CUBAN-MEXICAN FOOD SHINES BRIGHT

DOWN IN THE VILLAGE

BY JOHN GRIFFIN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

With the glut of Mexican restaurants we have in the greater Houston area, finding an establishment which is both innovative in its cuisine and reasonably priced can pose somewhat of a problem.

For the more adventurous epicure, a little establishment called El Meson, located at 2425 University in the Village, offers a welcome departure from the commonplace Tex-Mex experience.

El Meson, which has labored in the shadows of that other university for the last 10 years, specializes in Cuban fare. While they also serve the regular gringo plates most of us have come to expect, they dish out some well-executed versions of regional Cuban favorites.

The decor is vaguely reminiscent of a low budget Los Tios with plenty of unsubstantial wood and vinyl-covered booths. But the menu ranges from a far out lobster enchilada to a myriad of pork dishes to the always popular tacos al carbon.

There is something here for almost anyone.

For connoiseurs of salsa, El Meson prefaces the entrees with a high-spirited, almost sweet picante sauce and not-too-greasy chips, both of which are very hard to put down. My companion and I went through two bowls of each before the main course and had a difficult time finishing dinner.

We shared a pair of dishes, sampling wares from both the Cuban and Tex-Mex styles. Both were impressive.

The wonderful enchiladas verdes smoldered under a green sauce packed with chutzpah and wallowed in a sea of sensuous sour cream. The chicken interior was tender as can be with a hint of marinade squeaking through the toppings and the tortillas were pleasantly corny. Sandwiched in between a generous helping of refried beans and yellow rice, this gringo favorite, also done well at Ninfa's on Navigation, proved a winner.

Also sampled was a scintillating pork tenderloin fillet, marinated and cooked in lemon and garlic and topped with onion. Served with some soupy black beans, a bed of sticky white rice, and a bundle of fried bananas, this Cuban dish melted off the plate and into our gullets with the seductive guile of a beautiful senorita, providing a perfect counterpart to the macho mainland enchiladas.

Our accompanying margaritas were not too strong and not too sweet, and for some strange reason only cost one dollarini a piece. I can't guarantee that as a consistent figure.

Prices ranged from $3.95 to $10.95 with most entrees running in the $6 to $7 area. In all, a pleasant experience and close to campus.

 

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SA BILL CREATING ATTORNEY GENERAL WITH

IMPEACHMENT POWER VETOED

BY ANTON P. MONTANO

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

A bill creating an attorney general position that would have revived the Student Association's currently unworkable impeachment code was vetoed by the SA Aug. 26.

Sen. Michael Green, vice chair of SA's Internal Affairs Committee, said passing bill SAB 28007 would be like "putting only a band-aid on a brain hemorrhage."

The impeachment bylaws in Title 7 of the SA code require an attorney general to investigate charges and prepare articles of impeachment. Yet, if the SA president does not appoint an attorney general, the code cannot be used to impeach SA members.

"For the last three years, the common practice of the SA presidents has been not to select an attorney general," Green said.

SA President Michael Berry said not appointing an attorney general was more of an oversight than an attempt to stop the impeachment process.

"To be quite honest, I never considered appointing an attorney general," Berry said. "The position as a compensated SA member was abolished two years ago. And it was the case several years ago that an attorney general was paid $110 a month and didn't do a thing."

Senate Speaker Lee Grooms said the impeachment code was also unclear and outdated.

"This is not a workable code," Grooms said. "Within itself, it might make sense, but it doesn't work with the whole of the code. It refers to things that don't exist like `Senate Bills' which are now called `Student Association Bills.'

Green said even having an attorney general would not solve the impeachment code's problems.

"The next step is to either throw out the present bylaw or go through a major revision," Green said.

Berry said there is a simpler procedure to oust someone from SA.

"It's my opinion that if you want anyone out, you can do it and especially if their vision for the university is off base from the vision of the students," Berry said.

Section 10 Article III of the SA Constitution allows the SA to suspend the Title 7 impeachment proceedings and directly remove members of the Senate in a two-thirds vote.

"But, Section 10 would eliminate due process," Grooms said. "I don't think it would be a healthy thing to do."

Introduced to the SA July 15, the attorney general bill appeared at an SA meeting where SA Vice President Andrew Monzon accused Berry of abusive spending practices and allowing his executive assistant at that time, Nandita Venkateswaran, to work more than the 20 hour maximum.

Yet, authors of the attorney general bill deny the intent of the legislation was to eventually oust Berry from the SA.

"I'm not out to impeach someone," Sen. Kittrie Gleason, an author of SAB 28007, said. "There are just a lot of flaws within the bylaw as they stand."

Sen. Gene Simeon said the bill included more than the impeachment process.

