Politics & Policy

Reporting and commentary on the Legislature, campaigns, and elected officials
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Politics & Policy|
May 31, 1998

Family Values

AS IF TEXAS Democrats didn’t have enough trouble, the state party is losing one chairman (incumbent Bill White) and not getting another (uncandidate Cecile Richards, daughter of Ann) because both wanted to spend more time with their families. White, who describes himself as “not all that partisan—I prefer to find

Health|
May 31, 1998

Rx for Scandal

The poor quality of health care in the state’s penal system is enough to make you sick. Plus: Inside Tex Moncrief’s IRS mess; a River Oaks bookie is tried for murder; UT’s writing program achieves Texas-size success; and things get woolly for thestate’s mohair producers.

Politics & Policy|
April 30, 1998

City Limits

How serious is the fight by suburbs to limit the annexation power of cities? It’s become a matter of life and death. In Kingwood, which was recently swallowed by Houston, opponents of annexation are blaming several deaths in the area on slow response time by Houston ambulances. Annexation is also

Politics & Policy|
April 1, 1998

Primary Cullers

Winners in the March 10 primaries:George W. Bush His archnemesis, former Republican state chairman Tom Pauken, failed to make the runoff for attorney general, while his point man for his strategy to win Hispanic votes, former Secretary of State Tony Garza, won the GOP nomination for railroad commissioner.Big Money The

Politics & Policy|
March 1, 1998

Learning His Lesson

George W. Bush’s plan to teach every child how to read by the third grade is unquestionably the right thing to do. So how come he’s gotten such mixed reviews? (“We’ve had a hard time,” admits a Bush staffer.) The answer, like much of politics these days, is in the

Politics & Policy|
January 1, 1998

President and Accounted For

BUSH VERSUS GORE: Is it the battle for president in 2000? No, it was the Houston mayoral runoff in December. When Vice President Al Gore, with his eye on the Democratic nomination two years hence, came to a fundraiser for eventual winner Lee Brown, Bill Clinton’s first drug czar, the

Politics & Policy|
January 1, 1998

Who killed the Texas Democratic party?

AT LEAST DAN MORALES knew that the mere proclamation he was going to have a press conference was not likely to stop the world in its tracks. The night before and all that morning, some supporters, as well as the attorney general himself, were busy calling around to say that

Politics & Policy|
December 1, 1997

Brown in Front

Ten reasons why former police chief Lee Brown is well positioned to be elected Houston’s first black mayor on December 6: (1) He ran stronger than expected in the November 4 primary, with 42 percent to Rob Mosbacher’s 29 percent. Both were projected to poll in the 30’s. (2) The

Politics & Policy|
November 1, 1997

Taking a Chance

The Texas Legislature may have killed the goose that laid the golden egg—and Governor George W. Bush’s goose could be cooked—if dire forecasts about state lottery revenue prove to be correct. To balance the state budget this past spring, lawmakers cut the winners’ share of lottery revenue from 55.5 percent

Politics & Policy|
November 1, 1997

The Revision Thing

The opening of the George Bush presidential library at Texas A&M is a good occasion to ask two questions on the mind of everyone but Bush himself: How good a president was he? And what sort of ex-president has he been?

Politics & Policy|
September 30, 1997

The (Non)candidate

George W. Bush faces a dilemma. What’s a poor front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination supposed to do when all anyone in the media wants to talk about is when he’s going to announce his intentions? Why don’t interviewers ask him about shoes or ships or sealing wax—anything but that?

Politics & Policy|
June 30, 1997

The Lighter Side of the Lege

Now that the 75th session of the Texas Legislature has officially come to a close, we constituents are left to reflect on some serious key issues — questions of abortion notification, property taxes, water quality, electric deregulation, and the zero tolerance laws concerning teen smoking and drinking — until the

Commonsense Conservatism

Remember the Sherlock Holmes story in which the great detective solves a mysterious death case because a dog did not bark at a thief in the night? The lesson is that what doesn’t happen can be just as important as what does happen—in crime or in the Legislature. (Please, no

Family Man

With his spectacles and bushy mustache, he looks like everybody’s favorite uncle, and appropriately, his niche in the Legislature is to take care of the kids: juvenile justice, safe schools, and adoption laws. In the age of family-values politics, Goodman brings a quiet rationality to issues that have been known

The Bill Doctor

Caught in a real-life episode of E.R., Senator Teel Bivins spent the final week of the legislative session performing triage on bills that were at death’s door. As our story begins, a perspiring Bivins frantically tries to revive Governor Bush’s charter schools program, which is among the 52 bills that

Master of the Playground

Hugo Berlanga said at the start of the session that he was tired. The time had come to do something else. He was burned-out.Mark it down that this burnout had a long fuse. Hugo—he’s a first-name figure—had a session for the ages. Through behind-the-scenes negotiations and timely amendments, he influenced

Special Awards

Best PunGovernor George W. Bush. Explaining at a pre-session gridiron dinner how he had turned a deaf ear to his wife’s entreaties that he purchase new formal wear for the event, Bush said he told her, “Read my lips. No new tuxes.”Going…Going…GoneThe legislative leadership team had a lot more on

Politics & Policy|
June 30, 1997

The Worst of the Worst

Say what you will about Arlene Wohlgemuth (and everybody did), but she will go down in legislative history. Way down. Wohlgemuth was the perpetrator of the Memorial Day Massacre, when in a fit of rage she killed 52 bills and managed to unite a previously divided House—against her.It is the

The One Hundred Club

Most legislators who land on the Worst list do so through ineptitude or blunder. John Shields is different: He actively auditioned for the role. He performed as if he had researched the bad old days and come up with a surefire course of action that the greenest freshman would know

Without Shame

Ask not what Senator Eddie Lucio’s bills do for the public; ask what they do for him. Lucio is a poster child for the kind of legislator whose primal urge is to please his friends, punish his enemies, and promote himself.What, do you suppose, lay behind his proposal to restrict

Zero Zero Zero

Bless his heart, he’s just in the wrong place. The Legislature is not right for him. His conservative beliefs are too extreme, his suspicions are too easily aroused, his learning curve is too flat. The man isn’t dumb. He’s got an MBA from Harvard. They read books there. But he

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