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Houston Breakthrough 1980-05
Page 23
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Houston Breakthrough 1980-05 - Page 23. May 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 17, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5524.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1980). Houston Breakthrough 1980-05 - Page 23. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5524

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1980-05 - Page 23, May 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 17, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5524.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough 1980-05
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 32 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 23
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_560au.jpg
Transcript meeting but you won't be able to understand what's going on from what is written there. For example, last July, a very important decision was made. The commissioners voted on a retroactive rate policy. It used to be, when a utility got an increase, they could apply it to your bill two months after the increase was approved. Last July, the commissioners decided to change that policy, one that had been in effect about 40 years, to let the utility backbill and collect, all the way back to when they first started asking for the rate increase. This change costs us millions of extra dollars. The meeting that decided this policy was posted in the Texas Register but the notice didn't say anything about retroactive rates. The railroad commission hides behind its name. There was a bill in the last session of the legislature to change the name to the Texas Energy and Transportation Commission, so people would know what it was. The commissioners killed the bill in committee. They don't want people to know. Also, by the time a utility asks the commission to approve a permit, it's already been done. The hearing is a rubber stamp session. Sure, somebody can come in and protest, but it won't make any difference. BT: How would you change this procedure? JH: I would go out and hold a press conference in the area well in advance. I'd send out mailings to farmers, senior citizen groups and others who might want to have a say. I'd decentralize the office. My concept of the office is what I believe to be the original concept of the office-back in 1891 when it was set up: a watchdog for the people. Exxon, Houston Natural Gas, Houston Lighting & Power-they don't need the government's help. They've got lawyers, experts and technical staff. The people who need help from the railroad commission are those who pay the bills, those whose land is going to be stripped, those who can't get a trucking permit, those who don't have staffs of lawyers... This agency ought to aggressively get on the side of the people. BT: When did you begin to understand the importance of the commission? JH: It was when I was editor of the Texas Observer. I began to see that this was an agency that could do a great deal for people. This race is a consistent extension of work that I've done all along-of books I've written (Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times; Eat Your Heart Out: How Food Profiteers Victimize the Consumer) and my work for Ralph Yarbofough in Washington. Everything I've done so far has been focused on the populist notion that too few people have all the money and power. OPENING THE DOORS BT: Why should you be trusted as the people's candidate? JH: First of all, there are no guarantees in politics. I'm asking you to risk a vote with me in that things might get better. You know my opponent. You know things aren't going to get better under him. Secondly, I want to blow open that little closed office so the people themselves are on the inside. I want that building open and the people directly involved. If I'm elected, these outsiders-the bill payers, farmers, small business people, old people, working people-will discover, for the first time, what the railroad commission really means. That understanding will change the political environment in which all three commissioners have to operate. All three seats on the commission have been controlled by the industry. So far, there has been no one with a consumer orientation, no one whose first response to a rate-increase request is, "Why should we have to pay anything?" My concept of what government ought to be and how it ought to actually work for people is my whole background. I come from a populist, small business, farmer background, a common sense approach, a Jeffersonian sort of democracy. BT: Nugent has implied that he's more qualified for this office, i.e. he is an engineer, a lawyer, and a politician. JH: That's nonsense. The commission has a staff of about 700 people. You hire the experts. Experts are supposed to give policy leaders trends, data, etc. The job of the railroad commissioner is to make policy, to sift out the experts and try to make a public decision based on fair judgments and need. BT: Yet the incumbents depict you, according to the Times, as "a radical with only the most rudimentary knowledge of the industries [you] would regulate." JH: I'll tell you what's radical. Radical is raising people's utility bills 30 percent a year every year for the last 10 years, our average in the state of Texas. Radical is assessing their rates retroactively without ever consulting them. Radical is strip mining our land in a rip- 'n-run, fast-buck style without even holding an area hearing to talk about destroying topsoil or cutting off an underground water supply in the process. Radical is denying independent truckers the right to compete in the trucking industry. I'm the conservative in the race. Nugent is the radical. I believe in free enterprise. I believe in democracy. I believe in consulting the people. Government requires basic common sense. You have competing interests that need to be sorted out and that doesn't take an expert, it takes judgment and a feel for what people want. BT: Is that what makes you qualified? JH: Yes. As a journalist, I'm able to sift through the nonsense. I'm able to ask a follow- up question. I'm able to bring in competing testimony. I'm able to open up the dialogue. I'm able to hold a press conference and decentralize that office. And as I've been active in politics and public-interest type work, I'm able to rally a constituency. DEMOCRATIC ASSUMPTIONS BT: Anything else you'd like to add for Breakthrough readers? JH: Breakthrough is a good name. It describes what I'm trying to do-break through this industrial shell that has been built over an agency that regulates energy prices, energy policies and our transportation. No other agency has a more powerful effect on our lives. It's bad enough that we let these companies monopolize our marketplace, but far worse that we let them monopolize our government. Democracy assumes that people are going to take an interest and get involved. We have not done that with the railroad commission. And I don't blame people for that. I blame our political process. It hasn't worked because candidates haven't come forward to give people a choice. That's what I'm trying to do. The effort has already been successful. People know about the railroad commission. People are very mad, and if you can tap that properly, get it organized and to the polls, you can win in Texas by running on the pocketbook issues. The people want somebody who's going to talk sense to them. The question is whether I can reach enough of them and whether those I have reached will go out to the polls. BT: Who has endorsed you? JH: AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers and some other unions individually endorsed me: The United Farm Workers, the steel workers, the Mexican American Democrats, the Texas Nurses Association ... We won a straw poll at the Coalition of Black Democrats' statewide meeting. The steering committee of the Harris County Council of Organizations recommended me to the membership. The Progressive Voters League in Dallas and PASO. The leadership of the Texas Farmers Union and the American Agriculture Movement. Some groups like the Oak Lawn Democrats and many democratic .clubs like the Greater Baytown Area Democrats. ACORN. Texas Women's Political Caucus. Several Young Democratic groups, including the one here at the University of Houston. Judith Richards is a free lance writer in Houston. KEEP JUDGE SALAZAR 14th COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS POSITION 1 ENDORSEMENTS Houston Bar Association (85% of vote) AFL-CIO Houston Chronicle Harris County Democrats Harris County Suburban Lawyers (100% of vote) North Harris County Bar Association (100% of vote) Pasadena Bar Association (100% of vote) Harris County Council of Organizations International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Teamsters International Union of Operating Engineers P.A.S.O. International Longshoremen's Association L.A.V.A. Area 5 Democrats Houston Trial Lawyers Association (100% of vote) Spring Branch Memorial Bar Association Houston Lawyers Association Plumbers Local Unions West End Democrats BOLD Black Women Lawyers Association CANDIDATE IN FOURTEEN COUNTIES Austin Brazoria Brazos Burleson Chambers Colorodo Fort Bend Galveston Grimes Harris Trinity Waller Walker Washington Paid for by Don Hendrix, Campaign Treasurer; 1 Houston Center; Houston, TX. ELECT HELEN HOPKINS JUSTICE OF THE PEACE—Pet. 2 Mature, Experienced, Uniquely Qualified with a Record of Community Service Endorsed by Harris Co. Women's Political Caucus and Area V Democrats Iff you would like to help, please call 644-3643 Elect Bousquet Judge 165th District Court County-wide election Paid for by Tom Bousquet Campaign 2500 West Loop South, Suite 480, Houston, Tx., J. A. Bousquet, Treasurer MAY 1980 23