Page 4


order. That order instituted single-member districts in Dallas and Bexar Counties and required the Legislature to re-draw district lines across the state to “rationalize” apportionment and reduce population variances. Mattox argued that the state should not be appealing the single-member district requirement and that waiting for a Supreme Court ruling could keep the House from redistricting itself before the July 1 deadline, in which case the lower court would do its own cartography \(with claimed that adoption of the resolution would mean sweating out a redistricting fight, an incumbent’s nightmare that could maybe, just maybe, be avoided if the ruling were overturned. With that hope, the House killed the resolution, 77-61. The chances of the Supreme Court’s upholding the original Mutschermap plan are a matter for furious speculation. The Court’s recent Virginia ruling, allowing that state a 16 percent population variance between largest and smallest districts, might indicate that the portion of the Texas suit challenging a variance of 9 percent will not be upheld. That would leave the issues of single-member districts and the “irrationality” of district lines still to be decided. Copout, copout The House continues on its meandering way toward confronting real issues. Given another chance to authorize and require recognition of firefighters’ associations for the purpose of “mutual consultation” \(sssh collective the members jumped at another chance to require a local option election. In practice, this bill applied only to Houston, but it was introduced and considered as a general bill. That gave the floor debate a Catch-22 charm. There were repeated denials that the bill should be on the local calendar \(“It applies to every city in the state with a with insistence that the House respect the decision of the Harris County delegation \(“I’m not going to tell you what to do with your country don’t tell me what to do The floor amendment to require a Houston referendum election on the issue produced the most heat. Rep. Gene Jones, the bill’s principal author, insisted that a fair election on the question was extremely unlikely in Houston. And Rep. Ron Waters wound up his denunciation of “passing the buck right back” by implying that he would oppose local-opters’ bills in the future. The members hissed. Waters returned later to apologize. The members applauded. 10 The Texas Observer U. S. Rep. Charlie Wilson Other bills were sent to the Senate without so much incident. Longevity pay for policemen and firemen in cities with over 10,000 inhabitants was raised by one-third \(from three to four dollars per month for each year of service up to 25 compensation were granted the right to choose their own physicians. Holders of sales tax permits who have been delinquent, and all new applicants for permits, were required to post bond to guarantee remittance of taxes they collect. Timber Charlie U.S. Rep. Charles Wilson of Lufkin, who was known in his Texas Senate days as “Timber Charlie,” says he’s “hoping for a compromise” between conservationists and lumber people on the Big Thicket park. Wilson, a long-time, employee of Temple Lumber, says he presently thinks that the park should be something between 69,000 and 100,000 acres including the Saratoga triangle and the Neches River corridor for sure. He doesn’t think his proposal will include corridors along Village, Turkey or Big Sandy creeks. Dallas Congressman Alan Steelman, addressing the State Republican Executive Committee in Austin Feb. 10, gave his social philosophy. “If we have a strong economy, social problems will take care of themselves,” he said. U.S. Sen. John Tower has blasted er, criticized well, has refrained from praising the President for impounding funds appropriated by Congress. Anyway, Tower says in his latest report to constitutents, “While the Congress must cooperate in an effort to hold down spending, it cannot abrogate its responsibility to determine which programs should bear what portion of the burden caused by budget limitations.” Johnny 0. gets his Former State Insurance Commissioner John Osorio was sentenced to three years in prison and a $6,000 fine for embezzlement and conspiracy in the Sharpstown scam. Have you heard the one about Maury Maverick, Jr., being arrested for shoplifting? Well, never mind it was all for a movie. In his silver screen debut, Maverick plays “a sorry-looking piece of trash” who steals just about everything Hollywood’s idea of a moral turp could get his hands on in a downtown Schertz, Tex., department store. In the script, the arresting officers take off in mid-bust to join in a chase scene. In real life, a reporter stayed around long enough to apprehend a few Maverick one-liners, including, “Whatever kind of thief I am, even a sex-deviant thief, at least I’m not a Sharpstown thief.” Relax, Maury. You were not named in the most recent SEC scandal suit. The Jesuit Fathers of Houston, Inc., now reorganized as the Houston Education Foundation, Inc., has filed a damage suit totalling $13.5 million. Frank Sharp is, of course, the principal defendant. The Rev. Michael Francis Kennelly \(former president of Strake Jesuit Prep in Houston, which is cooperating fully with Sharp in defrauding, deceiving and manipulating the fathers. The other 22 defendants, from Smith to Mutscher to NBL and Flap, Inc., make up a list like a Who’s Who in the stock fraud scandal. The Fort Worth Startlegram, always a pioneer in the field of effective communication, has hit upon a way to editorialize among its own employees. Attached to pay envelopes recently was a brochure S entitled, “VOTE FOR PORT WORTH and the Trinity River development program.” The 12-page letter-sized leaflet, complete with a handy