"Endorsements are becoming less and less effective. The parties
are crumbling and candidates are going directly through the media to
the public," in the opinion of political analyst John Staples.
Switch on your TV. Noble Ginther stares you straight in the eye
as he says "I'm not a politician. I'm a businessman. I don't have to answer to anyone." Frank Briscoe surrounds himself with Houston citizens who trust him—a white, middle-aged male, an elderly black female,
and a young chicano. Jim McConn tells us he's a builder and promises
to build Houston. Bette Graham White simply wants you to vote for
"Bette." Well, it worked for Jimmy.
Like Uncle Sam, the candidates want you. They want your vote
and they will use all the resources of the media to get it: three-colored
billboards, slick brochures, flashy montages, jacket-over-the-shoulder
shots, outside-the-factory-gate interviews, family portraits in the Memorial area backyard with trees and dogs.
As a barometer of how endorsements are faring, the Harris
County Council of Organizations failed to endorse a mayoral candidate
this year—the first time in almost 30 years. In fact, they fought about
it. At their recent endorsement meeting, supporters of Ginther and Mc
Conn actually came to blows. "The black vote is being sold again," observes George Nelson, the widely-respected Houstonian who founded
the HCCO in his downtown barber shop back in 1949. "We formed this
group in the black community to bind ourselves together. Now it has
lost its effectiveness."
In a municipal non-partisan election, voters have few guidelines.
They are left essentially with the media image of the candidates.
To this limitation must be added the fact that in a city the size of
Houston, it takes an enormous amount of money to run a citywide
campaign. Anyone can run, but the average citizen has little effect on
who the front runners will be. That is determined by big money
For the voter to make an intelligent, informed decision on the
basis of media hype and lavish campaign expenditures seems almost impossible. But not quite. There is one organization that can help-the
League of Women Voters.
The League is a "non-partisan organization working to promote
political responsibility through informed and active participation of
all citizens in their government. The League of Women Voters does not
support or oppose any political party or candidate."
The League has always attacked the issues. Its first program in
1920 addressed child welfare, education, inflation and women in gainful occupations. It will spend a million dollars this year on the fight for
passage of the E.R.A.
In Houston, the League has printed and distributed thousands of
Voters' Keys and Voters' Guides. They publish information on candidates and their positions, provide forums for debate and hold intensive
voter registration drives.
You still have to do your homework. You have to decide which
candidates and which issues you will support. The League will not endorse anyone. But they will provide you with more concrete and impartial information on candidates than any other source.
Breakthrough endorses the League of Women Voters and their
commitment to a more informed electorate.
This is the only endorsement we will be making for this election.
Vol II, no. 9
STAFF - THIS ISSUE
Ailene English, Nancy Landau, Tree Johnson,
Jane Little, Mary Jane White
Pat Bohan, Charley Kubricht
Judy Hopkinson, Lana Lalor, Lynne Mutchler
Sam E.J. Akers, Carol Bartholdi, Janet Beals,
Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff, Cheryl Knott
Janet Beals, Janice Blue, Judy Hopkinson,
Sam E.J. Akers, Janice Blue, Jim Caldwell,
Marsha Goff, Wm Lelor, Beth Parker, Suzanne
Paul, Betsey Siegel, Jim Youngmeyer
Sam E.J. Akers, Janet Beals, Janice Blue,
Gabrielle Cosgriff, Melissa Nobel, Robert
Phifer, Johanna Smith
Neal Barrett, Ruth Barrett
Janet Beals, Gabrielle Cosgriff, Judy Hopkinson
Janet Beals, Pat Bohan, Barbara Lejeune,
Jeannine Klein, Cheryl Knott
Janice Blue, Gabrielle Cosgriff,
Deborah Diamond Hicks, Marilyn Jones, Nancy Landau
Houston Breakthrough is published monthly (with the exception of the July-
August and December-January issues) by the Breakthrough Publishing Company,
1708 Rosewood, Houston, TX 77004. P.O. Box 88072, Houston, TX 77004. Tel.
713/526-6686. Subscriptions $5 per year, newstand 50# per copy. This publication
is on file at the International Women's History Archive in the Special Collections
Library, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60201.
PAGE 2 OCTOBER 1977 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH
The IWY National AVomen's
Conference is the largest convocation of women in this country and
the first such meeting ever to be
funded by the U.S. government. It
is scheduled for November 18-21 in
Conference goals include recognizing women's contributions to
the country's development, studying the role of women in the economic, social, cultural and political
arenas, assessing the participation
of women in strengthening world
peace, identifying barriers that prevent women from participating
fully and equally in all areas of
national life, developing recommendations for. removing those
barriers, and providing a forum
for all women to celebrate their
past efforts and to make plans
for the future.
