it’s convenient he tries to guilt-trip them into line. The Hispanics we elect to office this year will be in leadership positions for years to come, providing hope and direction for our community. These leaders can move Hispanics in the direction of coalition-building with African Americans, women, gays and lesbians, labor, environmentalists, etc., in order to build a truly progressive movement in Texas, or they can move us to the right, in the direction of the Republican Party and away from our collective self-interest. The stakes are, indeed, high. This election year offers Texas a unique opportunity .. . Armando Gutierrez, candidate for State Treasurer, is the perfect example of someone who has paid his dues in all facets of progressive politics. His activism in the Hispanic community is legend. He has also, however, taken active and visible roles in supporting labor, women, gays and lesbians, and others. His work with Rev. Jesse Jackson since 1984 as an advisor and campaign manager in 1988 has earned him the respect and support of the African American community. In short, no one is in a better position to pull together all the right elements to construct the progressive coalition and to win. The point, of course, is that progressives do not have hold their noses this election to vote for a Hispanic candidate. They can do as Cisneros says vote for a Hispanic but one who deserves the support, whose program is as liberal as any other candidate on the ballot an who can play a leading role in the building of the progressive movement in Texas. Let no one confuse the issue the future of progressive politics in Texas and even the Democratic Party as a true alternative to Republicanism may well ride on the outcome. Rick Luna Austin Continued on page 23 DIALOGUE 2 FEBRUARY 23, 1990