UH's School of Architecture kicked off this year with their second annual welcome back project -- an archway building contest in honor of their favorite, and not so favorite, dignitaries.

The result was 20 unique archways designed to look like famous people, from the police chief to political candidates. Elizabeth Watson, Bob Lanier and even first dog Millie Bush were represented by archways.

"The idea of the archway was to design them to be hypothetically placed down Main Street toward the Astrodome during the Republican convention," Assistant Architecture Professor Tom Diehl said.

All of the architecture students were informed of the project on the first day of school, and each architecture class or studio was supplied with six sheets of 3 feet by 8 feet cardboard. Then each studio selected a dignitary and supplied extra materials for construction, Diehl said.

Two of the archways blared pre-recordings for effect, one a mockery of U.S. President George Bush talking a lot about nothing, and another a cacaphony of traffic sounds, alarms and traffic reports.

The contest was judged by a panel headed by UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett. American Institute of Architecture's Houston Chapter President Bill Neuhaus and Don Hausemann of the Triangle Packaging Co. were also judges.

The winning archways mimicked Lanier and Watson. The Lanier archway consisted of two triangular pillars connected by several curvy stretches of freeway with photocopied illustrations of cars.

`It was built to go through sideways to emphasize the overcrowding of the freeway," third-year student Natham Somera said.

The archway modeled after the police chief utilized a revolving jailhouse door adjacent to a cell with a no vacancy sign. The structure also had an ex-convict on the right side and a nude Watson on the left.

This event is really designed to get students back into the swing of things and to get them excited about the school year, Diehl said.

"It's a kickstarter for the semester and helps break in the studios," third-year student Wulf Focke said.

A structure that no one could miss and the winner of the Humor Award was an arch mimicking Clayton Williams. The structure had a speech bubble surrounding the words "relax and enjoy it."

Barnett seemed bemused by the Williams structure.

"That is priceless," Barnett said.









Little-known UH alumnus and millionaire John Jay Moores is

quietly and privately sharing the rewards of his hard work with others and the university.


September issue of Texas Monthly estimates Moores to be worth $140 million. Of those millions, he has contributed 27 to UH since 1989.

Moores' quiet personality has kept him sheltered and out of the limelight, said Alumni Director Frank Holmes.

"He is the closest thing I have seen to a true philanthropist," Holmes said. "He is an exceptional person."

Moores has contributed to many scholarships and programs at UH. Through donations, he has helped support the school of music, the law school, the college of optometry's River Blindness Foundation and the UH Alumni Organization. In 1989, he paid for the marching band's trip to the Aloha Bowl.

Tom Newhouse, UH professor of law, has fond memories of Moores and his wife who is also a UH graduate.

"He and his wife have been very generous to the law center," Newhouse said.

Moores was born in Corpus Christi and raised in Houston. He began working at the age of eight by delivering newspapers and mowing yards.

Following his high school graduation in 1961, he went to work for Great Southern Life Insurance Co. while attending night school at UH. He later worked for Shell Oil Co. where he developed a software package for IBM called the "optimizer."

In 1980, he took his newly developed software and formed his own company -- BMC Software. In 1988, his company became incorporated, and today he serves as chairman of the board of BMC Software Inc.

Levann Lubojasky, assistant to Moores, said she thinks he chooses the groups he donates to randomly. That is, he finds and gives to the areas in need.

Lubojasky claims Moores' key to success has been his hard-working personality and his ability to focus on one thing.

He and his wife, Rebecca, both hold degrees in economics and juris doctorate degrees from the UH Bates Law School. They have two children.









Every so often John Jenkins' Multiple Adjusting Passing Offense (MAPO) has its rough outings; the well-oiled offensive machine slips into neutral and stalls on a sea of green.

At that point, it's up to the defense to make the big plays -- cause a turnover, force a punt -- and get the ball back to David Klingler and the offense for another shot at paydirt.

Strongside linebacker Eric Blount is fast becoming a leader of the Cougar defense expected to pick up the pieces in 1991 and hold opposing offenses to far less than the 27.5 points per game given up last year.

"The King," as he is otherwise affectionately known to his teammates, has his roots in Memphis. He acknowledges his nickname, but denies ever visiting Graceland, nor does he have the desire to go.

