CURRENT SERVICES BUDGET GIVES UH

SMALL RAY OF HOPE

BY CHRIS PAYNE

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

There's a glimmer of hope for higher education in the Texas Legislature's current special session -- and it's called the current services budget.

The extent to which State Comptroller John Sharp's Texas Performance Review will weigh on higher education is still a bit hazy, but both the Senate and House have started deliberations with the current services budget -- which bodes much better for UH, said Mark Jacox, assistant vice president of planning and budget.

Jacox said UH would get funding increases for changes in enrollment under the current services budget, which although not entirely generous, could considerably lesson the previously projected impact on UH's budget.

"But there's still a lot of politicking to come," Jacox said.

 

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FORMER EMPLOYEE CHARGED

BY FRANK ROSSI

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

A former employee at the University Center Business Office has been arrested and charged with felony theft of approximately $13,000 from the university, UH police said.

UHPD Assistant Chief Frank Cempa said Paullet Wordlaw, 43, an accounting technician, was arrested July 5.

Cempa said the theft was discovered after a formal UH internal audit was done to determine where the money was being allegedly diverted.

Auditors found that money was stolen between Dec. 6, 1989 and April 28, 1990. Wordlaw quit her job in May 1990, after working for about year, according to officials in the UC Business Office.

One of Wordlaw's responsibilities was to deposit daily UC earnings from each department into the UH banking system.

UC Business Manager Noel Clarke, who has been manager since 1987, said the business office discovered that one of the daily deposits never entered the UH banking system.

Further investigation revealed that UC department financial records did not correspond to banking records. Eventually, falsfied deposit slips were also discovered, he said.

The amount of money Wordlaw is accused of stealing falls in the category of third degree felony.

However, since Wordlaw's position at UH designates her as a public servant, she is being charged with a second degree felony of theft by a public servant.

Wordlaw's trial has been set for July 31. Her bail was set at $2,000.

The Harris County District Attorney's office is currently questioning another former UH employee about the theft.

Clarke said there has not been any other thefts of funds by employees since he has been manager at the UC Business Office.

 

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BROKEN PIPELINE LEAVES DORMS WITHOUT WATER

BY MARGARET HUSER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

A cold shower is better than no shower at all.

At about 2:35 a.m. Tuesday morning, a broken water pipe created a flood of rushing water onto Wheeler, next to UH entrance 11.

Many UH students living on campus were left with either no shower or a cold shower -- a harsh reality to wake up to.

All of Cougar Place, which houses hundreds of summer school students, was left completely without a daily water supply, and one of the Quadrangle dorms was limited to cold water.

The repair of the pipe falls under the responsibility of the City of Houston rather than the university.

The City of Houston water service began repairs at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Ray Dominque, area coordinator for Cougar Place, said he was thankful for the quick response from the city. He felt like there had been little inconvenience for the dormitory residents. "The students have been very cooperative," he said.

Ray's department is responsible for this type of crisis control concerning the dormitories.

Not surprisingly, not everyone agreed with Dominque.

"Being without hot water is uncomfortable," said Greg Wolk, a resident of the Quadrangle. Wolk was able to escape his predicament by using a showering facility at work. He said that if he had needed to get ready for a date, he would have been much more upset.

Visiting summer campers who are staying at the Quadrangle, were not inconvenienced by the broken water main because they were in an unaffected dorm.

The City of Houston water service is in the process of investigating the eruption to determine whether it was an act of vandals, an accident or corrosion.

 

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CHU PATENT OUTLOOK DIMS

BY MICHAEL HINES

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

UH may lose $4.5 million if it fails to gain a U.S. patent for a type of superconducting material developed by physics professor Paul Chu.

The material, which works at achievable laboratory temperatures, was developed by Chu in 1987, but some researchers and the U.S. Patent Office say Chu's compound is not pure enough to gain a patent.

The material is said to be an yttrium, barium, copper and oxygen containing compound, but some researchers found that his material contained substances other than the 1-2-3 superconductor.

DuPont Co. has agreed to pay UH the $4.5 million if it receives the rights.

The refusal of the patent appears to be the beginning of a long uphill battle for Chu and the university.

Richard Levy, Director of Communications for the UH System said the matter is presently under litigation and that it's being handled by an outside attorney.

