Erwin the conservationist Those who remember Frank Erwin as the man who personally directed the bulldozing of a stand of fine oak trees along Waller Creek might conclude that he lacks respect for nature. Not so. Erwin may be willing to sacrifice a few trees when they stand in the way of stadium expansion, but threaten his own personal trees and he’s a staunch conservationist. The UT regent has browbeat the City of Austin into rerouting a 36-inch water main along a busy street to protect his trees. Originally the waste water main was to go north along West Lynn and Pease, west on Watchhill Road and then north on Woodlawn, Erwin’s street. Erwin said that the plan endangered his trees because they hang low and the roots are shallow in the street. Besides, he said, he didn’t want traffic interrupted. So the city has drawn up a new set of plans rerouting the water main from West Lynn to Windsor Road, one of the busiest thni streets in West Austin. Windsor is the only major crossing of the railroad between Enfield and West 35th. The new plan could be as much as $50,000 cheaper than the plan that would have torn up Erwin’s street, but motorists will pay for the savings in time and aggravation. The digging of the main will completely close Windsor Road. Appropriations sessions were downright jovial this year, not at all 6 The Texas Observer Personal Servide Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 465-6577 IDA PRESS 901 W 24th St Austin Multi copy service. Call 477-3641 MARTIN ELFA NT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 Political Intelligence like the awful old days when Bill Heatly ruthlessly ran the show behind closed doors, inserting totally new items in the appropriations bill whenever the spirit, or the lobby, moved him. Heatly has been deposed. There are no more secret sessions. And the conferees are limited to adjusting the difference between House and Senate bills. With fewer hair-tearing differences than usual, the committee members joked and traded their way to agreement on a $4.1 billion state budget for fiscal 1973. No new taxes will be needed. The Senate got its meat inspection bill by agreeing to let the House block plans for a 14-story Highway Department building down the street from the Capitol. The half-block space will be made into a garden park. At the senators’ instigation, almost $200,000 was deleted from rat control funds and applied to elimination of predators. $2.25 million was taken from a House-approved program for bilingual and special adult education. Highlights of the 73 bill include a day-care program for children of working welfare mothers, a 6.8 percent raise for all state employees except college faculty and a $63,000 a year salary for the governor. Chihuahua champion Whenever Sen. Mike McKool was asked how long he was going to filibuster, he allowed as how he would try to keep going “another 10 or 15 more minutes.” At 29 hours and 22 minutes Fort Worth Sen. Don Kennard’s state record fell by the wayside. At 38 hours and 20 minutes a South Carolina senator’s national record was broken. But tiny Mike McKool, who calls himself the chihuahua of the Senate, kept right on talking. He finally sat down 42 hours and 33 minutes after he stood up. Ben Barnes and some other spoil sports said McKool, a lame duck, was only doing it for publicity. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” the new champion avowed. He was attempting to add $17 million to the stingy state appropriation for mental health and mental retardation. It was no go, but, during his marathon, McKool did get the message across and across and across that Texas ranks 46th in state spending for the mentally handicapped. R. B. Williams, the juke box king, resigned as chairman of the Texas Vend ing Commission before his appointment could be rejected by the Senate. A surprising Senate rejection was that of Richard A. Moore III, the first student to be appointed to a college board of regents. There was no hint that Moore’s appointment would be contested until Chet Brooks of Houston lowered the boom, saying that Texas Southern University regents and students had told him Moore was “acting irresponsibly” and that they wanted a TSU student \(Moore’s to explain what was meant by “irresponsible.” Perhaps he meant Moore’s flagrant ingratitude to Gov. Preston Smith, who appointed him. Moore campaigned for Sissy Farenthold. Joe Christie, chairman of the nominations committee, issued a release saying it was unfair to reject anyone without a hearing. Moore had been passed over for a personal interview on the assumption that his nomination would not be challenged. The Senate failed 15-15 to pass Christie’s motion to deliberate on nominations in open sessions. Sen. Bill Moore of Bryan was gruffly against the reform measure. House and Senate conferees included a rider in the appropriations bill prohibiting the WQB director or assistant director “from voluntarily appearing to testify in federal water pollution suits or to engage in activities in behalf of any person or firm other than the Water Quality Board.” The rider was intended as a very pointed reminder to WQB Director Hugh Yantis that he’s supposed to be working for the state, not for industrial interests. Yantis has become a popular pro-industry witness in federal pollution suits. He recently testified in defense of Houston Lighting & Power’s cooling pond on Alligator Bayou. The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to stop HL&P from discharging heated water into Trinity Bay. Makris guilty Despite the fact that he was defended by Percy Foreman, Michael Angelo Socrates Makris of Tidy Didy and Sharpstown scandal fame, \(Obs., Feb. 12, perjury by a Houston federal judge. The judge ruled that Makris had lied to the SEC. Among the interesting tidbits that trickled out of the trial was the fact that Jimmy Day, everybody’s favorite lobbyist,
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