MAYOR cont'd from page 1
"Where are you going to find a
woman Curly Culp?"
Q. Do you feel any particular commitment toward women?
A. Oh, certainly. I feel that women
are the equal of their male counterpart in
'most anything that they desire to be. I
think that if somebody wants to argue
that, they could carry it to the ridiculous.
You know, where are you going to find a
woman Curly Culp, for example? Well,
I'm not interested in a woman's Curly
I don't think all of the talent lies
with the male with any stretch of the imagination. I think women are very effective workers in government or in any
other procedure they may want to be in,
but I have no hangup with women at all.
I think women do have some peculiar
problems that maybe their male counterpart doesn't have.
Q. For example?
A. Well, let's talk about rape, for
example, on the women's side. I think
that is a very touchy subject and a subject that needs some special attention
through our Houston Police Department.
It is receiving some special attention, but
I would like to see that special attention
improved upon—the rape squad and so
Q. There've been several stories
lately in the media about shortages in
the rape squad in terms of personnel
A. I don't think that's a designea
thing. I don't know of a division of the
Houston Police Department that isn't
fighting a shortage of personnel, but I
have had some meeting with Chief Caldwell. He's aware of the problem, and
we're doing everything we can to beef the
thing up so that those rape victims are
treated just as well as is possible to do—
and because it helps us in clearing some
of the cases.
"I don't expect him (the police
chief) to completely deplete the burglary
and theft department to staff that (the
Q. Do you have specifics in mind?
A. We have, but within the limitations that the Chief operates under. In
other words, I don't expect him to completely deplete the burglary and theft department to staff that. It has to be done
with some input from the Chief as to
where his weaknesses and strengths are.
But he is aware, as I am, that there are
some still existing problems.
Q. I've also been told, by a representative of a woman's group, that there
is a tremendous problem in getting the
Houston Police Department to handle
battered women cases, that the police department is very reluctant to interfere,
particularly if it's a divorce case wherein
the husband has returned to th home and
is beating up his wife.
A. There are, and there are reasons
why. So often, they're called out in a
domestic squabble and before they get
out of there, they're being hit by both-
the man and the wife—because she has a
certain love, respect, whatever it is, for
her husband. She doesn't want to see him
loaded into the car, so pretty soon, she's
beating them over the head with her
purse, and she's the one who called them
I think that if you put yourself in
the position of the police officer and
when nine out of 10 of them go sour on
you, pretty soon, human nature is human
nature. You decide, 'Hell, we'll go out
and investigate and make sure nobody's
been killed and leave it alone.' But that
needs to be improved.
Q. And if the woman really is willing to have him carted off, or he's already
gone by the time they get there?
A. I don't think there's any problem...if he's there, and she really wants to
charge him. If we do, I'm not aware of it.
They'll pick him up if she will agree to
file charges...When he's already gone,
there sometimes is a problem because
they go out and pick him up, and she refuses to file charges for one reason or.
another-either fear or, you know, 'all is
forgiven and forgotten' and they're back->
making love. That's one of the problems.
I must be honest about it, I never realized
until recently that the battered woman
situation was as bad as it is.
"I must be honest about it—I never
realized the battered woman situation
was as bad as it was."
Q. What made you more aware?
A. I guess the exposure that was
brought about by the campaign and the
Q. What else did you learn in relation to women's issues?
A. I think a lot of it I probably already knew...but had no control over it
at that point in time. For several years, I
have realized that women in the marketplace, for example, do not and have not
received the same pay for similar or like
jobs. In doing some review with our civil
service department, I find that is certainly
true in city government, as well as in business, and we are trying to do something
Q. What specifically are you trying
A. By changing the salary range of
women. Now, obviously, and I would
hope that everybody could understand
this-we cannot do that tonight because
the budget impact is too severe. It has to
be done on a graduated and gradual
scale—but it can be done.
Q. Another one of the big complaints has been the city health insurance policy, specifically the maternity
disability wherein the woman has to be
married and her spouse also covered by
the policy. The maximum is $100 for
hospitalization and $75 for delivery. Do
you anticipate any changes in that?
A. No, I can't say immediately
because the council defeated that, and
we have practically the same council.
"I've had to pay for six childbirths
in my lifetime and even the first one
many years ago, I don't think $175
would have handled it."
Q. But the legal department has
said those requirements ... have been
held to be illegal in other cases...