If the present appeal is not reversed by a federal court of appeals, then the competition for gaining the patent will be left open to three other groups hoping to acquire its rights. The rights to the patent are also sought by the commercially wealthy AT&T Corp., IBM Corp. and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

AT&T holds the inside track of the three because they, after a worldwide search, isolated a 90 percent pure form of the compound.

The ability for a superconductor to work at normal temperatures will open the door for a number of possibilities for its usage, including high speed computers.

Other than appealing the decision, UH may also seek a patent on Chu's first discovery. If a patent is awarded to both inventions, then a long legal battle is likely to ensue.

Another possibility may be a licensing agreement between the different groups.

"As I understand it, if we lose the appeal, then we may still have an opportunity for its licensing rights," Levy said. "We just don't have enough information right now."

 

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HEAD OF SA UNDER FIRE FOR ACTIONS

BY MICHAEL HINES

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Newly elected Students' Association President Michael Berry has come under fire from foes and even former supporters.

In a controversy ridden two- and-a-half-hour SA meeting, Vice President Andrew Monzon read from a letter he had written to Dean of Students Willie Munson concerning Berry's performance since becoming president last April. Monzon, in the University Center Atlantic Room Monday night, said he does not like the direction Berry is taking SA at this time.

"I am worried about the image of SA," Monzon said. "It really bothers me that the SA looks bad," he said. "It's only going to get worse."

Monzon and other SA members brought allegations against Berry concerning his spending practices, the problems he is having with administrative secretary Doris Ayyubi, and the position his friend Nandita Venkateswaran holds and the number of

hours she works each week. Monzon also questioned the fact Berry has yet to post office hours since May.

Because of these problems, Monzon believes the SA is being split "into two factions of untrusting parties."

Venkateswaran, the executive assistant who is budgeted to work 20 hours per week, worked an average of 39 hours per week in June.

Berry defended Venkateswaran's hours by saying that the last person to hold this position, Darlene Hurt, had worked similar hours last summer.

Hurt, who was present at the meeting, said that was not true, and she was only allowed to work 20 hours a week.

An account statement for the SA dated June 30 showed that the SA had accumulated a negative balance of $5,488 in its salary and wage pool, the second time this has happened this year.

In January the SA requested that $4,300 be transferred from the SA's Maintenance and Operation Pool to the salary and wage pool to cover an accumulated negative balance.

The SA Senate was also unhappy with Berry's request for $85 to cover travel expenses on a recent trip to Austin. Many senators believed the amount was too great.

The SA constitution states that a student using his own vehicle shall be reimbursed 25 cents for each mile.

Munson's relationship with the SA is to advise the SA president on executive issues.

"(Berry) should sit down specifically with Andrew to work these problems out. A problem like this in the SA only detracts from its ability to meet its goals. These goals are primarily those of students' needs," Munson said.

"They need to cooperate and identify ways in which (the executive branch) can work together. They need to increase communication," he said.

After being shockingly awakened by Monzon's comments, the SA Senate brought four new bills to the floor. All were passed to committees for recommendations.

A bill asking that a crossing signal be placed at the corner of Elgin and Cullen was also approved.

 

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TURNER PREPARES FOR HEATED ELECTION

BY CHRIS PAYNE

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Intermittently stuffing his mouth with a dripping, foil-wrapped cheeseburger, state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, who is running for mayor, says he doesn't feel like an underdog.

"We were an underdog, and in many ways we're still an underdog," said Turner, leaning forward on his sparse, surprisingly barren desk. "But I don't feel like an underdog."

Pitted against incumbent Kathy Whitmire's well-oiled, political juggernaut, Turner's quiet campaign headquarters, with its pale walls and shabby carpet, was occasionally invigorated with the sound of beeping phones.

If elected, 36-year-old Turner, a UH alumnus with a bachelor's degree in political science and a law degree from Harvard, would be the first black mayor in the largest city in the United States never to have a black in charge of city government.

Whitmire, 44, is expected to announce her candidacy for an unprecedented sixth term as Houston's mayor. However, Turner, with Houston's sky-rocketing crime at the centerpiece of his campaign, is undaunted.

"In 1987, there were 4,500 (Houston Police Department) officers," he said. "In '91, there is only 3,900. At any given time, there is less than 400 officers covering 600 square miles of this city."

