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FIFTY YEARS OF .4,4S V% EDtrED BY 013.411 MI1.1.1.11. PORBWORD BY MOLLY !VMS Fifty Years of the Texas Observer Edited by Char Miller Foreword by Molly Ivins “From Molly Ivins to Willie Morris, Jim Hightower to Larry McMurtry, no other against-the-grain publication in America has helped to nurture such a stellar array of writers.” Adam Hochschild For updated event information, go to TRINITY UNIVERSITY PRESS www.trinity.eduitupress Distributed by Publishers Group West Pis continued from page 13 by phone, and she didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. It’s worth noting however, that the optometrists would be a natural client for Wohlgemuth. She was one of the House’s experts on health and human services, and she has also worked with an optometrist in Burleson. HAVE A COKE AND A DEATH SQUAD It’s no secret that many Texas school districts have a sweet tooth for Coca-Cola and its vending machine contracts. There’s ample evidence that the presence of Coke in the state’s schools has worsened Texas’ child obesity problem. But a new advocacy campaign adds another reason, critics say, why Texas schools shouldn’t do business with the Coca-Cola Co.fla dreadful labor and human rights record. The Brooklyn, New York-based Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, which began last year, lobbies public institutions that do business with Coca-Cola, including municipal governments, schools, and universities, to suspend their contracts until the company improves working conditions and ends human rights abuses at its factories in Colombia. At the heart of the Killer Coke campaign is a lawsuit filed in July 2001 by a number of unions on behalf of the National Union of Food Industry Workers and the estate of Isidro Gil, a union leader murdered in 1996. The lawsuit alleges that abuses have occurred at Coke factories in Colombia at the hands of paramilitary squads that received encouragement from plant management to suppress worker organizing. The lawsuit and —-oh we’re out there advocates charge that union organizers have been kidnapped and, in some cases, murdered. In November, Campaign Director Ray Rogers outlined Coca-Cola’s human rights problems in a letter to Corpus Christ Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus H. Chavez in an attempt to convince CCISD not to agree to a six-year contract giving CocaCola exclusive rights to all campus vending machines. CCISD, however, approved the contract in mid-November. The school district’s Chief Financial Officer Andres Noriega says www:koo p o rg the campaign’s letter was not a factor in the contract decision, made by the school board. “I got a copy of it after the fact,” Noriega said of the letter. “There were some pretty serious accusations!’ But, he added, “We have a business to run.” Dozens of school districts have similar contracts with the company. Coke’s reach into the state’s public schools manifested in other ways. As of December 2003, the Texas Permanent School Fund held $80 million worth of Coca-Cola investments; and the Teachers 1/21/05 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29