Dialogue Continued from page 2 Your review, by Steven G. Kellman, is the first I have read which is racist. It also takes the prize for sheer pretension. Mr. Kellman followed by a good ol’ Texas kick in the ass. Fortunately, most of your readers are probably smarter than Kellman and will recognize sententious and specious claptrap when they read it. Specifically, I must object to Kellman’s charge that The Long Walk Home “indulges in anachronistic bombast when Martin Luther King, Jr., an off-camera presence, is treated with the kind of adulation that the young minister had not yet acquired.” Upon what source does Mr. Kellman base this statement? Was he there? Many of [the] extras playing the roles of worshippers in that congregation were participants in the real bus boycott. Those men and women were one of our sources, and in their view, the Reverend King was an instant hero. Mr. Kellman should attend a few history classes at the University. The Long Walk Home is historically accurate. I miss the kind of liberal rag that dares to shout “Stick it where the sun don’t shine!” when they are delivered dishonest bombast. David L. Bell Hollywood, Calif. Steven Kellman replies: No, I was not in Montgomery in 1955, but David L Bell’s responsibility as a movie producer is to transport me there. For all its virtuous intentions, The Long Walk Home only partially succeeds, because it substitutes sentimentality for candor. Bell’s insistence on Martin Luther King Jr.’ s heroic role is at odds with one of the film’s cardinal claims, that the civil rights revolution was won by ordinary, decent people like Odessa Carter, or Rosa Parks. The film’s veneration of an offcamera King is reminiscent of those 1950s Biblical epics in which Jesus is never shown yet radiates sanctity onto the frame. In beatifying King, long before his current canonization, The Long Walk Home ignores the role of other civil rights leaders and, in pushing the Great Man theory of history, contradicts its own populist premises. Sentimentalizing the victim is a facile way of assuaging guilt. Idealizing every black, Hispanic, Native American, woman, gay, or even Hollywood producer is every bit as bigoted as demonizing them. In addition to the wondrous workings of self-interest, what Bell’s letter demonstrates is that racist has Thh publication is available In microform from University Microfilms International. Cell tall-free 800-521.3044. Or mail inquiry to; University Microfilms International. 300 North Zeeb Road. Ann Arbor. MI 48108. replaced communist as the all-purpose slur of the 1990s. In this instance, the word does not serve the purpose of honesty, fairness, or social justice. Wongly Accused Jennifer Wong’s recent article on the Texas Highway Department Sunset legislation was seriously flawed and misleading in its description of my role, views, and actions on several matters. She states “Barrientos has frequently pitted himself against his own constituents in the name of big business.” She cites as an example that I was chair of the Austin Transportation Study when it was found to have violated the Open Meetings Act on 33 occasions. She fails to note, however, that every single one of those meetings was open to the public. She also fails to point out the reason we were held in violation of the Act. Our planning data included analysis of traffic from Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, and Burnet counties, so an appeals court held that ATS was a multi-county district and under the Open Records Act had to post notice of our meetings at each of those county courthouses and with the Secretary of State. We failed to do so for 33 meetings. Our membership consists of representatives from only Travis and Williamson counties. All our meetings complied with the Open Meetings Act requirements for two county bodies. Ms. Wong correctly notes the lawsuit was generated largely because the plan contained a Koenig Lane expressway. She did not note I voted against that part of the plan. Finally, she incorrectly states that citizen’s groups won $146,000 in this lawsuit. Actually, their lawyers won the money for proving that 3 x 5 cards were not put on bulletin boards of counties who had no membership in ATS. How this is an example of pitting myself against my constituents in the name of big business is beyond me. Her second example is that I sponsored a bill “allowing developers to circumvent Austin’s environmental ordinances.” What I did was pass a bill to give the Village of Bee Cave an extraterritorial jurisdiction after the City of Austin failedto grant them control over the watershed draining directly into the intake structure of Bee Cave’s water supply on Lake Austin. Prior to this bill, the City granted variances to its watershed ordinances to a cement plant and to an Austin electric substation in the Bee Cave area, and had granted a waiver from compliance with the Comprehensive Watershed Ordinance to the Bohls Ranch Development which drains directly into Bee Cave’s water supply. As of November 1990, the City of Austin had granted 472 variances to its watershed ordinances. It has taken enforcement actions under its Comprehensive Watershed Ordinance only 251 times. It is little wonder that the people in the little village of Bee Cave preferred to control what they would be drinking rather than trust the City Council of Aus tin. The bill I passed required a non-point source pollution ordinance be adopted by Bee Caves and prohibits it from granting variances to it. The ordinance is being administered by the LCRA. Bee Cave recently offered to give most of the land in its jurisdiction that is in the Barton Creek watershed back to the City of Austin in return for a small section of Lake Austin watershed closest to their intake structures. The City of Austin refused. As for my involvement with the MoKan Corridor Association, I have, and will continue to support projects which ease traffic congestion and steer Austin’s development to the east, which is much less environmentally sensitive than the west. Ms. Wong uses the term “conflict of interest” to describe my resignation from the board. My resignation came when questions arose over the dual role of Robert Lanier, who was a director of a similar road corporation in Houston while serving on the Highway Commission which had the power to fund the road. Even though the legislature does not appropriate money for specific highway projects, I did not want a similar question raised about my dual role as a Legislator and a member of such a board. I never had a conflict of interest of a monetary nature. Ms. Wong could easily have gotten a more thorough picture of these courts. Instead she has chosen to adopt the philosophy that any action that is not “politically correct” is somehow guided by some sort of business conspiracy. Gonzalo Barrientos State Senator Austin Mess With Texas I have a problem with some of your recent positions, but such should not cause not subscribing. I would encourage you to spend much more effort on Texas. There is balance on national matters. Your publication is the Texas Liberal Answer, don’t stray. Patrick A. Mueller Nacogdoches Breaking The Silence I enjoyed the 19 April edition, especially John Burnett’s article, the review of Mobilizing Democracy, and the article about the firing of the Round Rock editor. Palestian human rights violations in Israel has been an issue that has played an increasing role in Texas Democratic Party politics, but the Observer has been deafeningly silent on the issue. While I don’t expect the issue to play a biweekly role in a primarily Texas publication, it is good to see the issue finally getting some recognition. Walter Earl Bissex Austin 14 MAY 3, 1991
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