A. I don't doubt that it has been
found illegal in some other areas, but I
think that a great deal of attention must
be placed on the fact that some of the
council members feel that they do not
want to underwrite the pregnancy of unmarried women.
Q. Is that what it's gotten down to?
A. I think so. That's exactly what
their hesitation would be and very candidly, when I was on the Council I had a
little hesitation about that. I don't know
that it's the taxpayer's responsibility to
be paying for the pregnancies of unmarried employees.
Q. Leaving that aspect aside, say
she's married and her spouse is covered
and so forth, what would be the disability
payments for a man who, say, has a
A. I don't know. Probably out of
line. It's (pregnancy benefits) obviously
too low. I've had to pay for six child-
births in my own lifetime, and even the
first one many years ago I don't think
$175 would have handled it.
Seminars on rape prevention will be offered at recreation centers in parks throughout the city. Mayor McConn (center) announced the joint project between the city's
health and parks departments. Linda Cryer, (left) who heads the Rape Prevention and
Treatment Center in the health department, will give a series of lectures on "Rape
Occurrences and Prevention" to any group requesting it. Barbara Dillingham (right)
public information officer in the parks and recreation department, said groups may
call 641-4111 or apply to their local recreation center for the rape seminars. Tim Hart,
acting director of the parks department, helped implement this new city service due to
the increase in rape assaults. The city is averaging 130 (reported) rapes a month. Reported rapes increased 34% over 1976.
Q. How do you feel toward the
Equal Rights Amendment?
A. Well, I'll tell you honestly that I
think it has some problems. I'm not sure
that some of the problems it creates have
really been addressed by some of the people pushing the Equal Rights Amendment.
Q. Such as?
A. Well, if we were to go back into
selective service, do women really want to
be drafted? Maybe they do, I don't know.
I relate to the women I know. I don't
think that most of the women I know,
both my children's age or my own age,
want to fight that. I think that parts of
the Equal Rights Amendent are needed
and necessary, particularly such things as
credit which has already been done, but it
needs to be beefed up.
A. My gut level instinct I think,
would have been the same, to stay away
because there wasn't a hell of a lot I
could have accomplished by going over
there. But from my own religious background (Catholic), if somebody said, 'Jim
McConn, you have to go to one of the
two meetings under the penalty of some
threat,' I would have attended the Pro-
Life meeting. That would only have been
to stay out of jail or something of that
Q. I asked a moment ago, 'Do you
feel any commitment toward women?'
This time the question is, do you feel any
commitment toward the feminist movement?
A. I don't think that I do. I think I
feel a deep commitment towards women,
but the feminist movement-somebody
". . . If somebody said 'Jim McConn, you have to go to one of these two meetings (the National Women's Conference or the 'Pro-life' Rally) under penalty of some
threat, I would have attended the Pro-life meeting. That would have been to stay out
of jail or something of that nature."
*Curly Culp is a 300 lb. defensive lineman for the Houston Oilers.
Page 20 February 1978 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH
Q. If you had been the Mayor in
November, would you have been at the
National Women's Conference...
A. No, I would not.
Q. or the Pro-Life Rally?
A. I would have stayed away from
both. Again, the confusion that that thing
brought about. Somebody's going to have
to sit me down and explain to me just exactly what we're trying to achieve by
what we're doing along those lines. We
obviously are divided among the women's
groups, you see, and before I lend the
power, if that's the word, of this office to
either one of them, I'd have to see what
they're about. I don't really know what
they're about. Obviously, they are fussin'
and feudin' and can't seem to come to
grips with their own problems internally.
I think until they do that, the best thing
the Mayor can do is to stay away.
Q. If you were not the Mayor, but
Jim McConn, an individual who has the
right to do whatever he wants to do?
Your gut level instinct?
would have to really sit down and define
to me just exactly what the goals of the
feminist movement are because I'm not
sure I understand what they are.
Q. Is there anything in particular
you would like to say to Breakthrough's
A. No, except that I don't want to
be classed as, you know, 'anti-women,'
because I am not. Admittedly, I have
some problems I think, as most males do,
with understanding the complete thrust
of the feminist movement-just exactly
what they're trying to achieve. Perhaps
they can tell me. I'll be glad to listen.
I honestly don't know, at this point
in time, just exactly what their goals are,
and I'm not going to exclude anybody
from visiting with Jim McConn, and I
think I'd find it very interesting to sit and
talk and find out what their goals are,
what they're about, so to speak. All I
know is surfacely, and all I know is what
I read, and perhaps I'm not reading the