The 6' 1", 230 pound junior led UH in tackles last year with 123, 91 of those unassisted. He was recognized with All-America honors.

This Saturday, UH's streak of three consecutive opening games without allowing a touchdown is on the line against Louisiana Tech, and many are primed to say the Cougars would be lucky in giving up just a couple of touchdowns every week, let alone pitching a shutout against an offense that averaged 30.4 points per game a year ago.

If Blount has his way, however, the Cougar defense, ranked 103rd in the nation last year, will not only shut out the Bulldogs, but be ranked in the top five by season's end.

"We've made a 360 degree turnaround from last year," Blount said. "(Finishing that high) should be no problem at all because we were in the top five (in interceptions) in '89.

"Of course the offense gets all the attention. We're going to try to be No. 1 on defense," Blount said.

Two years ago the Cougar defense was ranked No. 23 overall, but first in the nation in interceptions the past two seasons. The '89 squad was led by Cornelious Price with 1.1 interceptions per game, along with Alton Montgomery and Alfred Oglesby. Altogether, the unit allowed just 13.6 points per game -- half of last year's average.

Blount is optimistic the '91 version can do even better than '89.

"Our goal on defense is a shutout every game," he said.

But 360 degree turnarounds don't come overnight. And for the Cougars it's taken most of the 1990 season and '91 offseason to regain their health and confidence.

Blount says, more than anything, the experience playing together for at least one season now has sharpened the defense's communication skills on the field. Knowing who's playing where and how they'll react in certain situations, he says, saves time and helps them focus more on the opposing offense.

"We're ready. We worked hard in the offseason ... and we want to get back to where we were in '89."








Outbreaks of cholera in South and Central America should be of particular interest to Texas, a noted UH professor said.

Sociology professor Nestor Rodriguez said Texas should be particularly concerned about the increasing numbers of cholera-infected persons in Central America, since many people from that region immigrate to the United States and settle in Texas.

"Anytime you have a large number of people migrating from one region to another, it poses a viable health risk to the population of the destination country," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who returned from Central America last month, received first-hand knowledge of the conditions in that region.

"In Guatemala, for example, sanitation conditions are appalling. Many of the villages have communal bath and outhouses, and there are several villages in which whole families bathe together," he said. "These are very dangerous circumstances, healthwise."

Unfortunately, conditions in certain parts of Texas aren't much better. Dr. Lawrence Nickey, chairman of the Texas Medical Association's Council on Public Health, said all the conditions necessary for cholera outbreaks exist along the Texas-Mexico border.

These conditions include poverty, poor sewer systems, contaminated water and a lack of knowledge about proper sanitation practices.

"In neighborhoods right across the border (from El Paso), there are between 200,000 and 400,000 people who have no sanitary facilities and no potable water in their homes," Nickey said. "We have 68,000 people living in El Paso County with the same problems. These people would be at high risk for (contracting) cholera."

The TMA has begun alerting Texas health care workers about the potential risk of cholera outbreaks along the state's border with Mexico. TMA is also co-sponsoring a seminar this week in El Paso to familiarize health care workers with the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Cholera is a bacterial disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract in humans. It is a particularly dangerous disease because it robs infected persons of their ability to absorb water and salt from the intestines into the bloodstream.

A person infected with cholera can die from dehydratioin as soon as 48 hours after initially contracting the disease.

Since time is a key factor in the survival rate of persons infected with cholera, one of the key objectives at the El Paso seminar is to provide medical technologists with hands-on laboratory training in rapid diagnosis of the disease. Persons infected with cholera have a 100 percent survival rate when given proper and timely treatment.

The United States and Mexico have begun massive efforts in Central America to educate the inhabitants of the region on how to avoid contracting the disease. The U.S. Embassy to Central America has donated several vans and trucks to the region so health workers can visit small villages and warn them of the potential health hazards.

Problems health care workers face with the education effort include the high rate of illiteracy in the region and the many villagers that speak languages other than Spanish or English, Rodriguez said.








I know what you're doing. You're wasting your time while your professor is shuffling his disorganized papers by pretending to read The Daily Cougar you picked up outside.

