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Texas Observer VOLUME 95, NO. 13 A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Co-Editors: Jake Bernstein, Barbara Belejack Session Reporter: Dave Mann Managing Publisher: Jim Ball Associate Publisher: Charlotte McCann Circulation Manager: Rosie Bamberger Chavez Art Director: Julia Austin Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Legislative Interns: Amber Novak, Emily Pyle Editorial Interns: Helen Ivor-Smith, Emily Rapp, Adriane Sack, Allison Stuntz Contributing Writers: Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Louis Dubose, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Brad Tyer. Staff Photographers: Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum. Contributing Artists: Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Penny Van Horn, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam: Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001 Cliff Olofion, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board: Ronnie Dugger, Marc Grossberg, Molly Ivins, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocafias, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips. The Texas Observer entire contents copyrighted 2002, is published biweekly except every three weeks during January and August \(24 issues profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone: E-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page: . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin, Texas. Subscriptions: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-dine students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. The Books S the Culture section is partially f u nded through grants from the City ofAustin under the auspices of the Austin Arts Commission and the Writer’s League of Texas, both in cooperation with the Texas Commission on the Arts. It’s important at the outset to establish some basic facts. The year is 2003, not 1953. Latinos are now the largest minority in Texas, not just a fringe hugging the border. Soon they will be the majority in the state. Republican Governor Rick Perry has called the legislature into a special session on redistricting. That in itself is not surprising. Perry is a willing lapdog for U.S. House Majority Leader Tom House Svengali Karl Rove. But in Perry’s letter announcing the special session he writes: “Once legislators have begun their work on this important issue, I will consider expanding the call to other unfinished business from the 78th regular session, such as funding for the Regional Academic Health ical school, and other matters.” The facilities of which he writes are located in the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, and El Paso. These areas have gone so far as to file lawsuits in their desperation to obtain local medical schools to meet the region’s dire health needs. They ask for nothing more than the same kinds of facilities that are funded and well-developed in other areas of the state with comparable population numbers. Now allow us to translate: Perry is saying to border lawmakers, most of whom are either Latino or represent large populations of Latinos, that if they want funding for medical facilities they must vote the way he wants for redistricting. “If that’s not a veiled threat,” says Sen. Leticia Van De Putte \(D-San This isn’t the first time Perry has held border legislators hostage for a vote. He tried the same tactic of using the RAHC as leverage for tort reform. But once tort reform passed, Perry decided he could get border legislators to jump a little higher. While other medical centers around the state received funding in the budget, Perry put money for the RAHC in his discretionary Enterprise Fund. During the debate over this move, “Every other health science center in the state has a line item in the budget and comes down here and they go and get items put in, whether it’s for capital expenses or maintenance and operation or for new programming, but when it comes to these folks they are dependent on other political behavior. Can you imagine making that same requirement of the health science center in Dallas or the Texas medical center in Houston?” Shapleigh berated Senate Finance noted that for 50 years the border region has waited for the state to invest in its infrastructure. “[Sen. Eddie not even have a freeway, Senator, in the year 2003! For a million people, there is not a freeway down there. And when we look at a basic investment in a health science center, Eddie Lucio is going to be called to task in some other office, at some later part in the process on a $295 million enterprise fund, to see if he can come as a supplicant on that fund, and the question he is going to be asked is ‘how did you vote?'” That time has arrived, and for many, the price is too high. “Rick Perry is now saying to the people of South Texas and the Border that we can have money for medical schools, but only if we’re willing to give up our voting rights,” says Rep. Richard Raymond Isn’t it time for leaders like Rick Perry to start paying a political cost for treating Latino Texans as second-class citizens? JB EDITORIAL Roll Over George Wallace 7/4/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3