Dot3/4 \\fsESIVISE CIACER 81 GRiPES DEFECI LOUIS DUBOSE POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V SAN ANTONIO Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez joined with Austin Congressman Jake Pickle in a notable act of political fortitude. In the face of growing pressure to repeal catastrophic health insurance, the two Texas Congressmen held their ground. In fact, Pickle and Gonzalez were the only members of the Texas House delegation who voted against the sweeping repeal of publicly financed health insurance for the elderly. The final roll call vote stood at 360 to 66. V BEAUMONT Rep. Mark Stiles’s work on behalf of the trucking lobby last session is again a news item in the Austin American-Statesman. In April the Statesman reported that Stiles had killed legislation that would have increased safety standards for trucks traveling on Texas highways. The April story followed the history of a truck that had killed a local doctor. The story is news again since federal investigators report that the soft drink truck involved in the school bus accident in Alton, where 21 children were killed, had brake problems so severe it would have been ordered off the road in any state but Texas. V DON’T COUNT Texas children on Congressman Charles Stenholm’s priority list. Stenholm, an Abilene Democrat, has proposed cutting federal child-care allocations to Texas by $125 million. The Children’s Defense Fund, a Washingtonbased advocacy group, estimates the cut would deny child care to as many as 60,000 Texas children. Stenholm was also backing a provision that would deny parents the right to make unannounced visits to day care centers where their children are enrolled. And that’s not all. He’s also blocking measures that would assure that child-care workers have minimal training and that parent’s complaints are recorded and made public. V ANN RICHARDS’S legal adviser, Joan Sanger, is considering running for state treasurer, the position that Richards has held for two terms and will leave to run for governor. Sanger joins Houston party activist and stockbroker Karen Friend, and Harris County Treasurer Nikki Van Hightower in the race. Friend, thus far, is the only official candidate. She has criticized Van Hightower, who by law can not announce her candidacy without resigning. According to Friend, Van Hightower’s unannounced candidacy is in violation of the state election code. Sanger has served as a staff attorney for state Senator Chet Edwards. Edwards represents Waco, Sanger’s homeatown. Sanger is said to have strong financial backing. V ANN RICHARDS realized again the benefit of gender politics this month. The Texas Women’s Political Caucus endorsed the outgoing state treasurer. Richards’s chief opponent for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Attorney General Jim Mattox, who made his bid official this month, dismissed the endorsement. A Mattox spokesman told the The Dallas Morning News the group had overlooked Mattox’s record. The caucus usually makes its endorsement much later Grape boycott activists in the political cycle. But caucus officials said they wanted to send a clear message that they will “work with and for all women who embrace the goals and ideals of the caucus.” V A COURTROOM fight between the United Farm Workers and Whole Foods, the Austin-based grocery chain, ended in settlement earlier this month. The dispute was a result of the October 11 arrest of Alison Brause, Rebecca Flores Harrington, Charles Race, and Don Gardner, who were arrested at the urging of Whole Foods officials. The picketers were protesting the sale of California-grown table grapes. Whole Foods dropped the charges but the UFW sued Whole Foods for denying them the right to assembly. A gag order was imposed on the settlement, but UFW State Director Rebecca Flores Harrington said that she and Whole Foods management had reached a satisfactory agreement on the table-grape issue. “I talked with Mary Mackey, the Whole Foods manager, and she was cooperative and supportive,” Flores Harrington said. V THE MAN who played a pivotal role in the already historic Texas school finance suit announced he’s resigning his judicial post. State District Judge Harley Clark’s decision to step down from the bench came less than two weeks after a unanimous state Supreme Court decision that found the education finance system unconstitutional. It was Clarks’s 1987 decision on school financing that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Clark will join the Houston-based firm, Vinson and Elkins. V ELLIOTT NAISHAT has made it official. The Austin attorney said he’s running for the District 49 House seat held by Republican Bob Richardson. In his announcement, Naishat reminded the press of Richardson’s most recent distinction: “So what will I do when elected? First of all, I will never be described by Texas Monthly as ‘just a zero’ and will never be placed on its list of Ten Worst Legislators. ” V THEY’RE already lining up to replace Rep. Stan Schlueter. The Waco Tribune Herald defined the Democratic field this way: Alvan Wells Jr. and Jerry Scarbrough, both of Killeen; former legislative aide and Hamilton resident Jane Crouch; Holland school superintendent Weldon Bowman; and rancher-banker Layton Black of Goldthwaite. Tom Joseph is the only GOP candidate in the field. The special election is set for October 21. Schlueter resigned on September 18. g/ CONGRESS Avenue pedestrians are reading a Jim Schutze column in large print through the window of the Mattox campaign office. In a September 28 column, the Dallas Times Hearld columnist took the Austin press corps to task for its treatment of Attorney General Jim Mattox: “Jim Mattox is all reality. He just doesn’t get the other part. He just doesn’t go out and drink with Austin reporters. He doesn’t drink. He’s not a part of the Austin presspoliticos’ ho-ho scene. [Actually the boozing-schmoozing scene is not quite what Schutze suggests. There is a little of it and it’s a ho-hum scene.] “Ann Richards is. That’s mainly what she is, in fact. She’s a charming person. .. . She is, in fact, totally a creature of the Austin insider scene … ” According to Schutze, Mattox doesn’t get a fair shake from the press because “Mattox is a fist-swinger. He takes chances and he often pays for it. He went right after Mobil Oil when he thought the state wasn’t getting its fair share of oil royalties on state land, and they came right back after him with a totally phony commercial bribery charge.” 14 OCTOBER 13, 1989
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.