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Paul Wolfowitz Eager to End Third World Poverty PRIVATIZE! PRIVATIZE! in the past year. Still, Gates conceded to the committee that African Americans make up only 2 percent of his school’s enrollment. Latinos account for just 9 percent. If the Lege abolishes the rule, Gates says, A&M will not institute any race-based admission policies to compensate. That means A&M would have an almost entirely white student body. Minority enrollment at the University of Texas at Austin isn’t much better. In 2004, just 3 percent of UT’s enrolled students were African American, and Latinos comprised 13 percent. The loss of the top 10 percent program could drive down the numbers of minority and poor student even further. Gates and UT President Larry Faulkner both urged legislators to implement a cap on the number of students that could be admitted under the top 10 percent rule. At UT, top 10 percent admissions make up roughly 75 percent of this year’s freshman class. That percentage is expected to increase in future classes. The committee chair, to keep the top 10 percent rule, but said he’s willing to compromise on an admissions cap. West left all three bills pending. PROSECUTIONS IN PALESTINE The district attorney in the small East Texas town of Palestine has begun prosecuting the first batch of 72 suspected drug dealers arrested in a suspiciously large sting operation last fall. As the Observer reported in November, the Dogwood Trails Narcotics Task Force arrested 72 suspects in September, all indicted as crack cocaine dealers [See “The Usual Suspects,” November 5, 2004]. Could there really have been 72 crack dealers in tiny Palestine, population 17,000? Even in high-crime rural areas, only about 0.3 percent of the population on average uses crack, according to federal government studies. In Palestine, that would translate into about 70 crack addicts. Advocates at the ACLU suspect that the Dogwood Trails Task Force had followed a familiar pattern in the drug war of sweeping up addicts and charging them as dealers. Sixteen of the defendants were charged in federal court. That left Palestine prosecutors with 56 suspects to go after in state court. In late March, Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe obtained the first two convictions from the sting. Claude Beavers, 47, was sentenced to six years in prison for selling a grand total of 1.8 grams of crack, reported the Jacksonville Daily Progress. “I still say he’s a user. He’s not a dealer,” Beavers’ sister, Shirley, told the paper. Ditasha Calhoun, 22, received an 18-year sentence and $15,000 fine for two sales of crack to undercover officers. A third defendant, 23-yearold Billy Lee Paige pleaded guilty on March 28 to selling about 2 grams of crack to the task force’s confidential informant, Othella Kimbrew \(most of the suspects are charged with deliverPaige hadn’t been sentenced. Typically, in large drug busts, prosecutors will bring the strongest cases to trial first and obtain long sentences in an effort to scare the remaining defendants into a plea bargain. Lowe plans to continue his efforts to send addicts and low-level dealers to prison for long sentences. “I think [the Calhoun ruling] is a significant verdict in that it was a substantial amount of time for a relatively small amount of crack cocaine,” Lowe told the Jacksonville paper. “Even though she was a street-level dealer, that’s where we are going to make a difference.” APRIL 15, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5