Turner proposes a regionally coordinated policing program where all Houston-area law enforcement agencies would work in conjunction to fight crime.

With a plan that would include substantial pay raises and an expansion of personnel and equipment for Houston police, Turner said also that crime-fighting can only be done well from a holistic point of view.

"We need more neighborhood watch programs. No police department can be effective without direct community development, " he said.

As for where the money will come from, Turner simply says, "We need a much better managed city."

Calling the Metropolitan Transit Authority's rail plan a "$1.2 billion boondoggle" that will only "fatten the pockets of contractors," Turner supports another public referendum on the rail issue.

"I'm not anti-rail," he said, "but we need a system that is cost-effective and that will help to rebuild and revitalize this city."

A recent report from the Urban Mass Transit Association said the rail plan costs 50 percent more than its recommended cost, he said.

"It's not going to carry as many people as claimed and the technology is highly unproven," he said.

Whitmire's recent efforts to snub Houston's Air Quality Control Board was the object of scorn from Turner.

Houston's air quality falls way short of federal standards, ranking it among the most polluted cities in the nation.

"She's (Whitmire) received an F in terms of environmental policy. You can't argue we need a rail system (to cut down on air pollution) on the one hand and yet eliminate (pollution) enforcement on the other," he said.

"You can be pro-business without being anti-environment," he said.

Houston's health care needs some serious rethinking, Turner said.

"The health care system in this city is poor. It doesn't make sense for pregnant women to have to wait two weeks to 45 days to see a doctor," he said.

Turner suggests coordinating efforts between the city and the world-renowned Texas Medical Center to alleviate health-care conditions.

With Whitmire still not an official candidate, Turner's campaign staff is working overtime to get a head start. Turner, however, is not entirely convinced Whitmire will run.

"I think I have learned that in this political business you can't assume anything, " he said.

 

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SHERBURNE'S INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH HOMECOMING

BY MARK LACY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

One of Houston's most infamous boys of summer returns Friday with his latest band, Consolidated, and a new persona -- as a music industry subversive.

The revolutionary political rap of Consolidated emerged from Adam Sherburne's long and constant struggle with the music industry.

Six years ago, Sherburne packed up his rock 'n' roll drag show and moved his band Metro Sensuous from Houston to San Francisco. Houston was stagnant at the time and San Francisco's more liberal atmosphere attracted the cross-dressing Poncho Villas. With lingerie and belts of bullets wrapped around their bodies, the trio didn't make it in the Bay City and Sherburne went on to sire the short-lived Eurodance band Until December.

As Sherburne's persona evolved from a Billy Idol-generation rocker decked out in leather to a star-bound techno-guitarist with a Hari Krishna haircut, so did his attitude toward the music industry.

Sherburne's Until December signed and agreed to be distributed by Columbia records after Metro Sensuous realized a band couldn't remain independent and make a reasonable living playing sans contract.

After an isolated club hit in 1988 and one album on a long-term contract, Sherburne was able to leave the big label after the tragic breakup of Until December.

Houston record stores priced limited editions of Until December singles from $50 to $80 and up.

Even signed on with Nettwerk/I.R.S. Records, Sherburne's band Consolidated feels the music industry's dictative breath on their necks.

The first song on their latest release, Friendly Fascism, forecasts the band's demise due to restrictions they face by being a corporate commodity.

All of Consolidated's machine-driven rap is testimony against the music industry and the repressive society that surrounds them as artists. The issues are simple and generalized, but still beyond the reach of most entertainment audiences.

No matter how remedial the messages are, however, the content from the first self-titled EP to the latest record continues to raise relevant issues.

Near the end of Friendly Fascism, Chicago rapper Murder One, in an audience participation segment from one of Consolidated's live shows, accuses the band of not being true to rap by neglecting an agenda of black issues.

Consolidated's approach indicates they believe most problems in society transcend race. They perform with Meat Beat Manifesto at Numbers on Friday.

 

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A DAY IN THE LIFE

BY CHRIS ENGLISH

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Ever wanted to be in the movies? Well, Richard Linklater has already made one about you. It's called Slackers and it will be premiering at the River Oaks Theater July 26.