"This bill is not accusing anybody of anything," Simeon said. "I think the attorney general is important because he helps keep an eye on everything going on in the SA. It's a vital position."

 

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SYMPHONY CHORUS LOOKING FOR SINGERS

TO FILL OUT ROSTER

BY STEVE GARRETT

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Houston Symphony is looking for a few good voices.

Charles Hausman, director of UH choral activities, is auditioning prospective singers to fill the few remaining seats left on the Houston Symphony Chorus.

The chorus consists of about 170 seats, of which 165 have been filled. The auditions will take place Sept. 4-5 at UH.

Hausmann directs the Houston Symphony Chorus too and has been with the symphony since 1986. "The choir is an outstanding group," Hausmann said. "With the repertoire we have, I think we'll have an extensive and exciting year."

Hausmann said the auditions are just a part of the work he loves.

"I think the most enjoyable thing about working with the symphony is to be able to collaborate with outstanding international orchestras and conductors," he said.

The first symphony performances will be Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, and two coronation anthems dedicated to George II and conducted by Robert Shaw.

These performances will take place Oct. 5-7 at Jones Hall. Ticket prices range from $5 to $50.

 

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RALLY KICKS OFF SEASON

BY JIM MOSLEY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

They blew their horns and banged their drums and announced Cougar football had begun.

UH's Lynn Eusan Park was full of pizza, chicken, mexican food, cokes, beer and Rock-N-Roll Wednesday evening for the students' first meeting with the football team.

"This is UH's first 'Drive to the National Championship' Party," Althletic Marketing Coordinator Mike Pede said during the last minute rush before for the party. "Vendors from all over are helping with the rally.

"Grandy's is selling two pieces of chicken and a roll for a dollar," said Pede who had planned this event for three months. "Coke-A-Cola is giving away drinks and Pizza Hut is selling pizza by the slice for 75 cents. C & D Grocery of Baytown is selling tacos and other mexican food for a $1. Budwiser beer is 25 cents for a 10 ounce a glass, and the rock band Global Village is playing until 8 p.m."

KLOL's morning disc jockey team Stevens and Pruett introduced UH Head Coach John Jenkins, who brought on the the 1991 Cougar Football Team.

The UH Alumni Association gave the university $4,000 to finance the event, says Pede.

"Our goal is to get the students more involved in the football program," said Roland Trevino, a 1976 UH graduate and who is in charge of student involvement for the UH Alumni Sports Committee. "I was investigating for the committee to see how we could get more students involved in the althletic program when I heard about the rally. We naturally stepped in to help."

Students were excited at the prospect of a national championship and the 25 cent beer.

"I'm here to support the Coogs," said George Camp, sophomore biology major, as he exited the beer coupon line with eight coupons.

"Most people are here for the beer," said Jason Dean, an undeclared sophomore, who was holding eight coupons and a "Drive to the National Championship Tour 91" T-shirt, which set him back $10. "I'm here for the players and you can tell because I bought a T-shirt."

Houston, ineligible for a bowl game the past two seasons because of NCAA probation, is no longer banned from the postseason. Expectations for their success ran high among students attending the rally.

Patrick Ruland, a junior computer science major, said he was excited about the upcoming season and planned to attend as many games as possible.

The Cougars open the season in the Astrodome on Saturday at 4 p.m. against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

 

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UH PHONE REGISTRATION ON HOLD

BY MIKE HINES

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Like space travel to Mars and World peace, telephone registration at UH still appears to be a distant dream.

Wayne Sigler, assistant vice president for enrollment services, said the university must first complete phase one of the development of a new, upgraded computer-supported enrollment system before it can implement phone registration.

The two phase plan, first approved by former President Richard Van Horn, is still in phase one of development, and the completion date is still undetermined.

"We are desirous of phone registration as the students are," Sigler said. "Phone registration would help our offices as much as it would help the students. The president wants it and so does the administration. But there are several considerations on how fast we can move on this."

Phase One must first be completed before the university can move in this direction, Sigler said.

This phase entails the migration of computer processes done by the Office of Admissions, the Office of Registration and Academic Records and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid from Honeywell to Vax computers.

He also said that when this is completed, the interactive problems that affect the three registration offices would be greatly reduced.

Another advantage of the new system would be its real-time on-line data entry capability, which will greatly accelerate computer communication between the three offices.

Steve Webb, manager of administrative computing, said the completion of this process would allow the university to move on to higher goals and greater advancements.

"We are repositioning ourselves on a new program to move forward," Webb said. "Soon we'll be in a position to do what we want."

Allowing students to register by phone would be one of those future goals, said Webb, but only if administrators decide that other priorities do not take precidence "There are a number of factors that will influence the administration's decision," Sigler said. "Funding the system, installing the new telephone system, developing policy and choosing our priorities must all be decided."

