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Houston Breakthrough 1979-10
Page 5
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Houston Breakthrough 1979-10 - Page 5. October 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 30, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3084/show/3061.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1979). Houston Breakthrough 1979-10 - Page 5. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3084/show/3061

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1979-10 - Page 5, October 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 30, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3084/show/3061.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough 1979-10
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 28 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 5
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_554ae.jpg
Transcript LEST WE TORGET A trip down memory lane with Jim McConn Houston mayor Jim McConn's two-year administration has been punctuated by charges of wrongdoing and unethical practices, down to and including that time-honored political accessory—the coat. Remember Sherman Adams' vicuna coat and "Pat's plain Republican cloth coat" of Richard Nixon's "no-quitter" slush fund speech in 1952? In this case it's two coats (suede) for McConn and one coat (fur) for Margie McConn. A $300 suede coat was given to McConn by Jerry Philhps, a figure in the Jack Key indictment. Another $300 suede coat (apparently that's what suede coats for mayors cost) was given to McConn by Harold Wiesenthal, of Harold's Men's Wear. A $5,000 mink coat was given to Margie McConn by real estate developer James McNaughton, who did business with the city. One of McConn's first acts as mayor was to fire women's advocate Nikki Van Hightower. The move was not unexpected, since he had said before the election that he would do so. But the manner of its execution was singularly graceless. After telling Van Hightower he would discuss the matter with her again before taking any action, he announced at an all-male Rotary Club luncheon that she was fired. Van Hightower was informed of the decision by reporters who burst into her office that afternoon to record her reaction. The mayor claimed he apologized to Van Hightower for the by Gabrielle Cosgriff manner of the firing. Van Hightower said she received no apology. In 1978, approximately 500 complaints of police misconduct were submitted to the Houston Police Department. Twenty-four cases against Houston police officers were either before the federal grand jury or in litigation. In each of those 24 cases, no action was taken by state grand juries other than refusal to issue indictments. Last December, a three-judge federal panel enjoined the city from holding further elections until recent annexations could be shown not to have diluted minority voting strength. In January of this year, city council voted to investigate tax breaks of over $50,000 gained by $l-a-year mayor's assistant Bill Wayne. McConn admitted the city "has lacked a clear, definite procedure to follow in cases where the taxpayer also happens to be a city employee." It quickly became apparent that the city also lacked a clear, definite procedure for paying a mayor's gambling debts. McConn went to Las Vegas that month and lost $3,200 playing blackjack and shooting craps. He called city purchasing agent Jack Key, who arranged a $6,000 loan to pay the mayor's gambling debts. McConn later said he didn't know to whom he owed the $6,000, or if it had been repaid. Also in January, the Metropolitan Transit Authority was looking for bids, at around $228,000, on 38 new 1979 full- sized sedans for its administrators. The cars would have V-8 engines so they could be used, if necessary, to push broken-down MTA buses off the freeways. In February, the founders of the National Gay Task Force said that Houston and Los Angeles led all other U. S. cities in complaints to their group about police harassment.. Also in February, the Houston Fire department announced a change in its polygraph test to screen applicants. The U.S. Treasury Department had warned city officials that Houston could lose millions of dollars in federal revenue-sharing funds unless it moved to end the "grossly discriminatory" test, which caused blacks and Hispanics to be rejected at a far higher rate than Anglos. That same month, McConn said that the city may be forced to elect some council members by district. He reiterated his opposition to any substantial increase in the size of city council. In April, McConn's campaign records were subpoenaed, Jack Key was arrested, and a Harris County grand jury found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Bill Wayne. McConn said it was only coincidence that on the same day Key arranged the $6,000 loan for McConn, Key allegedly tried to extort $6,000 from a Houston businessman. In May, Key was indicted on extortion charges. The federal grand jury subpoenaed McConn's records on his special fund for entertainment expenses. In June, council members McKaskle, Mancuso and Mann denied any illegality in the gifts of $1,000 each that they had received from Houston firefighters. Also in June, the U. S. Justice Department blocked all city elections until a single-member district plan could be formulated. City Controller Kathy Whitmire accused the council of costing taxpayers thousands of dollars by not taking an earlier stand on single-member districts. She pointed out that a 1975 city wide straw vote showed a majority of Houstonians in favor of single-member districts. However, she said, the city has spent "several hundred thousand dollars to defend the present system which has already been voted against by the citizens of Houston." On June 14, Ben Baldwin and Gebe Martinez, of KTRH Radio, took the City of Houston to court, alleging that a 90- minute closed city council session had violated the state's open meetings act. McConn came out of that meeting expressing disappointment that his own 5-5-1 plan had not received much support. In July, the U.S. Justice Department restricted the August 11 ballot to the single question of changing the council's makeup. McConn called that action a "horror story." One of the items ordered off the ballot was a city charter amendment to keep the current system, in spite of the clear ruling from the justice department that the council makeup must be changed. Also in July, the grand jury reissued a subpoena for top mayoral executive assistant Gene Gatlin in the continuing investigation of City of Houston contracts and political contributions to city council members. The Department of Labor warned McConn that Houston could lose about 12 million dollars in federal funds for local manpower and training programs, because of the city's poor performance in the programs. That figure is about 25 percent of all CETA funds scheduled for Houston this year. (The city ended up losing $9 million.) In August, city council was again tabling a motion on wood shingle roofs while more than a thousand apartments, with wood shingle roofs, were burning at Woodway Square. August 11, only 11.3 percent of voters turned out. They overwhelmingly approved the 9-5 redistricting plan. The justice department later approved, clearing the way for this November election. In September, the six Houston city council members who had not yet testified were scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury investigating alleged city kickbacks. In October, the city lost $478,000 in federal funds for a housing rehabilitation loan program because it did not write the loans by September 30. It stands to lose an additional $4.35 million in other federal funds for housing loans, grants and capital improvements unless the money is spent by November 28. October 2, U.S. Attorney J. A. "Tony" Canales suspended the calling of witnesses in the federal grand jury investigation till after the election. October 2, McConn said that if he is re-elected as mayor, there is a "good possibility" that the Farm Road 1960 area will be annexed next year. Three weeks later McConn joined other mayoral aspirants in promising no new annexations until at least 1980. By last week, the campaign was settling into familiar patterns, with Macey supposedly calling McConn "evil" and "a thief" and McConn accusing Macey of "lying." (Or was it the other way around?) HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH OCTOBER 1979