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Political Intelligence Bob Wieland Welfare Commissioner Vowell According to SANE \(Citizens Or neither of Texas’ U.S. senators cast a “right” vote on key military issues in 1976. SANE rated senators on nine important votes, most of them involving military spending \(such as cutting off voted “wrong” nine times. Lloyd Bentsen was absent for six of the votes and “wrong” on the three he did show up for. Senators who had the best records were Iowa Democrats Clark and R-and was absent for one. Criticism from members of the Legislative Budget Board of “lavish” expenditures by Texas Southern University administrators has brought threats of recrimination and resignation and a lot of angry charges every which way. State Rep. Mickey Leland \(Dare trying to wash Texas Southern’s dirty linen in public.” Whatever the motivation of the school’s critics, it appears that TSU does in fact have some dirty linen to wash. One of the major items questioned by auditors was an $18,796 outlay to take 66 guests, including some legislators, to a 1973 TSU football game in Hawaii. Sen. further investigation into expenditures for liquor and what he termed lavish entertainment at the home of TSU president Granville Sawyer. Sawyer denied any improper expenditures and said state funds were not spent for entertainment. He has “symbolically” offered to resign “if it would help the university.” Leland said he’d block salaries for TSU employees who cooperated with 8 The Texas Observer the investigation. Later he apologized for the threat. But he said TSU’s critics are “destroying the integrity of the institution and could destroy the university itself.” Leland, an alumnus of the Houston school, said TSU has special importance to blacks and he doesn’t want to see it placed under the control of another school such as Texas A&M or the University of Houston. Other state universities are known to spend significant amounts on entertainment, but they have the advantage of ample private funds for such purposes. Moore said, “I don’t think there’s anything that authorizes us [the state] to pay . . . for liquor. They’re getting away with it because they’re black. I resent it.” Moore’s district is the home of Texas A&M, which has one of the smallest black enrollments of any state institution. Calamity Bob From our stewardship-of-the public-trust file: Harris County Commissioner Bob Eckels insists on having a new $7,313 Ford LTD, and he wants to get one without going through the normal bidding procedures. His fellow commissioners approved the purchase by declaring a calamity. Only County Auditor Grady Fullerton challenged Eckels’ emergency claim. Eckels said, yes, a calamity exists because his superintendent’s car, a 1973 Chevrolet, has 110,000 miles on it and is no longer dependable. So Eckels wants to pass on his 1975 county car to the superintendent and get himself a luxury Ford. The car Eckels wantshe picked it out himself at Katy Auto Saleshas a 460-cubic inch engine and $2,594 in optionals, including a tilt steering wheel, fingertip speed control, and color-keyed wheel covers. The commissioner says he drives 30,000 miles a year around his precinct and “I’ll be damned if I’ll spend that time in a Volkswagen.” He confesses what he would really like is a Mercedes. “But I don’t think the taxpayers are ready.” Welfare steward In November The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy piece on the Texas welfare program under the headline “Texas Skimps on Aid To Poor, Saves’Money; But Some Call it Cruel.” The Journal reported that “even though one Texan in five is poor, the Lone Star State operates one of the most restricted welfare programs in the nation.” The article, emphasized the “tough” approach of the Texas Department of Public Welfare and its sound financial practices. But writer June Kronholz also pointed out some serious shortcomings, such as the state’s failure to aid 82 percent of Texas’ half-million poor families. She suggested that the Texas system may actually perpetuate the poverty cycle. The Welfare Department estimates there are a million poor children in Texas, but 75 percent of them don’t receive any state aid, usually because they have fathers