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307 West 5th Street Austin, Texas GRAY PANTHERS Join the intergenerational advocates working for single-payer national health care. $20 for individuals, $35 for families. 3710 Cedar, Austin, TX 78705. Pa/ill Wee it’s 1999 &ALA M Enter a new Observer subscription or renew your old one before Labor Day, and you’ll be eligible to win round-trip airfare to Austin and a celebratory lunch with the one and only Molly at Threadgill’s World Headquarters compliments of The Texas Observer. Molly promises to be witty, charming, and completely Y2K-compliant. This is your last chance before the new millennium to lunch with Molly Ivins! Don’t miss it! Subscription orders must be received and paid in full by Labor Day. The Observer will provide a round-trip ticket for one from any airport served by Southwest Airlines; arrival and departure will be for the same day. \(Austin residents will student subscriptions of one or more years. One entry per one-year subscription; two per two-year; three per three-year. Recipients of gift subscriptions will be entered in the drawing unless otherwise specified. “Dialogue,” from Page 2 life in Texas would be like if either or both of these bright lights were to go out. When I focus my energy on trying to imagine the worst one can imagine for these two beloved stars, bleakness is always the first emotion to rise. It becomes very painful. People have a lot of preoccupations these days. But let me try to get through to at least a few of you: KPFT and the Observer cannot be allowed to die or even to be diminished in the slightest. The Observer brink of disaster, and after reading the letter from’a KPFT national board member reprinted in the last Observer \(The Back Page, August Pacifica stations, are in great danger. Never should Pacifica be sold! Those who can must rally now to insure the freedom and individual station autonomy of all Pacifica stations. I am confident that this will happen. Pacifica stations and the Pacifica Foundation have weathered many a crisis over the years. I was personally involved with two or three of these between 1968 and 1971. From time to time, I think back on those years and realize what a fascinating story we lived. I am also amazed that that story has not been told. Incredibly, it is apparently not even mentioned in the two books on Pacifica history reviewed in the most recent Observer \(“Sound Sensation,” The very short version goes like this: in 1967, Larry Lee, the Fort Worth native who had become a star Associated Press reporter covering the very hot NASA space beat from Houston, and still the only person to ever lead both the Observer quit. I, Don Gardner, a brash East Texas hick masquerading as a big city sports writer at the Houston Post, fell out with the Houston Post and quit. Our offices were next to each other in the old Post building on Dowling Street, and we had become fast friends. With the help of John Henry Faulk, who became a lifelong friend and confidant of mine, we pried $4,000 out of J.R. Parten, which was supposed to last us until we got on the air. We organized and raised money \($96,000, which we had the most corrupt and violent city in the South at the “Here Comes the Sun” playing in the background, KPFT was born. It was the very first non-commercial, listener-supported radio station in Texas. Mine was the first voice on the air, and I get goose bumps every time I remember it. Seems like a fabulous movie or a great novel. Not only did the KKK, with the aid of some Houston police, bomb the transmitter to smithereens in 1970 and 1971, but Freedom of Information responses uncovered by Larry \(and show that the Nixon era CoIntelPro program \(a secret operation aimed at disrupting perceived most from the day we went on the air. That person was responsible for a series of crises that sound eerily similar to what the folks in Berkeley are going through with the station today. I hope those folks, and folks all over, will take a deep breath and dig in for the long haul. It might be really difficult to decide which battles should be fought over these days, but let there be no doubt: KPFT, Pacifica Radio, and The Texas Observer must not fall. Ms. Molly would say something hilarious and appropriate at this point, but all I can think of is how serious this is. Peace. Don Gardner Travis County ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 787:11 5 1 2-4 5 3-1 533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip SEPTEMBER 3, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23