BETTE GRAHAM WHITE
liberal activist Bob Hauge. "From a practical standpoint, the argument could be
made that you need to spend time building up a campaign. But intellectually you
could make the claim that he'll be a much
better mayor with his national experience."
"I know the Washington connection,"
explained Castillo. "I'm one of the few
in this race who knows Jimmy and Teddy
and I know people in Washington who'll
be there regardless of who 11 be elected."
"Castillo set the trend for the controller's office," said Hauge, "by being
strong and speaking out. He was an activist in office. Who remembers the man
who held it for 27 years before him?"
The most serious drawback for Castillo is the lack of support from black
leaders in the community. "Black leadership is the problem," said activist Macario
Ramirez. "They're protecting their own
self-interest. We hope they don't interfere."
"My perception is he's not electable
in Houston in 1979," said Lalor. "His
name recognition is small . . . and there's
a sufficient degree of racism left in
It seems ironic that blacks are being
charged with racism against Mexican-
Americans at a time when the first
moves are being made to form a local
coalition of the two minorities.
As head of the newly-formed National
Black-Hispanic Coalition, U.S. Rep.
Mickey Leland admits to feeling frustrated. "There are some serious problems," he conceded. "There is racism.
No question about it. No question about
A black leader, who declined to beJ
named, felt that a major cause of
Castillo's problems with blacks is John
Castillo, Leonel Castillo's brother-in-law.
John Castillo was head of Community
Development in the Hofheinz administration, is now an executive assistant to
McConn, and some blacks fear he will be
inherited by the next mayor.
"John Castillo destroyed more opportunities for blacks and browns to get
together," claimed the black leader.
"He created some unnecessary problems by making sure his folks got the
goodies. He is now the symbol of the
animosity that black people hold for the
He went on to say that this animosity
was not directed personally at Leonel
Castillo. "He's a good man and would be
a fine mayor."
Whatever animosity exists, does not
seem to come from the black community
at large. "Our indication is that 70-75
percent of black residents support Castillo," said Ramirez.
Dr. Richard Murray, political analyst,
feels that although tension exists among
the leaders, it does not filter down to
the street level. "I don't think it will be
that much of a problem," he said. "Politically, there is a perception that (blacks
and browns) share more than they disagree on."
Realistically, Castillo is by no means
the front-runner in the race. "It would be
a minor miracle if he pulled it off," said
Carr. "But there's one thing about Leonel
—he's kind of magic. He's never lost an
election. He always comes through, even
when he's not supposed to. He has a good
sense of what the public wants and one
reason for that is he trusts his own judgment and his judgment is good."
Bette Graham White
"What I'm best at is believing in the
impossible," said Bette Graham White,
addressing Women in Action recently.
That statement is probably a realistic
assessment of her chances of becoming
White has a master's degree in theology, and has served as Community Development Commissioner for Montrose
and the Fourth Ward. Making her second
consecutive bid in that race, she is running on a platform of "bringing style
to the mayor's office."
MEDIA RATED ON CANDD3ATE COVERAGE
Most candidates have had less than a month to reach the public, so the Houston
media, more than ever, will play an important role in helping voters meet the cand-
dates. The media will be doing this in two ways: (1) by taking cash to run ads and
(2) by giving space or air time to permit voters an opportunity to see, hear, or read
about the candidates and their views.
City Controller Kathy Whitmire credited her victory two years ago with her appearance in a political forum on Channel 13. Whitmire appeared with four other
controller candidates, some of whom had "downtown money" and invested it heav-
illy in billboards and broadcast time. "We ran a grass roots campaign," said Whitmire, "and couldn't afford to put our money into media advertising. More people
told me-during the campaign and after—that they voted for me because of that one
public affairs program on Channel 13."