Sigler estimated that telephone registration could cost the university between $400,000 and $500,000.

"We have no target date for phone registration yet," he said. "We're anxious to move. Clearly we want to move on this as fast as we can. We want to move in an active, proactive way."

Gary McCormack, the director of telecommunications, said the new $7 million phone system should be installed by early 1992.

"My hope is that the system will be in by March," he said. "It could be done earlier."

McCormack also pointed out the new phone system was not a prerequisite for obtaining phone registration.

The present open-line registration and drop and add that operates out of Room 111 in the E. Cullen building costs the university $2,000 a day, said Mario Lucchesi, director of Registration and Academic Affairs.

"We usually bring in a support staff of 20 employees," Lucchesi, said. "They work aproximately 10 hours a day."

Michael Allen, an associate registrar at UT, suggested the students should state their desire for phone registration to the administration.

"The students should get a student referendum that says that they will pay for the system by paying a $4 registration fee," Allen said.

UT presently charges its students a $4 registration fee for the use of its phone registration system.

Sigler said such a referendum, including the $4 fee, by the students would ultimately influence the administration's decision on phone registration.

"That would definitely help," he said. "It addresses the funding problem. The funding issue has not been resolved."

But for now, the university will continue to gather information on phone registration from vendors and other universities in a non-formal capacity.

 

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STATE PURSE STRINGS TIGHTEN AROUND

UH WORKER WAGES

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Faculty and staff face tough times this year as hope for a pay increase slowly sinks into the Legislative quicksand.

"The final revenue estimate at the end of the special session stretched us to the limit. There is certainly no pot of gold stashed away untouched, which unfortunately means state employees will not get a pay increase at this time," State Comptroller John Sharp said.

Paul Curry, spokesman for Sharp, said the necessary $574 million needed to give two (the Texas Legislature makes budgets bienially) 3 percent pay raises for the next biennium are simply not there.

A contingency rider was added at the end of the special session specifying that if the comptroller could find the necessary money, state employees could receive up to a 3 percent raise.

Curry said Sharp could not find money to give employees any pay increase whatsoever.

Some glimmer of hope revolved around the possibility that Gov. Ann Richards could veto other bills to free additional funds, but that option now appears unlikely.

"She could line-item veto in the appropriations bill but these are small amounts of money," Richards spokesman Chuck McDonald said, adding that this won't happen because this would require the governor to veto an astronomical number of bills.

McDonald said there is a small glimmer of hope remaining because the comptroller hasn't yet certified the money for the next fiscal year. There is a possibility that Sharp he can find the money for raises for the FY 93, McDonald said.

Curry said if the lottery is approved by the voters in July, the extra revenue might be used for pay increases. But since it is contingent upon voter approval, concerns on how the revenue could be used have not been addressed.

Both Curry and McDonald said they think the issue is finished, but nothing is final until Richards makes her decision. The governor has until Sept. 2 to sign or veto the bills.

During Wednesday's Faculty Senate meeting, President John Bernard gloomily termed the salary issue "murky."

Chair of the UH Legislative Relations Committee, Harrell Rodgers,

told the Faculty Senate he expects Richards' budget review committee to find waste she can veto, to free up the necessary funds to give employees raises.

"The rider is in the budget and if it doesn't happen now, it may happen in the second year of the biennium," he said.

If the money is found it will be a merit raise -- based on an employee's performance.

Rodgers said in the next legislative session, which begins in 18 months, they will focus a great deal on the governor. If it had not been for the support of Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and a handful of senators, this university could have been in a bind, Rodgers said.

He described Sharp as being "like a nightmare; he will come back."

Rodgers lauded faculty members for the letters they mailed to legislators emphasizing the university's need for increased funds.

"They went into this session thinking it was Higher Education's turn," Rodgers said. "And the faculty letter writing campaign impressed representatives."

One of the questions posed to Rodgers concerned the problem of student overcrowding in classrooms and the possibility of an enrollment cap.

Because of formula distribution funding, if enrollment drops, so does the amount of money UH receives, Rodgers said.

Rodgers warns that with all the accounting tricks that were done this session, "these will come back to haunt us down the road."

During the session, he quoted Richards as asking, "Why the hell do they (higher education) want a 20 percent increase?"

He said our answer to her is "yes we did want a 20 percent increase.

"If we had just a little support from the governor, it would have helped us over the next two years," Rodgers said.

UH received a 9.1 percent increase over FY 91's budget -- 3.2 percent below its current service expenditures.

 

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PART-TIME STUDENT HANDS TO HELP FOOD

SERVICE

BY MICHAEL HINES

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Beginning this semester, when you eat at one of the campus food establishments, do not be surprised if a fellow student serves you your meal.

