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STEFAN WANSTROM Free and Transparent Elections This is Texas today. A state full of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, oil and gas companies, nuclear weapons and power plants, political hucksters, underpaid workers and toxic wastes, to mention a few. , 4 i t 0 . 4C 07 . . i ce A` \(11*. li:t o Nit’ ir / . 1-Y4 1141R.:\(4 4 ,4 4f Q ek tt, ii ii -.11.4 BUT rim” DO NOT :,., DESPAIR! , HE TEXAS ,,,,,,, T b il op server . TO SUBSCRIBE* Name Address City State Zip $32 enclosed for a one-year subscription. Bill me for $32. 307 West 7th, Austin, TX 78701 certificate would be a more substantial piece of evidence than a certified page from the birth registry, retained James C. Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project to represent him in district court in Austin. \(The Observer, concerned that Mr. Bays’ recalling a birth certificate that was properly obtained under the Texas Open Records Act represented an encroachment on the press’ access to public documents, joined Mr. de la Rosa and the PRD as co-plaintiffs in the suit. And on the central issue in contention, even the staid Texas Lawyer weighed in with a headline that asked: “Will Texas be a Party to Mexican Election Mr. Harrington appeared in Judge Joseph Hart’s courtroom on October 7 and when lawyers from the Department of Health and the attorney general’s office opposed his request for a court order to release the birth certificate, a trial was scheduled for October 13. On October 13 the PRD’s de la Rosa \(who, for the record, was born in Ton -eon, the birth certificate as evidence. “In [Murgia’s] hand,” he said of an appearance in a Mexican electoral tribunal, “he had his Mexican birth certificate. In my hand, I had a photocopy of his American birth certificate.” Tony Diaz requested Judge Hart to accept Mr. Murgia as a plaintiff intervenor in the case. Diaz also incorrectly informed the judge that Mr. de la Rosa is a communist, as his litigation tactics got. He quickly was tripped up by one of those old peculiarities of the law: standing. Was Diaz admitting that the birth certificate in contention was his client’s? the judge wanted to know. Diaz considered the response that would move Mr. Murgia into an Texas district court but out of the Mexican Senate, and could only answer “no.” He could, Judge Hart said, sit and listen. Within less than an hour, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffswhich included this publication. Because of the defense tendered. by Assistant Attorney General Dennis Garza, Judge Hart’s ruling was considerably less than a broad statement on the Open Records Act. \(Mr. Garza said he wanted as narrow a ruling as could be dent by which the government could recall a public document properly obtained under the discretionary powers of the Texas Open Record Act. And Hector de la Rosa had obtained somebody’s birth certificate. All that was required to present it in Mexican court as evidence was certification at the Mexican Consulate in Austin. Acting on that request, Mexican Counsel Miguel Angel Orozco Deza did what God intended him to do and refused to certify it, citing as his reason that a representative of this publication, a co-plaintiff in the case, appeared at his office in Mr. Harrington’s stead. So after three weeks of delay, during which the consul had inadvertently threatened the Texas Open Records Act while successfully keeping a birth certificate disowned by the party to whom it belongs out of court in Mexico \(quite an achievement ceeded again and if he weren’t a member of the PRI he could find a place on Bob Dole’s staff. \(Both lawyers, Barbara Hines and Jim Harrington, were out of town on the day Richard Bays returned Mr. Murgia’s birth certificate to the plaintiffs. But even when Harrington himself finally appeared at the consulate, as Mr. de la Rosa’s lawyer, $25 fee in hand, he was denied. Three days after Mr. Harrington’s person-to-person request, the consular office certified the birth certificate and Mr. de la Rosa moved it back into “Solomonic,” said a smiling Mr. Orozco of his tactic that had delayed the decision on certification for at least one additional week, while he awaited “consultations in Mexico.” But Solomon saved the baby; he didn’t starve it to death. Mr. Orozco’s actions are typical of the PRI’ s treatment of the nascent Mexican democracy. And then, in three words to Jim Harrington, the Mexican Consul spelled out the political imperative that has suffocated democracy in Mexico: “The PRI won.” In Mexico, to borrow from a title of one of Luis Spota’s political novels, those are palabras mayores. Big words. L.D. 4 OCTOBER 28, 1994