A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES SINCE 1954 rrgy* SakciorrWy’e [4.4g/ f4yaf ar. 12.11111 AP OBSERVER VOLUME 102, NO. 18 FOUNDING EDITOR Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Bob Moser IALOGUE Bad Touch The Texas Youth Commission, I promise you, is not ignoring the problem of sex crimes being perpetrated by its employees upon juvenile inmates \(“A Woman’s crimes stop is to close all TYC prisons and return all youths to the care of county jails. This would place them closer to home and, hopefully, closer to concerned family members. This would also bring them under the oversight of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards on conditions of incarceration. Doing so would also lower the state’s budget by making the counties responsible for the bills their judges create when being tough on teenage offenders. Homer Brown WYNNE UNIT, HUNTSVILLE MANAGING EDITOR Chris Tomlinson SENIOR EDITORS Dave Mann, Michael May WEB EDITOR Jen Reel INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER Melissa del Bosque STAFF WRITERS Abby Rapoport, Forrest Wilder ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Julia Austin CIRCULATION MANAGER Candace Carpenter KUDOS TO YOU FOR TACKLING THE DIFFICULT SUBJECT of sexual exploitation in an insightful manner. Shame on you for that cheap, tasteless joke headline. Liam Feldman SAN ANTONIO EXCELLENT, THOUGHTFUL ARTICLE THAT CAPTURES some central dynamics in juvenile corrections. Over the past century, juvenile justice officials have often responded to inmate complaints by citing their sophistication and ability to manipulate credulous adults. Meanwhile, the location and arrangement of the institutions themselves severely limits the options for even the most well-intended reformers. Laura Burke’s reporting adds an important layer to this ongoing story by challenging the prevailing assumptions about the usual gender of the victimizer and the victim of inmate abuse. Bill Bush SAN ANTONIO Crosscurrents GREAT, TALENTED WORK ON THE WATER RIGHTS ARTICLE “Cash Flow” on Sept. 3. I am glad you told it through the voices of the two ranchers. In Texas, the voices of landowners have a higher authority. But, as shown by the article and the video, two wellmeaning, intelligent neighbors have vastly different views on how to address declining groundwater in the Ogallala. These stories and these issues portend great troubles for the future and underscore the need for a more robust water policy. This is a monolithic issue for the state, and at the current rate we will certainly wish that we had done more during times like these. Jim Bradbury FORT WORTH I THINK YOUR PIECE ON TEXAS WATER LAW, “A RULING to understand the real danger of these new water laws being churned out by Texas’ age-old Water Hustlers. The Rule of Capture, brought over to us from the English Common Law, does not preclude the state from regulating damaging withdrawals from wells. It has worked well since the 1930s when over-drilling of Texas oil fields threatened to ruin many of them forever. The Texas Railroad Commission sets a maximum withdrawal rate from each well and spacing require ments, allowing every owner of land in the pool the opportunity to produce his fair share based on his acreage. If he doesn’t do it, he can lose it under the Law of Capturebut at least he has the opportunity. Not so with the new Water Hustler legislation and all these mini-water conservation districts that have popped up all over the state. The districts all have dif ferent rules, but generally they allow the first drillers to take all the water that the aquifer can produce in the whole district and simply take water rights away from all the other owners. It is ironic that these laws are being pushed by those who claim to believe that property ownership laws are sacrosanct. But money trumps even politics in Texas. If you own land in Texas and you wanted to leave your water rights to be drilled by your grandchildren, you’re just out of luck. John “Randy” Parten HOUSTON Sound Off [email protected]r.org OFFICE MANAGER Lorraine Blancarte ART DIRECTION EmDash LLC COPY EDITOR Rusty Todd POETRY EDITOR Naomi Shihab Nye INTERNS Brooke Breitling, Cameron Ingram CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Laura Burke, Emily DePrang, Lou Dubose, James K. Galbraith, Steven G. Kellman, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert Leleux, James E. McWilliams, Char Miller, Bill Minutaglio, Ruth Pennebaker, Josh Rosenblatt, Kevin Sieff, Brad Tyer, Andrew Wheat CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jana Birchum, Alan Pogue, Matt Wright-Steel CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Michael Krone, Alex Eben Meyer, Ben Sargent TEXAS DEMOCRACY FOUNDATION BOARD Lisa Blue Baron, Carlton Carl, Melissa Jones, Susan Longley, Jim Marston, Mary Nell Mathis, Gilberto Ocarias, Jesse Oliver, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Geronimo Rodriguez, Sharron Rush, Kelly White, Ronnie OUR MISSION We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy. We will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. OCTOBER 15, 2010 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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