least two yearssince the beginning of the Clinton Administration.” And as Doggett observed, they are not intrusive. They involve the thorough inspection of one carcass at each plant in the course of a day. And the use of modern scientific techniques to determine if meat is contaminated. There is more to Lloyd Doggett’ s politics than the sum of its parts might suggest. Doggett is a member of an informal caucus of House Democrats, the Communication Group, which meets at 8:30 each morning in the Capitol to “talk about the Democratic message.” \(John Bryant of Dallas also par”Ali Lucas is one of the more gripping examples of what the Republican extremist agenda on deregulating everything means,” Doggett said. “And it’s not just a matter of taking it back to the district, but trying to talk in terms, other-than-Washington terms, of millions and billions, of bureaus and subsections of bills, and talking instead about one brave little girl and how she and others would be affected by this kind of extremism.” A similar press conference had already been held by Illinois Representative Richard Durbin, who is running for the seat held by retiring Democratic Senator Paul Simon and who will carry the fight over meat-inspection onto the House floor and probably into his election campaign. And Rosa DeLauro, who represents New Haven, had scheduled a hometown press conference after Durbin and Doggett held theirs, at the Yale School of Public Health. Doggett, who represented Travis County in the Texas Senate and then served as an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Courtwhere he is said to have grown tired of writing dissenting opinions on a court that moves farther and farther to the rightsaid the Communications Group recognizes that much of the damage congressional Democrats suffered in last year’s elections was a result of a failure to educate the public. “They’re getting all this misinformation through hate radio and other vehicles, and it’s really critical that we get out the message,” he said. A hospital is a forum loaded with symbolism for Democrats, a seemingly moribund party whose division and lack of courage and vision at the executive level led to failure in a singular opportunity to reform the nation’s health-care system two years ago. Doggett, who has warned University of Texas students about the consequences of cutting funding for higher education, talked Medicare to the elderly in Austin, and carried the fight over school lunches into school cafeterias in his district, understands the importance of putting faces on Republican policiesthereby making visible the people who will pay for those policies. In doing so, he even suggests that the Democratic Party may still have a pulse. L.D. STOP US if you’ve heard this one. 25 proposed that coastal states join with the federal government in developing “coastal management plans,” which would allow state and federal coordination of regulations affecting coastal development, beach and wetlands preservation, bay and estuary policy and the like. Once federally approved, such plans not only allow the state to take more direct control over its own coasts \(e.g., it eligible for federal funds for beach restoration and other coastal projects. You would think states would jump at the opportunity. Indeed, most did. Texas is now one of two eligible statesthe other is Georgia, with 50 miles of coastlinewhich have yet to complete a federally approvable coastal management plan. Oh, it’s not like we haven’t been working on ita couple of Governors and seven years ago, the usual committees began the usual deliberations, and in December of last yearone Governor agoa plan was finally submitted for federal approval. Enter Governor Bush. In what was probably his first major public relations misstep, Bush yanked back the plan in March, saying it needed further review. He took plenty of flak for the move, much of it from press along the coast, as well as politicians who had worked on the plan. But the plan went who worked it over one more time and, as HB 3226, passed it unanimously. Bush sent the legislation to the Coastal Coordinating Council for final cleanup of the related regulations, suggesting resubmission to the feds by summer’s end. You would think that would settle the argument. Hardly. According to charges made by Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, the Governor’s two appointees to the Coordinating CouncilRailroad Commissioner Barry Williamson and Agriculture Department General Counsel Geoff Connorhave proposed wholesale changes to the Council regulations, some seemingly for pointless delay \(e.g., extended public commentafter seven and others substantive enough potentially to vitiate the whole plan. If enacted, claims Mauro, the changes would not only undermine the enabling legislation”after all,” he notes, “if the legislature wanted these changes, they could have made them themselves”but would make the plan federally unapprovable, sometime next year. And back to the drawing board. An aide to Williamson insisted that his proposed changes were not major and fo Gary Mauro ALAN POGUE cused upon avoiding “additional regulatory burdens” and “letting state agencies do their job.” But the extensive “summary” of Williamson’ s “significant” proposed changes reads in part like a brief for backdoor disasters, as when it considers regulating “adverse affects” to a natural resource only when these affects are deemed “direct and significant.” That’s a loophole any corporate lawyer could drive an oil spill through. For his part, Connor insists that his proposed review is simply an attempt to confirm legislative intent, and was a response to certain unspecified “agricultural groups” who wanted further public input. Agricultural regulations are specifically exempted from the plan, and as for legislative intent, why not ask them? But Connors says if no pressing public interests prove to be at stake, he is “willing to let [the revisions] drop.” He blames the whole controversy on what he calls Mauro’ s “personal campaign to vilify” him and Williamson, and that despite what Mauro says about the proposed revisions, “The sky is not falling.” Maybe not. But the beaches are. Maybe there is more than a little political jockeying going on here, between Mauro, Williamson and Connor, and in the not very distant shadows behind them, Agricultural Commissioner Rick Perry and Governor Bush. The Governor has said he is now committed to the Coastal. Management Planif so, he should get in touch with his appointees. The faddish pseudo-conservative religion of deregulation should not be allowed to hamstring or further delay a Coastal Management Plan that would benefit all Texans and indeed, would help keep \(that is, an irreplaceable part of Texas from crumbling slowly away. M.K. Watching the Sand Drift Away 4 JULY 28, 1995 .10,,,e. *Op .
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