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You are invited to a memorial service and celebration of the life of Bob Eckhardt Messa g e to Friends and Collea g ues of the Honorable Bob Eckhardt E K The Library of Congress Madison Building, Montpelier Room Tuesday, February 26, 2002 5 P.M. Reception to follow To honor Bob’s memor y , a paid internship will be endowed in his name at The Texas Observer. The funds will be used to support a deserving y oung person, someone who would not otherwise have had the means to come to Austin for this opportunity. Please help establish this fitting tribute to Bob by sending a generous contribution to The Bob Eckhardt Fund The Texas Observer 307 West Seventh Street Austin, TX 78701 At least $60,000A 1, nee,..s to raised to sustain the internship for y ears to come. Your contribution will be full y tax deductible. Please direct your questions to Susan Morris at 512.477.0746 for the same period. The local subsidiary of Suez with Aguas de Barcelona,Vivendi, and a local bank, created Aguas Argentinas to take over the Buenos Aires water system through a 30-year concession. This enterprise proved to be uniquely profitableunder the contract, the State retained virtually all operating risk and Aguas took possession of all water installations and the authority to raise rates at will. Of course the usual retail artists from the USA swooped down on private sector services to flog their artery-clogging, tooth-rotting wares: McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. McDonald’s distinguished itself by hiring 113 mentally handicapped young persons at 80 of its franchises and winning honorable mention in the keen competition for the Entrepreneurial Good Citizen Award, Community Participation Division, last year. Ronald McD. proudly claimed that his handicapped employees receive “the same benefits as the rest of their comparieros,” which is zero. Virtually all comparieros are parttime employees who are entitled to low hourly wages and that’s it. Coca-Cola, also a competitor in the Environmental Responsibility Division of the contest, was recognized for its “Learn to Care for Our Environment Program.” Coke sponsored seven 50minute classes for seven weeks in selected public schools and taught 1,200 students that the environment was their responsibility. We hoped they took that to heart because the environment is certainly not Coke’s responsibility. In response to market demand, Coca-Cola’s bottling plants have introduced non-returnable bottles to Argentina, durably manufactured of polymers that degrade only under intense and sustained radiation.To cope with the accumulating garbage, EDASA, a Coca-Cola bottler, holds seminars about responsible management of solid waste. Good Citizen Coca-Cola also uses robots in its subsidiary’s bottling plants, although open unemployment in Argentina is hovering at 20 percent. In an encouraging development, we’ve noticed that international business is getting better and better at weathering these economic breakdowns. Take Procter & Gamble, for instance, which is heavily invested in Argentina. Its spokesperson, Hector Bonavita, pointed out that P&G has been through this before in Mexico, Asia, Russia, and Brazil, and is prepared to roll with it. Mr. Bonavita explained that P&G responds by simply retooling its production for the internal market to produce for export. Plans were for P&G’s pet food line,. Eukanuba, to sell in the Southern Cone Common Market, MERCOSUR, but since both Argentina and Brazil have collapsed, Eukanuba will be reconstituted to export to Australia and Japan. This is not a problem as there are no export or import duties to speak of. In the old days, when Argentines could afford to feed their pets, Eukanuba generated $300 million in revenues for P&G in Argentina, but no more. Mr. Bonavita did admit that P&G will have a problem with its papas fritas Pringles line, as these are not produced locally and will probably become too expensive for Argentines to import after the devaluation. Oh well, let them eat pets; they can’t afford to feed them any more anyway. Gabriela Bocagrande is still waiting for her Good Citizen Award. 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 2/15/02