THE BUSH LEAGUE : HIS '98 CAMPAIGN
Governor George Bush. Picked up 69% of the vote with only a 32% turnout. This means a fairly strong crossover from Dems (33% of the total Dem vote), Hispanics (46%), and even Afro-Americans (21%). Bush spent $17 million, Mauro under $5 million. All of the Guv's campaign goals for a Presidential run have been met.
Lt.Governor Rick Perry. The Theocratic Party candidate beat Sharp by a combination of coattails, privatizing money, and voucher/charter school money. The two candidates split $20 million, indicating the Dem donors focused on this campaign, rather than the one for a two-year governorship. One-third of the Bush voters crossed over to Sharp, but that was not quite enough. Look for Texas government to move from bi-partisan cooperation to partisan in-fighting under his hand. Imagine the State School Board with hundreds of argumentative members. Although Perry is working with a slight Democratic majority in the House, his strong support of Theocratic goals should balance that out, given that movement's political activism.
Atty. General John Cornyn. The money from Cornyn's corporation lawyers beat back the money from Mattox's trial lawyers. Do not look for Cornyn to spend much time defending the rights of the man on the street.
Comptroller Carole Rylander. Coattails, hutzpah, and an inattentive electorate. How else to explain Rylander's successful campaign? Her ads accused Hobby of voting Democrat (Duh!) and being a "LIBERAL!!!" Folks on both sides of the aisle have always considered him a conservative and, at any rate, Rylander was actually an active liberal Democrat for years. However, $1 million in Rylander campaign money came from oil and gas plus backers of government-funded vouchers for private schools. Perhaps the voters got nervous with Hobby's economically responsible plan to use any state surplus to pay off the state's debt.
Land Office Commish David Dewhurst Coattails and millions of his own money. (Dewhurst, $8 million; Raymond, $800,000.) Dewhurst did what he did to his Republican opponents in the primaries, he snowed Raymond under an avalanche of TV ads. The same ads, over and over and over. Meanwhile, he refused to debate Raymond and he refused to be interviewed by reporters. He even refused to put up a web site; Politex put up one for him in an attempt to get him out of his closet. No dice. And what is his philosophy of tending to our environment? Selling it. He believes that owners take best care of land, so he wants to get as much state land as possible into the hands of private corporations. Then we'll have more education money for vouchers. Keep an eye on Mr. Dewhurst, because Land Commish is simply a stepping stone for him.
Agriculture Commish Susan Combs Coattails and money. (Combs, $1.3 million; Patterson, $100,000.) An agri-business representative who has a near-perfect score on her Texas Eagle Forum questionnaire.
Railroad Commish Tony Garza Coattails and money. What can Politex say about a race for a mis-named governmental position that is below the voter's radar and was won before it started? 11/4br>
THE BUSH ADS TELL US HE'S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND THE CORNYN/MADDOX ADS TELL US WE'RE STUPID. It's takes a film critic to tell it like it is. 11/1
DEMS AND GEORGE PRAY FOR BUSH LANDSLIDE VICTORY, BUT TX. SEC. OF ST. SAYS IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Here's how this scenario plays out: Yesterday, Sec. Gonzales predicted an election turnout of 3.3-3.6 million of the state's 10.5 million voters (say, 35%), based on low early voter turnout, which traditionally accounts for 1/3 of the vote.(HC, 11/1) The normal voter turnout is closer to 50%. (AAS, 11/l) Alan Bernstein reminds us that Bush has defined a "big" win as 60% of the actual vote, but the Guv can't get those numbers without an independent vote, and independents are the voters who stay away in a low-voter election. That would leave the field to the GOP-Dem split,which is less than 60-40, giving Bush a victory, not a 60% landslide, but giving the Republicans down the ticket a better chance of victory than his independent coattails provide. Note: this does not account for the floods, which may have had an effect on early voting. (Politex says this will be on the Wednesday quiz.) 11/1
NO, HE'S NOT TALKING ABOUT THE GOP CANDIDATE FOR AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER."The huge comb is going on out there now." Texas Gov. George W. Bush, on reporters scouring the country for any scandal in his past. In today's "Newsweek". 10/19
IT'S OFFICIAL! SHARP, BUSH WIN IN EDITORIAL LANDSLIDES! Although Texas' major newspapers put it a bit differently, in effect, by their endorsements they have recommended Sharp for acting-governor, 4-1 and Bush for part-time governor, 5-0. For specifics, click on the city: Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin ("Statesman" endorsements not posted). 10/18
BUSH SAYS, IF I'M LYING, I'M DYING, BUT "HOMICIDAL" GOVERNMENT TEACHER AND POLI-SCI PROF ADD UP TO "A DOZEN OF US" WATCHING POORLY PRODUCED DEBATE. A petulant, rule-breaking George and a stumbling, folksy Garry tell the voters why they don't want their votes. 10/17
12 HARDBALLS MAURO COULD THROW AT BUSH DURING THE TV DEBATE FRIDAY. With Garry waaaaay behind the Guv, Politex suggests he has nothing to lose by keeping George on the hot seat. 10/15
GEORGE NEEDS TO SAW WOOD. ANTI-LATINO PLANKS IN GOP PLATFORM SHOULD BE DISOWNED.Why isn't the Guv saying,"I'm against anti-Latino census methods," or "I'm against taking the immigration laws back to l964"? More here and here. 10/14
POLITEX THINKS GUV MAY HAVE GIVEN UP POINTS WITH LACKLUSTER SHOWING IN PREZ PREP. In a move characteristic of the Bush presidential braintrust, the decision to debate Garry Mauro goes against Politics 101, but it's smart thinking because it eliminates a debating point that could have been used by Bush rivals once the Guv gets free of Austin in the Spring and moves on to confront his national foes. Also, it's good practice for what George will face on the hustings. However, the Bush camp was still sweating bullets as last Friday rolled around because, after 3 months of working out the kinks in the act, they still weren't all that sure that the Guv would hold up all by himself under the scrutiny of a TV audience out there in the darkness and a rabid opponent ready to pounce on his every mistake. So the rules were no direct rebuttal and no direct address. And after the Bush camp jawboned Mauro in print before the debate, warning him that they demanded respect, no mud, and no "verbal granades," Garry was generally turned into a stumbling, affable, co-partner. Even then, the Bush performance did not reach the level of any of the three Georgia candidates that participated in the give-and-take debate on the issues for a seat in the U.S. Senate that Politex ran across on C-Span the other evening. Those three gentlemen are not going to run for president.
Apart from the fact that the production qualities-- sound, image, camera placement, and general tone-- of the El Paso debate had all the earmarks of a beginner's community TV production, the Guv's opening remarks on his presidential campaign theme, the "Responsibility Era," was rattled off much too quickly to be understood and was punctuated with annoying hand gesticulations. Bush got better by the middle of the alloted hour for the debate, settling into a barely controlled petulant demeanor that, one assumes, was meant to be seen as serious and firm. At any rate, it did scare off the other two participants. Mauro became more unsure of himself and Robert Moore, the moderator and "El Paso Times" editor, became more hesitant as he served up the few harder questions that he allowed himself. It was at around this point that Bush changed the rules of the debate, addressing Mauro and responding to his remarks over the head of Moore, making both uncomfortable. Mauro was polite in suggesting that they go back to their agreed-upon format, but such behavior is less likely to be shrugged off when the Guv gets to the big tent.
The harder questions had to do with life on the border and minority policy. Moore pointed out Bush made a first term promise to work on economic equity for border citizens and wondered what he did. Bush said, "NAFTA." (??) Moore asked Bush what he's done for minorities in education, Bush said he backed the "top 10% admitted to college rule" and planned to provide more money for AP classes. (???) The closest Mauro got to the can of worms hidden in that question was "diversity," the code word for what the Theocratic Party on the Guv's right is against, but Garry didn't press it and missed a golden opportunity. He could have moved on to the voucher issue, state paid non-regulated vouchers for private schools, as well as the out-of-control State Board of Education. Another golden opportunity was missed by Mauro on the Indian Casino question. Bush was allowed to play law-abiding governor, and Garry said it was up to the courts to affirm Indian sovereignity to use lottery-type machines. What Mauro didn't ask Bush was what the Guv's position had to do, if anything, with billionaire buddy Rainwater's gambling empire that is nudging up against Texas borders in that part of the state, perhaps because he didn't want Bush to bring up Garry's campaign contributions from the same Indians. Mauro pretty much drew a blank on any new material on Sierra Blanco as well. Bush said he wouldn't want a nuclear waste dump if it harmed the environment, but his policy is not to tell his 3-member appointed commission what to do, setting the stage to tell us his hands are tied if the committee votes to put the dump in Latino Sierra Blanco. The Guv went on to say it wasn't his dump, and asked Garry where he was when Guv Ann recommended it. Garry responded that he had to be legally forced by GOP-led legislation to engage his agency, but did not state the obvious: the nuclear dump legislation allows two other states to dump their waste in Texas and some have said that loopholes could allow any other state in the union to do likewise in the future. While Texas should find a safe place to dump its own waste, why should it serve as a nuclear dump site for the entire nation? One reason might be corporate profit. Politex would have liked Mauro to have asked Bush about the businesses that will be involved in the nuclear waste industry in Texas. Such a question could have logically led to a discussion of the Guv's desire to deregulate the electric industry in Texas. ("Fortune," 12/8/97) Garry did say that George misled the voters, characterizing a certain percentage of the waste as low-grade, nuclear power plant waste, when the percentage was higher. Bush responded he did not intend to mislead, and Garry did not mention it in his closing remarks, nor did he remind the viewers of his charge of "environmental racism."
Two other questions caused more heat than light: the Guv's presidential aspirations and Mauro's math. With respect to the first, Garry said we don't want a part-time governor, but Bush said, in effect, if you have a problem with that, don't vote for me. So now Politex knows what to do. As to the second, George said Garry's made more promises than the budget surplus provides. Garry said, not so, but meet me outside after the show with the reporters and we'll duke it out with calculators. Politex says: 1. Bush has yet to admit that a $l.6 billion contribution to education and a $2 billion property tax rebate does not equal a $3.6 billion contribution to education, 2. Dem Comptroller candidate Paul Hobby has the best idea: use whatever surplus we have to pay down the state debt. In other words, we don't really have a surplus. Other questions were pretty predictable and did not elicit anything the candidates haven't said previously. Bush wants to cut property taxes by having the state pick up more of the funding for education. (Again, state-paid charter schools and state-paid vouchers could have been brought up by Mauro. And what about George's math re using the property tax cut as an education benefit?) Mauro noted that, under Bush, teacher pay has slipped from 36th in the nation to 38th, and he would like to bring it up to 25th. Bush wants to let local districts decide what's best for them, but Mauro did not ask if Bush supports "soul-brother" Perry's plan to "run over" local school boards on the voucher question. The session ended with Editor/Moderator Moore throwing a couple of softballs about teen driving, setting up Bush for his celebrated and oft-repeated joke about driving and his teen twin daughters. (He always gets his mom in when he talks about running for president. He has yet to be given sure-fire material about his dad or his wife, but someone will come up with something good, I'm sure.) Garry ended his evening by telling the TV audience to vote for George if he's done anything specific to better their lives during his tenure as governor. With that question, Mauro lost the votes of Rainwater, Hicks, and other billionaire Bush buddies, not to mention the Guv's many millionaire business friends. Bush concluded by talking to Latino voters in Spanish. Not knowing Spanish, Politex was left out of the loop, but based on the Guv's unwillingness to even define minority issues during the session, let alone do anything about them, he most likely said something like, I'm me and you're you and together we'll win. About that political booklet: Alan Bernstein down at the "Houston Chronicle" (10/3) calls our attention to "Better Politics in Six Easy Pieces," published by Allience for Better Campaigns, which features Ford, Carter, and Cronkite as honorary co-chairman. It recommends five minute, single issue, mini-debates to turn the TV viewer into an ally, not an enemy, of reasoned discourse. It notes that "in some states, such as Minnesota, the civic culture imposes a high expectation for debating (by candidates)...in others, such as Texas, it does not." Politex is afraid that the Bush-Mauro "debate" did not challange that statement. 10/20
1.Since you've been in office, Governor, there's been a steady decline in child abuse investigations because you havn't given the Child Protection Services enough money to do the job. Today, 40% of the allegations of child abuse go uninvestigated, and it's estimated that 25% of those cases would turn up actual abuse or neglect. That's 17,000 children that have remained abused and neglected this year on your watch. You want to spend $2 billion of the estimated state surplus on a property tax reduction that will save your property-rich friends millions, and before the scandal broke this week you've said nothing specific about the need for just enough money to break even in your duty to protect the children of this state. Why not?
2.Your ongoing Housing Agency scandal is an example of your lack of administrative abilities. 7 of 9 members of the board are your appointees, and the agency is being investigated for fraud and mismanagement by HUD, the FBI, DPS, and the Texas Rangers. Executive Director Larry Manley, your appointee, resigned under a cloud and Florita Griffin, another of your appointees, is being investigated by the FBI. (See "Campaign '98, 8/29) Do you think the problem is your selection base is not broad enough to include more competent people, or you do a poor job of overseeing job performance?
3.We know that you prefer to privatize government as much as possible. The way it works is one could get campaign contributions from private corporations who would want one to recommend their serveces for government jobs and one would be doing favors to one's business associates who might have financial interests in the private corporations one would be recommending. Since, I'm sure, you would want to avoid even the hint of impropriety, are you willing to give back any campaign contributions given to you by private corporations you have recommended for state jobs, Voyager Expanded Learning Company, for instance, and would you be willing to give back campaign contributions in the future for the same reason? (see "Campaign '98, 9/8)
4.Other than your scandals in Housing and Child Protection, it appears that a third on-going scandal is on the horizon at Jobs for Progress, one of your model examples of how privitization can solve Texas' welfare problems. It's presently being investigated for fraud by the U.S. Dept. of Labor and the Texas Workforce Commission (AAS,10/13). Joe Gunn says, Jobs' problem is "private companies with conflicting allegiances are unequipped to manage programs that invoke the public trust," and Ted Raab explains why: "When you've got organizations that aren't accountable to the taxpayers using taxpayer money, they have every incentive to cut corners and mislead us."(AAS, 10/14) Forgetting who Gunn and Raab are, for the moment, and just considering their words, don't you think the privatized corporations' need to cut costs and show a profit are not in the best interests of the people the government has hired the corporations to serve, and don't you think giving campaign contributions to the politicians elected to overseee those corporations further corrupts the system?
5.Governor Bush, don't you think it's scandalous that one in every four children is living below the poverty line in Texas, one of the wealthiest states in the union with an estimated budget surplus of over $6 billion? It's not that the parents aren't working, it's that the jobs don't pay enough. Many of those jobs, and more in the future if you have your way, don't pay enough because they're privatized jobs. Minimum wages below the poverty line equal corporate profits. Further, it's no secret that the way privatized corporations turn a profit is to give their workers less benefits, benefits like health care insurance. Did you know that Texas ranks among the leaders in the number of children without health care insurance? Did you know that l in 3 Latino children are without health care insurance? Did you know that l in 5 Afro-American children are without health care insurance? (AAS, 12+15) With little or no health care and 10% of the actual child abuses not even being investigated, is it any wonder that many Texas children fail in your schools if they make it that far? And your answer to the scandalous health insurance situation in Texas is HMO's with little or no patients' rights. Even for those who can afford HMO health insurance, the outlook in Texas is grim. As Lisa Duran recently said, "the health-care system is driven by profit, health-care providers are compelled to deny care soley on the basis of cost. As a result, many patients do not get the services they need."(AAS, 10/12) Of course, governor, you must be aware of this, having owned, until this January, HMO stock in a blind trust through Crescent Equties, owned and run by Richard Rainwater, your billionarie business buddy and one of your co-owners of the Texas Rangers, which was never in a blind trust. (see"Bushgate,"9/7) Don't you think to avoid even the hint of impropriety, it would be wise for you and your family not to hold a financial interest in any stock, blind or otherwise, until you're no longer in an elected office? Also, don't you think it would be a good idea to give your $2 billion property tax break that would benefit your property-rich friends to the 1 in 4 children in Texas who lack health insurance?
6.Mr. Bush, it's no secret that you made around $15 million on the sale of the Texas Rangers, which is quite a profit on an 8 year investment of $600 thousand. Part of your profit is based on the ballpark, itself, which was built through the condemnation of private property by the city of Arlington and a taxpayer subsidy of $135 million. Some have called it, a "sweetheart deal." Yet, you preach the salience of private property ownership and holding the line on taxes. Does it depend upon whose property and whose taxes? About your private life you've admitted, "don't do as I do, do as I say." Would you care to admit that the quote is appropriate to both your private life and your business life, now that you've pocketed the $15 million?
7.George, in California they call what you're doing "Sombrero Politics." You pay a visit to a Latino neighborhood, put on a sombrero, speak a few words of Spanish, eat a burrito, take some pictures for your political ads, and leave. You tell the Latino voters you aren't going to offer them anything specific to show your concern, because your basic program is in their best interest. How is an unwanted nuclear garbage dump in a Latino town in West Texas in their best interest? How is your weak, vague support of bilingual education in their best interest? How is your silence about the GOP anti-Latino platform in their best interest? How is one in every three Latino children without health insurance of any kind in their best interest? How is it that your recent messanger to the colonias in their third-world conditions down in the Valley, conditions that have resulted from your administration's inept attempts to carry out the will of the people of Texas that such conditions be corrected years ago, how is it that your messanger came back with recommendations that you specifically rejected two years ago? How is that in the best interest of the Latino voters. And yet you have the gall, and I quote, to say that you will "send a message to people from around the country as to how to pick up the Hispanic vote." (AAC, 6/ 2l) To show your true feelings for the Latino voter, are you willing to disown the anti-Latino planks in the GOP party platform, namely, your party's support of anti-Latino census methods and its desire to go back to the limited immigration practices of l964 and earlier?
8. If I were to win this election, one of my greatest fears is what to do with your State Board of Education, which will then most likely have an eight-member majority of theo-conservatives. As it stands right now, at least 6 of the fifteen members will be theo-conservatives and, as you know, it only took six plus some conservative Republicans to make Texas politics the laughing stock of the nation in the last 12 months. Governor, led by the theo-conservatives, this board castigated you for your failure of leadership, told the Lt. Governor not to "meddle" in their affairs, called for the resignation of Mike Moses, whom you appointed Commissioner of Education, demanded the removal of your appointed board chairman, Jack Christie, divided the board so drastically that they were called "racist" by other board members, physically tore up textbooks, and forced the sale of the permanent education fund's high-earning Disney stock because of a boycott of Disney by national, theo-conservative, religious/political organizations. Here is what conservative Christian Republicans have said about them: Sen Bill Ratliff called them an "embarrassment for the state of Texas and the governor." Karl Rove, your own political adviser, said, "I thought I was a right-winger, but these people are out there...In the carnival of life, they are in a very distant booth." Jack Christie has been quoted as saying, "It's a waste of time to try to placate these people." Words used to describe them are "run amok," "insatiable," "dissembling," and "utterly resistant to compromise." Democrat Board member Rene Nunez is of the opinion that "their hidden agenda is to make public education look as bad as possible so that they can get support from the citizens of Texas for a full-blown voucher system." Last year they got you, Mr. Bush, to rewrite new standards for Texas schools, using their own consultants to help, then they turned down the result as not being tough enough. One state official said, "These people cannot take yes for an answer." Yet, governor, the word that trickled down to Mr. Christie from on high was "we should just go ahead and not worry about these sideshows." Are you truly aware of the harm these people have caused to education in Texas during your watch? You have not given enough support to your own appointees, particular Moses and Christie, to curb such irrational, destructive behavior by this board run amok. Instead, your tacit acceptance of their behavior might suggest you are supporting their goals. Since it's bound to get worse next year, where do you stand and what would you specifically do, if re-elected, to get the theo-conservatives on the board under control next year? (NYT,10/11)
9. Your answers to the education questions on the Eagle Forum Questionnaire suggest a a certain ambivalance about allowing the State Board of Education any more leeway to destroy the state educational system. I'm sure you've noticed that the Eagle Forum questions reflect the desires of the theocratic members of the board. While you say the board should be elected, not appointed,allowing the farthest-right members of the board to get elected in districts with very low voter turnout, you're unwilling to return textbook selection authority to them. However, you neglect to answer three Eagle Forum questions, so perhaps you could answer them now: one, should oversight of the Texas Education Agency be returned to the Board? two, should Texas reject federal funding for Goals 2000 and school-to-work, and three, do you believe that "education vouchers would become 'cupons for government control' of private schools unless a constitutional ammendment is passed to prevent ANY regulation of private schools"?
