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…0.4tot .14000: illikydozAire.qReiggi,vbipe, , …………………. 41; “Gay,” from p. 32 correct and demanded a retraction. Recently, Oppel has served notice to the staffing decisions at the Statesman. At issue was a complaint by Wyatt Roberts, executive director of the American Family Association of Texas. Roberts complained that the Statesman had assigned a gay reporter, Juan Palomo, to the church beat. Palomo, who has been a columnist and Washington reporter for the now-defunct Houston Post, had also written for the Texas Triangle, a gay & lesbian weekly published in Austin. That, according to Roberts, along with Palomo’s sexual preference, disqualified him from writing about religion. Not so, Oppel responded, suggesting that if it was bigotry Roberts was promoting he should pack up and leave town. Roberts, who has also played a key role in a failed boycott of Triangle advertisers, apparently is still in Travis County and was allowed thirteen column inches in the Statesman \(roughly the same length of MILLENARIAN DEMOCRATS. Our correspondent Todd Basch reports that with the old warhorses of the Texas Democratic Party not doing too well these daysmany having finally fled to their true Republican homea new group of younger warhorses, calling themselves “The 21st Century Democrats,” held a founding rally in Austin February 11. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the treelisted among the initiators and financial backers of the new group were Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, Racing Commission member Lukin Gilliland, Jr., Austin adman Roy Spence, and a brace of Dallas and Houston lawyersbut they insist they want to bring the party back to its roots, among the “middle class” and “working people.” Co-chair and Friend-of-Garry Steve Gutow, says he regrets that the party has “shifted its course” away from working people and “turned our attention to other issues,” such as gay rights and affirmative action which are “very important,” but not the “core values” of the party. Gutow and his allies, which include a half-dozen new young state organizers, have as their goals redefining the Party in Texas, in the course of attempting to increase their ranks to twenty thousand 21st Century Texas Democrats before the November election. The bright-eyed, serious organizers among the roughly two hundred attendees may be the most important distinction between the new Texas Democrats and their elderly cousins who brought us Bill Clinton: the Democratic Leadership Council. Headlined speaker and Clinton adviser, Wyatt Roberts ALAN POGUE George Stephanopoulos, said he hoped that the DLC would get behind the millenarians’ agenda, sentiments echoed by the Texas elders in attendance, among them Mauro, Comptroller John Sharp, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Criminal Appeals Judge Frank Maloney, and longtime Houston party official Billie Carr. It is not clear how the next-century’s version of the Democrats might differ from its current incarnation, considering not only these familiar faces but its now reflexive commercial appeal to the “middle class”or as John Sharp repeatedly described them, the Party’s “customers.” Gutow and others were quick to insist that they are not “anti-business,” and that “democracy is anchored in the idea of free enterprise.” When asked if that meant the group supported NAFTA and similar “free-trade” agreements loudly trumpeted by Clinton and his corporate supporters, the answer was less than forthright: “No official position.” What the newbies do support, they say, is a four-point “road map” for the 1996 party platform: economic growth, educational opportunity, small-business expansion, and “bold initiatives” to insure personal safety tury looks distressingly familiar. OH SO SAN ANTONIO. San Antonio Express-News columnist David Anthony Richelieu warned readers that skinheads traveling to New Orleans and encamped around the Alamo had found San Antonio so appealing that they might not even make it to Mardi Gras. Richelieu worried that the uninvited visitors might pose a problem “in the epicenter of excite ment where [Bruce Willis and Sly Stallone’ s new club] Planet Hollywood and the NBA will be trying to out-glitz one another while treating San Antonio to a double-dip of big-time show biz in capital letters.” He also worried that some of the homeless population from Austinwhere a camping ban aimed at the homeless was recently enactedwould end up in San Antonio. To visitors, he wrote, “From NBA circles and from Hollywood and environs: Just remember that anyone you encounter who is rude, pushy and unfriendly is probably from Austin. And if anyone here for the Big Weekend should get robbed, it will probably be done by skinheads getting in some practice before heading out for the muggers’ mother lode at Mardi Gras.” FROM DOWN HOME. “GOOD ARTICLES! Good job!” “I’m an expatriate Texan, and I began reading the Observer as a graduate student at U.T. Austin.” That’s a sample of the responses to receive from websurfers via the Observer’s DownHome page on the World Wide Web, located at . The DownHome Page is maintained by volunteers, under the direction of Observer intern and Web Wizard Amanda Toering, and with the generous help of the folks at two Austin cyber services: Adhesive Media \(“ and Hyperweb Dot Com Inc., which hosts our web page. The Observer web site features generous selections from recent issues, as well as links to various progressive pages in Texas and around the world. Drop on by and say hello. fAlgijili&illiN.V.VIP. ,,, ^U. . . 24 FEBRUARY 23, 1996