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Dialogue TYC REVISITED I just read Emily Pyle’s article on alleged abuse in at least one TYC facility in South Texas [“Blind Spots,” June 16]. I’d like to ask the Observer to follow up with another article on the subject, perhaps written by Ms. Pyle. First, it would be helpful to know if the TYC administration was given the opportunity to comment on Ms. Pyle’s findings, since the story is crying out for a response. Second, it would be enlightening to have a few legislators who spearheaded the budget cuts to explain why they think the cuts will not have seriously jeopardized the safety of the prisoners. Finally, the most dedicated, farsighted and capable state employee I have ever known, Linda Reyes, 25 years ago created an award-winning capital offenders program at TYC to help kids understand their crime, take responsibility for it, and work toward rehabilitation. She has stayed with the agency since then because of her devotion to these kids. Her office might be a good place to start to obtain a further perspective on the situation, including ways in which we, the people, might help once we know more about it. Colette R. Knisely Austin Emily Pyle Responds: Linda Reyes was gracious enough to be interviewed at length for this story. Dr. Reyes believes the riots at Evins to have resulted from a “breakdown in youth culture:’ Beyond that, her information pertaining to Evins was rather unspecific, and was excised in the interest of space, along with at least a dozen other interviews. It would be a misreading of the story to come away with the impression that the Texas Youth Commission is an evil place that intentionally tortures children. TYC makes do with the funding decisions handed down to it by the Texas Legislature, and, by proxy, us. These decisions have resulted in institutions for young offenders that are, on the whole, large and anonymous, staffed . with too few employees who are paid too little. This results in many violations and not a few tragedies, but perhaps it is to be expected. In a state where even schoolchildren stand in line behind property taxpayers, there is little left over for our juvenile offenders. DON’T DISMISS THE DEMS In reference to your June 30 article, “The Fight for Relevance”to call Dave Mann and the Observer “clueless” would be an understatement. The only suitable words for your smug dismissal of me and the rest of my statewide Democratic ticketmates aren’t printable in public. I have been wondering why the Observer wasn’t picking up on what is going on in the Texas countryside in response to mine and others’ populist campaigns. Now I know. You have bought hook, line, and sinker the talking points of the Democratic Party establishment’s money boys and consultantocracy. Neither Dave Mann nor any other Texas Observer writer has bothered to cover me on the campaign stump, or Hank Gilbert, Maria Luisa Alvarado, VaLinda Hathcox, Bill Moody, J.R. Molina, Dale Henry, or Fred Head. It is the height of irresponsibility to dismiss what you have not bothered to observe. Indeed, Mr. Mann was not there for our addresses to the delegates on the Saturday of the convention, so he did not witness the exuberant delegate reactions to our passionate populist messages. I’ve spent the last two and a half years stumping in the Texas rural countryside, challenging the power elites and, correspondingly, listening to what is on people’s minds. \(Gasp a Democrat spending his time in the know it in your Austin ivory tower, but there is a revolution brewing. It goes way beyond the phony, bluered, liberal-conservative, progressivecentrist, and left-right dichotomies continued on page 20 JULY 14, 2006 TheTexas Observer FEATURES WHERE DOES THE MAP LEAD? 6 The legacy of Texas’ redistricting experiment by Dave Mann REGIME CHANGE George Bush is just the last of a long, long line. by Robert Sherrill DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Extreme Makeover -Craddick Edition POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 DATELINE 12 City of Obedient Character by Lisa Sorg MOLLY IVINS 14 Giving Credit Where Credit is Due JIM HIGHTOWER 15 Congress Does it Again BOOKS & CULTURE POETRY 21 by Chela Maislin Scurlock EMPIRICAL FINDINGS 22 by Patrick Timmons EATING MEXICAN FOOD ON 24 TEXAS AVENUE by Bobby Byrd HALF EMPTY 28 by Char Miller THE BACKPAGE 32 by Andrew Wheat Cover illustration by Matt Wuerker 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 14, 2006