Western Grosvenor Resort in Buena Vista, California; Crown Central Petroleum, which sells gasoline at Crown, Fast Fare, and Zippy Mart \(see “Locked Hotel in Waterbury, Connecticut; Frontier Hotel & Gambling Hall Casino in Las Vegas; Kauai Resort Hotel in Kapaa, Hawaii; Michelin Tires; New Otani Hotel & Garden in Los Angeles; and Ogelbay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia. SCHOOLS FOR SALE. Leading the rush toward the commercialization of public schools, Texas school districts have done the rest of the nation one better in their courtship of corporate sponsors for high school sporting events. Half a dozen schools so far have taken on corporate sponsors, ranging from Coca-Cola \(in Eanes ISD, which will receive $350,000 plus commission in exchange for scoreboard sponsorship and a soft drink Reebok, which is currently negotiating an exclusive shoe contract with Alvin High School’s athletics department. The questionable ethics of using public schools as a marketplace for corporate giants like Nike, Reebok, and Coke seem all but lost on school district officials. Many districts say that a lack of public funding, combined with the larger trend of privatization, leaves them with no choice but to jump on the corporate bandwagon, much as professional and college sports teams have done for years. And like negotiations between pro teams and corporate sponsors, the high school sponsorship wagon is rollingfrom Texas to Oklahoma, to Montana, and beyond. Other than outright sales; what do the sponsoring corporations get in return? Brian Corcoran, marketing and sales manager for Universal Sports America \(which does promotion for the Texas University Houston Chronicle that for corporations, “There’s not a better way to make an impact on their consumer than to get them when they’re young.” The move toward commercial endorsements in high schools “reflects, obviously, the inadequacy of public funding,” says Alex Molnar, a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of a book on the commercialization of schools called Giving Kids the Business. Molnar described the trend as a “deal with the devil,” contributing to “an erosion in our culture between what is public and what is private. It represents a subversion of the idea that the school is for the public welfare.” VICTIM BLAMING BEGINS. Observer readers shouldn’t be surprised, we suppose, that the Presidio County grand jury impanelled to consider the Redfoid shooting of Ezekiel Hernandez declined August 14 to indict the marine who killed him, Clemente Bafiuelos \(see “Looking for the Border” by Barbara said that while the jurors believed Hernandez probably did not know that he was shooting at camouflaged marines, they also concluded that Barluelos acted “reasonably” in defense of his fellow soldiers when he fired and killed the youth, who was herding goats near his home. Hernandez’ Redford neighbors, criticizing the decision, pointed out that one of the grand jurors was an assistant Border Patrol chief from Marfahimself potentially subject to indictment if murder charges had been filed. Hernandez’ brother also denounced the decision, asking how the soldiers could claim “self-defense” when, by their own admission, they had surreptitiously stalked Hernandez for fifteen minutes before he was shot. But young Hernandez will not rest easy. A federal civil rights investigation is under way, and San Antonio Congressman Lamar Smith has scheduled September hearings of the House Immigration Subcommittee to look into the shooting. Smith has already denounced Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Department for “stonewalling” his staff on the matter, and he lamented the suspension of military “counterdrug missions on our southwestern border… at a time when drug-smuggling, alien-smuggling, and their attendant violence and corruption are increasing all along the border….” FIRST WORLD JUSTICE. Amungme tribal leader Tom Beanal’s lawsuit against Freeport McMoRan Copper & Goldin which he claimed that the transnational mining and development company is responsible for numerous human rights and environmental violations around the company’s huge Grasberg Gold Mine in Irian Jaya, Indonesiawas dismissed August 8 for a second time by a U.S. District Court Judge in New Orleans. Beanal had amended his pleadings and resubmitted them after they were first declared “overly broad,” but his case was once again dismissed. “Once again the Court has thrown out legally deficient and baseless claims,” said Freeport spokesman Garland Robinette, a former news anchor in New Orleans, where the company’s corporate headquarters is located. HARDBALLS. The Dallas Cowboys’ coach Barry Switzer is detained for carrying a loaded gun in an airport, lineman Nate Newton is accused of rape and at the very least was involved with another woman while his wife was expecting a childand Attorney General Dan Morales decides to use football players to promote responsible fatherhood. “Our message is that child support is more than money,” Morales said of his public service program, which will feature National Football League players discussing the virtues of fatherhood. Last session the Senate voted to strip Morales’ office of the responsibility of collecting child support because the program, according to its Senate critics, was poorly managed and far behind on collections. The House voted to restore the program to the AG’s office. HILLARY’S GHOST. Former Observer editor Joe Holley has worked for The San Antonio Light, The San Diego Tribune, Jim Hightower, Ann Richards and Garry Mauro. He has also written freelance pieces for Texas Monthly and the Columbia Journalism Review, and with his wife Tara Holley was co-author of My Mother’s Keeper, a memoir about Tara’s mother. Readers enamoured of Holley’ s prose will now have to listen carefully to First Lady Hillary Clinton’s speeches. Holley will join Hillary Clinton’s staff in Washington, where he will write speeches and oversee the ghostwriter who writes her columns. AUGUST 29, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17
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