The plenary sessions will be in
the Coliseum, 810 Bagby. The
Albert Thomas Convention Center,
612 Smith, will house exhibits, lectures, films, and other activities of
special interest to nondelegates.
A welcoming rally for women's
rights supporters attending the
conference will be held at 4 p.m.
Friday on the steps of City Hall.
The rally's purposes are: to welcome conference participants to
Houston, to commemorate the memory of Dr. Alice Paul, the author
of the ERA, and to show support
for equal rights for women.
Films will show continuously
during the conference in the West
Hall of the convention center.
Works screened will include "Salt
of the Earth," "Amelia Earhart,"
"How We Won the Vote," and
"Union Maids." More than 20
different films will be shown.
Seneca Falls South
Seneca Falls South will be the
public assembly area occupying a-
bout half of East Hall at the Albert
Thomas Convention Center. Exhibits of women's businesses and
organizations will occupy the other
half of the hall. This area is brightly lit, about 180 feet square with
35-foot ceilings. It will be a space
where conference-goers can relax
and enjoy, listen, learn, celebrate,
IW Y Update
As a prelude to this historic conference, 56 diverse and dramatic
women's meetings, one in each
state and territory, were held. A-
merican women attending these
meetings voted on resolutions and
elected delegates to send to the
Resolutions came from a wide
range of workshops on such topics
as homemaker rights, child care,
employment, education, teenage
pregnancy, the ERA, credit, older
women, female offenders, and minority women.
Public Law 94-167 named the
National Commission on the Observance of International Women's
Year (IWY) sponsor for the state
meetings and the national conference. Each state shares in the $5
million provided by Congress for
the meeting series.
Recommendations and a final
report on the conference will be
submitted to the President and
Congress in March 1978.
WHO CAN ATTEND?
The delegates to the conference
have been chosen already, but interested visitors and spectators can
participate in the many special activities and observe the plenary sessions where resolutions and recommendations will be decided.
WHO CAN HELP?
If you have already volunteered
with the local IWY office, 515 Rusk,
you will be getting specific job assignments in the next two weeks.
If you would like to volunteer,
call the IWY office at 226-5108.
And, see page 11 to volunteer
for work at Breakthrough. (We'll
be publishing daily conference
While registration opens at noon
on Friday, November 18, at the
convention center, most of the activities are scheduled for Saturday
and Sunday when most women can
participate. Simply register when
you arrive at the convention
Registration fee is $5, and there is
AMERICAN WOMEN ON THE MOVE
F«M Msto?sl Wbmans Car$m»nc& / Sponsors i by
71*/ Un* <i :-/,««« 5 Gjnyrss&jon tan tr*.i Observanceo?
INTERNATIONAL WOMENS YEAR
HOUSTON, TEXAS / NOV. 1821,1977
Plenary Session ventilate, and appreciate. Staged
The plenary session opens at 9 and spontaneous performances will
a.m. on Saturday, November 19, feature vocalists, instrumentalists,
with speeches by Bella Abzug, sP°rts> dance> Poetry, speakers and
Liz Carpenter, and Mayor Fred soapbox oratory. Information
Hofheinz. After a lunch break, booths> including a job placement
voting will begin at 2 p.m. on the center> wm also be in the area-
Plan of Action, with a dinner break,
and continue from 8:30 p.m. until
around 11:30 p.m.
On Sunday, November 20, an
international hearing is scheduled
for 10 a.m. The plenary session resumes at 1 p.m. and adjourns at 5
p.m. for an evening of entertainment.
Monday's plenary session will
open at 9 a.m. and adjourn at
Distinguished women in government will give hour-long lectures
all day Saturday and Sunday. Some
35 women, including Sarah Weddington, Eleanor Holmes Norton,
and Midge Costanza, will give talks
in three small meeting rooms (90
seats each) at the convention center.
An int erf ait h worship experience
is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and 10
a.m. Sunday, November 20, at the
Rothko Chapel, 3900 Yupon at
Sul Ross. The services will incorporate the "I" and "You" becoming "We" through the reconciliation
of women and their differences.
Free bus service will be provided
from the conference area to the
No workshops per se are scheduled. Instead, success story discussions, skills clinics, a job placement counseling service, special
cultural and arts events, and evening entertainment are in the works.
The November issue of Breakthrough will carry complete schedule information and special features on conference activities.
Cover photo by JIM YOUNGMEYER and graphics by PAT BOHAN.