Except for the incumbents and a handful of independently wealthy political
aspirants, most women and men are running tight money campaigns. These candidates are dependent on the free access given them on public affairs programming,
as well as on coverage by the Houston dairies. The Post and the Chronicle printed
daily articles in a district-by-district and at-large breakdown, giving good background
on the candidates and their major positions. Joe Nolan at the Chronicle has been
the primary source of news analysis stories. There's been a lot of note-taking at
press conferences, political rallies and endorsement meetings but no one's written
The Big Story. Yet.
For more politics in print, the League of Women Voters is coming out with their
perennially excellent Voter's Guide, a 20-page tabloid on candidates' replies to the
League questionnaire. (See Network on how to get one).
Here's what Houston stations are offering in terms of public affairs time—along
with our rating on their commitment to public service. Three stars is best (meaning
an attempt to interview all candidates), two stars is good (all mayoral and some
council candidates), one star is mediocre, and a zero or meatball is self-explanatory.
KTRK-TV: For the third straight year, Channel 13 is granting time to every
candidate running for office in a Meet the Candidate series. The station is interviewing all candidates for mayor in three separate half-hour programs, and council candidates in 15 half-hour time slots. News Director Walter Hawver says hardly anyone
turns down this opportunity. Even Mayor McConn, in un-incumbent fashion, will
appear. (Sundays, October 21, 28, and November 4 and 10 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 1:30
p.m., and 2 p.m.)
KUHT-TV: Channel 8 and the League of Women Voters will co-host an election
eve special, 9 and 5 at 8. All candidates will have two minutes to present themselves
to viewers, and will answer one question from a member of the League of Women
Voters. If time permits, follow-up questions will be asked by Joe Nolan, political
writer for the Chronicle and Susan Wright, political commentator at KUHT. (Mon
day, November 5, 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.)
KPFT—FM: Ed Falk, host of Issues with Ed Falk, began interviewing candidates
as early as September. Although all candidates were welcome to appear, Falk's main
criterion was to give air time to candidates with limited campaign funds. A strong
conservative, Falk interviewed candidates of all political persuasions, including the
socialist candidate for mayor, and many liberals. On the show before the general
election, Falk will do a wrap-up with Steve McVicker, KPFT news director, and the
editors of Breakthrough. (Mondays, 6:30 p.m.); On Access with Jack Woods, Woods
gave air time to many of the progressive candidates in the city race weeks before
the election (Wednesdays, 7 p.m.); and Nancy Lane Fleming and Rita Saylors devoted three programs of Breakthrough on the Air to women in politics. (Wednesdays,
KHOU—TV: Mayoral candidates and other "major" candidates will appear on
Channel 11 's morning (7:30 a.m.) and noon shows in the weeks before the election.
KRIV—TV: Mayoral candidates (Vi hour each day starting October 23, time to
be announced, check dailies) and candidates in District I, the predominantly Mexican-
American district (time to be announced) will appear on Channel 26 programs.
KYOK—AM: All mayoral candidates and candidates from District D, a predominantly black district (time to be announced).
ITV: One hour program for all mayoral candidates on Channel 39. (Sunday,
November 4, 6 - 7 p.m.)
KPRC-TV: Coverage on Big 2 News Conference for Mayoral candidates. (Sunday, November 4 at a special time, from 4 - 5 p.m.)
KCOH—AM: Two candidates each Sunday on Food for Thought. (Sundays 5 -
KULF—AM: Mayoral candidates only on Houston '79. (Sundays, October 28
and November 4 at 7:30 a.m. and repeated at 11 p.m.)
KPRC—AM: Only mayoral candidates. (Starting Monday, October 22, daily
from 2 - 3 p.m.)
KAUM—FM: One hour with candidates. (Monday, November 5,1-2 p.m.)
KUHF—FM: Two programs with District G candidates only (Monday, October
30 at 6:30 p.m.; repeated next day at noon.)
No plans: KENR-AM, KXYZ-AM, KIKK, KLVL, KNUZ/KQUE, KODA.
No response: KTRH, KILT.
Our thanks to Betty Prather for calling all the stations and reporting this information for Breakthrough. — J. b.