The new program, used successfully at Baylor University for 10 years, is finally about to take off at UH.

In September, the ARA will implement a student employee work program on campus, said Bill Wentz, UH Campus Dining Services' general manager.

"There are so many jobs available in our dining facilities during peak hours that we need students to fill these positions," Wentz said.

Students will serve food, flip burgers, cook pizzas and wash dishes among many other duties.

Mikal Belicove, student employment coordinator for UH Campus Dining Services, said he believes the program will work because working students will enhance the facilities service. Belicove believes that students will enjoy going to a place where their fellow students work.

"Our major goal is to gain the acceptance of students," Belicove said. "We believe student workers will be very conscientious and very dedicated."

The most attractive part of the job will be flexible hours, so students can mesh their work with their class schedules, Belicove said.

Belicove, who is responsible for the recruitment, orientation and placement of the student employees, said he hopes to fill 50 to 60 full-time positions across campus with students.

"These are 25 to 30 hour-a-week jobs," Belicove said. "We believe it would take somewhere from 110 to 120 students working part-time to fill these spots because of the hours involved."

Wentz another appealing aspect of the jobs is the bonuses they offer to employees based on the number of hours worked each week.

"We want success for both parties involved," Wentz said. "As in any job, there will be a ladder to climb."

 

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SAE MEMBERS BLAME PARTY BRAWL ON

OUTSIDERS

BY DAI HUYNH

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The altercation ignited at Sigma Alpha Epsilon's party that resulted in one guest's finger being severed Saturday, was provoked by outsiders, SAE members said.

Carrin Huber and her boyfriend Kevin Schramm were asked repeatedly to leave after various incidents occurred at the house late that night, SAE Risk Manager Brett Marko said. The final incident culminated in a scuffle during which the fraternity president was assaulted, he said.

At some point, Huber jumped into the fight and her finger was cut off, Marko said.

"Apparently something happened, and whoever was responsible we don't know -- we don't know what happened, but the finger was severed off," Marko said.

Resident Paul Pendleton said he was at home in his library when he heard a piercing scream. He recalled hearing a girl crying, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God, I lost my finger!"

"I tried to go to her aid," Pendleton said. "She was clutching her hand in some sort of bloody rag. Also, in her other hand was a bloody cup of ice," Pendleton said.

The house was chaotic, and if it wasn't for security guards hired by the neighborhood, the fight might have escalated to fatalistic proportions, Pendleton said.

People who live near the fraternity house are angered and frustrated that numerous complaints made to HPD and the university about SAE over the past years have been ignored, said Bernard Middleton, president of the South MacGregor Civic Club.

"I'm very disappointed because I do think that if the university had responded to our requests down through the last several years this could have been avoided," he said.

The day the altercation occurred, Middleton called UH System Chancellor Alexander Schilt's office twice and requested extra security for the party that night. His requests were to no avail, he said.

Last year, the civic group contacted university officials about SAE and was assured by Schilt that action would be taken to alleviate the problems, Middleton said. But nothing was done and the disruptive behavior of SAE members continued, he said.

Anticipating the rowdiness that often results from an SAE party, the civic group hired constables from Harris County Precinct 7, Middleton said.

As far as SAE is concerned, the residents are without protection from the Houston Police Department, Middleton said.

"Our constables were told by the HPD that they had been given a hands-off order in respect to SAE," Middleton said. "The officers went to some pain to explain the firm orders."

"It is our understanding, at least from what the officers were telling the constables, that SAE apparently has some well-known alumni members somewhere in the police department (HPD)," he said.

UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett said she was distressed about what took place during the altercation and has instructed interim Vice President for Student Affairs Elwyn Lee to review all the complaints concerning SAE.

After the university's 1990 investigation of South MacGregor residents' complaints against SAE activities, the only disciplinary action taken was a warning.

However, Barnett said this time, "If all the allegations are true, this goes beyond a warning."

University administrators are very concerned about the feud between residents and fraternity members, Lee said.

"This kind of publicity reflects badly on Greek organizations. We had several parties that night and that was the only party that gave rise to bad publicity, which gives the university a black eye," he said.

"It is important that we get a grip on this kind of activity so that the wrong image won't be projected," Lee said. "We are looking into it closely and something will be done to make sure that we don't have a repeat of this incident."

Eventually, the university will decide whether to take disciplinary action or to make changes in policies dealing with fraternities, Lee said.

Huber's father, Chris Huber, said the injury to his daughter's left hand will impair her daily activities, including driving a car.

The family would not comment on what legal course to take at this time.

"You have to understand that there are a lot of things at stake here," he said.

 

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