and Solomon Ortiz and all elected statewide officials except Gov. Bill Clements, Land Commissioner Garry Mauro and Comptroller Bob Bullock made the mid-December pilgrimage to San Juan. The only member of the Valley legislative delegation who did not show was Brownsville Senator Hector Uribe who lives in Austin. Houston city employees could be facing drug testing within the year, if the council approves a plan now being developed by the city’s personnel department. The drug-testing policy is opposed by organized labor in the city but Richard Shaw, who watches city hall for the American Federation of State County and municipal Employees, has insisted on employee participation in the formulation of any drug-testing policy. Shaw, who told the Observer that he got wind of a draft of a proposed policy some weeks ago, said he was told by administrators at the personnel depart ment that no such draft existed. Shaw has said that if the council insists on drug testing it should be in cases where there is reasonable cause for suspicion rather than random sampling. He also holds that it should apply to elected officials as well as city employees. “They’re paid by the city,” Shaw said. “If a policy is implemented they should be a part of it.” AFSCME is also insisting that any drug-testing program be linked to the city’s employee assistance program, a counseling and rehabilitation service that provides services to city employees. Whitmire, who is often at odds with labor, appears to be taking a collaborative approach to the formulation of a drug-testing policy, according to Shaw. Also surfacing on the front page of his hometown newspaper is Houston Rep. Mike Toomey, now sounding like he has seen the Ghost of Christmas to Come and woke up ready to buy the goose for the Cratchits. Commenting on recent purchaces by the Department of Human Services for posh office furniture, he said, “I find it distressing that they are supposed to be taking care of the needy and a good portion of that $100,000 could have gone to a starving child or a child who needs a home. Now that abused child goes without help and that hungry child goes without food so a bureaucrat can sit in a $1,100 chair,” Toomey said. For just a moment there, Toomey sounded like an advocate for some sort of social justice. But not so fast. Before long, Toomey, who as much as any one legislator is responsible for the miserly appropriations for social services in the state, was sounding like his old self. “It shows the need to continue to examine the budget and that we don’t need to raise taxes session after session,” Toomey added, after finally coming to his senses. And God Bless Us Every One. Mattox Speaks Accounts of a December 2 meet ing between Attorney General Jim Mattox and minority education advo cates are still reverberating through South Texas and several Valley political leaders are vowing that Mattox won’t carry a single county south of San Antonio in the 1989 gubernatorial primary. “His goose is cooked down here. We’re going to go after this guy,” said Dr. Ramiro Casso of Harlingen after hearing accounts of an acrimonious meeting where the A.G. is said to have taken the Mexican American Political Cau cus to task for “whoring for Gib Lewis.” Casso complained that the Attorney General’s office has consis tently appealed lower court decisions favorable to Hispanics and cited farmworker minimum wage and minority education cases as exam ples. Casso also described the tenor of Mattox’s remarks as racist. Jesse Trevino, another political player in the Valley, is also drawing lines in the dirt and urging caucus legislators to make their stand. “We’ve sent this information to the delegation; most of them are for Richards anyway. Some, like Lucio [Brownsville Dem ocratic Rep. Eddie Lucio], are for Mattox but that’s going to change when they hear this,” Trevino said. What the A.G. said is an issue of disagreement. Among those present at the meeting, only Dr. Jose Cardenas of IDRA, a San Antonio-based educational research and advocacy foundation would speak for the record. “The Attorney General said that because of poor prior schooling, Mexican Americans have lower educational capabilities,” Cardenas said. “As a pedagogue, I felt that I had to disagree with him on that statement.” One of the issues discussed at the meeting was a lawsuit challenging the Pre-professional Screening Test for college students enrolling in education programs. Sixty-eight percent of Hispanics and 72 percent of blacks tested have failed the PPST and face elimination from programs that would prepare them to teach in the public schools. Elna Christopher, speaking for the Attorney General, said that she had consulted with those present at the meeting \(Mattox and assistant A.G. that Dr. Cardenas had been baiting the Attorney General, “trying to get him to say certain things.” She characterized the meeting as being “spirited” and said that when attorneys get together they often engage in “table pounding” and shouting to emphasize certain points. Al Kauffman, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, who was also present, said that he preferred not to discuss the meeting. And Frank Herrera, a San Antonio attorney and Mattox supporter who had arranged the meeting .did not return our telephone calls. The purpose of the meeting, according to Cardenas and Casso, was to discuss state appeals of four lower court decisions on education: bilingual educa tion, school finances, the PPST and refusal to replace textbooks for in digent children after books are lost. Cardenas, a nationally-recognized authority on minority education, said that Mattox had a “fine brilliant record” in Congress and hoped to persuade the Attorney General to settle several appeals that Cardenas claims cost plaintiffs and defendants more than $1 million per year and also defer education reform that would benefit minorities. According to Cardenas, the Attorney General said that minority groups do not appreciate what gains they have made through legislation and litigation; every time they settle they said, according to Cardenas, that House Bill 72 might have been better were it not for the weakness of the Hispanic Caucus in the House. “He did not say the Hispanic Caucus was `whoring after Gib Lewis,’ ” Cardenas said. “He said ‘whoring for Gib Lewis.’ ” Christopher, speaking for the Attorney General, said that she did not believe fallout from the meeting would affect Mattox’s support in the Hispanic Community. “What he was trying to tell the Hispanic Caucus is that they’ve got to be tough. They’ve got to work together,” Christopher said. “Remember this is the same Jim Mattox who marched for civil rights in Dallas.” “I just don’t understand his actions,” Cardenas said. “And I’m not going to make any effort to keep this quiet.” 20 DECEMBER 18, 1987
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