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Pho to by Mic key Torre s POLITICAL NTELLIGENCE V The new president of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Forrest Smith, has consulted with Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade about the possibility of changing the venue for the upcoming retrial of Lenell Geter, according to a story in the Dallas Times Herald. “The Geter case is another problem that impacts our public relation image,” Smith said. He is particularly worried about adverse publicity the case might generate for Dallas prior to the Republican National Convention. Wade referred Smith to state District Judge John Ovard. V In response to a questionnaire from the Texas legislative committee of the Krueger stated his support for a subminimum wage for non-adults -an anathema to labor unions because it encourages the employment of non-adult workers in place of adults and because, with piece rates based upon hourly rates, it provides a mechanism for paying young workers unequal wages for equal work. In response to another question asked by the UFW concerning whether the candidate supported legislation allowing public access to chemical company test data on certain pesticides Krueger responded that the EPA should examine such data and that Congress should make sure it does. v Although the City of Austin has withdrawn from the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Fayette #3, a ligniteburning power project scheduled to go on line in 1988, the LCRA plans to go ahead with Fayette #3 and the huge Cummins Creek strip mine in Fayette County that will provide the lignite. The mine will cover 7450 acres, will be active for 37′ years, and will remove the lignite, a low-grade, dirt-like coal, with draglines and large rotating bucket wheel excavators \(which look like be up to 350 feet deep and remove earth that will cover 1300 acres. About 40% of the mining will be below the water table, so at least 30 existing wells will be ruined by the mining. ‘The lignite will be moved to Fayette #3 on a 12-mile-long conveyor belt. Federal and state laws require that strip-mined land be reclaimed to the “approximate original contour,” but the LCRA will seek permission from the Texas Railroad Commission to turn part of the mine into an 800-acre lake and part of the removed land into a 140foot wooded hill. v Ernesto Cortes, Jr., founder of the Texas Interfaith Network and its affiliated community organizations, including San Antonio COPS, Valley Interfaith, Houston TMO, and El Paso EPISO, was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant for $204,000. It was one of 22 grants for five-year periods awarded to “exceptionally talented individuals. ” V New York bond rater Standard and Poor’s has lowered the ratings of several types of Texas Utilities Electric Company bonds because of concern about licensing delays for the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant, concern about the Comanche Peak quality assurance program, and “the negative effects of a heavy construction program.” Lower utility bond ratings eventually lead to higher electric rates. The lowered ratings come on the heels of a January decision by another major rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, to lower its ratings on bonds and preferred stocks for the three subsidiaries of Texas Utilities Electric Company Dallas Power and Light, Texas. Power and Light, and Texas Electric Service Company. Brazos County Showdown IN THE ABSENCE of any differences on the issues of the day \(education, teacher pay, roads, alcohol legislation and the pocketbook candidates for the District 14 legislative seat in the March 10 special election have turned Brazos County into a parade ground of endorsements. Republican Richard Smith opened the procession with an endorsement from Phil Gramm and has included as a part of his platform dedication to the “conservative values” of Ronald Reagan. Democrat Neely Lewis retorted with a snappy put-down about the difference between Washington and Austin and brought in three Aggie alumni \(Land Commissioner Garry Mauro and state Senators Kent Capervaluable tradition of Democratic leadership in the statehouse. As this article is prepared for publication, there is much more to come Gov. M White and Sen. John Tower a expected to take their turns. By targeting this special election in Gramm’s home base, the Republicans have turned it into a bellwether contest that will test the influence of purely partisan considerations. This is the second year in a row that February has brought with it the warmer winds of a special election. Gramm won Brazos County with 66% of the vote last February, aided by an emotional orchestration of events and by conservatives who turned to the Grand Old Party in the aftermath of the defeat of state Senator Bill Moore and the election of Gov . Bill Clements. \(Former education commissioner Alton Bowen and former Texas A&M President Jarvis Miller are how much of that support remains in the Republican column when neither Gramm nor Reagan are on the ballot. Partisan considerations aside, the race of personalities pits a former Bryan mayor and real estate developer who has plans to build Bryan’s second country club \(the Republican, of quietly waited his turn to fill the empty shoes of a retiring Bill Presnal. Smith’s administration was known for its tight fist in fiscal matters, a council that worshipped Reagan, and a city staff that took the corporate approach to public affairs. In the closing months of Smith’s reign, the city announced the purchase of an industrial park from Smith’s uncle, but everyone involved said the relationship was purely coincidental. Local observers believed Smith’s decision not to run for re-election was due to other difficulties. Lewis chaired the county Democrats during the rise and switch of Congressman Gramm. He was placed in an increasingly precarious position THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9