I say pretending to read it because you're really just trying to occupy your eyes while you try to decide what you're going to do this weekend. I mean, let's not fool each other. So let me help you a little bit.

Tonight there are a couple of good shows around town, depending on what tickles you.

For those who like the feel of grass beneath your feet and a more sophisticated sound, try "Latin Jazz Night" out on the lawn at the Miller Outdoor Theatre which starts at 8 p.m. and features the Norma Zentano Band, Poncho Sanchez and Beto y Los Fairlanes.

Also featured at the fest will be some premier guitar work. Internationally known virtuoso Al Di Meola will be cooking up the frets Sunday evening with his World Sinfonia for your aural pleasure. The Jazz Fest will be running all weekend long and yes, folks, it's FREE.

For a cozier atmosphere, there's the ever-reliable Milton Hopkins at the Reddi Room. Best to go there late after the yuppies have gone to bed.

Saturday at Ovations, Paul English will be lulling the crowd along with Melissa Suhr and friends.

For those who require a good dance floor and some rockabilly music to swing your gal (or guy), there's the quintessential Road Kings at the esoteric Lost Concert Cafe. Rudyard's will be going back to 1453 BC.

We can't vouch for the quality of the act, but Invictus is said to be performing some sort of rock opera at Fitzgerald's Friday night. Probably won't rival Tommy, but you never know.

For those who require some industrial-strength tickling, at the Axiom there's the Bayou Pigs opening up for the Hickoids (do they still sing "Green Acres?") with the Sin City Disciples.

Friday night the Vatican will be blessed by Pain Teens, along with those popular choir boys, the Mike Gunn and also some Poor Dumb Bastards. Saturday, Angkor Wat will wipe up the remains.

The Mucky Duck will be holding a benefit bash Sunday for Peter "Buzzy" Gruen, and will feature Shake Russell & Dana Cooper with Jack Saunders, Trout Fishing in America, Trish & Darin and Sisters Morales just to name a few. The guy could use your support. How would you like a double lung transplant? Not I, not I.

Pat and Pete's Bon Ton Room will play host to Cajun rockers The Bluerunners, so shine up your washboard and head on over there for the swamp fest.

Oh yeah, and by the way, there is no elephant. I lied.









Sigma Alpha Epsilon's calamitous behavior goes beyond fun and games when it involves racial harassment, neighbors say.

Bernard Middleton said he has put up with racial slurs from the organization for years.

Middleton, who lives adjacent to the SAE property located at 3036 MacGregor Way, said that during a 1990 function, party-goers walked down the edge of his yard yelling "nigger."

"I've never been called a nigger except by them," he said.

Also, on Oct. 4, 1990, his son was assaulted by an SAE member, he said. However, no action was taken against the fraternity by the Houston Police Department despite Middleton's identification of the alleged assailant.

Middleton admits he is not certain the man who attacked him was an SAE member, but the perpetrator's car often was parked in front of the fraternity house.

Paul Pendleton, who also lives next door to the SAE house, said the neighborhood has been terrorized by this group for years.

"I have been threatened by these people as well as most of the people in this neighborhood," he said. "It is not safe to walk in this neighborhood or on your own lawn on the night of one of their parties."

SAE has rocked the boat in this racially integrated neighborhood, Pendleton said.

"So much of what they have done and so many of their threats have been racially motivated. In the first years that I was here, I tolerated as much as I could, realizing that they were college kids and they were young, but when I saw threat of racial violence, I couldn't tolerate it any longer," he said.

Allegedly, SAE went as far as inscribing the word "nigger" on Middleton's driveway, Pendleton said.

Middleton said that he would like to see UH take a solid position and take some measures to control SAE.

"It would be much more cohesive for the university to police its students because we're talking about university students, we're not talking about some Joe Blow on the street," he said.

Middleton added that university claims that nothing can be done because the SAE house is not on campus property are ridiculous.

In response to Middleton's accusations, SAE Risk Manager Brett Marko said, "He definitely says a lot of things, but the burden of proof is on his side. Unless he can back them up, his comments mean nothing."

When asked whether Middleton was lying about the alleged racial harassment, Marko would not comment.

