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BOOKS & THE CULTURE DEPARTMENTS Texas Observer CONNECTING THE DOTS 4 For ten years Jennifer Harbury has been sketching the lines between the CIA and her husband’s murder in Guatemala. Last March, she finally gave the big picture to the U.S. Supreme Court. by Barbara Belejack DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Back to Guatemala DATELINE TEXAS 8 A group of black professionals return to Deep East Texas to resurrect a community in decline. by Jake Bernstein, photos by Alan Pogue POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 12 MOLLY IVINS 14 Faith-Based Accounting JIM HIGHTOWER 15 Soothing, Smoothing, and Schmoozing POETRY 21 by Eric Paul Shaffer MOBILE MAN 22 by Emily DePrang QUESTIONING THE MULLAHS 24 by Rachel Proctors FROM THE LAND OF BORGES 26 by David Theis AFTERWORD 30 Cornyn, George Wallace, and Me by Tim Shorrock Cover art by Mike Krone WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? I read in “Political Intelligence” \(MAY Observer was surprised to find CLEAT and ACLU in agreement, with CLEAT hatchetman Charlie Wilkinson snarling how it was a rarity. That’s really not the case. Quite frequently we come out on the same side of issues, though to be sure it’s never coordinated. In addition to the example you provided, last year SB 231 \(see was defeated more or less because CLEAT and ACLU both opposed it. And we support collective bargaining \(i.e., other public employees, which is CLEAT’s biggest legislative agenda item, though we disagree over whether those contracts should stymie public oversight. Several police union types told me they agreed with our position against the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education letting people convicted of “A” misdemeanors become police officers, though CLEAT did not formally oppose the measure. \(“A” misdemeanors include assault, deadly conUsually the issues where we agree are those involving protecting the officer, the public, or workers’ rights. I think most people who supported either side of Austin’s struggle for civilian oversight of police know these charges are outlandish and untrue. My belief is that Sheffield is using his newsletter to fill up the heads of his officers with lies and slanders, precisely because he knows that in the long term his position is weak. In Cincinnati, Attorney General John Ashcroft endorsed a police oversight system as a national model that is much stronger and more independent than Austin’s. Since endorsing Austin’s police oversight status quo, now means coming out to the right of John Ashcroft, the terms of debate on this issue nationally and locally have simply moved beyond where APA/CLEAT are comfortable. For a time, their political power might keep public sentiment from becoming enshrined in public policy, as it has twice this last year in Austin. But Sheffield’s plaintive cries amount to little more than the shrill, desperate death rattle of the notion that police can police themselves and are not accountable to the public they serve. Scott Henson ACLU of Texas Police Accountability Project Austin HIJACKED IN HOUSTON Great article!! Great investigative reporting by Brad Tyer!! \(“Harris County Hijacking,” about investigating some of the problems with the Houston bikeway plan? I fully expect to see an effort to eliminate it in the 2004 version of the SIP. Houston was Bicycling Magazine’s Worst Cycling City last year, and will likely stay in that position this year. Dan Lundeen Houston BLACK’S ON TRACK Your interview with Black in the last issue was engaging \(“Trash for Cash,” format, you pulled together significant insights into Enron from the tie-in to the thrifts. All of us who lived in Texas through the post-S&L bust know exactly how much ordinary people end up paying for the kind of crimes Mr. Black identified. Good job! Kathy Mitchell Austin CORRECTION n avid Dewhurst was incorrectly Lireferred to as a Senate-hopeful in Brad Tyer’s May 10 cover story “Hijacked!” He is hoping to be Lieutenant Governor. FEATURES 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 6/1/02