10. Of course, Governor, some of the horses are out of the barn already. Your past capitulation to the board has allowed them to grant charters to over 100 new proposed charter schools this year against the wishes of Commissioner Moses and in spite of the fact that 7 of the 19 presently in operation received "low performance" evaluations and only one was "recognized." Further, organizations are requesting charter school networks of up to 30 schools. The "Houston Chronicle" has reported that in San Antonio two ex-amusement park operators are opening up a board-approved charter school in an abandoned bar. Next, the board is working on state-paid vouchers to private schools, taking money away from public schools in need of improvement. Just this week we learn that Putting Children First has sent out pro-voucher mailings at the cost of $11,000 to Austin schoolchildren. Not their parents, mind you, but the children. As of today PCF claims to have the support of Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, but it's no secret that he "pulled his supoport from the group earlier this year" for violating his rule of "not engaging in partisan-style politics." (AAS,10/16) Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation claims you will support a voucher bill at the next meeting of the state legislature in January, and Putting Children First claims it has your support for their goals. Would you support a bill to give state money to private schools through vouchers, and would you include giving state money to private parties who have given students voucher money to go to private schools?
11.Guv, with all due respect...how often have you heard that at the beginning of a tough question?...but with all due respect, why don't you tell the people of Texas about your real plans for the next four years. The money machine is in place, your reps outside of Texas are being selected, your major campaign contributors have the needed media empire in place. No one in Vegas will take an even bet that you'll be acting governor of Texas in 12 months. If anyone out there wants to bet me that the Guv will be around by this time next year, please contact me. I need the money to take care of my campaign expenses. George, it's pretty obvious what you plan to do if re-elected. Between November and the end of the legislative session beginning in January you'll work on bills like getting public money into those private schools and cutting the property taxes for the benefit of your wealthy friends. Then, come Spring, you're gone. While you're here, most of your time will be spent preparing to leave. When you're gone, you're gone. What kind of way is that to treat the people of Texas? Why should the people of Texas elect you for a few months of part-time work?
12.Mr. Bush, I see we're running out of time and I never did get to talk to you about your ill-informed environmental program. To tell the truth, I don't know who's pushed you around more during your term in office, the industrial polluters or the school board. But I need to tell you about a joke I heard the other day. Someone told me that Rick Perry's somewhere to the right of the doomsday machine. Now I know that's an exaggeration, but compared to Rick Perry, you're a moderate. As much as I worry about beating you in the race we're running, I worry about such a partisan, inflammatory, divisive person as Lt. Governor and, if you were to win and leave, as Governor. As governor, I would probably have as much difficulty dealing with him and his theocratic friends and privatized business pals as you have had with the school board, maybe even more. John Sharp, Perry's opponent, has said in jest that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is Democrats feel badly when the take your money, but in his ads he indicates that he will represent Texas as Lt. Governor, implying Perry will represent his much more limited partisan interests. I believe there's another obvious difference between Sharp and Perry. When they were both Aggies in the same class, Sharp was President of the Student Body and Perry was a cheerleader. Nothing has changed. Let's hope, for both our sakes, Sharp beats Perry in November. If you're still Governor next year, you won't feel as guilty about leaving if Sharp takes over your office. Will you support me on this one? Come on, George, nobody's watching, they're all out there at the Friday night high school football games. George...? That's ok, take your time...
MAURO: "TEXAS DESERVES BETTER THAN BUSH." POLITEX: TEXAS DESERVES BETTER THAN FAKE DEBATE.With no direct rebuttal and the candidates not questioning each other, we're in for a real yawner this evening. Apparently, Garry agreed to make nice for George to get a free TV spot. Here are some questions Mauro will not be in a position to ask. 10/16
PRIVATIZING, POLITICIZING, AND PULVERIZING TEXAS PUBLIC EDUCATION.The Guv recently shared his vision of his coming second term with the editors of the "Austin American-Statesman" in his most comprehensive policy interview to date. In it, he said that public education will be his #1 priority and $3.6 billion of the projected state $6 billion surplus will go to public education. This is incorrect, since he went on to say that $2 billion of the $3.6 billion will go to property tax relief. What this means is that 55% of the state surplus set aside for public education will most benefit our wealthiest citizens for non-educational uses. "Some of Bush's former business partners and some of his largest campaign contributors are heavily invested in commercial real estate that pays millions of dollars a year in school taxes." (HC, 9/8) Another $1.5 billion will go for ongoing non-educational needs. Prison upkeep was the only specific mentioned in this category. Finally, the remaining near billion will go to cut taxes. While W. has made a big deal of cutting sales taxes for a specific time period by announcing his proposal in a local drug store, a greater share of the near-billion cut will go to R&D tax credits and the elimination of "small" businesses from the franchise tax. As Politex has previously said, "It's business as usual."
Getting back to the public education package, $1 billion would go to local districts to do as they please and the remaining $600 million would go to programs geared to end social promotions,new facilities, textbooks, after school programs, and AP programs and training. While nothing is earmarked for teachers, the Guv assumed the local districts could use some of their $1 billion to do that if they wished. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the work of Texas' teachers. Of course, this is intentional, for two reasons. First, Bush does not think of public school teachers as his political friends. Secondly, he appears to think of nonprofit, private educational corporations as both valuable political contributors and the educational wave of the future. As previously reported, he and Perry received $66,000 in contributions from just one such company, Voyager Expanded Learning, and such after-school companies are undoubtedly anticipating returns on their political investments during a next Bush/Perry term. Bush has already recommended that Voyager be awarded $21 mil for its after-school programs and Perry one-upped him by recommending $45 mil plus stronger protection from lawsuits. Meanwhile, Bush-appointed Education Commissioner Mike Moses announced that Voyager, unlike other companies that provide after-school programs, did not have to follow state regulations. The next step would be to have the regulations relaxed for all such companies.
As pressure continues to be placed on the state public school system with demands for zero tolerance social promotion and increased programs, from reading in the grades to advanced placement in high schools, the amount of money needed to fund such ambitious plans is not forthcoming, dooming the schools to failure and allowing the private sector to "come to the rescue." As it stands now, the after-school companies could expand their offerings to compete with school district staffs and programs in certain areas the Guv mentioned in his interview: minimizing social promotions, maximizing reading comprehension, TAAS re-test preparation, expanding AP training, both for students and teachers, and in-service teacher training, particularly in up-to-date reading programs. When Bush stands under company banners to announce educational plans, as he did in August, he's doing his part to encourage a privatizing of public education in Texas.(to be continued)(DMN,9/8+AAS,9/20), Austex, 9/20
"HOUSTON CHRONICLE" AND "AUSTIN STATESMAN" BOTH BACK SHARP OVER PERRY FOR LT. GOVERNOR AND, BY IMPLICATION, ACTING GOV., STATE'S MOST POWERFUL POSITIONS.Statesman" says "combination of vision, drive, and smarts will serve Sharp well as presiding officer of the Texas Senate." "Chronicle" believes that Sharp will enhance, not undermine Texans' freedom and opportunity. On the Perry Watch, Molly Ivins describes the type of litmus test Perry has most likely passed in order to become the favorite of the "theocratic right," the voters' guide questionnaire for candidates from Citizens for Better Government. And Bruce Davidson tells us that Rick is itchin' to Perrymander the Texas Constitution. 10/4
BUSH AUGUST TRIAGE FAILS AS DPS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATORS HAVE NOW QUIZZED HOUSING OFFICIAL ABOUT APPOINTEE-DIRECTOR WHO RESIGNED UNDER CLOUDBush Dept. of Housing scandal continues to grow and expand on four separate topics as DPS, Texas Rangers, FBI, and HUD investigate. See also "Campaign '98," 8/29/98. 10/3
GOP GOVERNOR-NON-ELECT CANDIDATE RICK PERRY RECEIVED 5% ($393K) OF HIS CAMPAIGN FUNDS FROM VOUCHER PEOPLE OUT TO DESTROY PUBLIC EDUCATIONAlthough Perry disagreed with this assessment by Dem candidate John Sharp, the mission statement of his major voucher contributor, Putting Children First, is "school choice": parents' use of "public education dollars...to send their children to the school, public or private, of their choice." The group also advocates charter schools and (get this) "tuition tax credits for businesses helping students exercise educational choice, " leading Sharp to reply, "What's really happening is a bunch of people ... want to destroy the public school system...and...make money off tax dollars." Sharp says Perry has told his Putting Children First contributors he will "run over any school board or school superintendent that stands in our way." (The House vote in the last session for state funding of private school vouchers ended in a 68-68 tie.) What happened to the GOP goal of local school control? 10/1
INTO THE BUSHES: PERRY FEATURES BOTH GEORGES IN NEW TV AD TO BOLSTER FALLING NUMBERSWith 3 weeks to go, Rick forced to play best card early to offset Houston/Austin newspapers for Sharp. 10/10
HISPANICS DECLARE "MAJOR VICTORY" OVER BUSH IN LULAC VOTING DISCRIMINATION WIN U.S. Justice Department finds that the Guv erred and GOP judge appointee has been sitting illegally for 2 years. 10/2
POTS CALL KETTLE BLACK: GUV'S MINIONS ACCUSE MAURO OF BAD MATH After Bush projected education's portion of the state surplus at $3.6 billion and was $2 billion off (see 9/20 below), his shrubs say Garry's off on his budget proposals. 10/8
CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS DOG BUSH-PERRY EDUCATION PLANS.In August the Guv announced an after-school educational plan to be run by nonprofit or private corporations under a Voyager Expanded Learning company banner at a Houston elementary school. Previously, Bush-appointed Education Commissioner Mike Moses announced that Voyager, unlike other companies that provide after-school programs, did not have to follow state regulations. Now, the "Dallas Morning News" informs us that Bush has been given campaign contributions of $45,000 from Voyager backers and lieutenant governor hopeful Rick Perry has received $21,000 from the same sources. Bush wants the next legislature to put $25 mil into such programs; Perry has suggested $45 mil plus stronger protections for companies such as Voyager from injury lawsuits. Bush spinmeister Karen Hughes answers these latest conflict-of-interest charges by saying that so many people have contributed to Bush that it's impossible to do anything without benefit to a campaign contributor. (Have to admit, she's getting creative!) The Perry spokesman simply said Rick just wants to help Texas families, but did not indicate which ones. Austex, 9/8
$11M IN 3 MONTHS AND BUSH CAN'T AFFORD EDITOR? Bush seeks more money with untruth: Mauro's "on TV with misleading ads." 10/6
PRO-DEMOCRAT BLACK MINISTERS GROUP ENDORSES BUSH. NOW, HE WILL GIVE THEM MONEY.Dah. Color Politex naive. Hey, Guv, give The Bush Watch some scratch and you might get an endorsement from us, too ! 9/30
BUSH WEASEL MACHINE IN HIGH GEAR. The "Statesman" headline read "Bush Tax-Cut Proposal Keys in on Medicine, Health Aids," and his photo op took place in a drugstore in a heavily-populated Hispanic area of Austin. He was there to offer a tax-cut plan of $400 million to the voters, but why he should announce it in a drugstore and not the swank offices of some cybermill out on the North loop is beyond Politex, since, according to the "Statesman's" figures based on the state's 6.25% sales tax, the greatest beneficiaries will be the relatively small group of businesses involved in research and development. They would get $110 million in tax credits, while the overwhelmingly large population that purchases health aids and over-the-counter medicine, excepting birth-control devices, will realize a saving of $100 million. In other words, it's business as usual: the Guv's friends, associates, and contributors get a disproportionate share and the facts are hidden from view as much as possible. The news release on the Bush web site (9/3) does not mention the $110 million R+D tax credit at all, and still manages to come up with a $400 mil total based on, get this, "estimates of the biennial fiscal impact." Of course, what can you expect from a political web site that ends a news release with "Read the Disclaimer." (AAS, 9/4) Austex, 9/7
WHY THE BUSH HISPANIC VOTE IS ERODING: A NUCLEAR DUMP IS WORTH A THOUSAND PICTURES.The Texas Poll worked up between 8/12 and 8/27 shows that the Guv's Hispanic vote slipped from 67% to 51%, even in the face of a TV and radio ad blitz geared to the Hispanic voter. What happened? Perhaps while Hispanics appreciated his on-site comforting of the Del Rio flood victims, a visit to the nearby Rio Bravo and El Cenizo flood-threatened colonias in Laredo would have assured them that he's taking personal responsibility for their horrible living conditions that have worsened during his four years as governor. Passing off this problem to a delegate was not a good idea. Perhaps his target audience recognized the condescension in his strategy statements about how he would show the national GOP how to get the Hispanic vote (see "His Words"). Perhaps they recognized how little they would benefit from his expressed programs and how vague his language was when they confronted him about it at their LULAC convention this summer . Perhaps they recognized that the great photo-op picture of the Guv in his navy blue jacket with his name and the Texas seal stiched on in gold thread comforting Feliciana Gomez in a Del Rio shelter does not make up for his active participation in placing a nuclear waste dump in the little Hispanic town of Sierra Blanca and then defending that decision in the face of common sense . AAS,9/1
RESPONSIBILITY AND BUSH'S HOUSING SCANDAL For an (unannounced) presidential candidate who is using "responsibility" as one of his campaign themes, it's read my lips, not my actions as far as the growing housing scandal is concerned. Some background: the Guv appointed 7 of 9 members of the state's housing agency and two of those appointees are in trouble. First, the agency has been given $l84 million since l992 to spend on affordable housing for the poor and the elderly, and over 45% of that total has yet to be spent. If the money isn't spent soon, the government will take some of it back. Bush appointee Larry Manley, who resigned last week as executive director, said he resigned because he wanted to be an investment banker again. Since Manley has been aware of mismanagement charges for months, shouldn't he have been responsible enough to talk to those charges? He also said he wasn't resigning because another Bush appointee, Florita Griffin, is being investigated by the FBI because she has been accused of setting up fraudulent real estate deals between the nine-member agency board and a Bryan-area low income housing group of which she is a secret member. She has denied allegations but has not been quoted about her responsibility to the people of Texas. Although Bush spinmeisters Edwards and Hughes tell us what the Guv is doing to put out this embarrassing fire, they fail to indicate how responsible he feels for appointing the two members of the agency who are presently under a cloud. Typically, their remarks read like his history with Manley and Giffin began when the scandal broke. Finally, the source of this information, the "Austin American-Statesman," has not behaved responsibly to its readers. With a vague, non-Bush one-column headline pushed nearly off the page by a five-column, full-color picture of UT's Memorial Stadium and three opening paragraphs of Bush spin, it isn't until we get to end of paragraph 5 on the very back inner page of section 2 that we realize George has a serious problem on his hands, and it's of his own making. 8/29/98, Austex
YO' MAMA VOTED FOR ME, BRO': BUSHWORTH'S LANGUAGE SKILLS AND A COMEDY OF ERRORS. Bush hopes to attract both African-American and Hispanic voters in record numbers with no special message for either. Vote for me because I'm me and you're you? I think not. Vote for me because I speak your language? Well.... here's what the Guv says about language with respect to the African-American strategy: "Obviously, the Spanish component is not there, but...it's how you make sure the message is heard." To make sure his message will be heard in the African-American community, W. has hired Willie and Gwen Richardson, a Houston, black, husband and wife team with no previous experience as "paid campaign consultants" but with some negative IRS experience. Owners of "Headway," a politically conservative magazine with a black focus, they owe the government back taxes and are late on filing a recent tax report to the Feds.
