Page 19


Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE HOT FOOT IN MOUTH. Recently elected Texas Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Susan Weddington and gubernatorial hopeful George W. Bush “Junior” were quick to criticize Gov. Ann Richards’ speech at a Girls’ State convention, in which, among other things, Richards advised the young women to become self-reliant because “Prince Charming may be driving a Honda and telling you you have no equal, but that’s not going to do much good when you’ve got kids and a mortgage, and I could add he’s got a beer gut and a wandering eye.” Bush and Weddington complained that Richards’ remarks were anti-family. “She has put her foot in her mouth with a slash-and-burn attack on Texas men and on the institution of marriage that doesn’t reflect the reality of most Texas families,” said the anti-feminist Weddington. “This is not the message Texans want their leaders to give our daughters or sons,” Bush said. \(Published reports were unclear whether Bush was objecting to the idea of preaching self-reliance or being careGINGRINCHING HEALTH CARE. Insurance industry advocates are putting on a big push to kill health care reform, but consumer advocates haven’t given up yet. The insurance lobby resurrected the Harry and Louise ads to raise fears of health care rationing, although rationing is pretty much what happens now when the private insurance-based system rejects people with preexisting conditions \(as well as those with no from 12.5 percent of the under-65 U.S. population in 1980 to 17.2 percent in 1992, and most of the 39 million uninsured Americans are in the middle class, making $15,000 to $50,000 a year. That doesn’t faze Republicans who, under the spell of leaders such as Phil Gramm and Newt Gingrich, are trying to keep health care legislation from reaching the floor in any form that could pass. The House Education and Labor Committee is working on two bills: one offering managed competition and another offering Canada-style universal coverage under a single-payer plan. House Ways and Means, under acting Chairman Sam Gibbons of Florida, is more cautious, and Austin’s lame-duck Rep. Jake Pickle, a senior member of that panel, is leading an effort to ex empt large employers from any state singlepayer plans. In the Senate, Democratic leaders fear a threatened Republican filibuster and Gramm says the GOP has nothing to fear in scuttling “socialized” medicine. Fellow Sen. Kay B. Hutchison apparently agrees. Call your U.S. Representative at 202-224-3121. I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN’S. Call it trickle-down environmental entrepreneurialism, encouraged by the administration of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. New York’s plans to abandon construction of three new sewage treatment plants were justified by Guiliani’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection, who said it is “better and less expensive to ship 200 tons of sludge a day to other states than to build composting plants” in New York, according to the New York Times. In West Texas, Sierra Blanca’s’ Merco Joint Enterprises sludge farm is the largest recipient of sludge from New York. NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE. “Americans are getting tired of pretty people. They are looking for substance,” said Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, in an attempt to make the case for a Phil Gramm presidency. Gramm is not leading the. pack of Republicans with designs on their party’s nomination in 1996, even in a recent straw poll of Texas GOP convention delegates. But Gramm is likely to break out of the pack, Austin American-Statesman reporter Michele Kay suggests, for a number of reasons: He has $7.2 million on hand, three times more than any other senator. He will be considered a candidate who can carry Texas and other conservative Southern States. And he is chairman of the Republican Senatorial Committee. Gramm still does poorly in polls, though. In a poll conducted by the Washington-based Wirthlin Group, Kansas Senator-Bob Dole was recognized by 82 percent of 1,036 respondents, former New York Congressman and Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp was recognized by 59 percent and Gramm was recognized by 39 percent. ‘V GRAMM & NAFTA. “The environment is a phony issue,” Gramm told a Republican businessman at .the state convention who pressed him about the NAFTA side accords. “If you want to clean up the environment, what you need is more jobs in Mexico.” Gramm characterized free trade as an article of faith. “There are three things that I have complete faith in. “My family, my church and free trade.” NAFTA & KILLER SUBURBANS. U.S.-made four-wheel-drive vehicles such as Suburbans and Jeep Cherokees have become the vehicles of choice for Mexican drug lords and the cops who chase them. So many drug merchants pack GM Suburbans with machine guns and other high-tech weaponry that one Monterrey group has written a corrido about the “Suburban of Death.” In Tijuana, according to a Los Angeles Times story reprinted in Mexico NewsPak, published in Austin, some four-wheel-drive vehicles driven by police are vehicles stolen from California. When Mexican police showed up to arrest a deputy attorney general in Baja California in early May, they arrived in a caravan of Jeeps and Suburbans, some with California plates still on them. A records check that resulted from a news broadcast revealed that up to 30 unmarked police vehicles appear to have been stolen north of the border. In a similar incident, a San Diego family noticed their stolen Suburban while watching a news clip of a violent shootout between Mexican cops and drug traffickers at a Tijuana intersection. Korinne Rogers, the owner of the Suburban, said that five different four-wheel-drive vehicles had been stolen from her street in one night. DEATH ROW. Sen. Jerry Patterson, R-Pasadena, has won the right to pore over the Texas Resource Center’s financial records after state district Judge Joseph Hart of Austin found the non-profit agency’s records were public. Patterson has waged a highly publicized battle to shut down the center, which gets federal money to provide legal help for death row inmates. Patterson said he expects to find the center has misused the funds in a campaign against the death penalty. Federal courts fund the center as a stopgap because the state refuses to provide representation for death row prisoners past their first, pro-forma round of appeals. Meanwhile, Congressional conferees con Continued on pg. 16 24 JULY 1, 1994