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ety to develop independent institutions. The society is permeated by la grilla, politicking, political gossip and maneuvering, he says. The story of Cosi Vidaurri is important, but what’s more important is an investigation of nuts and bolts, of oil and ducts. That’s something which interests the press to a far lesser degree. Meanwhile, the government’s preliminary report, issued in the 72 hours following a presidential fiat, “was perfect for the eyes of Washington, perfect in terms of TV images for a U.S. public.” The President’s image emerged relatively unscathed; the presidential system reinforced. On the night of April 22, as Salinas, toured one of the most devastated areas, the Mayor of Guadalajara looked to the Governor for his cues, the Governor to the President. Both tried to assure Salinas that everything was under control. When the President demanded to know “Where are the people from the neighborhoods? Are any of the people from the neighborhoods here?” someone shoved a young man in front of him. The young man, a rather obvious plant, said he lived nearby and that the government rescue efforts were working well. As he spoke, and as television cameras rolled, Salinas plucked the PRI sticker from the young man’s jacket. It would have been a stibtle gesture had it not been broadcast into millions of Mexican homes. So what will we remember about this transforming moment 10 years from now, or 15 years from now. I’m not sure, but I think this is what I will remember: the eerie calm along the Calzada Independencia, a main thoroughfare whose side streets were cordoned off as bicyclists with surgical masks on their faces whizzed by, the gust of the smell of death, gas and sewage; a sign on a bakery pretending that everything is all right. “Because of the situation we’re experiencing, for information about your special order call ….,” the bizarre scene on the corner of Violeta and Gante, a huge block scooped out forever from the city’s landscape; army and rescue workers plodding through the debris, bucket by bucket, as a group of women sat on the porch and stoop at the Casa de Huespedes Margarita across the street. The Casa a guest house was intact. The women had balcony seats, watching the Japanese television crews, the army, etc. Jose Luis Lopez, 54, and his family live in a temporary shelter in a Guadalajara home for the elderly. Like many in the Reforma sector, Lopez was not from Guadalajara. He was from Veracruz. He worked as a street vendor and lived in a rooming house with his wife and seven young children. The night before the blast he noticed a city worker checking the sewer system. He asked what was wrong. “Nothing” he was told. “Just routine cleaning.” The following morning there was so much dust, Lopez said. Everything was black. You couldn’t see the stairs. There were no stairs. When they finally reached the door, their way was blocked. A white Volkswagen had been tossed into the air and landed in the doorway of the Casa de Huespedes Mazatlan on the corner of 20 de Noviembre and Gante. I think I will remember that. Bring Home the Bacon BY DEBORAH LUTTERBECK Washington, D.0 F4VEN IN WASHINGTON, you can’t spend the same money twice; what goes to one state can’t go to . another. And since there is no time like an election year for the distribution of goodies, President Bush, faced with a flagging economy and challengers coming at him from all sides, is loosening all available purse strings. How is Texas doing? Not as well as you might think, given that there is a Kennebunkport Texan in the White House. There are bright spots: Houston was chosen not only for the Republican convention this year, but was also the site of the 1990 economic summit. That meant millions of dollars for the local economy. And, in no place are science grants bigger than in Texas. NASA and the Superconducting Super Collider are the two of the largest science projects in the country. And the state’s fortunes should improve this year, as legislation will allow Texas to collect an additional $525 million in federal Medicaid matching funds, the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations recently reported. “Texas will also receive approximately $325 million in each of the next six fiscal years due to the re-authorization of the Federal Surface Transportation Act last November,” the office reported. But, before putting streamers on the town hall it is important to take a look at the larger picture the ugly one. Deborah Lutterbeck is a journalist in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Texas’ most recent Federal funding report card from the Census Bureau places the state far from the head of the class. In fiscal 1991 Texas came in far below average compared with other states. For the year, Texas received $64.5 billion in federal funds; the state’s 38th place in per capita allocations was a modest improvement from the previous fiscal year’s 41st-place finish. The breakdown of those funds illuminates the shortfalls. The largest category for state funding is direct payments to individuals, including funds for Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs. Texas received $31.5 billion of such funds in FY 1991, ranking 46th in that category. Similarly, Texas showed a poor performance in Federal grants to state and local governments, coming in 47th. Those poor showings were attributed to state and city governments that refuse to spend the money required to capture matching federal funds. Texas’ only decent marks came under the procurement category, which was swollen by money for NASA and the Superconducting Supercollider. Total money for procurement stood at $13.152 billion, putting Texas at 19. Finally, federal funding for salaries and wages for military and postal workers totaled $9.848 billion, ranking Texas 26th. The hope is with a new Governor and a new team of state lobbyists set loose in Washington, this picture will improve. However, there is still a lot to be done. During the first quarter of fiscal 1992, Texas was granted $1.872 billion for state and local governments, which would put yearly spending at $7.488 billion even worse than last year. Likewise, the $7.519 billion in first quarter disbursements in direct payments to individuals would put the total for the year behind the mediocre pace set in FY 1991. However, looking at one quarter’s figures and trying to make a guess about what the new year will bring can be tricky business. There are seasonal factors that can make one quarter seem out of whack with the rest. Going into the Fall elections the President may need to lavish a few more favors on the states, especially if that other Texan H. Ross Perot becomes a real candidate. Bush has already shown what he can do if he thinks he needs to. Before the New Hampshire primary he promised to dole out $274 million in federal programs. In Florida, he made a $514 million pledge to clean up Kissimee Basin. Imagine the possibilities in Texas. What has not been left up to the imagination are some of the economic incentives that have been spread nationwide. For example, if you are one of 90 million people who earn less than $48,000 a year you may have noticed that your paycheck is a little bigger. Just as he promised in the State of the Union address, Bush told the Internal Revenue Service to stop overwithholding from people’s paychecks. What you’re supposed to do is go out and spend that extra cash on anything from an extra dessert to a lawnmower right now. Remember, every time you buy something it helps out the economy that’s what you can do for your country. What greater sacrifices could be made? The only fly in this ointment probably won’t show up until next April. If you are a forgetful per Continued on pg. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13