=–… _-_-_ -s FOE . –z- SHE PEOP __. 1-.4 –=.-Ilt _ _,, …,….. \(ii P1111111 11 .. II 1 — 1 ./…’ ,… I E c–. iii I a Aft soll 0111 ii 11111111 i 11111,111′ ot . , -= = li ,1 I II 111111111’11’ , , , i , , I, i i i SYPRIE e. n =-7 —…… ..– –.. _,….. _741LII6 –L7 Z’:—,-=- ….—- _ , –…. 1 1 —……—-__ TEXAS SERvE R The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1985 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 77, No. 13 7c4 e’ . June 28, 1985 . Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims EDITORIAL INTERNS: Hanno T. Beck, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Terri Langford, Wendy Parker, Roger Williams WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Al Watkins LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Alicia Daniel EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin,; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington. D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris. Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt. Tehachapi, Cal.. Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett. Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk. Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper. Amy Johnson, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz. Matt Lyon, Rick Piltz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger. Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dari Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Joe McDermott. Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Cliff Olofson Advertising & Development Director Dana Loy Subscription Manager Alicia Daniel Circulation Assistant Stefan Wanstrom Consultant Frances Barton Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 The Texas Observer at Austin, Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8% sales tax: one year $23, two yeais $42, three years S59. One year rate for full-time students, $15. Back issues S2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Copyright 1985 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. 2 JUNE 28, 1985 EDITORIAL Dr. Bernstein and the Double Standard IT HAS BEEN SAID that, in an unjust world, women and minority members usually have to work twice as hard to get half as far. It often seems that the same holds true for progressive state officials in Texas. We have just come out of a legislative session that saw certain conservative hit squads sink to new depths in their attempts to get at their chosen liberal targets. The chemical industry and the Farm Bureau orchestrated attempts in the House to take regulatory authority away from Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower becatise they thought Hightower’s regulations on pesticide spraying had gone too far. A right-wing senator tried to float a bill to bring official state disapproval upon Hightower’s personal relationship with a woman not-his-wife. One legislator even advocated making the Agriculture Commissioner an appointed instead of an elected position, presumably to insure that no Hightower-types plague the state in the future. Another B-team in the House went after Attorney General Jim Mattox. His offense was to decide, unilaterally mind you, not to defend Texas A&M’s doomed attempts to keep their marching band for boys only. One false step by liberal Sarah Weddington, who had apparently taken to flying around the country too much in her job as head of the Governor’s Office of State-Federal Relations, and the wolves were howling. Who knows what tactics would have been employed by the political hit squads had not Weddington promptly quit her job. But if a state official is not perceived as a threat to the status quo, the job becomes instantly de-politicized; there are no powerful industry groups resisting the official and no roughneck legislators trying to embarrass him or her. Laboring just this side of obscurity, such an official can often perform in the most bizarre manner, with little or no political fallout. Take, for example, the state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Robert Bernstein. Dr. Bernstein recently concluded a one-hour interview with a Houston TV reporter by trying to deck the reporter’s cameraman. The Houston station, KPRC-TV, aired the interview in May, but not a single state newspaper thought the incident newsworthy, nor has any public official commented on the unusual behavior of the Health Commissioner. Had someone such as Jim Mattox, just to take an example, exhibited a similar loss of control, perhaps during his emotionally strenuous courtroom tangle with Mobil Oil Co., one can only imagine the result. But with the state Health Commissioner . . . not a headline, not a peep. Although the Observer has not viewed the videotape of the Bernstein interview \(a station official declined to make a copy Bob Franklin, the director of special projects at KPRCTV, said the interview got heated when reporter Joe Collum “started getting very specific” about nursing home problems in Houston, for which Bernstein’s Health Department has responsibility. Collum asked about specific alleged incidents of abuse at the Blalock North Nursing Home in Houston \(now was not happy being asked those questions,” Franklin said.
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