POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V Retiring state Sen. Glenn Kothmann of San Antonio ended his remarkable 16-year senate career as quietly as he conducted it. But Kothmann, who shocked reporters once last session by standing up and uttering a few words into his microphone, delivered a few wonderfully understated quotes to San Antonio Light reporter Ed Sills on the last day of the special session in September. “The secret of a man’s success, is to keep his success a secret,” said Kothmann, who would have to be recognized as a master of that philosophy. He told Sills he couldn’t remember the last bill he passed -nor could anyone else, we imagine. “I’m like a professional football player who retires,” Kothmann said. “I want to sit back and watch from the grandstand.” Thus, another legend passes. There may never be another like him. V One of Bill Clements’s more astounding claims in his televised debate against Gov. Mark White October 6 was that the “price of oil is not the issue at all” in discussing the state’s budget problems. He said that the price of oil has on the average been higher under White than it was under Clements. After the debate, among a group of White supporters, Senator Ralph Yarborough called Clements’s comment “a bunch of malarkey.” With all the unemployment in the oil industry and the effect that has had on the economy, “the price of oil has a lot to do with it,” Yarborough said. Attorney General Jim Mattox agreed. “Our industries are so interlocked with the oil industries,” Mattox said, that the average price of oil that Clements spoke about is not a meaningful test. The fact remains that oil revenues can no longer pump up the state budget. V The debate between Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower and Poultry lobbyist Bill Powers had its moments, too. “Tonight you’re going to hear a lot of phoney baloney from the Agriculture Commissioner,” began Powers, who has repeatedly criticized Hightower for his levity. Hightower defended having a laugh now and then and said, “Loosen up, Bill.” But then they turned to intellectual combat, as Molly Ivins observed, and it became apparent that Powers had come unarmed. “Open your ears and close your mouth and listen to mainstream agriculture,” Powers told Hightower, complaining, “we have a commissioner who tries to drive his thoughts on people.” Hightower tried to drive a few more thoughts onto Powers and then concluded: “Well, Brother Powers has called me a liar, he’s called me a comedian, he’s even called me a socialist. But he can call me anything he wants as long as he doesn’t call me collect, because it really doesn’t matter.” The November election may prove him right. V At the Republican state convention last June in Dallas, amid prayer breakfasts, resolutions proclaiming support for “traditional family values,” and condemnations of “unbiblical divorce,” Rep. Tom Loeffler had his usual look about him of wanting to fit in with the Republican crowd. As he did in his unsuccessful bid in the Republican primary for the governor’s race, Loeffler spoke highly of Republicans’ committment to the traditional American family life. But even Republicans can have a hard time keeping the family together. The San Antonio Light reported recently that Loeffler has filed for divorce after 16 years of marriage to his wife Kathy. V Taking the God and Country theme one step further, Dallas preacher Gordon Adkins says that God has told him to run for President. Adkins has launched the People’s Party, and if elected, promises to eliminate all defense spending, forgive the debts of all poor countries owing money to the U.S., make public welfare a function of churches, and remove most women from the work force so they can stay home and take care of children. The voice that spoke to him gave him the slogan “The White House will be mine in ’89,” Adkins said. V The U.S. House and Senate recently voted to override President Reagan’s veto of sanctions against South Africa, despite efforts by a right-wing Austinite to persuade legislators to vote otherwise. Ellen Garwood, most recently known to Observer readers because of her financial support of the contra forces trying to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, sent telegrams to members of the House and Senate just before they were to vote on the South Africa question. The telegram said: “We will give campaign money only to those candidates who vote to sustain the President’s veto of sanctions.” In a telephone interview with the Austin AmericanStatesman, Garwood said, “I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to buy their votes.” In the House, Reagan’s veto received the support of all 10 Texas Republicans and Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Avoca. Fifteen Texas Democrats in the House voted to override the President, and Rep. Ralph Hall, D-Rockport, did not vote. The Senate also voted to override the President, 78-21. Bentsen voted in favor of sanctions and Gramm sided with Reagan. Despite her interest in South Africa, Garwood hasn’t abandoned Latin America. The American Studies Center has published the heiress’s new book, The Undying Flame: Mariano Moreno of Buenos Aires, which received a favorable review in the newest issue of the libertarian magazine Reason. v A newsletter we get at the Observer, by the way, offered this definition of a libertarian: “A Republican who uses drugs.” V Plans to put a high-level nuclear waste dump in West Texas continue to meet opposition from some state officials. The newest concern is over news that the U.S. Department of Energy may be planning to transport radioactive waste through Houston and other highly populated areas. A DOE report mentions the possibility of delivering such waste by barge to the Port of Houston, a politically attractive plan for the DOE since transporting the waste across the country by ground would meet widespread resistance. Taking it by boat to Houston would mean that the DOE would have to face only Texans as it delivered the radioactive material by rail to the Hereford-area dump. Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Hightower said that “the only thing crazier than dumping highly-radioactive waste through productive farmland and valuable underground water supplies is routing the stuff through downtown Houston with its population of two million people. . . . It’s almost as if DOE took a map and a pencil and tried to route the waste by as many other Texans as possible. One of the possible routes would have the trains and trucks passing through counties in which over six million Texans reside more than one-third of our population every day!” Sen. Lloyd Bentsen recently criticized the DOE for abandoning its search for a second high-level nuclear waste site, and said that in so doing, the Department has violated federal law. Bentsen urges Congress to stop the search for a first dump, for which Texas, Nevada, and Washington are final choices, until the DOE resumes its search for a second. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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