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The Texas Sun
Buda, TX
December 11, 1975     The Texas Sun
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December 11, 1975

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by BuckRindy Once there was a mustachioed young Prince who lived in a glittering city set beside a sparkling river amidst the verdant hills. This young Prince was a Geek, and his people were Geeks. They lived in : ud hovels in the low parts of the crowded center of town. Some of the Geeks were carpenters, and some were clerks; some were starving lawyers, and some were students at the Creek Academy. But they were all sore- ly oppressed, for they were under the heavy yoke of the Newts, the wealthy masters of the city, who dwelled in crystal houses on spacious green lawns in the high hills to the northwest-- where each family drove two chariots, and the sun always shone. Long did the Geeks suffer. But they were a prolific people, and there came a day when the Prince noticed that the low hovels outnumbered the crystal mansions on the hills. "Arise, my people, "cried the Prince. And the Geeks arose and surrounded the Palace, and they threw out the Head Newt, and they elected the Prince King. But once the Prince held power, a curious thing occurred. As he and his courtiers entered the Palace, they discovered a strange and powerful creature--an Arch Newt known as the kings." The Prince put on his new robes. "S/re, you must perform great works to be known as truly great, "the Tonkus intoned. The Prince nodded, "Yes, great works! What do you suggest?" The Grand Tonkus had many Strangely, few of his old friends would come to stand behind him on the throne. But the Prince hardly noticed, for the great lords of the Newts, in all their splendid pomp, thronged about and praised him as King. To the assembled people of the city the Prince revealed his plan But once the Prince held power, a curious Everything would be magnificent, a thing occured. As he and his courtiers the city would grow rich. Al]thatWa.s necessary for success was that each entered the Palace, they discovered a citizenpayaslighttax-one-tenthf the air they breathed each day. strange and powerful creature... The Newts applauded They had plenty of air upin the high hills. Somed the Geeks; too, smiled. For there were jobs in the building of fountains, l most of the Geeks were appalled. They knew that only a few would be hired, And air was precious down in the crowded center of town. Slowly the Geeks looked up at the throne. They saw a man in rich robeS, surrounded by noble Newts. And as they looked from face to face, they could see no difference between their ruler and his new friends. The Prince d the Geeks had become a Newt King...and close beside him, whisper, ingin his ear, was the smiling face of the Grand Tonkus. Grand Tonkus, whose duty was to manage the Palace. "Be gone, Newt!" shouted the courtiers. "Nay, let him stay," said the Prince. "For he has much knowledge, and we shallusehim to learn the secrets of this place." And so it was. The Palace was a vast labyrinth full of many treasures, and the Grand Tonkus knew the way to them all. As the days passed, the Prince came to rely on him for guidance through the maze of rooms. "Here, S/re," said the Tonkus, "Put off your rags and don the cloth of suggestions. "A great road, S/re! A highway of gald from the city center to the crystal houses on the northwest hi . Thus the Newts may travel swiftly to the Palace to admire the wisdom of your rule." "And fountains, my Lord! Great fountains of water everywhere. For there is money in the building of such things, and the great of this city will think you wise, for you know how to bring prosperity." The Prince was excited and did as the Tonkus bid him do. He called a great public meeting to proclaim his plans. cont. from page 1 Ham first sensed victory during a debate before a young men's business club. "They liked me," McHam reported later in a dazed tone. "They gave me a big round of applause. They actually seemed to have more faith in me than the guy from city hall." Downtown honehos routinely des- cribed McHam and Riddell as whacked-out nutballs, but the aver- age voter didn't seem to care. The smashing defeat of Propositions 11 and 12 left many politicians with the uncomfortable thought that in today's Austin the so-called crazies may have more credibility than bankers in pin-stripe suits. Defeat in the Cave Man Precincts Water-and-sewer bonds lost the city by about 60 percent, and they lost everywhere but the Chicano,and Black precincts, where less than six percent of the eligible voters went to the polls. Before the election much had been made of the Cave Man Theory, which foresaw hordes of conservatives crawling out of their huts to club the whole bond issue to death in an anti-council frenzy. Unfortunately for this theory, nine of the twelve bond propositions passed, indicating that most of the voters examined the ballot in a spirit of rational self-interest. Only in a handful of socially conservative middle-income precincts in darkest Northwest Austin was there evidence of a massive rejection of eveythiag. Everywhere else, including most conservative neighborhoods, propos- itions for health, parks, etc., did substantially better than 11 and 12. The City Council was decisively beaten in the war for its own constituency. Only a day before the election, Mayor Friedman privately predicted a 50-50 split in the student boxes. But U.T. followed its student leadership and overwhelmed the water-sewer proposals by margins of 70 and 80 percent. In the middle of west Austin, in the middle class moderate-liberal enclave of Pct. 328, parks bonds sailed through with 61 other factors: limited growth sentir : ments on the part of a large number oi o Austinites; and public fear of huge increases in municipal debt. - 0 Q The genesis of the anti-bond campaign was a late night meeting held in mid-November in an old Victorian house west of the UT percent approval, while the utility bonds failed by almost the same margin. In key moderate swing precincts in the south and northeast-- precincts which liberal Council mem- bers won in the spring elections--ll and 12 sank without a trace, even as parks, health and street proposals campus. The participants were iV their 20's and early 30's, progressive or radical in politics, veterans 0i numerous Democratic campaignS' Present were Jeanne Disney, SteVe Gutow, Lukin Gilliland and David Butts from the Student Actio Committee, Erwin McGee of the UT Young Democrats, Jeff Jones and Michael Eakin, Richard Hamner, McHam, Joe Riddell, and ten or fifteen others. The first decision was whether or not the water-sewer issue was sufficiently important to justify opposing a liberal City Council. Riddell and McHam went through the citys proposals one by one. SinCe everyone present had been debating the question privately for days, the group quickly decided to oppose Propositions 11 and 12--the water" sewer bonds. It is important to realize that theSe people were motivated by a genuine theory of city government. Their decision resulted from several years of sophisticated analysis. They did not suddenly hear voices in the commanding them to vote "no.. Rather. they concluded that Prol ..r tions 11 and 12--because of their sheer magnitude--would stimulate ruinous and costly urban sprawl' took easy victories. Throughout the campaign the City Overall it appears that there was Hall staff would suffer greatly. some anti-council vote, but that the an emotional inability to see even massive rejection of Propositions Ii smidgen of reason in the anti-boaS and 12 should be attributed to two , o0 $, on