Train study The Houston-San Antonio-Dallas/ Fort Worth triangle is being evaluated by the Federal Railroad Administration as a possible testing ground for the kind of high-speed trains that have already proved successful in Europe and Japan. The Texas study, underway now for about three months, has been conducted by an FRA subcontractor, Commonwealth Research of Reston, Virginia. The preliminary evaluation of the “Texas Triangle” should be ready by mid-October. The good news for rail fans is that the study is expected to say that the tri-cornered region has the market potential for high-speed passenger service. The bad news is that with much of the triangle served by only one track \(and that kept busy by private rail corpomost no chance of being recommended as a test area. Sissy for mayor? Sissy Farenthold’s name keeps popping up at gatherings of Houston liberals. There’s more and more talk of getting Farenthold to return from her exile as president of Wells College in upstate New York to run for mayor of Texas’ largest city. The thinking is not only that Farenthold would be good at the job, but that with the current crop of contenders she might stand a decent chance of winning in November. Filing deadline is Oct. 8. Looking for a home Who’s taking over for Christie as insurance board chairman? Another Dolph Briscoe special: former Water Quality Board chairman Hugh Yantis, a 63-year-old engineer who freely admits he knows nothing about insurance. Yantis was widely considered an easy touch for industry during his days on the WQB, and no one expects him to match the tough, pro-consumer performance of Christie. Governor Briscoe’s nominee is having a hard time getting confirmed in the state Senate. Yantis, an Austin resident, is opposed by his hometown senator, Lloyd Doggett. Doggett not only refuses to sponsor Yantis before the nominations committee, but has said he would invoke senatorial courtesy to block the appointment. Yantis momentarily contemplated a move 30 miles down the road to Bastrop, just outside Doggett’s district, but gave up on that sidestep when Sen. Bill Patman, whose district includes Bastrop, announced that he had no use for Yantis either. Finally, the nominee found a home: “It is my emotional decision that I wish I were a Seguin citizen,” said Yantis, encouraged no doubt by Sen. John Traeger of Seguin who has announced he would “enthusiastically” sponsor Yantis’ nomination. Yantis plans to continue living in Austin but is reportedly ready to establish a voting residence in Seguin to circumvent Doggett’s veto. Doggett says he will beat Yantis’ nomination anyway. Learning capitalism According to Warren Rose, !Ay chairman of Texas A&M’s business administration department, capitalism is “pretty hot stuff these days.” To indulge its interest, the university plans to raise $20 million by 1982 to bankroll a Center for Education and Research in Free Enterprise. “I guess you’ll hop on us for this,” Rose said, “but don’t forget the University of Houston and SMU.” Both are planning their own capitalist studies centers. The A&M board of regents approved CERFE in January 1977, and the center received an initial $350,000 from the Association of Former Students. Already, CERFE \(“We refer to it affectionately as `surfy,’ ” associate director John Allen lion. The West Foundation of Houston, the same outfit that endowed a chair for UT-Austin’s Institute for Constructive Capitalism \(Obs., biggest contributor to date. As for the rumor that Dallas millionaire H. Ross Perot plans to give $1 million, Allen says it’s still just a rumor “at this time.” And exactly what is CERFE? According to Allen, “It is a university-wide center to bring the diverse talents of the [A&M ] faculty to bear upon issues improving the health of the free enterprise system.” Christie campaign “Four years is enough,” said state e . insurance board chairman Joe Christie, when resigning his post on Sept. 1 to prepare for a Democratic senatorial primary campaign against U.S. Rep. Bob Krueger. Christie, a former state senator from El Paso, claims he doesn’t yet know if he’ll make the race next year, adding Joe Christie that he didn’t want to be on the state payroll while deciding. Few doubt that he is a candidate, however, and Christie has already formed a campaign committee that is testing voters for Christie’s name recognition and sizing up his chances. The committee has retained Austin political consultant George Bristol and set him loose on money-raising chores. An experienced hand, Bristol has worked with the Democratic National Committee, attempted to salvage Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s illadvised 1976 presidential bid, and managed Bentsen’s successful re-election campaign last year. Christie’s comingout is set for Oct. 18 at Austin’s Hilton Inn, with a $100-a-plate “Evening with the Joe Christie Family.” Serving on the steering committee for the event are Waco insurance executive Bernard Rapoport, Travis County commissioner Ann Richards, Galveston state senator Babe Schwartz and state representatives Phil Cates, Mickey Leland, Gib Lewis and Ben Reyes. This issue’s Political Intelligence was assembled and written with the help of Eric Hartman, Debi Pomeroy, Teresa Acosta, Vicki Vaughan, Mark Richardson, Margaret Watson and David Guarino. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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