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THIS ISSUE FEATURES Winners and Losers in Val Verde by Karen Olsson and Louis Dubose In the U.S. Senate and the Texas Capitol, they’re posturing about politics and principles. Down in Del Rio, it looks more like racism and buffoonery. The Chronicles of “Robin Hood” by Karen Olsson Texas politicians have dubbed it “robbing the rich to give to the poor.” The truth, says Al Kauffman of MALDEF, looks more like an endless fight for equal rights. 8 21 VOLUME 89, NO. 3 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of human-kind as the foundation of democracy: we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them, because this is a journal of free voices. SINCE 1954 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Publisher: Geoff Rips Managing Publisher: Rebecca Melancon Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: Michael King Production: Harrison Saunders Copy Editor: Mimi Bardagjy Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Circulation Manager: Amanda Toering Special Correspondent: Karen Olsson Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Brett Campbell, Jo Clifton, Lars Eighner, James Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, James Harrington, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Paul Jennings, Steven Kellman, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Brad Tyer, James McCarty Yeager. Contributing Photographers: Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Arlington, Mass.; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Jackson, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Fort Worth; James Presley, Texarkana; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Development Consultant: Frances Barton Business Manager: Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 copyrighted, 0 1997, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval World Wide Web DownHome page: littpd/www.hyperweb.corn icobserver Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas. SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students S18 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 198I,The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. DEPARTMENTS Dialogue Editorials Thus Spake the Governor Dateline Texas Sierra Blanca and the TNRCC Legislative Journal Mad Manicurists Seize the Malls! Bad Bills Legislation To Look Forward To Political Intelligence Molly Ivins Wall Street Social Securities Jim Hightower Job Safety, Role Models and Corporate Cowbirds DIALOGUE GOODBYE TO PHIL AND KAY Well, I’m a native Texan, who left the place because there were too many SOB right wingers thereincluding most of my family! After Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey, I had it! Maine may also have two Republican senators, but you’d think it was a different partythey think and feel. Actually, it’s not so much the party as the people. Why do Texans think they have to be so all fired mean-spirited? \(Besides, Maine is Good luck, brother and sister Texans, you need it! Michael Pickel Portland, Maine LOST VOICES \(I’m going to have to put on my Deep EasYou know, I sure do miss ol’ Townes. Naomi Nye did a fine piece of writing about him \(“We Needed Him,” January reading it. But I had a right terrible thought about midway through. I mean, there’s no denying but that the circumstances were different, and all that. But I just can’t quite make myself remember as how there was near this much observance when John Vandiver got himself killed. I’d like to hope that someone out there can correct my memory. Shoot, here a year ago I called up KPFT diver’s voice singing, and the Deejay said, “Who?” And John not much past ten years gone. Durned if I didn’t have to dig out some vinyl and drag myself down there to educate him. Debbie Huffman Houston VICTOR VICTORIOUS Keep up the good work. I enjoy your paper a lot. Let’s have a follow-up on Victor Morales. I feel he will be around Texas politics a long time. T.G. Caraway [email protected] BOOKS AND THE CULTURE 2 Food Poems 24 Poetry by Tim Seidel and G.W. Frazier Tenure Mercies 25 Book Review by James Sledd 5 Dallas Pastimes 27 6 Book Review by Bob Fisher Saving San Antonio 28 7 Book Review by Char Miller AFTERWORD 16 Lost Highways 30 19 By Lucius Lomax THE BACK PAGE 32 20 Buying Buster Cover photo: Der Stern FEBRUARY 14, 1997 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER