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Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE HELP WANTED. Robert Novak, in a syndicated column datelined from Austin before the election, wrote that Democratic power brokers had given up on Bob Krueger and were ready to plead for Gov. Ann Richards to be their saviour after Krueger’s defeat. We presume these “power brokers” were the same ones who steered Richards to appoint Krueger to succeed Lloyd Bentsen in the first place, but Novak wrote, “the structure of money and power that always has ruled Texas is on the brink of disintegration. Only Ann, say worried Democrats, can save it.” In their nightmare, liberal populist Jim Mattox, who was forced out of the special election by the Democratic establishment, would challenge Kay Hutchison in 1994. They fear that he would carry the whole Democratic slate, including Richards, to defeat, Novak said, so their play is to persuade Ann to run for the Senate and Comptroller John Sharp to run for Governor. On election night, while Democrats conducted the grim vigil waiting for election returns and Krueger’s concession speech at the Capitol Marriott in Austin, Mattox strolled in, literally popped a balloon, and while trying very hard not to smirk offered reporters his post-mortem on the failed Krueger candidacy. When Krueger arrived at the ballroom to concede his defeat shortly after 9 p.m., Mattox already was working the room. He did not declare his candidacy, but in effect said he would be available for a draft if Democratic leaders, including Richards, would support him. And they owe him. UP FOR GRABS. With a vacancy at the top of the state Treasury, Comptroller John Sharp has a thought about what to do with the office: Abolish it. Sharp said the Treasury, which has 243 employees and a $7 million annual budget, could be run with 30 employees in the Comptroller’s office. Such a move would require a state constitutional amendment. In the meantime, among the names mentioned as potential replacements for Hutchison are Mary Beth Rogers of Austin, Richards’ former chief of staff and a former deputy treasurer; Cathy Bonner of Austin, executive director of the Texas Department of Commerce; Ygnacio Garza of Brownsville, chair of the Parks and Wildlife Commission; Regina Montoya of Dallas, director of intergovernmental affairs for President Clinton; former Houston mayor Kathy Whitmire; El Paso County Judge Alicia Chacon; and Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo. \(Extra points for V POLARIZED VOTING. Senator-elect Kay Bailey Hutchison may have stomped appointed Democratic Senator Bob Krueger statewide, with a strong showing in South Texas, but Krueger still received an overwhelming majority of Hispanic and African Texans who turned out to vote on June 5, according to an analysis by the Southwest Voter Research Institute. Hutchison got 67.3 percent of the overall vote, compared with 32.7 percent for Krueger, but a sample of key precincts showed Krueger got 79 percent of Latino voters and 95 percent of black voters, but he got only 21 percent of white voters. But the polarized vote and low turnout of minorities doomed Krueger, according to Bob Brischetto, executive director of the institute. Overall turnout dropped from 24 percent on May 1 to 20.5 percent for the runoff, but while Anglo turnout was 24 percent, blacks dropped to 13 percent and Hispanic turnout was 12 percent. V GRAPES OF REPS. Explaining that the “policies of the Democrat[ic] Party were detrimental to my district and constituency,” Rep. Pedro Nieto switched allegiances to the Republican Party at a June 3 press conference in San Antonio. Nieto, who was elected from Uvalde, became the first Hispanic Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives. He justified his move, saying that he has always supported Republican and conservative values, although Democrats, who pronounced Nieto a lame duck, suggested that the freshman legislator was full of sour grapes after U.S. Sen. Bob Krueger passed over his name in making recommendations for federal appointments. State Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Benavides, told the San Antonio Express-News Nieto stewed for days because Krueger recommended Travis County Attorney Ken Oden for U.S. Attorney instead of Nieto. V PICKY, PICKY. The South Texas nuclear power plant near Bay City is hampered by inadequate budgets and overworked staff, poor training, a huge maintenance backlog and inexperienced managers who are reluctant to bring problems forward and slow to learn from past mistakes, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported in a critique of the controversial project. The South Texas Project, which has not generated electricity since early February because of repeated equipment failures, is the 10th nuclear plant to undergo the special “diagnostic evaluation.” Officials of Houston Lighting & Power Co., the operator of the plant on behalf of coowners Central Power & Light and the cities of Austin and San Antonio, said the problems were being corrected. Commission officials have proposed $500,000 in fines for alleged safety problems and have referred to the Justice Department complaints by former plant workers who contend they were dismissed for pointing out problems. HL&P denies those allegations. V RANK RANKING. Texas ranks second to Louisiana in the amount of toxic chemicals spilled into the air, waterways and land during 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported. The state’s industries released 410 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 1991, 7.2 percent less than in 1990 and 15 percent less since reporting began in 1988, according to the Texas Water Commission. Monsanto Co. in Alvin is still the top polluter in Texas, with 54.2 million pounds of toxic chemicals released in 1991. Other top polluters included Sterling Chemicals Inc. of Texas City with 36.7 million pounds; DuPont of Beaumont with 35.8 million pounds; BP Chemicals of Port Lavaca, 29 million pounds; DuPont of Victoria, 27.2 million; and American Chrome & Chemical of Corpus Christi, 10.17 million. V BOOM BOX BUST. Jerry Canty, a black man who was sentenced to four months in a federal prison for arguing with an allwhite flight crew over the operation of a “boom box,” [see “Free the Boom Box 3,” TO 3/12/93] has been ordered to report to Continued on pg. 22 24 JUNE 18, 1993