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PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! We’re proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUM P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE WASPS STING PACT. The governor, the lieutenant governor and the House speaker, all Democrats, agreed to a combination of atlarge and single-member judicial districts in the state’s nine largest counties in an attempt to settle the federal voting rights lawsuit over urban judicial elections. The compromise worked out by Attorney General Dan Morales and attorneys for minority plaintiffs would result in 22 judges continuing to run in countywide elections while 152 judges would run in subdistricts. The plan was to be presented to the House and Senate as a resolution, which requires a simple majority, and then to the federal court, which could order the plan implemented. But Republicans who fear the plan will elect Democrats, particularly in Dallas and Harris counties, boycotted the Senate March 29, bringing back memories of the Killer Bees, when 12 liberal Democrats who blocked the Senate from creating a separate presidential primary for five days in 1979. Some Democrats labelled the absent senators Killer WASPs \(White Anglothe next day with the assurance that the settlement resolution would be delayed. The Senate, on a 17-15 vote March 23, had approved a resolution urging settlement of the LULAC v. Clements lawsuit, as Democrats John Montford of Lubbock and Bill Sims of San Angelo joined the 13 Senate Republicans in opposition. In January, a three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the countywide election of judges in eight urban counties illegally diluted the voting strength of minorities, but the full circuit court \(12 white judges; the only Hispanic, Emilio Garza, has recused him24. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has a bill that would create subdistricts in the eight counties at issue in the lawsuit, but its passage is unlikely since 11 senators can stop a bill from reaching the floor. AIYIY HELD HOSTAGE. In what Texas Lawyer billed as one of “The State’s Other Hostage Standoffs,” state Public Insurance Counsel Amy R. Johnson remained in limbo while the governor’s staff and Austin Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, chairman of the Nominations Committee, tried to round up the last of the 21 Senate votes needed to confirm Johnson for another two-year term. Opposition to Johnson has centered on her successful fight to lower rates for credit life insurance, which reportedly enraged South Texas bankers and Texas Lawyer noted that a full-page ad in the Texas Independent Banker boasts that credit insurance is now “the most convenient and competitive insurance value available,” thanks to the State Board of Insurance’s action in reducing rates. The ad reportedly was sponsored by Doak Dunkin, a Harlingen banker who has led the fight against Johnson. WHAT’S THE GOING rate for space in the low-level radioactive waste dump planned for Sierra Blanca? Connecticut officials stood up at a legislative hearing March 29 and offered $100 million for Texas to take its nuclear waste. Texas officials already have negotiated to bury nuclear waste and disassembled power plants from Maine and Vermont on the Hudspeth County ranch, 20 miles from the Rio Grande, for $25 million from each state. Neighbors, who already were fighting the dump site, fear it will be opened to other states whose residents are similarly resisting the siting of nuclear dumps in their backyards. For the record, the Texas governor’s office is not interested in Connecticut’s offer. LAN BENTSEN, son of Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, has agreed to pay about half of the $54 million in debts that ventures he controls owe the Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency that clears up failed savings and loans, the Washington Post reported. Terms of the settlement call for Bentsen, a Houston real estate investor, to pay the RTC $3.4 million and to turn over his interests in a number of real estate projects that bring the total recovery to $28 million. Bentsen’s debts were the result of a series of investments he made dur ing the 1980s using money borrowed from University Savings Association in Houston, whose bad debts were taken on by the RTC. Lan Bentsen also is under investigation for violating federal rules while managing RTC properties, thePost reported. According to the RTC’s inspector general , “one of Lan Bentsen’s firms, Lan Bentsen Interests of Houston, had legal and ethical conflicts that should have barred it from doing work for the RTC” because it had defaulted on the loans and therefore should not have been profiting from RTC business. Lan Bentsen, according to the Post, suggests the agency should have contacted him. “I got great lengths to be sure I don’t trip across these things,” he said. Asked about Lan Bentsen’s circumstances, Lloyd Bentsen said that he has “total confidence” in his son’s integrity. BOWIE HIGH SCHOOL students in El Paso might take some small comfort in knowing that when they are harassed by Border Patrol agents they are not singled out for selective enforcement of immigration law \(See TO, Arizona Republic, a Border Patrol agent chased three “suspected undocumented” students onto the Carl Hayden Community High School campus in Phoenix. In an editorial headlined “More Gestapo Tactics,” editors took the Border Patrol to task for violating an agreement intended to “bring these school raids to a halt.” The Republic characterized the federal agency’s attempt at an explanation as “a flimsy excuse,” and wondered how the agency could claim their officer didn’t realize he was on school property, when he tackled and handcuffed one student in the school cafeteria. 24 APRIL 9, 1993