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VIC HINTERLANG Carl Parker couldn’t pass up the opportunity to respond to Clayton Williams’s late entry into the school finance debate. Williams, who issued a press release following Clements’s veto of the education bill, described it as the ParkerRichards bill and claimed it would raise taxes. “This shows that this man don’t know beans about education,” Parker said. “Why, to elect Clayton Williams governor and put him in charge of education makes as much sense as putting him in charge of sensitivity training at the rape crisis center.” Parker challenged Williams to a Memorial Day education-issues debate on the Senate floor. “You can sell tickets,” Parker said to Dallas Republican John Leedom, “and give the money to your favorite Republican charity.” Williams, according to Parker, did not respond to the invitation. So Parker conducted a mock debate with a cardboard cutout of Williams. AFI GOVERNOR Bill Clements issued a post-override press release claiming that the education bill would cause a $1.5 billion increase in property taxes, Parker issued a challenge to the Governor, also: “Well the sky is falling, too.” Parker said of Clements’s prediction of increasing property taxes. “That is not being honest. That is absolutely not true. “I would challenge the Governor to stand here with me, not with his staff, I challenge the Governor to stand here and justify that and show me in the bill where that happens. He cannot do it.” NEWSPAPERS across the state were almost unanimous in their criticism of Clements’s veto of the education finance bill. Only the Dallas Morning News, among the state’s major dailies, supported the Governor. “Lawmakers mindful of the consequences and of how much Clements’ irresponsible 1979 vetoes have cost the taxpayers will vote to override this latest one. Those who vote otherwise will be voting for court intervention …” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial writers. “The bill killed by Clements was far better than any the governor had advocated,” was the way the Houston Post saw it. “Gov. Clements is clearly less concerned about education than about the effect upon his reputation of a half-cent increase in the state sales tax,” according to the Houston Chronicle. And the editorial writers at the San Antonio Light wrote, in part, “If William Kilgarlin is Robin Hood, then Gov. Bill Clements must be the Sheriff of Nottingham … taxpayers should remember that the real villain of that piece [the Robin Hood tale] was the Sheriff of Nottingham, an arrogant public official whose intransigence helped create the problem in the first place.” The Morning News stood alone: “Gov. Bill Clements was right to veto the school finance reform bill sent to him by the Democratic legislative leadership … in truth, the Legislature need not raise taxes by one red cent even Texas Treasurer Ann Richards has stated that shifts and cuts can reach the bottom line.” ONE AUSTIN COLUMNIST reminded readers that the Governor’s no-newtax stand is nothing new. “In his campaign in 1978,” Austin American-Statesman political writer Dave McNeely wrote, “Clements rode the anti-tax wave that had been heralded by the Proposition 13 movement in California. He pledged to cut Texas taxes by $1 billion and cut state employees by 25,000 … The $1 billion and the 25,000 employees, incidentally, were never cut.” THE HOUSTON POST published what was perhaps the weirdest big-city daily editorial on school finance. The Post let readers in on the backgrounds of the threemember special master team appointed by District Judge Scott McCown to draft a finance plan to be put in place should the Legislature and Bill Clements should fail to deliver: “The associate special masters are Jose Cardenas, former superintendent of Edgewood ISD of San Antonio, the lead plaintiff in the law suit; and Billy Walker, director of the Texas Center for Educational Research and former assistant superintendent of the Ector ISD in Odessa. “Then there is Kilgarlin. While on the Texas Supreme Court he was publicly `admonished’ by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct because two of his briefing clerks accepted a free trip to Las Vegas from an attorney who also had a stake in matters before the justices. He, along with another judge, also was cited by the commission for hitting up lawyers for money to file a private suit against a former briefing clerk who revealed the scandal.” It might have been a judgement call to ignore Kilgarlin’s role as the intellectual leader of the Supreme Court during his tenure there, and the fact that he had previously served as a district judge and a state representative. But how could the Post have failed to acknowledge that Jose Cardenas is a nationally recognized expert on school finance. And that Billy Walker is not just a former school superintendent who has graduated to think-tanking, but rather the consultant who did much of the brainwork for the Governor’s committee on education reform \(on which Perhaps the most bizarre observation in the Post “Masters of Our Fate” editorial was the indignant observation that these three were actually “recommended to Judge McCown by the school districts that filed the lawsuit challenging the current finance system. That is rather like the victim passing THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13