Page 23


POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V THE SOCIALIST THREAT reared its head in a North Texas legislative race in February. Conard Yeats, one of three Republicans running in the primary for the opportunity to face incumbent Democrat Keith Oakley in the fall, advocated a constitutional amendment that would block State District Judge Harley Clark’s ruling that state funding to school systems must be made equitable. Yeats was quoted by the Dallas Morning News as saying Clark’s ruling was “legislating mediocrity” and “It’s a giant step toward socialism.” At the same time, Yeats was advocating a staterun daycare program, something not unheard of in socialist societies. The winner of the Republican primary was Ray Myers, with 56 percent. Yeats got 18 percent. V THE COMMUNIST THREAT surfaced in a legislative race in South Texas. Incumbent Democrat Irma Rangel of Kingsville was challenged in the primary by J. M. Alvarez of Rio Grande City. According to the Rio Grande City Herald, Alvarez said in a statement that Rangel’s training was with the now-defunct party La Raza Unida and that she makes statements such as “I will protect the needy and the poor.” Said Alvarez: “I say that’s the COMMUNIST way of thinking.” Rangel narrowly defeated Alvarez in the Democratic primary. V SAN ANTONIO Congressman Al Bustamante took a cheap shot at Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, when Bustamante and a gaggle of Texas House members made a “tarmac stop” for Gephardt in Austin. Speaking before a dozen Richard Gephardt supporters and three reporters, Bustamante addressed, in three lines, gun control, hunger, and the ecology of semi-arid South Texas when he characterized Dukakis as a northeastern liberal who would take guns away from Texans. “For all of us Texans who have always, have always, been against gun control, we have one of the candidates from one of the miracle states that would be for gun control. In 1986, in that legislature in Massachusetts, he worked for a law to take away guns from families, to take away guns from individuals. “I know what I did with a twenty-two in South Texas. I killed a lot of rabbits to feed our family. There was eleven of us in that migrant family . That twenty-two really provided a lot of food for us. They can’t do that to us Texans. They can’t do that to us Americans. The constitutional right to bear arms was very important to us.” V THE TEN TEXAS Congressmen barnstorming across the state for Gephardt learned something in Austin about the true meaning of celebrity. Ag the Congressmen’s press conference at a small private airport terminal in Austin concluded and moved toward conversation and grip-and-grin photos with constituents, Willie Nelson appeared in the adjacent lobby. The small crowd standing by waiting to meet one or another of the Congressmen dissolved and reconvened in the adjacent lobby where Nelson was flying out to perform at the Houston Livestock Show. Several House members fell in with the crowd, also jockeying for position to shake Nelson’s hand. Nelson would not comment on which candidate he was supporting and there has been some speculation that his tarmac -endorsement might have made the difference for Gephardt. V LUFKIN DEMOCRAT Charlie Wilson was among the Gephardt delegation. And although the group was flying on a small private jet, Wilson’s girlfriend, Annelise Ilschenko \(Miss World USA Congresssman. V HOUSTON CONGRESSMAN Mickey Leland apparently had it right when he characterized Gephardt’s support as being about 20 Congressional endorsements deep. In Austin for the Jim Hightower endorsement of Jesse Jackson, Leland said that he respected Gephardt: “He’s a good Congressman, a good institutional leader in the House. But he’s just not Presidential material,” Leland said. House members are supporting Gephardt, according to Leland, because by doing so they support one of their own without offending one of the contenders. “It is an easy way out,” he said. Put to the test within the microcosm of one Austin precinct, Leland’s analysis proved true. Caucusers in Precinct 256 in Austin’s upscale Tarrytown selected 18 Dukakis delegates, eleven Jackson delegates, one uncommitted delegate, and one delegate for Richard Gephardt: Austin Congressman Jake Pickle. V MAD HYPOCRISY is how some souces in Austin are describing Corpus Christi attorney Ruben Bonilla’s allocation of $10,000 in Mexican American Democrat PAC money to San Antonio plaintiffs’ attorney Art Vega, who was swamped in a bid to unseat Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez. Vega received only 20 percent of the vote at a MAD convention for political endorsements. V TONY BONILLA, a former state Rep. and former president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, also made a last-minute endorsement switch, this time in the Democratic Presidential primary. Bonilla, who had worked on the Jackson campaign in 1984, had announced his intent to support Jackson in January and Jackson acknowledged his support at a January 24 press conference in Austin. But several weeks before the March 8 primary, Bonilla publicly announced that he would support Tennessee Senator Al Gore. Bonilla told the Observer that a decision was made that the Bonilla brothers, all Corpus Christi attorneys, would support one candidate. Gore’s position on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Bonilla said, was an important factor in the family vote to endorse the Senator. Corpus Christi has been designated a homeport for a battleship and aircraft carrier task force. V WAS IT A REPORTER’S error, the misinterpretation of that now-familiar Tidewater accent, or just another devious attack on that old public school demon “secular humanism?” It’s a tough call but the McAllen Monitor recently had Republican Presidential candidate Pat Robertson promising to “wipe out functional literacy” once he’s elected President. In the same article McAllen mayor Othal Brand said he is committed to supporting Vice President Bush, but would work for Robertson if he wins the Texas primary. “I’ve known Pat Robertson for quite a while. I think he’s a truly great American,” Brand added. Referring to Robertson’s television show, Brand said, “He’s been in my house more than he’ll ever know.” Now isn’t that special. V RAUL MARTINEZ, a grudge candidate running against Houston State Rep. Al Luna, took the low road to runoff with the incumbent Luna. Martinez, supported by Houston City Councilman Ben Reyes’s East Side political machine, attacked Luna for voting for increased taxes last session. Roman Martinez, the second-term Houston Rep. who is supporting Raul Martinez in his race against Luna, voted with Luna and most responsible Democrats who joined together to pass the compromise appropriations bill that passed on the final day of the session. Roman Martinez voted exactly as Luna did on nine votes monitored by the Observer \(except one tort reform vote and the chemical castration vote for which Representative and Martinez the candidate are not related, though the Houston Chronicle occasionally flip-flops on their photos. 14 MARCH 25, 1988