Party Poopers

On the surface, the letter looked perfectly innocuous. Right under the logo of the 1992 Republican National Convention, it began “Dear Transportation Volunteer” and went on to inform readers about an orientation meeting for people willing to shuttle visitors to the Houston convention. What the letter did not say was that with the convention just a month away, the volunteer operation has been plagued by internecine warfare and is, according to GOP sources in Houston, several thousand volunteers short.

Longtime GOP workers in Houston had anticipated that they would be rewarded with some plum assignments to work the convention—and some have landed the sought-after Astrodome ushering jobs. But the volunteer operation is run by the Houston Host Committee, a bipartisan operation. Many of the good assignments, say the disappointed GOP folks, have been snapped up by allies of former mayor Kathy Whitmire, whose Republican credentials, the GOP’ers say, range from scant to nonexistent.

Then the GOP loyalists got the Dear Transportation Volunteer letter in the mail. That only added bumps to the already-bruised feelings. The host committee had sent the letter to everyone who had filled out volunteer forms. “We are very excited to have you as a vital part of our Transportation team!” the letter said. Don’t count on it.

Robin Hood II

Another school- finance plan—yes, again—is making the Capitol rounds after an Austin judge vowed to cut off funding for public schools next June if the Legislature doesn’t come up with a solution to the crisis. His announcement took state leaders by surprise. The conventional wisdom inside the Capitol was that Judge Scott McCown would appoint a master to write a plan—and that suited a lot of legislators just fine. They wouldn’t have to cast an unpopular vote, and they could blame the outcome on meddling judges.

But now the Legislature must produce a plan or face the consequences. The options are limited and politically brutal: consolidation of school districts, which means small districts would lose their independence—and their football teams; state funding of education, which means that a state income tax would be necessary to

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