Richard Linklater sits across from me at the table, a large guy, like a football player with a Prince Valiant haircut, amiably chewing on the edge of his styrofoam cup. He appears open and ingenuous, not like a film director whose humble 16-mm movie has received worldwide recognition and has recently been picked up by Orion Pictures for major release.

Slackers is set in Austin and concerns the current collegiate generation, those of us in our late 20s, hanging around coffee houses, the idle philosophers, the armchair politicians, the closet poets; what the New York Times would call the "neo-beatniks," happily thriving between formal education and the "real world." You've seen them. You're probably one of them. The 28-year-old self-taught filmmaker shot it almost entirely in West Campus, Slacker-central, "my neighborhood in Austin -- where all the students who either dropped out, or have already graduated but haven't moved on to anything else, are hanging out. They're just killing time. So their education continues, but along unsupervised paths -- the quest for knowledge and all that vigor is still there. But there's no action."

The film captures this sense of purposelessness with its fluid, seemingly directionless flow, as the camera moves from one person to the next, providing tiny vignettes of the kind of relationships and activities that their lives are centered around: seeing movies, spouting their ideas and personal philosophies, scratching their artistic itches, but mostly just trying to get by. "I wanted it to seem like you're just walking around town for a day. You'd hang out with someone, they'd leave, you go on," Linklater explains. "It's like the camera of the mind."

Many of the actors and actresses were picked up off the street, or included actual artists and musicians from local Austin groups such as the Butthole Surfers, Poi Dog Pondering, Ed Hall and Glass Eye.

So get off your duffs, you slackers, and do something for a change. See this movie. You'll like it. It's about you.

 

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SHELDON TAKES FIRST STEPS IN

LONG WALK TO MAJORS

BY MARTY HAJOVSKY

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Scott Sheldon is a man with a reason to be optimistic.

Fans of the Oakland Athletics have known for some time about the black hole existing in their team's infield. Every starter has been down with an injury at some point this

season. Help from the farm has been nonexistent or at best inconsistent.

While Oakland fans might bemoan their fate, for Sheldon the A's misfortune represents opportunity. The former UH shortstop is currently tearing up the Northwest League, hitting .405 with seven RBIs for Oakland's Class A farm club in Medford, Ore.

"There's a lot of spaces up there, so anything's possible," he said.

Sheldon, Oakland's eighth-round selection in last month's draft, was hampered by a slight strain in his throwing arm and didn't play shortstop early. But the A's have been impressed with his range during workouts.

However, what has really caught the eyes of many scouts is his work at the plate.

"My first hit was a single up the middle against Eugene (Royals). But then my manager Grady Fuson started to help me with my swing and a couple of games later I started hitting the ball real well. I got more confidence after that," Sheldon said.

Oakland General Manager Sandy Alderson has focused primarily on pitchers in the past few June drafts. This year, Alderson's emphasis shifted to the middle infield with Sheldon and two other shortstops, Jason Wood (Fresno St.) and Brent Gates (Minnesota), early round picks.

With no other shortstop in the Oakland chain hitting over .254, the chances for all three look good. Though Gates has yet to sign, Wood is hitting .350. But Sheldon knows full well the perils of gazing too far up the ladder.

"I try not to look at the quality above me. I can only try and do my job down here. If you do the job and show improvement, you'll move up," he said.

For now, Fuson has put Wood at short with Sheldon punching in at both first and third.

"I played first early on to rest my arm. But I'll play anywhere they put me. I don't have any preference," the ex-Cougar said.

During four seasons at short for Coach Bragg Stockton's Cougars, consistency was one of Sheldon's trademarks. He hit .304 with 15 home runs and 92 RBIs. In 1990, he was named to the All-Southwest Conference Tournament team when he hit .400 with one homer and four RBIs. Defensively, he had a record 11 assists against conference champion Arkansas.

Sheldon echoes many former college standouts when he says the only qualitative difference between college and A ball are the wooden bats. But he credits Stockton's team ethic with preparing him mentally for the professional ranks.

"The biggest thing I learned (at UH) was being able to relate with different types of people on a team and adjusting to those different types," he said.

Sheldon has a thoughtful approach to his profession. It's not surprising the mental part of the game has been a focus early in Fuson's approach to helping the young infielder along.

