my district, what will stop another developer from doing this in your district tomorrow? How can we tell a small group of residents in your district who want to be free of a city in your district that you will not grant them immunity from annexation after you vote for this bill? What will you tell an H. Ross Perot when he wants to do this in Plano, Senator Shapiro? What will you tell Del Webb when he wants to do this in Georgetown, Senator Turner? Members, Austin helped the developer of Circle C make a profit by giving him the utilities.. Otherwise Circle C would still be the home of Mr. Ira Yates’ cattle. Austin helped build roads. Austin helped build parks. And now because the developers of Circle C find the agreement they signed with the city of Austin to be too difficult to live up to, they want out. Members, wait until a developer wants to change the agreement he reached with one of your cities. Members, when that happens, and you are powerless to resist because you helped change a Senate tradition that would have prevented it, I will have only one thing to say if you voted for this bill: I told you so.” Barrientos noted he won some points, such as giving the voters of Circle C the power to approve or disapprove the district; eliminating the district’s power to condemn land for a landfill; requiring more district directors be residents of the district; eliminating some conflicts of interest; and providing more protection for groundwater. “That was worth the time we spent, but all we did was remove some warts from the ugliest creature of this session,” he said. “What we are creating is not a conservation and reclamation district…We are creating the land of Oz, a city that is not a city, a city that has power but no revenue; a city that is created by charming wizards at getting governmental assistance…The people of Circle C may get this district passed but when they click their red-slippered .heels together they will find there is no place like home.” After the filibuster, Barrientos said he felt like he had been beaten up with hammers. “My feet hurt, my teeth hurt, my eyelashes hurt. Everything hurts.” AMONG THE NINE DEMOCRATS who voted with 13 Republicans in the Senate to bring up the Circle C bill was John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who said Barrientos is one of his closest friends in the Senate. But Whitmire voted to set Barrientos up for a filibuster because Wentworth got his commitment early in the session. “Wentworth explained it to me early on that this was the one and only way to clarify what they could do out there,” Whitmire said. “We hear repeatedly from people who were trying to do something in the Austin area and it just seemed like repeatedly the rules of the game were changing so it was really kind of getting a commitment to Wentworth before I heard from Gonzalo.” As the bill worked its way through the process, he said, “I never heard anything that would change my mind.” He added, “It was not something that we both, we don’t enjoy voting against a guy who was willing to stand up and argue like that, but when I got committed I did not believe Gonzalo felt as strongly about it as he ended up.” Gallego agreed that “Wentworth got to me first,” although it was still hard to believe they would have made such a commitment on a bill of local interest to Barrientos just two years after Barrientos had filibustered a less radical bill. For the record, the seven other Democrats who, along with the bloc of Republicans, put the hammer to Barrientos were David Cain of Dallas, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Frank Madla of San Antonio, Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth, John Montford of Lubbock, Bill Sims of Paint Rock and Jim Turner of Crockett. The House swept aside the objections and pleadings of three Travis County representatives on May 26 as it voted 81-54 to concur in Senate amendments. The bill requires Austin to continue providing water and sewer service to Circle C as well as areas the new district annexes. The city, which already pays about $3 billion a year on bonds issued to provide sewer service to Circle C, also may be held liable for $4 million in debt from existing Circle C utility districts, Robert Bryce reported in the Austin Chronicle. Ironically, the House on a 137-7 vote on May 25 sent the governor another bill to require developers selling land in unincorporated colonias within 50 miles of the Rio Grande to provide their own water and sewage services. H.B. 1001, sponsored by Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Laredo, repeals part of a 1989 law that “grandfathered” existing colonias. But the residents of the colonias as well as their developers are a third world away from the 3,500 wellheeled suburban residents of Circle C. J.C. Continued from p.24 Brooks expects that many of the Republicans in the Clear Lake area of southeast Harris County who voted against “old man Brooks” will have lost their jobs at NASA and cleared out by next fall. Among those said to be interested in the seat are Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector Nick Lampson and former Galveston state representative Mike Martin. V BAD DREAMS caused by the state’s failure to invest in preventive programs caused Jack Vowell to retire last year after 14 years in the Texas House of Representatives, Gary Scharrer reported in the May 21 El Paso Times. Vowell, an El Paso Republican in the House, was considered an expert on health and human services issues and he championed preventive programs to keep children and families from more serious and costly problems. But the state never bought into his perspective and the image of hungry, disabled and abused children often turned into nightmares for him, he said. “I started reliving the conflicts and the tensions that come with trying to do the job. It’s really an awesome responsibility,” he was quoted in the Times. He’s now a lobbyist for the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Public Service Board. V FREE SPEECH ALTERNATIVE. Free-speech advocates are promoting an amendment to a bill that otherwise would criminalize electronic speech on the Internet. Nebraska Senator James Exon’s “Communications Decency Act,” which could reach the Senate floor soon, would criminalize speech that is currently legal to print and broadcast; define new classes of illegal speech, including speech that is “filthy”; and provide prison terms of up to two years for people, including system operators, who create or transmit material that is judged “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent” anywhere in the United States. The bill is opposed by a coalition that includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, the National Writers Union, the Libertarian Party, the Association of Alternative Newspapers and others. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy proposes to have the Attorney General do a five-month study on means of controlling the flow of violent, sexually explicit, harassing and otherwise unwanted material “before we start legislating in ways that could severely damage electronic communications systems, sweep away important constitutional rights and undercut law enforcement at the same time.” \(Software is available to allow computer users to block children from gaining access Texas senators Kay Bailey Hutchison at 202-224-5922 or \(email [email protected] Congress, call 202-224-3121. 4 JUNE 2, 1995
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