While Bush has had some documented experience as a businessman with a late report to the government, it's more probable that the Richardsons were hired for their black conservative views. That's like hiring Clarence Thomas to talk up your candidacy at a convention of black lawyers. And get this, a major segment of their job is not to produce radio ads, but to "help make sure" the Bush line is heard on black talk shows. Based on what the Richardsons have espoused in "Headway," will they have their (paid?) black representatives call in and talk about how teacher orgainzations are "anti-religion"? Or how about how the school voucher issue and homosexuality go "hand-in-hand"? While, in fairness, it should be noted that the Richardsons have attacked "code-word" bigots in the GOP, some of their comments may define bigotry as being limited to an intolerance based upon the color of one's skin. At any rate, Willie Richardson has likened his role to that of a "matchmaker," setting up a "courtship" between Bush and Texas' black voters. With a matchmaker like the Richardsons, a one night stand seems more likely than a marriage. We're getting your message, Guv, but it's not the one you wanted to deliver. AAS,8/23
BUSH IS IN THE HISPANIC DUMPS AGAIN. Here's the way the Guv does business. He or a representative contacts someone in power requesting an action. When the request is granted the result is passed on to a previously-selected group and plans are carried out. When the public smells the foul odor of the deal, Bush responds as though he had nothing to do with it, indicates that no final decision has been made and it's in one committee or the other, and that when it eventually comes to his desk he'll do what's best for the people of Texas, providing his hands aren't tied, and by the time it reaches him they usually are, or so he says. Bush has learned from a master. This is how dad operated as President, which led some critics to call him a wimp while he was actually being a weasel. Keep in mind, dad was once the head of the CIA, an organization that does its work under the radar of public knowledge and opinion. Interestingly, the characteristic response by both father and son when a covert plan is discovered is disdain or anger. Perhaps that's why the Guv's protective spinmeisters are kept so busy answering embarrassing questions while W. keeps off stage.
For example, many wonder about the Guv's motives in pushing such a political hot potatoe, a nuclear waste site in the middle of a heavily Hispanic area, and then defending the idea with dad-speak in the middle of a campaign to get the Hispanic vote. In a letter to the AAS today, Jaime Preez of El Paso claims that Bush "requested the dropping of the protective ammendments on the Compact legislation in a letter to Congress. This ensures that Sierra Blanca will become a national nuclear dump site if it is approved." (It looks like it will be, with the active backing of Hutchison and Gramm.) "On the other hand, (Bush) assured Mexico and border communities that he would "defend" Texas by going to the Legislature and assure that the dump would be limited to Maine, Vermont, and Texas." In other words, I'll make sure that, if my Hispanic critics are right, only three states will poison your water and threaten El Paso's water supply. Last I heard, even this action would not prevent the three states from renting space to other states. Here is how syndicated columnists Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez put it in today's AAS : "Due to congressional shenanigans, the facility might have to accept waste from the entire country. Opposing the location are the Texas Democratic Party, the state's Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, 20 counties and l3 cities in Texs, five states, two cities in Mexico, and the Mexican Congress." Bush says he'll make his final decision on the matter after his election. By that time, according to his strategy, he would have gotten the record-breaking Hispanic vote percentage that he is counting on for his presidential run. To paraphrase a Bush minority advisor, it appears that his "courtship" of the Hispanic vote will lead to another one-night stand. 8/24,Austex
THE GUV'S SMALL WORLD AND A "BAD IDEA." W. calls Harriet Miers (53), his personal attorney and a $10,000 contributor to his '98 campaign, a "pit bull in size 6 shoes," and chose her to lead the Texas Lottery Commission. The "Law Review" has dubbed her one of America's "most influential lawyers." Now that her Dallas firm has merged with Bush-appointed Lottery Commissioner John Hill's of Houston, Hill says it's a "bad idea" for him to remain on the three-member Lottery Commission. Why, then, will it take him until his terms runs out in February to leave? Six months is a long time in politics and business to allow a "bad idea" to fester, Guv. (HST,8/21+AAS,8/23) 8/24, Austex
POLITEX IS CONFUSED.On Sunday the "Statesman" reported that "gubernatorial spokeswoman Karen Hughes will leave the state payroll Sept. l to move full-time to the Bush re-election campaign." Does that mean she has been on the state payroll full-time and will be until the end of August? If so, isn't this statement by Hughes the words of a campaign spin-meister, not those of a spokesperson for the State of Texas ?: " 'We are beginning what we believe is an unprecedented campaign to speak directly to Hispanics,' said Karen Hughes, Bush's spokeswoman. 'Governor Bush's campaign depends on the active involvement of a lot ot Texans, including Hispanics.'" ("Statesman, 8/ l5) With over $l4 million in his campaign coffers, it hardly seems fair to use taxpayers' money to further private political aspirations. It doesn't seem legal, either. On the other hand, if Hughes can wear two hats , one as the governor's spokesperson and one as the candidate's spokesperson, what are the legal rules that she's following? Austex, 8/l7
HISPANIC WHO DEFENDS BUSH IS FOUND: "This campaign is powerful in the sense that it's more than just re-electing the governor. It's really reaching out to Hispanics, recognizing their importance to Texas," says Luis Garcia. However, rather than a grassroots supporter, Hispanic Garcia represents the San Antonio advertising agency that is in charge of the Guv's Spanish-language ad blitz. W's goal is to break the Repuiblican record by getting 40% of the Hispanic vote, but since he's presently holding 67% of that vote in the most recent polls, it appears to be a bogus goal with an eye towards wh2k politics. (AAS, 8/l5), Austex, 8/l7
"HE'S A RICH GUY WITH MONEY TO BURN," SAYS REPUBLICAN SPOKESMAN. Now that we're less than l00 days from the elections, Bush will start his TV blitz this week, reaching into his $l4.5 million war chest. Mauro, holding on to his $221,000, will not be able to buy TV time until the very end. Oh, and the above statement was made by Scott McClellan, spokesman for Republican candidate for Comptroller Carole (Keystone) Rylander, talking about the TV blitz by Paul Hobby, her opponent.AAS,8/11
HISPANICS ASK BUSH: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO US LATELY? As the GOP-led U.S. Senate gets ready to rubber stamp the GOP-led House vote to turn Texas into a nuclear waste outhouse for every other state in the nation, our Guv continued to defend his support of the bill as well as the choice of the largely Hispanic town of Sierra Blanca as the waste site. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a foe of the bill, said the site was chosen because "it was perceived that the people of Sierra Blanca lack the political power to be able to do something to protect their neighborhood." (AAS,7/30) When W. is through walking door-to-door and talking to the Hispanic residents of the state's colonias (see below), perhaps he can walk door-to-door in Sierra Blanca and tell the town's Hispanic residents how a nuclear dump in their neighborhood shows his concern for Hispanic voters. (See "His Rivals") 7/3l, Austex
HISPANICS ASK THE GUV: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US LATELY? Bush is leading Mauro 67%-20% among Hispanic voters (AAS,6/25), and at the LULAC convention last month he said the growing bloc of Hispanic voters will make an "enormous difference" in future elections (HC,7/l2). Elsewhere, he has said his campaign for the Hispanic vote will serve as a model for Republicans across the nation. (See "His Words.") His conditional defense of bilingual education and his opposition to U.S military border patrols are welcomed by Hispanics,but not his defense of proposed nuclear waste dumps near those same borders. Some even think he's simply doing business as usual: one of his major political contributions come from the owner of a Spanish-lauguage TV network. The Guv could really demonstrate he means what he says by doing what he has said he would do: "I intend to...go to the barrios and knock on the doors and campaign."
He should begin by knocking on the doors of the l75,000 Texans who live in colonias, "residential developments lacking such basics as potable water, wastewater systems, paved streets, adequate draainage, proper house construction, and standard mortgage financing." The Austin "Statesman" recently published a graphic series of reports detailing how greed and neglect on the part of business and government led to impoverished communities lacking running water and basic sewer services. This led to sickness and disease, and, although the State provided $470 million in l990 to begin to fix the problem, paperwork, piecemeal action, and legal battles by the utilities over jurisdictions have slowed down results to a trickle: today, only "l3% of the intended beneficiaries can draw a glass of tap water or flush a toilet as a result of the effort." (AAS, 7/12) Although the program began during the Guv Ann years, the project has spiraled out of control during the Bush years. If the Guv really means what he says about earning the Hispanic vote, let him turn this program around by telling us what he plans to do about it, and then having us see him doing it. Right now, as acting Governor, his inactions speak louder than his words. 7/28, Austex
HOUSEKEEPERS FOR BUSH is a six-member group in El Paso who "believe that Bush will create jobs, though they aren't sure how." Karen Olsson of "The Texas Observer" interviewed one-half of the membership in El Paso for the 6/l9 issue and learned that the group is the brainchild of philanthropist-gallery owner Adair Margo. Margo,who is the Guv's El Paso campaign director, has her gallery in the basement of her husband's insurance company building. Her housekeeper, Adela Gonzalez, was the first member of Housekeepers for Bush. Two of Gonzalez's friends were added thereafter, while the other three members remain unnamed. Housekeeper Gonzalez reported that the three friends make more than the average El Pasa housekeeper and are members of the country club. As for Mauro, Gonzalez confided, "I don't even like his name. That's all you can say. He's divorced. People who work close to him, they don't like him." We're looking forward to Olsson's field reports on three other very real Bush campaign groups: Ballplayers for Bush, Homebuilders for Bush, and Shoppers for Bush. 7/ 26, Austex
THE GUV USED A BUSH LEAGUE TACTIC TO ONE-UP MAURO AT THE TEXAS SHERIFF'S ASSOCIATION. He spoke to the group on Monday without distraction from Mauro, telling the lawmen that safe streets is his second priority, next to education. Mauro was part of the cattle-call of candidates the following day, forced to defend himself against comments by Rick Perry,who proceeded him to the podium. Bush previously called Perry his "philosophical soul mate," and is counting on him to win the race for Lieutenant Governor so that the Guv can move on to the big tent in 2000 without guilt. As for Mauro, he's doing what any candidate would do with a 50% poll deficit and four months to go, he's throwing stuff up on the walls to see what will stick. So far, nothing really has, and if it did, he would need much more cash than he has at present to let folks know. (AAS 7/l4+l5), 7/ l8 Austex
IT WAS BUSH VS. MAURO AT THE TEACHER'S CONVENTION. The TCTA membership listened with skepticism as the candidates spelled out their plans for Texas education in the coming years. Mauro promised specific pay raises and classroom buildings, but Bush said he would wait on next year's budget numbers. He further frustrated his listeners by telling them that their salaries had already increased 27.9% during his tenure. He was wrong, it was 9.3%, and most never saw the money, only those teaching in the poorer state minimum districts. While Mauro said he wanted the state to give college scholarships to high school students with at least a "B" average, Bush said he wanted the state to give money to pay "private" (read: "religious") school tuition.AAS, 7/ 10
"GEORGE BUSH IS A TRAITOR TO TEXAS." So says anti-dump Sierra Blanca citizen Bill Addington regarding the Guv's support of the radioactive dump site in the face of Tuesday's license rejection of the project by state hearings examiners because the site is on a geological fault. Although Bush said he was "troubled" by the report, he did not indicate that he would tell his appointees on the three-member Conservation Commission to abide by the hearings report, as Garry Mauro has suggested. AAS.7/ 9
DUMP BUSH DUMP. That's what l2 Mexican officials wanted to tell the Guv in person last Wednesday, but he didn't meet with them. They claim that his proposed three-state dump site for radioactive waste in Sierra Blanco, a Texas town l6 miles from Mexico's border atop an active earthquake zone, is a violation of the La Paz Agreement of l983. Two months ago the Mexican Congress went on record as opposing the dump, which will threaten the town's water supply, but, as Coahuila state representative Rafael Rico says, "Guv. Bush isn't taking our country seriously." Although W. speaks Spanish, it appears to be more of a business tool than an aid to human communication. 6/ 26, AC
THIS WEEK BUSH ADDED OVER 1 MILLION TO HIS CAMPAIGN WAR CHEST. Although he had over $l5 million vs. Mauro's $3 million, his spin people say he needs the dough for his fight with the Texas Land Commissioner, not for a later run for President. Yeh, sure. Last week's Texas Poll has him ahead of Mauro by 53 percentage points, 70-l7.
"CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS ARE A PRIMARY CAUSE OF AIR POLLUTION IN TEXAS said Director of Texans for Public Justice Craig McDonald yesterday, as his group released "Dirty Air, Dirty Money," a report which indicated the Guv has received $l93,500 in PAC contributions between l995 and l997. The response from the Guv's office was the money was a drop in his bucket of $l5 million in campaign contributions (This is known as the Kay (Baby) Hutchison defense.), and Bush should be praised, rather than condemmed for trying to jawbone industrial polluters into compliance (This is known as the Phill (Otto) Gramm defense.). In response, McDonald's group pointed out that the grandfathered polluters that contributed the money to the Guv's PAC represent at least 43% of the state's 2,500 plants and emit as much smog as l8 million cars.They estimate that the Guv's efforts have resulted in a miniscule 3% reduction. The Guv has responded that he is "proud" of his environmental record, but, based on reports, did not go on to explain the source of his pride. For the record, all but one of the members of the Texas House subcommittee looking into grandfathered polluters also took PAC money from them; Warren Chisum, R-Pampa (2l % of his total campaign contributions in '96 and '97)and Mike Jackson, R-La Porte (l3%) were prominint among them.HC and KVUE-TV (Austin), both 6/ 9/ 98
THE TIGUAS HAVE CALLED THE GUV'S BLUFF by filing a lawsuit seeking to have their casino slots declared equal to the State's lottery games, hence legal. Further, they are claiming lands both in and out of El Paso as their own including (Surprise!) the Bush-backed proposed nuclear waste dump at nearby Sierra Blanca, l2 miles from the Rio Grande. Future tribal goals are a hotel and expanded parking near the casino, an expansion of their tobacco and gasoline sales, and the takeover of Hueco Tanks State Park 30 miles from El Paso. (The Kickapoos,an Eagle Pass Indian tribe with a casino, are presently participating in a similar Federal suit that was initiated last year.)AAS,6/ 7+11/ 98
IT'S NOW A THREE-WAY RACE FOR THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE WITH BUSH, MAURO, AND MORALES AS CANDIDATES. Lame duck Attorney General Dan Morales has started his unannounced drive for the Governor's mansion 4 1/2 years before the election, making Texas politics the wonderful mess that it customarily is. This explanation for the A-G's behavior has him creating political and financial support groups while he's still in a position to garner name recognation. Although the U.S. Justice Department and 20 states have sued Microsoft, Dan decided Texas would not join in on the suit after pressure from Dell, Campaq, and other members of the Texas "community." (AAS,5/l9) According to Morales, although UT is appealing the Hopwood anti-affirmative action decision of the courts, it is doing so without State of Texas support because of his personal beliefs and an inability to find a point of appeal. (AAS,5/5) Presently, Morales is trying to get more than $l5.3 million from the butt makers, based on a clause in the settlement that kicked in when Minnesota got a better deal than Texas.(AAS,5/ 19) His most recent move has been to ask a federal judge to fine the Guv for sticking his political nose into the lawyers' l5% cut of the action, claiming that Bush has no legal standing in the matter.(AAS,5/ 27) (Of course, Bush is on auto-pilot when it comes to shafting trial lawyers, since his war chest comes from the businesses that fear lawsuits, leaving the trial lawyers to contribute to Democratic causes. Furthermore, when the Presidential primaries roll around, the Guv needs to be seen as tough on trial laywers or his fellow Republicans could do some serious damage. Remember folks, much of what Bush does today is for the ultimate benefit of the big show in 2000.) 6/ 3/ 98, Austex
THE GUV AND EDUCATION.As noted below, Bush TV spots are presently dealing with the program to have kids read by the third grade. That's good! BUT WHAT ABOUT THE 24% OF TEXAS ADULTS WHO HAVE SERIOUS DIFFICULTY READING NEWSPAPERS AND ROADMAPS? According to the National Institute for Literacy, Texas ranks third from the bottom in adult literacy. How many of these Texans are products of the state's poorly funded educational program? While they were receiving an inadequate education, the Guv's Texas Rangers baseball team was receiving a school property tax exemption for its $l90 million Ballpark in Arlington. 5/ 10/ 98,Austex (AAS)
HERE'S HOW THE GOVERNOR'S RACE IS SHAPING UP THUS FAR. The Guv is pushing warm, fuzzy issues like improving kids' reading scores and Garry Mauro is attacking Bush's stands on social issues such as HMO's and the right to your doctor of choice. Bush is for it IF you have enough money to go outside of your HMO and select your doctor. The Republicans want Bush to win with warm fuzzies so as not to create problems down the road to the Presidency. They are telling the Dems to put a leash on Mauro or they'll turn Bush into Godzilla and he'll destroy the entire Democratic ticket from top to bottom. The Dems think that will happen if they don't use Mauro as an attack dog, but many of them are keeping their distance from Garry. Right now, the Democrat who will clearly gain something from a continuation of Mauro attacks on Bush is Al Gore, and that's why Garry is probably looking to Washington for TV blitz money. May Day , Austex
THE GUV AND THE ENVIRONMENT. While the Clean Air Act took effect in Texas in l97l, a number of plants were grandfathered in. Twenty-six years later, the Texas Conservation Commission says these same plants are producing most of Texas' industrial air pollution. Are you surprised? Yet, rather than insisting that these bad citizens comply with current air quality laws, the guv and the commission have suggested that Texas should "urge" the offenders to reduce emissions voluntarily and impose "intermediate" standards. "Intermediate" to when, the end of the world? Get serious, Guv! (AAS,3/12) UPDATE. Based on a Houston Chronicle report by Bill Dawson on 3 /31 /98, it appears that around 30 companies, including Exxon, Shell, and Dow have been given Texas Conservation Commission air pollution permits. This comes after Bush couldn't persuade Texas companies to back a law de-grandfathering them and Democratic candidate Gary Mauro made it a campaign issue. Both Mauro and environmental groups now are pointing to the permit as a "corporate loophole" that lacks both substance and accountability. Perhaps the Guv's a weasel after all!
THE GUV AND CAMPAIGN REFORM. Rather than placing one contributer's name per page in his campaign disclosure report, as did former Gov. Bill Clements, he did TWO NAMES per page , thus costing any interested party $l,200 for a copy of the report. The Guv's handlers said they wamted to make the list ridiculously expensive to discourage opponents from getting it so as not to put pressure on the contributers. Since his political opponents can surely afford a copy of the list, I guess that just leaves the common voter in the dark. Thanks Guv! (AAS,2/17)