Page 19


Sorry, no exceptions In 1974, the University of Houston managed to hire British chemist Archer J. P. Martin away from the University of Sussex, bestowing upon him the prestigious Robert A. Welch Foundation chair in chemistry. For a time the recruitment of 69-year-old Martin, the only Nobel laureate on UH’s faculty, was touted as quite a coup. Now, the university is trying to fire him. Last year, Martin was briskly terminated; this year, a grievance committee review pf the action found that he had been unfairly treated and should be rehired. Nothing doing, the administration said. Now the feuding scholars appear to be squaring off for a lawsuit. Bad Bill It’s been said that there are four bad bills in this legislative sessionBill Clayton, Bill Hobby, Bill Clements, and Bill Meier. Meier, a Democratic state senator from Euless, is the least known around the state, but he certainly has done more than his share of the damage this year, carrying the mortgage rate increase bill for lenders and sponsoring the gut-job on the Consumer Protection Act on behalf of realtors and auto dealers. He has had his vest pockets stuffed with several other special-interest measures, too, all of which has made him a very popular lawmaker in lobbyist circles. But some of the home folks have been less than admiring of Meier’s performance, and on May 9 they let him Itnow about it. They didn’t just call him, telegram their disapproval, or show up at his office \(they had long since given up on instead, the United Auto Workers of his home area paid for an ad in the Austin American-Statesman, labeling their senator “Misguided Meier.” The ad, signed by Perry Cheatham of Hurst, who is the president of the UAW’s state political council, said that the senator is “being swayed by the people behind the $25,000 in campaign contributions he received from financial institutions and the $61,000 from business and industry.” The advertisement spoke to other lawmakers as well, saying that if Meier won’t be guided by consumers, working families, and other everyday citizens, they hoped the rest of the Legislature would understand their message: that others besides paid business lobbyists are watching this session, and that members are going to have to “earn the people’s confidence and votes.” At issue is what sort of treatment and standards should apply to extraordinary individuals. Martin, according to UH, simply has not published enough to retain his position. Although there is no official count of how much is “enough,” there is general agreement that most scientists will publish 200 papers during their careers. Martin, admittedly a minimum paper producer, has published only 70. But, he says, he likes to think that quality counts, and paper number nine did, after all, win the Nobel prize. Donna Feilner Symbol of the session You’re not going to believe this. Speaker Bill Clayton gave little gifts to all the House members on “Speaker’s Day.” His selection? Money clips. Cool down Political fallout from Pennsylva nia’s i Three Mile Island atomic accident may be about to settle in Texas. The U.S. House interior committee has tacked a six-month moratorium on nuclear plant construction permits onto the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s spending authorization bill, and if the Congress goes along, one of the six nuclear reactors whose progress it would slow is the one being planned by Hous ton Lighting & Power at Aliens Creek \(Obs., Is HL&Palready one year behind schedulelobbying against the moratorium? “Yes,” says Jim Parsons, a company spokesman. “A couple of our people were in Washington for the interior committee vote,” and we “have pointed out to congressmen the effect the moratorium would have.” \(HL&P claims that another year’s delay will cost But Rep. Edward Markey \(Dmoratorium amendment, says, “It would be myopic of us to let the industry keep growing with the same kind of procedures that were in effect before Three Mile Island.” Speaker Tip O’Neill predicts “overwhelming support” for Markey’s ban in the House, and similar measures are expected in the Senate. Susan Reid .. JUIll iA ltPU Ut SLi 44!THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11