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Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE BUSH ON BASEBALL. Strike or no strike, Gov. Bush and the other owners of the Texas Rangers are playing hardball. The Associated Press reported on Jan. 30 that Ranger fans were given a deadline of Feb. 1 to renew their season tickets or face the forfeiture of the best seats in the new Ballpark at Arlington. Fans bought non-refundable, non-transferable, non-interestbearing bonds costing up to $10,000 each in order to reserve choice seats at the stadium. And even though it’s still unclear whether major league baseball will have a season this year, the Texas Rangers demanded that bondholders purchase their season tickets by Feb. 1. Two Dallas bondholders sued over the issue but a judge denied their request for an injunction. Bush is still a player in the strike because his ownership of the team is not in a blind trust. BOMBS AWAY. Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey are finding life much different at the controls of the U.S. House than it was on the back benches, and a newly energized Progressive Caucus is hoping to make things interesting for the Republican leadership. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent socialist, chairs the caucus, and has unveiled a “Fairness Contract” with 11 alternatives to each of the measures proposed in the GOP contract. One of the caucus-sponsored alternatives, a floor amendment to waive the balanced-budget requirement anytime the national unemployment rate falls below 4 percent, was defeated on a 364-64 vote \(with Henry Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, voting with the sive Caucus will continue to expose the Republican agenda of tax breaks for the rich and massive increases in military spending to be paid for by cuts in Social Security, Medicare, student aid and other social programs, said coordinator Bill Goold. “There is very much of a need for a thoughtful, programmatic alternative to the Republican Contract,” Goold said. “It’s important for progressives and liberals to figure out the core values they want to represent and a philosophy of government that can be articulated at the polls.” He added that the caucus received calls from around the country after its first two press conferences were aired on C-SPAN. “People are hungry for positive alternatives to the Contract,” he said. BUDGET BALANCERS. Stamford Rep. Charles Stenholm’s amendment to maintain simple majority rule on tax increases drew enough conservative Democrats in the U.S. House to approve the balanced-budget amendment on Jan. 26. After a proposal by Rep. Joe Barton, REnnis, failed to require a 60 percent supermajority for any tax increase, the 300-132 vote on Stenholm’s compromise gave the amendment 12 more votes than the twothirds it needed. Eight Texas Democrats voted against the amendment: Ken Bentsen, Gene Green and Sheila Jackson-Lee of Houston; Henry Gonzalez and Frank Tejeda of San Antonio; Ron Coleman of El Paso; Lloyd Doggett of Austin; and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas. WISH GRANTED. Outgoing Insurance Commissioner Rebecca Lightsey said Monday, Jan. 23, she would leave office five days early to give new Gov. George W. Bush’s choice for insurance commissioner, Elton Bomer, a chance to act on new car insurance rates. Lightsey, who took office in December after Robert Hunter quit, had ignored Bush’s wishes in prohibiting insurance industry discrimination on the basis of race or neighborhood but she canceled a hearing on car insurance rates. Administrative law judges recommended an increase of 5 to 9.75 percent in the benchmark rate for auto insurance. A Senate Finance subcommittee headed by Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, also was considering whether to cut out from the Office of Public Insurance Counsel $117,000 in annual funding for public education on insurance issues. NO IMMIGRANT BASHING. San Antonio’s City Council on Jan. 19 became the first in the nation to go on record opposing anti-immigrant measures similar to California’s Proposition 187, which denies health and education benefits to undocumented aliens. A council resolution, adopted unanimously, condemned the passage of Proposition 187, which it said would “engender discrimination against people who are here legally and hold suspect citizens who may look or sound foreign[;] undermine our nation’s fundamental values of providing state-supported education and health care to all its residents[;] deny educational services to undocumented children in violation of a 1982 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States[; and] deny health care to undocumented families thereby posing grave public health risks to all residents of the state …” EYE OF BEHOLDER. A Republican group that last year got a federal court panel to throw out three Texas congressional districts drawn to elect minorities has filed a similar lawsuit in federal court challenging state legislative districts. The Republicans alleged in the lawsuit filed in Houston federal court that legislative districts are “unconstitutionally gerrymandered by race and ethnicity.” The nine plaintiffs are members of a national organization called “Campaign for a Color-blind America.” The U.S. Supreme Court this summer is expected to decide the Texas congressional case and similar cases from Louisiana, North Carolina and Georgia. LOURDES PEREZ headlines ‘ sixAustin acts at the Texas Civil Rights Project’s Martin Luther King Jr. Benefit Concert Feb. 17 at Saengerrunde Hall, Austin, starting at 8 p.m. Call 512-474-5073 for information. LAWYERS SPLIT. A group of Texas female lawyers has formed Texas Women Lawyers to pursue their own legislative agenda after the board of directors of the Continued on pg. 13 24 FEBRUARY 10, 1995