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GLOSSFREE “The Observer is not slick or glossy, just tough-minded and penetrating. It discomforts the comfortable, deflates the pompous, and challenges entrenched preconceptions, even its own. The Observer is a light in the Lone Star State, seeing into corners that others would rather see left dark and dusky.” Senator Edward M. Kennedy, May 23, 1989 NE TEXAS THE server TO SUBSCRIBE: Name Address City State Zip $27 enclosed for a one-year subscription. Bill me for $27. 307 West 7th, AUSTIN, TX 78701 According to the Austin-based newsletter, last year’s battle over workers’ compensation legislation could have cost the association influence for years to come. “In the midst of their newly self-imposed political exile, the Trial Lawyers are at a crossroads.” TEXAS SUPREME Court Justice Lloyd Doggett considered running this year for attorney general, but decided not to. One consideration in his decision was the 5-4 division of the court toward the more progressive side of issues. Another was his satisfaction with his power to bring about change as a member of the Court. Friends of Doggett believe, however, that he wants to return to non-judicial electoral politics and that this would be particularly true if the Court’s majority teetered the other way. U.S. Rep. Jake Pickle shows no signs of retiring, and rumors rampant a few years ago that Pickle and Doggett had worked out some arrangement to enable Doggett to succeed Pickle appear now to have no substance. Besides, moving to Congress from the Texas Supreme Court might well be a step downward for Doggett. Some major post might open up, but barring deaths and calamities it appears that no statewide office will be available for Doggett until 1994. WELL…WORMED partisans of the five-member majority which often forms now on the Texas high court believe that although the Democratic nominee for an opening on the Court, Gene Kelly of San Antonio, may not be pertinently qualified to sit on the Court, from the more progressive point of view he may be educable, whereas his Republican opponent, John Cornyn, definitely is not. ANDREW KIRTZMAN, the Houston Post reporter who helped bring down Houston City Councilman Jim Westmoreland, has found a new job of his own with the New York Daily News. Westmoreland told a racial joke to Kirtzman that was later published, after a bizarre set of circumstances, not in the Post but in the Houston Chronicle. The remark ended up costing Westmoreland his position on the council. Was Kirtzman drummed out of town after he served as a source for a story in Houston’s other daily a story that altered the makeup of the council? Not likely. According to friends and colleagues, Kirtzman jumped at the chance to return home to New York. AITORNEY GENERAL Jim Mattox and attorneys general in six other states recently released the results of an extensive nationwide investigation of escrow accounts by mortgage lenders. According to the investigation, illegal activities are costing homeowners billions of dollars and mortgage companies collect an excessive amount of money from homeowners to hold in escrow. More than 71 percent of the escrow accounts reviewed by the attorneys general contained excessive amounts. The excesses averaged $150 in each account. MATTOX RELEASED an attorney general’s opinion in early May which concluded that hundreds of gubernatorial appointees to state boards and commissions may not be serving legally in office. State Senator Chet Edwards, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress, estimates the opinion could jeopardize more than 160 of Governor Clements’s nominees who have yet to be confirmed by the Senate. According to The Dallas Morning News, until Mattox’s opinion, appointees were not considered rejected unless senators actually voted them down. “Senate inaction on a nominee meant that confirmation could come up in the next special session,” the News reported. However, the Mattox opinioni concluded that gubernatorial nominees cease to be qualified if the Senate does not approve them by the end of the first regular session after their appointments. The April 20 ruling was released May 2. VICE PRESIDENT DAN Quayle couldn’t resist a little hot fudge during a recent swing through Texas. On a May 2 stopover in Waco, Quayle took time out from a busy schedule for some vital nourishment: a snack at Dan’s Dairy Queen #7, off Interstate 35. “He ordered a hot-fudge sundae with nuts,” said Dairy Queen manager Loree Vitelli. Vitelli told the Observer in an exclusive interview that when Quayle entered the restaurant he spotted a “Dan’s Dairy Queen” sign and announced “This is the place to be.” According to Vitelli, the Dairy Queen workers were so nervous they initially left the nuts off the vice-presidential sundae. The nuts were added only when Quayle “looked down at [the sundae] kind of pitiful.” Quayle was in Waco to attend a fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Hugh Shine, a Temple state representative. WHY HASN’T any other corporate mainstream newspaper picked up on the Pete Brewton ‘s Houston Post story on the CIA and the S&L crisis. The Post story has resulted in an investigation by the House Intelligence Committee. But, according to Extra, a publication of media watchdog group FAIR, “national media have done little to bring this story to the public.” FAIR representatives, according to the Extra, have brought the story up in meetings with the Washington Post’s foreign editors and the New York Times’ s publisher. Neither paper, according to FAIR, has followed up. Among the allegations made in the Post story are claims that “the CIA may have used part of proceeds from S&L fraud to help pay for covert operatiobs” which included support for the Nicaraguan contras. 14 MAY 18, 1990