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\( 1– T b il l TIXAS Available at the following locations: Old World Bakery 814 W. 12th Street Austin The Stoneleigh P 2926 Maple Avenue Dallas Brazos Bookstore 2314 Bissonett Houston Guy’s News Stand 3700 Main Street Houston The Newstand 1101 University Lubbock Daily News & Tobacco 309-A Andrews Highway Midland Books and News 301 State Line Ave. Texarkana The Original Magazine & Bookstore 5360 W. Lovers Lane #210 Dallas The Original Magazine & Bookstore #2 11661 Preston, Suite 301 Dallas server FUTUM COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Data Processing Typesetting Printing Mailing 512-389-1500 FAX 512-389-0867 3019 Alvin DeVane, Suite 500 Austin, Texas 78741 sion and the price hikes, the Dallas City Council and the DFW Airport Authority granted taxi operators a 20-percent rate increase to offset increased fuel costs. On the same day, taxi operators were issued plastic magnetic cards, each coded with the car’s license plate number, operating permit, and registration information. But because of potential difficulties, the airport authorities have delayed implementing the card system, which would require all drivers to use their plastic IDs to get into the airport queue. Closed-circuit video cameras already record the car number and the driver’s face as taxis enter the airport’s toll booths. After waiting in the central queue, taxis are dispatched to a specific parking area in the arrivals section. The dispatcher makes his assignment based on video surveillance of the area, issuing a computer-generated chit with the date, time, and car number. DFW police and City of Dallas Transportation Inspectors patrol the areas constantly, looking for operators who try to beat the system by “cruising” the ramps for passengers. If a taxi driver is where he’s supposed to be, he’s sitting right in front of the entry doors of one of DFW’s arrival lounges or baggage claim areas. Once dispatched, drivers aren’t allowed to be more than 25 feet away from their cabs, or to go inside the terminal building, even to use the restroom. “All personal business is to be completed prior to being dispatched from Central Queue,” reads one of the Airport Authority’s taxicab regulations. So drivers pick up their passengers, make the trip to one of the city’s hotels, and return to the queue to wait, talk, play soccer, and at times, as if responding to a muezzin calling from a mosque that no one can see, face the east, kneel, and place their foreheads against the ground to pray. Continued from page 11 visory committee to advise the Highway Commission on the needs of the general public, improving public access to the department by providing information on complaints procedures, recruiting more women and minority employees, giving disadvantaged businesses more access to the department contract bidding process, developing environmental review of state-funded highway projects, and hiring a statewide bicycle coordinator to better serve the bicyclists of Texas. While Stiles says he is willing to have sections of the bill restored, questions persist about his role in its gutting. On February 22, Stiles told the Observer that he voted “present not voting” on all 17 amendments. But on February 28, he said he voted “present not voting” on three of them involving administrative penalties on overweight trucks, and called the vote without voting himself on the remaining 14. Committee clerk Jeff Bonham said he remembered that all but three of the votes were unanimous. S. TILES RECENTLY announced that to abstain from voting on H.B. 751 from now until its final passage. But it’s still unclear why he accepted the chairmanship of the key subcommittee in the first place. He told a reporter on February 18 that he didn’t want to be on the subcommittee at all, but that Committee Chairman Gibson had insisted he serve. More recently, Stiles told the Observer that he had asked Gibson for a place on the subcommittee before he realized that it would consider issues directly related to his business. While he felt “uncomfortable” about serving, he said he chose to keep the position. When testifying before the ethics committee, Barbara Jordan, Governor Ann Richards’s recently appointed ethics advisor, stressed that the appearance of unscrupulous activity could be just as damaging as the reality. Tom “Smitty” Smith, Texas district director of Public Citizen, agrees, and likes to compare mixing business and government interests with dancing in a minefield. “No matter how careful you are, people are going to say that you’re the one that set off that bomb,” he said. At a time when his fellow legislators are considering legislation on ethics reform, Mark Stiles might want to watch where he does his two-step. avoid conflict of interest problems, he will THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23