July 1997

Features

“Boom” Is a Four-letter Word

Jun 30, 1997 By Helen Thorpe

No one will admit we’re in the middle of one, even as the economy surges. How come? Because the last time we had it this good, bragging only hastened the arrival of another four-letter word: “bust.”

Dumb and Dumber, the Sequel

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Last session, passionate debate raged through the Capitol over which of these two East Texas freshmen was the worst member of the Senate. Given a second chance, Galloway and Nixon showed that they had learned…absolutely zero. “He doesn’t have two sessions of experience,” a Republican colleague said of Galloway. “He’s…

Comic Relief

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

His true peers are not members of the Legislature but rather Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, and Duncan Phyfe: Like these names, that of Charles Finnell has become synonymous with “furniture”—a term that in Capitol parlance refers to those members who, by dint of their inactivity or incapacity to grasp what…

Commonsense Conservatism

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

A License to Be Bad

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

The best that can be said about him is that he could have been worse—and was, just last session. Faults ranging from pettiness to mendacity, which landed him on the Worst list in 1995 (when we described him as “one of the more dismal products of democracy to reach the…

Family Man

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

Seldom Right

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Before Kevin Bailey erupted this session, sixteen years had passed since the House had seen an outspoken liberal leader in action. An extra two years would have been a blessing. Bailey is a demagogue straight from the old school—disposed to make personal attacks, preferring cliché to argument, always righteous in…

The Bill Doctor

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

Little Miss Perfect

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Every Catholic girls’ school has one student who is Little Miss Perfect. To the endless irritation of her peers, she never misses class, always does her homework, raises her hand to answer every question, bosses her classmates around, and is as prudish and humorless as the nuns. But don’t…

Master of the Playground

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

Why? Why? Why?

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Two veteran warriors are facing off, and the House is enjoying it immensely. Kim Brimer of Arlington, a former University of Houston football player and one of Speaker Laney’s chief lieutenants, is trying to pass his sports arena bill, which will let local governments use tax dollars to build stadiums…

Play of the Year

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Did he change the world? It’s too soon to tell. But this much is certain: Ron Wilson’s bill requiring scholarship athletes to meet regular admissions criteria at state universities was a stroke of legislative genius. Wilson, of course, was trying to make a point about the Hopwood decision, which…

Grand Hotel

Jun 30, 1997 By Patricia Sharpe

Why do reviewers from Condé Nast Traveler to the Zagat and Mobil guides swoon over Dallas’ Mansion on Turtle Creek? I wanted to find out, so I checked in.

Mr. Clout

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

The best tributes are the unexpected ones. As Senator David Sibley argued for his bill to halt the costly practice of school districts’ granting property-tax breaks to businesses, a seldom heard-from San Antonio Democrat named Greg Luna joined in the debate. “I’m so glad that a senator of your esteem…

Voting for the Children

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

At least he tried. He was the dominant figure in the session’s dominant issue, Governor Bush’s drive for significant property-tax relief, and he drove it farther than anyone thought possible, though not quite far enough. But the mere recapitulation of his role only begins to reflect what Paul Sadler…

Special Awards

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Best Pun Governor 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…Gone The legislative leadership team had a…

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

It is late in the session, and a sticky procedural issue has brought Senate debate to a momentary halt. Senators Teel Bivins of Amarillo and Royce West of Dallas are huddled beside a desk, puzzled about what to do. West, a Democrat, nods in the direction of Bill Ratliff, who…

The Worst of the Worst

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

Happy Doomsday

Jun 30, 1997 By Robert Draper

In the wake of Heaven’s Gate, the media marched en masse to Abilene, the home base of the House of Yahweh, whose charismatic leader, Yisrayl Hawkins, was supposed to be the next David Koresh. Not even close.

The One Hundred Club

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

Zero Zero Zero

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

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…

Radioactive

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

“If you’ve got me in your sights, I’d like to talk to you before you write anything,” said Kent Grusendorf in the closing hours of the session. He deserved a fair hearing. He is a thoughtful man who was once a fine legislator. But he has become the most radioactive…

Miscellany

Hail, Mary Ellen

Jun 30, 1997 By Jordan Mackay

For thirty years Mary Ellen Mark has made her name as a documentary photographer by not shying away from tough assignments, whether that means traveling for six months in India to shoot circus folk or infiltrating the world of runaway kids in Seattle. Chronicling life at Abilene’s House of Yahweh…

Reporter

CD and Book Reviews

Jun 30, 1997 By Texas Monthly

Hot CDs The real pleasure in Toni Price’s Sol Power (Antone’s/Discovery/Sire) is trying to peg her as country, blues, or folk. Whether she’s singing something silly and simple, such as “Cats and Dogs,” or taking the sultry and sublime route, as when she covers Allen Toussaint’s “Funky,” the Austinite offers…

Quiz Show

Jun 30, 1997 By Erin Gromen

What in the world can make learning fun? Would you believe—the National Geographic Society? When the staid Washington, D.C., institution wanted to turn the database of questions from its National Geography Bee into a computer game that would appeal to parents and kids alike, it turned to Austin’s Human Code,…

Stick a Rourke in It—It’s Done.

Jun 30, 1997 By Jordan Mackay

Most nights it’s an ordinary shopping center, but during the months of May and June, Fort Worth’s Town Center Mall became a war zone. That was the principal location where Mickey Rourke, the brawl-prone star of 9 1/2 Weeks and Diner, knocked out the indie feature Recoil. Rourke plays a…

Israel Hernandez

Jun 30, 1997 By Erin Gromen

Officially, Israel Hernandez is an aide to George W. Bush, but the 26-year-old is used to hearing all sorts of less-than-glamorous descriptions of his job, such as professional schlepper and purse carrier. But while it’s true he totes around the black canvas bag containing the governor’s stuff—personal numbers, signature cards,…

F. Murray Abraham

Jun 30, 1997 By Renee Boensch

I arrived in El Paso as a small child and grew up within sight of the Rio Grande. Ju�rez was part of our lives, and it was comfortable and easy to cross the border. My friends and I were part of rat packs: We had jackets, and zip guns were…

Web

The Lighter Side of the Lege

Jun 30, 1997 By Jen Scoville

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…

Ginger and Pork Steamed Dumplings

Jan 20, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Recipe from Chef Clark McDaniel, Angeluna’s, Fort Worth. Black Vinegar–Soy Dipping Sauce 1⁄2 cup black vinegar (available at Asian markets) 1⁄2 cup soy sauce or tamari 1⁄4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon sesame oil Place first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a…

Columns

Food for Thought

Jun 30, 1997 By Paul Burka

Once, before fast-food franchises and ecotourists took over Alpine, the Gallego family’s Mexican restaurant survived and thrived. Today, the kitchen is closed.

Westheimer, Ho!

Jun 30, 1997 By Mimi Swartz

Accessories for sexual adventurers, columns for your Craftsman bungalow, tasteful tables made from old manhole covers: You can find it all on this reborn Houston strip.

Corporate Makeover

Jun 30, 1997 By Kathryn Jones

EDS, the company Ross Perot imbued with his own conservative image, is designing Internet sites for magazines like Elle. What a tangled Web we weave.