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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire, according to Houston Post city hall reporters Andrew Benson and Steve Friedman, is making amends with the city’s gay community. Whitmire, who was first elected to the mayor’s office in 1981 with the solid support of the gay community, seemed to consider them a liability in her last race against former mayor Louie Welch and did not seek an endorsement. As an incumbent facing only token opposition, Whitmire can win without gay support next year. But Whitmire recently appeared before the Houston Gay and Lesbian Caucus political screening committee to seek their endorsement. Caucus President Annise Parker told the Observer that some members suspected the Mayor appeared before the committee to win support for Barbara Goldfield, Whitmire’s preferred candidate in the District C council race. Other speculation is that Whitmire’s rapprochement with Houston gays is an attempt to reestablish herself with a once friendly constituency as she looks towards a statewide race for comptroller or treasurer in 1990. Caucus members who voted against Whitmire are, according to Parker, angry over the Mayor’s history of inaction on AIDS. In voting to withhold its endorsement from Whitmire, the caucus ignored the recommendations of the screening committee. They also refused to endorse Goldfield for the District C position, endorsing instead her opponent Kathy Mincberg. With a mailing list of 15,000, the Gay and Lesbian Caucus is perceived as a major player in city elections where candidates are evenly matched. v Former Houston Mayor Louie Welch, who gained national attention two years ago for his on-air, homophobic “Shoot the queers” gaffe, resurfaced recently at a Houston Alley Theater benefit performance for AIDS research. Welch advised members of the media that his attendance at the benefit was not to be construed as an endorsement of the homosexual life style. Welch is running for no public office. ” Political observers are still trying to figure out what a gubernatorial primary race between Attorney General Jim Mattox and Treasurer Ann Richards will mean for the liberal community in Texas. While Austin American Statesman political writer Dave McNeely observed that Mattox’s former chief assistant, Austin attorney Dave Rich ards, is also the former husband of the State Treasurer, perhaps a more important source of division can be found within another family. Deputy State Treasurer Mary Beth Rogers of course will be expected to line up behind her current boss in a race for governor, while her husband, John Rogers, is communications director for the state AFL-CIO, an organization that Mattox is counting on to support him. V Perhaps he should be appointed Justice West of the Trinity. A Fort Worth Star Telegram Starpoll found that 78 percent of callers responding by telephone to whether the President should withdraw the nomination of Judge Robert Bork came down in favor of the appointment. Though telephone call-ins are not accepted by the likes of Lou Harris and Richard Murray, they are not quite as bad as the East Texas fundamentalist “honk if you love Jesus” polls. Starpollsters reported considerable Bentsen bashing among their angry respondents. v One more liberal legislator is considering entering the race for the office that Jim Mattox plans to vacate. State Senator Craig Washington, D-Houston, said that he is interested in the 1990 race for attorney general. Washington sees the position as a logical place for a practicing lawyer and a liberal coming out of the Senate. “Many of the people in the state are more conservative than I am,” Washington said. “But the attorney general’s office is not a place where political philosophy is that important. I think that the public could be educated to that effect.” Washington, a trial lawyer, described the attorney general’s office in terms of a clientattorney relationship, a relationship in which personal political philosophy is not nearly as important as how well the attorney represents the client. Washington said that he did not intend to run for attorney general for three years. “I plan to make up my mind sometime after the next legislative session \(January-May V The Houston Post’s Washington Bureau is holding Congressman Beau Boulter’s feet to the fire on his recently recognized stewardship of the public trust. Boulter, RAmarillo, followed his induction into the Taxpayer Hall of of press releases, mailed at taxpayers’ expense, announcing his induction into the Hall by the conservative Citizens for Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire America Foundation. Boulter used his frank to send the same press release to the Post three times. V Republican political pollster Lance Tarrance is not quite calling Senator Lloyd Bentsen a liberal. But, according to Tarrance, as quoted by Kathy Kiely and Juan Palomo of the Houston Post, Bentsen “is not as conservative as the business community thinks he is.” Surely, Tarrance is straying from his pollster’s objectivity. It remains unlikely that Bentsen will be outflanked on the right. t Palomo and Kiely also have Houston right-to-lifer Dr. Steve Hotze going after Bentsen on the Bork issue. According to Hotze, Bentsen “stuck his finger up in the air and decided which way the wind was blowing.” The Houston doctor, who in the past has devoted much of his time to anti-gay rights lobbying and the formation of the Houston “Straight Slate,” seems to have missed the point. By the time Bentsen stuck his finger up, an anti-Bork gale was blowing. The Senator is not quite the anti-Bork bellwether that Republicans would like to run against in 1988. V Now that Mark White has put to rest rumors that he is not interested in running for governor again, he has also taken to semi-endorsements of Democratic presidential candidates. White, who once donned jungle fatigues and followed the Texas National Guard to Honduras, has recently been leaning towards Senator Albert Gore, Jr. , of Tennessee. According to Austin American Statesman political reporter Dave McNeely, White finds Gore’s tough talk on defense particularly appealing. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15