"Grady's really helped me with my confidence," he said. "You know, there are a lot of failures in this game. When you go three for 10, you're considered a good hitter, but you still failed seven times. So you can't be totally serious."

After being drafted, Sheldon's biggest adjustments were getting used to the traveling and living in such a small town.

"There's not a lot to do in Medford, Ore. But what I miss most about Houston is my wife, Carrie. She's the best for putting up with this," he said.

While culture shock hasn't quite set in, Sheldon does admit to being a bit in awe of where he is.

"It's just fun to know that all the hard work you've put into it is paying off now. Sometimes during pre-game warmups where we're hitting and taking ground balls, you just kind of sit back and think, `I'm getting paid for this.' It's pretty nice," he said.

 

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STUDENT GROUPS PROTEST DECISION TO LIFT SANCTIONS

BY DAI HUYNH

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

 

President Bush may have unwisely removed the incentive that motivates the white minority to dismantle its racists government by lifting the economic sanctions against South Africa.

The decision is causing concerns among student groups who feel that this may temporarily set back the anti-apartheid movement.

"It was a premature move. It shows that he is not really committed to the cause of minorities or people of color," Council of Ethnic Organizations Director Joel Richards said.

The United States is very hypocritical in its foreign policy and unfortunately, economic gains play a more dominant role than human rights, Student Association Vice President Andrew Monzon said. The U.S. government turns the other cheek when China or South Africa violates international human right laws, but ironically declared war on Iraq for its violations, he said.

"If the ANC (African National Congress) and other black groups are saying don't lift the sanctions than there's still something obviously wrong. If we don't continue pressuring them than nothing will get accomplish," Monzon said.

Black Student Union President Rhonda Bailey said it is going to be more difficult for the blacks to establish a non-racial government. The sanctions was a mean by which the United States could pressure the South African toward a new democracy, but now that no longer exists she said.

Instead of bringing South Africa closer to racial equality, by lifting U.S. sanctions, Bush is placing another obstacle for Mandela and other black leaders to overcome in their fight against apartheid, said Erica Fowler, vice president of National Association of Black Journalist.

"I'm disappointed. South Africa has not fulfilled all the requirements in the 1986 sanctions law. Apartheid still exists," she said.

Bush's decision followed Secretary of State James Baker's report that South Africa had complied with the five conditions specified in the 1986 Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. According to Bush, he had no choice under the law but to end the economic boycott against South Africa.

The South African government fulfilled the sanctions law requirements by abolishing apartheid laws that segregated whites from the black majority, legalizing political parties, lifting the state of emergency, beginning negotiations to achieve an unbiased government and releasing all political prisoners. However, the release of all political prisoners proved to be controversial because Mandela's ANC contends that at least 1,000 political prisoners are still behind bars.

Bush said that under the leadership of President Frederick W. de Klerk, South Africa has made a "profound transformation" which would inevitably lead to a new democracy giving blacks the right to vote. The right to vote for blacks was not one of the requirements outlined in the sanctions law.

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POLICE BEAT

BY FRANK M. ROSSI

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

THEFTS

7/8 -- At 10:14 a.m. at the UH Hilton, a stereo cassette recorder -- at 11:07 a.m. at M.D. Anderson Library, a student's textbook -- at 11:30 a.m. in Lot 5A, a license plate -- at 2:53 p.m. in Lot 19B, license plates.

7/9. At 9:45 a.m. in S&R I, three books from a locked office.

7/10 -- At 2:28 p.m. at Wendy's, purse (suspect apprehended).

7/13 -- At 10:03 a.m., Agnes Arnold Hall, a wall clock and Swiss Army Knife.

VANDALISM

7/9 -- At 1:38 p.m. in Lot 19A, struck vehicle (parked) -- at 8:54 p.m. in Lot 18A, damaged paint on parked vehicle.

7/12 -- At 4:45 a.m. at UHPD, broken window.

MISCELLANEOUS

7/9 -- At 6:57 p.m. in M.D. Anderson Library, a masturbating male.

7/12 -- At 3:36 a.m. at Cougar Place, three visiting students were given residential life referrals for public intoxication -- at 3:55 p.m., a resident reported harassing phone calls and knocks at her door.

7/13. At 4:20 a.m. in Cougar Place, two visiting students were given residential life referrals and Class C citations for public intoxication.

 

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