Computer Medic * Repairs * Upgrades * Networking * * Consultations * Instruction * PC and Mac experts Ask about our G3 upgrade special for PowerMacs! 799-3499 The HOUSTON CHAPTER OF THE ACLU and NUESTRA PAIABRA: Latino Writers Having Their Say, proudly present a TISH HINOJOSA concert on August 23, 2000 at 7 p.m. at That evening, Nuestra Palabra will produce a showcase of music, poetry, and readings centered around the theme of civil liberties, the freedom of speech and the Hispanic community. Best of the Old & New! All the lafesf in Organic & Natural foods and Old favorites, foo in a comfy-size Neighborhood Sfore! program director was later hired to head the C.V.C. program itself. The director, who reports directly to Ogawa, earns $83,000 per year. According to Taylor, Ogawa and his top staffers have spent considerable time and energy over the past year traveling the state to collect a “database” of information from victims’ advocates and criminal justice officials, in an effort to refine the rules of the relocation grant program \(as well as other teen months after the Legislature created and funded the relocation program, there is still no official policy and procedure for its implementation, according to the agency. This is the primary reason, Taylor says, that so little money has been distributed through the program. But according to one source in the women’s advocacy community, Anita Drummond all but completed that process before she left office. Drummond convened a group of advocates last summer, says the source \(who participated produced for review by Cornyn’s director of Criminal Justice, Shane Phelps \(who has since left the agency to again run for Dissponse to the Observer’s open records request after denying that any draft policy 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER was ever produced, the agency eventually turned over a document. Dated August 30, 1999 and labeled “Policy & Procedure Payment of Relocation Expenses,” it outlines procedures for implementation of the new program. For reasons that remain unclear, the rules were never finalized and entered into the Texas Register, as required by law. “Bureaucratic excuses don’t go very far with me,” said Gallego. “The program was designed to get money out to people who need it. And we need not be sitting on money at the state level when there are people out there with need, and the Legislature has made a policy determination that that need is significant.” Regardless of the rationale, delaying full implementation of the relocation grant has considerably improved the Program’s bottom line for fiscal year 2000, and forestalled the need to go to the Legislature for an emergency appropriation. According to Capitol insiders, the pressure to avoid asking for more money is much higher in this presidential year. Word has gone out among the Governor’s appointees in the various bureaus, as well as among other Republican elected officials, that Governor Bush’s budget surplus is to be protected. But at what cost? “They have balanced their budget on the backs of battered women,” said a former C.V.C. staffer, who quit when Ogawa took over. “I’ve never had an agency testify that they have enough money” \(as the A.G.’s office did before the Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcomon the subcommittee. “You know the presidential politics is probably a bigger factor. Nobody wants to embarrass the Governor. And I’m not gonna quarrel with that at all, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be helping people in need.” Embarrassing tales of fiscal mismanage ment, needless to say, are particularly un welcome at this juncture. Yet there are man agement problems at the Program, and the word is circulating that, under pressure from the advocacy community, General Cornyn is leaning toward major changes in the division. Andy Taylor did not say precisely how the Program eliminated its application backlog in such a short period of time, but the rapid turnaround suggests that C.V.C. staff administrators might have been called in for a “Come to Jesus” talk with Taylor. Taylor says he merely “explained to them that we need to make sure that we continue to stay within the legislative performance standards for turnaround time.” If heads are in fact going to roll, the top head on the totem poll is Ogawa’s. Taylor would not confirm rumors that Ogawa will be replaced or demoted, nor would he concede that the Program has been mismanaged. Asked to evaluate Ogawa’s performance, and the efficacy of the division reorganization of last spring, Taylor praised Ogawa’s intellect and academic experience, but concluded: “What is important is that in addition to the academic experience, you need to have the management skills and capabilities to run a shop well and on time.” The audit, Taylor said, “looked at those issues and wanted to make sure that we have the right people in place. All I can really say is that there may well be some changes, but it’s too early for me to tell you the extent of those changes. But there will be some real positive, good things happening in the next couple of weeks.” For Lupe Vargas, “real positive, good things” would include a phone call from someone at the agency. “I have worked hard all my life and paid a lot in taxes,” said Vargas. “And now, when I need help in an emergency, the reality is that this program doesn’t work.” AUGUST 25, 2000 – v
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