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Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE RICHARDS ON INSURANCE. Striking a startling new note, Gov. Ann Richards said, in a speech in Houston, that the regulation of insurance companies may have to be taken over by the federal government. The industry, she said, “prefers obstruction to change.” Meanwhile, a report on new risk-based capital guidelines that are being proposed by insurance regulator said, according to the Wall Street Journal, that roughly one in eight insurance companies, mostly smaller ones, will not be able to meet the standards. SECRETARY GRAMM? If Wendy Gramm, Sen. Phil Gramm’s wife, ascends now to the Cabinet post of Secretary of Transportation, for which press reports state she is a leading candidate, and if Bush is re-elected, Ms. Gramm will be a veryhigh-profile figure in the Bush Administration for the four years running up to Gramm’s expected campaign for the Presidency in 1996. Ms. Gramm is now chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, an agency which, despite the Chicago floor trading scandals, has relatively low visibility. \(The Cabinet slot for transportation came open when Bush dumped GRAMM’S $15 MILLION. Gramm had accepted $14,989,258 in political contributions from all sources through his 1990 campaign for re-election, and after campaign expenditures he had more than $5 million cash on hand: $5,401,119, to be exact. Maury Maverick called attention to these phenomenal facts, produced by Common Cause, in one of Maverick’s Sunday columns in the San Antonio ExpressNews this month. In addition, Common Cause said, David Duke raised $2,101,123 in his race for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Among Texans, Maverick said, only Rep. Bill Archer, the Houston Republican, refuses all contributions from political action committees men, Maverick pointed out that Lamar Smith, Republican, accepted $130,230 in PAC money, Albert Bustamante, Democrat, $199,875, and Henry Gonzalez, Democrat, $81,550. Over 10 years, Maverick noted, Gonzalez, now chairman of the House Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs Committee, accepted only $3,025 from savings and loan PACs, the fourth smallest amount received by the 46 members of the committee. MAURY AND BILLY SOL. “When I ran for the Senate,” Maverick confessed in this same column, “I rode a few times on the airplane of Billy Sol Estes, who later went to the penitentiary. I didn’t have the remotest idea who he was, but should have suspected something when my staff told me he was ‘a good Christian businessman.'” HOBBY ON HEALTH CARE. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, in a column published this month, calls Canada’s system of national health care “a good place to start” in fixing the U.S. medical care system. Free as he is now of the political constraints that bind a high officeholder, Hobby wrote: “There are about 40 million people in the United States without health care coverage. There are none in Canada. “Canada spends about eight percent of its gross national product on health careabout one-third less than we do. Canadians are so satisfied with their system that health care is not a political issue. “But it certainly is here…. “Federal programs, except Medicaid, have basically tied health care to employment. That doesn’t work because there are millions of people whose employers can’t afford the insurance and millions more who have no employer at “In Canada, doctors are paid for the number of patients under their care…. The government pays the bills directly. Citizens choose their own doctor, just as we do….The system probably could not be imported to the United States without major surgery, but it is a good place to start.” WHAT COALITION? “We have three voting blocs, Hispanics, blacks, and Anglos,” Billie Can, Democratic National Committeewoman from Houston, told the Observer after the mayor’s election there in which an Anglo beat a black, “and I’m tellin’ you, Hispanics didn’t support blacks. From what I’ve looked at, it looks very bad. Where is the coalition? We better worry about that. And the usually more liberal white precincts didn’t support Turner, either,” she said. “Hispanics and blacks always support each other but they didn’t in this race.” Carr said that she has been giving parties for the three major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, Harkin, Kerrey, and Clinton. Clinton has been working on her the hardest “he called on the phone and talked to me for hours, he writes me notes about the family he’s a lover, he’s a hugger,” she said. But she is automatically an unpledged delegate on the presidential nomination, she said. “I’m so tired of Cuomo and all his indecision,” she said. But if he is the nominee she’s for him, she added. Carr said Mrs. Molly Luhrs, the granddaughter of the first publisher of the Texas Observer two days a week in the offices of the Harris County Democrats, which Mrs. Randolph brought to great political power in Houston in the late 1950s. Carr recently took six fellow workers in the HCDs to Baton Rouge and New Orleans to oppose David Duke for governor of that state. “We worked the phone banks for Edwards,” she said, laughing that she and the others had found themselves in such a position, as had many of the people of Louisiana. UT-WORLD? The immediate fate of multicultural education at UT-Austin depends now on the outcome of a faculty vote by secret ballot on whether to require all entering undergraduates after the fall of 1992 to take a course in U.S. minorities or a Third World culture, and after 1992, to take one in each of those subjects. NO BRASS COLLAR. The Progressive Democrats of San Antonio, which claim about 150 members, have sent a letter to the national and state Democratic chairmen renouncing any duty or commitment to vote for Democratic nominees, whoever they are. Texas Democratic party chairman Bob Slagle responded on the theory that a soft answer turns away wrath: “I’m sure,” he told the San Antonio Express-News, that “they’re going to be home for next year’s election.” The organization may have raised a thorny con stitutional question. It is Texas law, per a standing attorney general’s opinion, that citizens cannot be See Political Intelligence page 22 24 DECEMBER 27, 1991