"I'll be doing the same thing he (Middleton) does, and that's not right," he said. "I've talked to him before and we are willing to produce changes. I'm committed to bettering our relation with the community."

The troubles between SAE and the South MacGregor Way residents intensified when Carrin Huber's finger was bitten off at a fraternity party on Saturday.

The finger was severed when Huber intervened in a fight between her date, Kevin Schramm, and SAE President Steve Ferro.

Ferro pressed assault charges against Huber this week and the fraternity filed criminal mischief charges against her.

Middleton lives at 5500 Ardmore, which was mistakenly identified as the SAE fraternity house in Thursday's issue of The Daily Cougar.








When thinking of a flying machine, the 1990 TCU Horned Frogs hardly come to mind.

Texas Christian University Head Football Coach Jim Wacker hopes

this year's squad can avoid the nosedive it went into last year.

After opening the season with five victories in their first six games, TCU failed to win

another contest.

Injuries to key players dealt a heavy blow to the Horned Frog's Triple Shoot.

Starting quarterback Leon Clay broke the thumb on his throwing hand during a game against Baylor, ending his season.

Backup quarterback Matt Vogler was called on to the scene and showed he was more than capable of handling the job during his 690-yard explosion against the Houston Cougars. The Cougars still prevailed 56-35.

Clay, a 6'2" senior, has recovered completely and is ready to take the helm again.

The offensive line, however, remains one of the big question marks for Wacker and his staff.

Wacker must replace three starters lost to graduation. He sees it as one of the integral parts to a successful season.

"Our concerns are simple. If our offensive line improves, the Horned Frog offense will continue to get better. That's imperative," he said.

Senior Keith Wagner and juniors Jody Morse and John Marsh are expected to fill the vacated positions on the line.

The offensive line will definitely have to be in sync if TCU hopes to equal last year's offensive output. The Frogs scored 20 or more points in eight of their first nine games.

Affectionately called Los Tres Hombres, tight end Kelly Blackwell, wide receivers Stephen Shipley and Richard Woodley, the sophomore sensation, solidify the TCU attack.

The trio combined for 2,281 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns last year. More of the same is expected this season.

Blackwell comes into the '91 campaign as a pre-season All-American, while Shipley was a consensus All-SWC pick in 1990.

Running back Curtis Modkins returns to face stiff competition from fellow junior Setrick Dickens, after impressing his coaches during spring practice.

The biggest concern for Wacker should be the defense. But the enthusiastic coach has shruggged off the loss of six starters and remains optimistic.

"I believe we will be vastly improved in the defensive line, and we should have several outstanding athletes in the secondary." Wacker said.

Leading the Horned Frog defense will be senior defensive ends Tunji Bolden and Roosevelt Collins.

Despite a few question marks, Wacker and the Horned Frogs expect to take off this year in their flying machine.









The trial of Houston City Councilman Ben Reyes will be the first criminal court case in Texas to be televised live since Billy Sol Estes' 1962 trial.

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, the veteran councilman will face a felony theft charge for allegedly removing a magnolia tree from a house razed with his authorization in his East Houston district. Reyes' District I includes UH's Central Campus.

William Linsley, UH professor of communication law said, "I find it unfortunate that a more important issue wasn't chosen for a televised criminal court proceeding."

In Estes vs. Texas and others, defense attorneys argued the presence of television cameras was distracting and interferred with the jury's ability to make an impartial decision, and even jeopardized the safety of witnesses in more serious trials.

Estes' attorneys took his case to the Supreme Court in 1965, and five members of that panel concluded that jurors may have been distracted by the presence of cameras. However, a majority of the court concluded that cameras would prevent a fair trial in all circumstances.

In 1981, the Supreme Court ruled in Chandler vs. Florida, that states could allow television cameras in the courtroom because the mere presence of cameras did not jeapordize the defendant's Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to an impartial jury and due process of law. Modern technology has made recording equipment less obtrusive and facilitated its acceptance into courts of law.

In April of 1990, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously lifted a 25-year-old ban on audio-visual recording equipment in civil and appellate courtrooms.

While the use of cameras in these courts was endorsed, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals did not endorse this policy for criminal trials "when they had the chance," Linsley said.

