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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE vo REPUBLICAN gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams went back to school for a day, but Edgewood school superintendent Jimmy Vasquez is not taking credit for what Williams learned. Williams visited Edgewood, the West Side San Antonio school district that was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit which overturned the current system of funding public education in Texas. Williams emerged from his day in the classroom and superintendent’s office, calling for more vocational education and greater commitment to the “English-only” movement. “He didn’t get that from me,” Vasquez told the Observer, after Williams’s remarks were published in the San Antonio Light. Vasquez said he would favor more funding for vocational education but only with strict controls on how students are placed in such programs. Vocational education programs, Vasquez said, have traditionally been abused by administrators, who without testing or evaluation, have assigned minority students to vocational classes. On English first, Williams apparently misses the point. “You must have immersion of that child in English early, bilingual later,” Williams said. Most education research suggests first engaging children in their first language. Williams seems to confuse English as a Second Language language education. However, Williams did demonstrate his deep understanding of Hispanic culture as he argued for “retaining the customs and the values, and the mariachi music, if you would.” “I love to sing some mariachi songs from time to time,” Williams said. fro’ WILLIAMS’S “Footprints Across Texas” campaign, according to some observers, is a carefully choreographed effort to keep him away from the big-city press. Williams is known to shoot from the lip and is not considered the candidate best informed on issues that make a gubernatorial race. It was Williams who said, in the course of a Dallas debate, that as governor he will not raise property taxes. A reporter reminded Williams that property taxes rates are controlled by neither the governor nor the legislature. V’ TOM LUCE, the Republican candidate best known as H. Ross Perot’s lawyer, now finds himself in the position of having to defend former Democratic Governor Mark White’s education reform. Luce was, according to Clayton Williams, the chief architect of House Bill 72. White, meanwhile, is not so publicly said that there many hands inv loved in formulating his education reform program. Luce was chief counsel on the committee that drafted HB 72. //f EAST TEXAS Congressman Jim Chapman probably thought that the lateNovember tribute to Lloyd Bentsen in Austin would be just another night of slapping backs and shaking hands. Not so. As soon as he stepped off the platform and out of the always-long shadow of Bentsen, Chapman was assailed by an Austin Democratic Party activist, who told Chapman he had betrayed the people who elected him by voting against an increase in the minimum wage and by voting, in 1986, against plant-closing legislation. “You were elected with the support of organized labor? How can you defend that vote?” the woman asked, gathering steam as Chapman, who offered no defense of his vote, stepped backward. The confrontation drew a small crowd and kept Chapman on the hotseat while other Democratic politicians did the usual read-the-nametag and shake-the-hand_ routine. JESSE HERRERA Jaston Williams and Faulk p/ NO ONE seems to know what to make of persistent rumors that former Democratic Governor Dolph Briscoe is considering entering the Democratic primary race for the nomination to challenge Senator Phil Gramm. Briscoe is known for floating trial balloons. Six weeks ago he let it be known that he was considering running for Governor. “It’s Janey,” one longtime Democratic political consultant said, suggesting that Briscoe’s wife is the force behind her husband’s ambivalent ambition. The consultant added that Briscoe could probably raise the money to mount a credible campaign. Briscoe is still plugged in to the old Democratic rural network and there are people around the state who still are indebted to him. Some, however, like Jess Hay, the Dallas financier and one-time Briscoe protege, won’t find it so easy to bankroll a campaign. Hay’s mortgage company, Lomas-Nettelton, is in bankruptcy. But should millionaire rancher Briscoe enter the race and start writing his own checks, he will be off to a good start. Some Democrats worry that if Gramm is not convinced that he has a serious opponent, he will use part of his $7 million in political contributions to fund other Republican races in the state. v GEORGE MALLICK, the Fort Worth developer who played a central role in the downfall of Jim Wright, recently filed for personal bankruptcy. Mallick, like Jess Hay, is another casualty of the state’s economic decline. According to news reports, Mallick’s real-estate deals had gone bad. //1 FORMER U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough, 86, who was greatly weakened by an eye condition at the time of the Observer’s May benefit honoring him, has made a strong recovery. There are plans to print a limited-edition book of speeches and special articles prepared for that night. BILL SIMMONS, who coordinated the Observer’s Ralph Yarborough banquet last May, was the only demonstrator arrested at a mid-November Austin protest against continued U.S. funding of the war in El Salvador. Simmons was released on his own recognizance and faces a fine of up to $200. V JOHN HENRY FAULK, despite a two-year struggle against cancer, remains as constant as the North Star. Faulk wasn’t arrested at the November 22 anti-war protest, but he braved 25-mile-an-hour gusts and low temperatures to join some 300 demonstrators gathered in front of the Federal Building in Austin on November 22 to protest the continued U.S. support of the war in El Salvador. t/f IS HE or isn’t he? Cutting off aid to El Salvador has been a hot topic in recent weeks, in the wake of the FMLN offensive and the killing of six Jesuit priests. Congressman Jake Pickle, an Austin Democrat, told Austin Rainbow Coalition director Hazel Obey that he favors cutting ‘off some aid to El Salvador. Obey, who has worked for Attorney General Jim Mattox and former Governor Mark White, and who last year worked on the Jesse Jackson campaign, said 18 DECEMBER 15, 1989