are riding on the coattails of family itself is threatened.” Also appearing was U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Stamford, instigator of a new conservative Democratic caucus in Congress. But Stenholm did not offer any specific plan for assisting family farmers. Naman later observed that conservative politicians from rural areas, such as Stenholm, may soon experience discomfort in their districts. “Those who vote consistently against government spending will sooner or later run right into a farm program,” Naman said. “Then they will have to decide which constituency to apologize to, the farmers or the right-wingers. Under a president like Carter, who was an extremely passive advocate of farm interests, these conservative congressmen did all right because they were not pressed into action.” Gray McBride The Race Is On Mayor Tom Westfall of El Paso has initiated the Democratic assault on the Texas governorship in 1982. Westfall, a 53-year-old retired FBI agent and college professor, said he won’t seek a tough re-election battle in El Paso this April in order to devote himself to the big race. Westfall is likely to have a lot of company in the Democratic primary, although now there is rather more speculation than substance. Names in the could-be hat include: John Hill, who was defeated by Republican Bill Clements in 1978; and Railroad Commissioner Buddy Temple, who may be the only person rich enough to run against Clements; John White, recently deposed from the party chairmanship; Mark White, the attorney general; and, for an encore, exGov. Dolph Briscoe. Insiders say Speaker for Life Billy Clayton won’t go after the governor’s spot . . . and there’s some GOP talk that Gov. Bill himself is not fully committed to running for reelection, but that’s probably disinformation. And Off… Complicating the 1982 turmoil is Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong, 48, who says he probably won’t seek a fifth term. Armstrong, a popular former state representative who was elected to his current office in 1970, says he’s served “happily but too long.” Armstrong, who took some heat from conservative Democrats for supporting Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern in 1972, says he hasn’t decided yet what he’d do if he leaves office, but his inclination is to travel, write and take a long vacation and maybe find a job that pays better. But there’s a hitch. With the vacuum at the top of the Democratic party, and an overwhelming desire by the party to recapture both its spirit and its No. 1 office the governorship Armstrong is being lobbied by friends to think about running for something else. “I get argued with,” he says. “They say, ‘You can’t take all this experience . . . be the only guy we have faith in, some of us, and just walk off.’ ” Armstrong is listening to the courting, but not committing himself. His preferred race would’ve been for lieutenant governor, but with Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby’s early announcement for re-election, Armstrong is unwilling to compete. Of course, Hobby’s announcement is seen primarily as a way to maintain control of the Senate, and he might not actually run in 1982, but the presumption now is that he will. Armstrong doesn’t seem interested in the most obvious race for governor, but he isn’t saying no to the idea of seeking the attorney general’s post if the Most Rev. Mark White decides to seek other employment, and there is always the matter of the 1982 opening in the U.S. Senate. Who might seek Armstrong’s seat as land commissioner if he doesn’t run? A list includes former State Sen. Max Sherman, Texas Consumer Association President Jim Hightower, former Public Utilities Commissioner Al Erwin, and Travis County Commissioner Ann Richards. Bob Armstrong Armstrong says the one thing that could convince him to run for a fifth term is the state of the nation after two years of Ronald Reagan. That may include the actions of Interior Secretary-designate James Watt. So far, says Armstrong, who might’ve had Watt’s job if Carter had been re-elected, the word among land management officials is that Watt is a “duty-doer,” meaning that he is expected to see his Interior job differently from within than from without. “There’s said to be a distinction between his legal foundation work and what he’ll do when his duties are broader,” Armstrong says, “but I’m going to bite that off and chew it slowly.” Sit On It It’s not enough that Joseph Coors sells mealy-mouthed beer and busts unions and has the ear of Ronald Reagan, now he wants to tell us what to wear. A small item in Adweek announced that a Dallas company, Peddlers II, is manufacturing a line of designer jeans to be sold under the Coors name. The jeans will come with three design variations on the pocket: “a simple ‘Coors’ with an arrowhead; an embroidered ‘C’ under a narrow silk ribbon with the company name; or ‘Coors Light.’ ” We can’t make up our minds. Bell’s Fourth Annual Rate Hike Southwestern Bell appears to be right on schedule with its largest rate increase, the fourth in four years. This year Bell will get about $114 million or 35 per cent of the $326 million requested. The Public Utility Commission responded to the company’s bloated request with a decision less generous than usual. Last year it granted 97 per cent of the request, and its staff testified that Bell was justified to ask and receive even more. The PUC justified its smaller increase this time by reducing Bell’s reported investment and lowering the rate of return, both of which determine the profits Bell can earn. The commission also found that the test year income was higher than reported because Bell had overstated its expenses. The PUC refused to allow, for example, all the expense Bell paid to its parent, AT&T, for “services” under the parent-subsidiary license contract; it allowed only $37 of the $49 million AT&T charged. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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