THE TEXAS server NOVEMBER 12, 1993 VOLUME 85, No. 22 FEATURES Civilizing Capitalism By John Kenneth Galbraith 7 The Most Dangerous Man in Dallas: John Wiley Price By Carol Countryman 10 Physicians, Steel Thyselves By James McCarty Yeager 13 Sowing Discontent in Mexico By Kent Paterson 14 DEPARTMENTS Editorials: Come Home Henry ,Kay Bailey Que Paso? Crime: Beyond Knee Jerk 3-6 Molly Ivins 9 Las Americas Hostage to Free Trade By John Ross 16 Books and the Culture William S. Burroughs in TeXas Book reviews by Holly Hildebrand 20 West Texas Gothic Movie reviews by Steven G. Kellman 21 Afterword Ode to Joy By Tom McClellan 23 Political Intelligence 24 Cover art by Gail Woods Wand a Sunday morning in April, Housing Wand Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros walked into the 300-square-foot apartment of Margarita Robles in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio. As he followed Robles through two cramped rooms, he asked how many people lived in her apartment, where she washed her clothes, how all the first-floor tenants managed with only one bathroom out in the hallway and how much she paid each month for rent. Cisneros’ flight from Washington had arrived an hour earlier and he had ridden from the airport in a van, with leaders of EPISO \(one of 10 Industrial Areas Alicia Chac6n and Congressman Ron Coleman. Before the tour arrived at the apartments where the Robles family lived, Cisneros had stopped at the rectory of a Catholic parish, where he met briefly with Ernesto Cortes Jr., the state director of the IAF, a statewide network of local grassroots organizations. “There’s no running water in the apartment units, the building doesn’t meet code … It’s hard to believe that in this .country people are living like that in the ’90s,” Cisneros told reporters gathered on the street outside the apartment. The impromptu press conference dragged on, Cisneros answered reporters’ questions and EPISO’ s lead organizer, Sister Mary Beth Larkin, scrambled to try to keep the group somewhat on schedule. Cisneros told reporters he would move some available federal funds to provide help for families living in the conditions like those endured by the Robles. And, as Larkin succeeded in turning a press conference into a parade to the next site, Cisneros said, “I’m meeting with the President tomorrow morning and I intend to tell him what I’ve seen here today.” Which at the moment seemed rather hollow. Cisneros had seen such living conditions before, in San Antonio where he served as mayor and in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where Valley Interfaith, another Industrial Areas Foundation group, has led many of the state’s elected officials through the region’s colonias unincorporated, marginal developments scattered along the Texas-Mexico border. President Clinton has also seen similar living conditions in rural Arkansas. What purpose would be served by describing these conditions to the President? Six months later that promise made in El Paso does not sound so hollow. Because Henry Cisneros, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has emerged as the best of the Clinton Cabinet. And he has achieved that, in part, by the very same symbolic acts that he began with in April. Cisneros has ovemighted in the Ida B. Wells public housing project in Chicago, where, according to Jason DeParle of the New York Times, “Mr. Cisneros painted an eerie portrait of waking to morning fog and young corpses, victims of gang warfare.” He has checked into a shelter for the homeless in Queens, where he “shooed away a bevy of city officials who greeted him” when he arrived at about 10 p.m., according to the Times’ Celia W. ‘Dugger; then he went about the business of listening to the stories of the people living the shelter. And in an action that combined symbolism and the proper application of federal authority, he flew into Vidor, took a public stand against the Ku Klux Klan, which had succeeded in driving away the only two AfricanAmerican residents of the otherwise all-white town’s public housing project, then seized control of the Orange County Housing Authority. For beleaguered Mayor Ruth Woods, who for $250 a month has faced down Klan death threats and criticism from hometown segregationists, Cisneros’ action was long . overdue. “I feel like for the first time, we are anchored together,” she said of the federal cooperation. In nine months as a Cabinet member Cisneros has managed to get homelessness back into the public policy debate, warn Democrats that their party is drifting to the right \(even referring critically to the heretofore sacrosanct conservative Democratic bully pulpit from which to attack racism which certain members of his party, to whom he refers as “New Democrats,” claim is a minor problem unworthy of major policy initiatives. All without losing the respect of the business community. On a hot July afternoon in 1987 Cisneros stood on the steps of the Capitol, rolled up his shirtsleeves and shouted encouragement to the 3,000 Industrial Areas Foundation members who had come to Austin to fight for funding social services and education. “There is enough wealth in this state to educate our children,” Cisneros said again and again, using “for the little children” as a refrain in a speech defending government spending on social services. Our bet is that he would have the courage to make that same argument today, and were it stated responsibly and framed properly the people of this state would respond positively. Even in a campaign for the U.S. Senate. If you don’t believe that politics is about timing, drive out to Tanglewood and ask George Bush. Since Bill Clinton was elected, the Democrats have lost mayoral races in Los Angeles and New York, gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia and two special elections for the U.S. Senate, in Georgia and Texas, leading some to speculate -that the Democratic Party will lose its ‘majority in the Senate in 1994. Former Attorney General Jim Mattox, an able liberal who has earned his party’s respect, should take on Phil Gramm in 1996, while Gramm is running for the Presidency. If the Industrial Areas Foundation is about speaking truth to power, then Henry Cisneros is power listening to truth. And with due respect to Mattox, there’s not a better candidate in the Democratic Party right now to go up against Kay Bailey Hutchison in 1994. L.D., J.C. EDITORIALS Henry Come Home THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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