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Activists Protest Racist Legislation

By Paul Hill

HOUSTON - I was driving down the street today and noticed a group of protesters outside an office building. I stopped to see what was going on and talked with one of the spokespersons. I expressed my solidarity with what they were doing. He indicated this group of about 20 activists (to include members of Mexicanos in Action) were demonstrating against Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) in front of his local office for the legislation he introduced to the State legislature which would ban mobile Taquerias. The spokesperson said that state representative Bohac was acting in concert with the Restaurant Owners Association who were alleging that these Taquerias cut into the business of restaurants. The spokesperson said that this was not the case, since the Taquerias had a totally different clientele. The spokesperson said this legislation was blatantly "racist" and that the latino community would remember representative Bohac's legislation in the upcoming election. He added "We will do to him what we did to Heflin". Talmadge Heflin was the former powerful Republican who was unseated by Hubert Vo in the past election. The spokesperson added that this legislation would result in the loss of 1500 jobs. The event was covered by one of the Spanish language TV stations in Houston.

The Houston Chronicle indicated on 4/14/05 that the bill filed by Bohac instructs "Houston and Harris County officials to enforce laws and regulations for mobile food vendors "in the same manner (they enforce) other health and safety regulations relating to food service." The legislation would require the mobile food vendors to have bathrooms on the premises which would effectively put them out of business. Of course, this would be impossible for these small establishments that are run out of small trailers usually.

The Chronicle reports that Orell Fitzsimmons, the local director of the Service Employees International Union, expressed suspicions that Bohac's purported concerns about public health are a "smokescreen for other motives."

According to the Chronicle, Fitzsimmons said "What it's all about, really, is who runs the taco stands. It's the immigrants. It's really an anti-immigrant thing."

Dwayne Bohac has been very vocal in his support of the Bush administration.

It was wonderful to see members of the working class expressing their outrage at the racist policies of the ruling class.

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