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issue defused this time around, the guv seems not to know what to do with himself. V ILLITERATE Press Release of the Month Award goes to state Rep. Al Edwards of Houston, undisputed master of the genre. Edwards continues his war on drugs with simultaneous assaults on reason and on the English language. To wit: Press Release, will be a public hearing on House Bill 2572 amputation of a finger or a part of a finger of convicted drug dealers in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, April 25, 1989 . . .” The statement continued: “If you are tired of drugs being sold in the schoolyard to school children, of elderly persons homes be burglarized and robbed of their social security checks . . . then you should be in Austin, Texas to speak in behalf of this bill . . .” Way to be, Al. See you next month. V ATTORNEY GENERAL Jim Mattox was widely derided in the press after he milked the Mexican border deaths tragedy for all the publicity it was worth. Mattox literally elbowed his way in front of the TV cameras in the Rio Grande Valley, according to press reports, on the day after authorities arrested several suspects in the killing near Matamoros, Mexico, of at least 13 ‘ men, including University of Texas student Mark Kilroy. Dallas Times Herald columnist Molly Ivins blasted Mattox’s appearance on the scene as “unseemly, intrusive and horribly vulgar.” She said Mattox’s attempt to justify his involvement in the case by claiming he is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Texas was the “malodorous residue of bovine digestion.” The Austin AmericanStatesman’s Dave McNeely began his disdainful column on Mattox with the comment, “Well, Jim Mattox finally made the Good Morning America network television show.” After pausing to note the rationalizations of Mattox’s spokesperson, McNeely wrote, “Like a buzzard attracted by the glow of TV lights, Mattox is shameless in pursuit of any publicity, anytime, anywhere. As one Capitol observer noted, only partly in jest, if a major horror occurs, Jim Mattox can’t be far behind.” The next day, the Statesman’s editorial cartoonist, Ben Sargent, conjured the cataclysmic end of the world and Jim Mattox on the scene holding a press conference. Houston Chronicle columnist Nene Foxhall said politicos’ eyebrows had been raised by Mattox’s behavior. She also quoted Mattox discussing the grisly killings on a radio call-in program: “It’s one of those kind of things that you would not expect to find anywhere except maybe in the deepest, back jungles of darkest Africa, and even then we probably wouldn’t expect to see what we found here.” Foxhall noted that not all of Mattox’s national coverage went without a hitch: an overline that appeared on the screen during his interview on the Today show identified him as “Jim Maddox, sheriff.” I FOR HIS PART, Mattox responded on the Statesman’s op-ed page the following week that McNeely’s “biased” column demonstrated “exactly the type of ugly attitude” that hurts joint law enforcement efforts between the U.S. and Mexico. The Attorney General blasted “McNeely’s attempt to push his own devious political agenda” and concluded that “McNeely will no doubt maintain his anti-law enforcement attitude and continue his personal political cheap shots against me.” But Mattox’s best line was the one that pointed out, “I did not ‘finally make the Good Morning America network television show,’ as McNeely erroneously wrote.” In fact, said Mattox, he had made it onto the Good Morning America show some time ago and he had been on plenty of other network shows in the last year, as well. V ALL THE TALK about Mattox’s grandstanding raises once again the fascinating speculation about what would have happened if Mattox would have decided to challenge U.S. ‘Senator Phil Gramm instead of running for governor. It was, after all, Gramm who was the original target of the joke about how the most dangerous place to stand is between the politician and the TV camera. A Gramm-Mattox race would have amounted to a Full Employment Act for broadcast news crews; Gramm and Mattox would have both come to resemble professional TV wrestlers as they lunged and grappled for media attention, and chaos surely would have been the eventual result. Gramm’s name, in fact, is becoming synonymous with the art of publicity hounding. State Senator Hugh Parmer of Fort Worth, now in the early stages of his uphill battle against Gramm for the 1990 U.S. Senate race, is regularly blasting the incumbent for habitual “Gramm-standing” claiming credit back home for legislative initiatives he opposed in Washington. Now Rep. Albert Bustamante, D-San Antonio, has had enough of the Grammstanding, as well. Gramm beat Bustamante to the media spotlight in mid-April, when a Commerce Department agency announced a grant to the town of Asherton, which is in Bustamante’s San Antonio-area district. In angry letters to President Bush and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, Bustamante complained that the Economic Development Administration purposely delayed notifying his office of the award so that Gramm could make the news by announcing it first. Bustamante told the Associated Press that Gramm had voted against the Commerce Department’s appropriations bill but “he sure believes in taking credit for spending them. He always takes credit for everything.” The AP story also quoted Dallas Rep. John Bryant criticizing Gramm. “If he had had his way, there wouldn’t be any grant money for Asherton or any other city in the country,” Bryant said. Rep. Bryant has often been mentioned as a possible challenger to Gramm in a Senate race. V JOHN BRYANT teamed up in April with Congressman Martin Frost, also of Dallas, to protest a bit of bureaucratic dimwittedness that has come to light in their districts. It seems that the word came down from Washington that the Dallas office of the Equal Opportunities Commission would need to be moved to Farmers Branch, in northwest Dallas County. Bryant and Frost have complained to the head bureaucrats at the General Services Administration that the majority of employment discrimination cases that the EEOC office handles are south of downtown Dallas near the current EEOC office and not in far north Dallas. Employees at the Dallas office are mystified about how the Farmers Branch location was chosen, especially after the GSA went to the trouble in January to select nine alternative office sites and the Farmers Branch location was not among them. Bryant wrote to the head of GSA in March saying that, “To remove the principal means of protecting employment rights from discrimination so far from those most in need is a perversion of the purpose of the EEOC.” V WHO SAYS it’s too soon to pick the next governor? The Canadian Record is weighing in with what may be the state’s first newspaper endorsement in the race, which is still a year and a half away from the finish line. And the winner is: State Treasurer Ann Richards. The Record, a sometimes progressive Panhandle weekly, declared in April that “we expect to support” Richards for governor “against any foreseeable combination of opponents.” If Richards’s opponent in the Democratic primary is Attorney General Jim Mattox, said the Record, “there’ll be no question about it.” V BY APRIL, everyone had given the San Antonio mayor’s race to Lila Cockrell, who is expected to win the May 6 election in a landslide. Cockrell served as mayor in the preHenry Cisneros era. San Antonio’s citizen groups will have to alter their strategies under the new administration; Cockrell is understood to have ties to the city’s business community, and yet she is not expected to wield the kind of power Cisneros has had, nor to have the same size ego. Power may be more diffused, with the city council playing a more important role. The election of Cockrell would also mean that the state’s three largest cities Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio would be led by women mayors. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19 ..31+! .46’