POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE RAIN ON HOPWOOD. Despite weather that required a raincoat and galoshes, over 1,000 demonstrators participated in a Latino-led march to the Capitol in Austin on October 12. Coordinadora 2000, a nationwide group formed after the passage of California’s antiimmigrant Proposition 187, sponsored the event, which featured various speakers from the Austin-area Hispanic community. The group highlighted ten key areas of concern, including prison reform and voter mobilization, but dominating the day’s agenda was the topic of racial discrimination in higher education. A primary focus was the legal opinion by Attorney General Dan Morales that the Hopwood decision had required the elimination of all traces of affirmative action from Texas higher education, and the subsequent implementation of that decision by the University of Texas. On the steps of the capitol, students from U.T.Austin and Texas A&M addressed the crowd, renewing calls for an investigation into institutional racism in Texas higher education. Austin spokespeople for Coordinadora 2000 described the march as an opportunity to help foster and coordinate grassroots movements, and to build and promote Latino leaders. For information, call the website at www.coordinadora.org . \(Readers interested in current news on Hispanic issues should check out Politico, a new political newsletter edited and published by longtime political reporter James E. Garcia, 1810 Haskell St., Austin, Texas 78702. E-mail: Politico 1 @ aol.com ; call FREEPORT MUDDIED. FM Properties Operating Company, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based mining conglomerate Freeport-McMoRan, has agreed to pay a $1,080 fine to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission for polluting Barton Creek in April. According to an Agreed Order, issued by the TNRCC, FMPO has agreed to pay the fine for violating the Texas Water Code by “discharging water containing sediments and suspended solids from the Barton Creek Development tributary of Barton Creek in Travis County, Texas on or about April 21, 1997.” The sediment discharge into Barton Creek from FM Properties’ upscale real estate development west of Austin was discovered by Austin environmentalist Tim Jones, who videotaped much of the pollution event. Jones later called in City of Austin and TNRCC inspectors. A water quality sample by city inspectors found the turbidity of the water coming off of the Freeport site was 150 times higher than that in Barton Creek. Freeport spokesman Bill Collier refused to comment on the fine. “As you know it’s our policy not to comment to you,” Collier told Robert Bryce, who has reported frequently on Freeport for the Observer and the Austin Chronicle. In May, Collier had downplayed the significance of the pollution, telling the Austin American-Statesman, “It’ s no surprise that we’re three days from the City Council elections and SOS [Austin’s environmental group, the Save Our Springs Alliance] has chosen to slam FM Properties.” The final disposition of the agreed order is expected to be decided by the TNRCC Commissioners on November 19. TAIL OF AN ALSO-RAN. Golf is hard workfor a Freeport executive, that is. Just ask B.M. “Mack” Rankin Jr. An oil and gas executive from Dallas, Rankin is a member of the board of directors at Freeport-McMoRan. In 1968, Rankin, who had been leasing land in the oil field for billionaire H.L Hunt, joined forces with Jim Bob Moffett to create McMoRan Oil & Gas Co., which later merged with Freeport Minerals to create Freeport-McMoRan \(Rankin’s last name supplies the On September 23, Rankin was interviewed on HBO’s “Real Sports,” in a story about racism at American country clubs. Rankin is a member of Dallas’ Preston Trails Country Club, one of the city’s most expensive and exclusive clubs. Asked by sportscaster Mary Carillo why none of the club’s 332 members are African Americans, Rankin replied that no blacks had ever applied. Besides, he added, “We’re out there bustin’ our tails playin’ golf. , We’re not worrying about race relations.” U.T. DIVERSITY UPDATE. The U.T.Austin administration is continuing meetings with the Students for Access and Opportunity, a pro-affirmative action group organized in the wake of the Hopwood decision. The group gained widespread recognition in the wake of Professor Lino Graglia’s attacks on affirmative action, and the SAO sponsored a rally on the U.T. campus featuring Jesse Jackson as the keynote speaker. Following the rally, the SAO took part in a sit-in at the U.T. Law School, which ended in an appearance by U.T. Regent Lowell Lebermann Jr. In a recent private meeting among Leber mann, U.T. Vice-President Ed Sharp, various other administrators, and the SAO steering committee, the group hammered out a pre liminary agenda and format for an October 31 public meeting with some of the regents. Despite objections from SAO, the meet ing, which is in response to the SAO’s de mands during their sit-in at the U.T. Law School, will be hosted by the regents, in stead of the students. However, as a con cession, members of the communitynot just studentswill be allowed to address the regents, despite previous objections from Lebermann. Not everyone at U.T. was delighted by the regents’ cautiously positive response to the student protestors. The right-wing editorial board at the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, was in high dudgeon over the entire affair. In an editorial the editors accused Lebermann of capitulating to an unruly mob, and singled out SAO member Oscar de la 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 24, 1997
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