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spring he told the Lawyer he was a solo practitioner from 1980 to 1984, but state records show he was not licensed to practice law in Texas until 1992. The Boston University law school graduate was licensed to practice in Massachusetts in 1978. Despite his claim that he was born in Houston, he in fact was born in Brookline, Mass., and although he said he had never run for public office, he ran in Republican primaries for a Congressional seat in New Hampshire in 1978 and 1980. He told the Austin American-Statesman he forgot about those races. STILL SMOKING. Carbon II, the 1,400-megawatt coal-fired power plant being built across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass, could produce seven times as much acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide as would a similar plant in the United States, according to John Hall, chairman of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, in a letter to Gov. Ann Richards. Mexican standards for particulate emissions are 10 times less stringent than U.S. standards and the nitrogen dioxide standard is one-and-a-half times less stringent, Hall noted in the June letter. Sulfur dioxide emissions not only threaten wildlife and vegetation in the Big Bend National Park, he wrote, but could cause “significant visibility impacts on the area surround[ing] the McDonald Observatory,” in addition to the threat acidic deposits pose to the observatory’s research telescopes. Citing Hall’s letter, Richards wrote Herminio Blanco, an official with Mexico’s Secretary of Commerce and Industrial Development, that emissions from Carbon I/II will “create serious and unacceptable problems in Texas.” She added, “Unless this matter is resolved, and emissions from the plant are reduced to acceptable levels, you and I will have failed to demonstrate that the NAFTA or other U.S.-Mexico agreements provide effective mechanisms for addressing binational environmental problems.” Richards noted in longhand, “HenninioThis matter is very important. It must be resolved. Carbon I/II pose a real problem to Big Bend and McDonald. A.” SOFT MACHINE. Donations of “soft money” to political parties rather than individual candidates have increased in Texas over the years, from $3.2 million in 1988 to $3.6 million in 1990 and $3.9 million in 1992, the Center for Responsive Politics reported after a study of nine states. Of all Texas soft money received in 199192, the state Democratic Party received $2.9 millionthree-fourths of the total. More than half of the money was poured into party coffers during the last five weeks before the elections, with 60 percent of the late contributions going to the Democrats. The top five contributors were the Demo cratic National Committee, with $1,035,766 to the Democrats; Carroll W. Conn Jr. of Beaumont, James F. McIngvale of Houston, and Wayne Reaud of Beaumont, each with $100,000 to the Democrats; and Republicans in Majority of Austin with $93,000 to the state Republicans. For more information call the. Center for Responsive Politics at 202-857-0044. THEY’RE GAME. Gambling advocates have placed their bets on state elected officials and apparently feel comfortable enough about their chances of winning legislative approval of casino gambling next year to start announcing plans. A Fort Worth group has announced plans to make a casino part of the Stockyards district and Gold Star International recently announced plans to build a $40 million dockside casino-andhotel complex in Kemah if the Legislature legalizes casino gambling next year, the Galveston Daily News reported. Gold Star lost $4.5 million during the first 10 months operating the Star of Texas gambling ship that cruises offshore from Galveston, the newspaper reported. Tigua Indians near El Paso hope to use their status as a sovereign tribe to convert their bingo operation into a full-fledged casino, whether the state approves it or not. They were encouraged Oct. 3 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a similar case. Already 21 states allow some form of casino gambling and 10 others, including Texas, are considering it, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. WHISTLESTOPPER. A district court jury awarded whistleblower George Green $13.6 million in damages from the state after finding that the Department of Human Services fired the staff architect in 1989 and then harassed him to the point of pursuing criminal charges against Green after he reported alleged kickbacks and other violations on state building projects. The Texas Supreme Court upheld the verdict but on Sept. 29 it refused to order state officials to pay up. Attorney General Dan Morales said the Legislature must approve the expenditure before Green gets the money and some lawmakers have suggested the state try to reach a settlement with Green. FEEDOM OF INFORMATION. The Austin American-Statesman is on the cutting edge of merchandising news. Along with its Sept. 27 report on a federal lawsuit by a real estate developer challenging a city ordinance that restricts construction in the environmentally sensitive Barton Springs watershed, the Statesman advertised its “Inside Line Fax Service” by which readers could purchase a faxed copy of the 16-page lawsuit for $7.95. That’s nearly 50 cents a page. Ironically, journalistic and other public-interest groups have been urging state and local agencies to provide at nominal charges public documents available under the Open Records Act. LIMITS ON CHOICE. With the increasing trend toward merger of Catholic and other non-profit hospitals, the restrictions Catholic bishops have placed on reproductive health services may have an increasing impact on the general population, according to Catholics for a Free Choice. While public attention has focused on the bishops’ opposition to abortion coverage, CFFC President Frances Kissling noted that the church hierarchy opposes a wide range of health services, including contraception, in vitro fertilization, the morning-after pill for rape victims, and condoms, even to prevent the spread of AIDS. When Catholic and non-profit institutions merge, the question of whether these services will continue to be denied has often become a sticking point. The bishops’ agenda also has an enormous impact in 46 areas across the nationincluding Kingsville, Texaswhere Catholic hospitals are the “sole provider” of medical service. For information, call Catholics for a Free Choice at 202-986-6093. HITS & MRS. Jo Baylor, a Republican running against Democrat Lloyd Doggett for the Austin Congressional seat Jake Pickle is vacating, owed $16,000 in delinquent property taxes dating back to 1987 and the Austin American-Statesman reported that she and her partners have paid other taxes late, defaulted on loans, clashed with the city over the condition of her eastside properties and fought internal battles over Baylor’s management of their investments. But she compared her business career with that of her exhusband, former major league baseball player Don Baylor. “If he could make a million dollars a year and only get a hit three out of 10 times, then I’m hitting better than he did,” she said. CONCERNS UNHEARD. A group of El Paso and Juarez environmentalists are turning to federal and international authorities for help after the Texas -Railroad Commission voted Sept. 12 to proceed with an application to build a pipeline from the Chevron refinery in El Paso to the Pemex storage terminal south of Juarez without a hearing in the affected community. Mary Scott Nabers, a Democrat up for election this year, wanted to hold a hearing in El Paso but she was outvoted by Democrat Jim Nugent, who also is up for election, and Republican Barry Williamson. The next step for the International Environmental Alliance of the Bravo, which is opposing the pipeline because of Chevron’s record of accidents at its El Paso refinery, is to seek an environmental impact statement from the U.S. Department of the Interior. 22 OCTOBER 14, 1994