Therefore, it's become a legislative decision, he said. Cameras are not technically banned or allowed in criminal court proceedings by the Court or Legislature. Until the Legislature takes action, the decision whether to allow cameras rests with the presiding judge.

In the Reyes trial, District Court Judge Patricia Lykos made the decision to allow cameras in her courtroom. Neither Lykos nor Reyes' attorney, Mike Ramsey, could be reached for comment before press time.

UH law professor John Douglas said the two parties probably agreed to let the cameras in the courtroom.

Linsley said Lykos is not "committing an irreversible error" simply by allowing cameras at the trial should Reyes need to appeal a possible conviction. Politically, Linsley said Lykos has nothing to gain by allowing the coverage.

Reyes was originally charged with criminal mischief for allegedly demolishing two houses without proper authority from the City of Houston.

These charges were dropped Tuesday after city documents relating to the cases were not presented to the grand jury that investigated the cases.

The magnolia tree, which was transplanted into Reyes' front yard, was removed after the indictment was handed down in May of this year. Reyes was also indicted for questionable campaign contributions totalling about $1,000, but this case is scheduled for a separate trial at a later date.

A change of venue was granted by the 180th District Court to the South Texas Law School in an effort to bring the case before a jury in a timely fashion.








While fans may look past the Cougars' first game to the Sept. 12 Miami matchup, John Jenkins and his troops aren't about to dismiss Louisiana Tech.

The Bulldogs begin just their third season at the Division I-A level, but they are coming off an impressive 8-3-1 season that culminated in a trip to the Independence Bowl. They tied Maryland 34-34.

Tech won seven of its last eight regular season games. Their only loss over that span was a 16-14 defeat on the road against then 5th ranked Auburn. Auburn had to kick a last second field goal to get by the Bulldogs.

"They're going to be bringing a very quality crew of players in here," Jenkins said. "A couple of years ago, they entered Division I status, and they have gotten real good real quick."

While Louisiana Tech has enjoyed early success since making the jump from Division I-AA, four-year Head Coach Joe Raymond Peace admits it hasn't been easy.

"It looks in a period of four years that it's been easy and been fun, but I'll be the first to tell you that it's been a grind," Peace said. "I'm pleased with the progress we've made, but we're still in the first chapter of the book as far as Division I football at Louisiana Tech, and there's still a lot of work to be done."

Louisiana Tech should bring a stronger team into the Astrodome on Saturday than the one routed by the Cougars 60-0 in 1988.

The Bulldogs are led by senior quarterback Gene Johnson, who is coming off one of the best years in school history, throwing for 2,129 yards.

He is in range to take over as Tech's all-time passing leader, which would put him ahead of NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw and Canadian Football League veteran Matt Dunigan.

"He's (Johnson) got a strong arm, and thoroughly understands the offense," Peace said. "He's a very intelligent guy who really studies the game."

On the ground, the Bulldogs will depend on junior Jason Davis to take over for the graduated Michael Richardson. Davis rushed for 929 yards last season as a backup, despite missing one game. Tech's ground attack last year was good for 212 yards per game, placing them 20th in the nation.

"I feel comfortable with Davis replacing Richardson," Peace said. "I think he's a quality back, and a bigger back."

If there's one big weakness on the Bulldogs' offense, it's their receivers. They must replace Eddie Davis and All-American Bobby Slaughter, last year's prime targets.

Defensively, Tech returns seven starters from last year's unit, which finished 23rd in the nation last year. Leading the way on defense are brother linebackers Myron and Lorenza Baker (The Fabulous Baker Boys).

Peace said Houston's passing attack will be a challege for his defense.

"It's a proven fact that you don't stop the Run-and-Shoot," he said. "Everybody asks if we have anything special to stop Houston. Our approach is not built around using tricks or gimmicks.

"We have a defensive package put together that includes several schemes but mainly it involves playing all out for the whole game," he said.

And what about David Klingler?

"We've faced a lot of good quarterbacks in the last three years, but there's no question, we haven't faced anything like David Klingler," Peace said. "He's very special and I think all the hype he's receiving is definitely justified."








Texas Tech Head Coach Spike Dykes said his Red Raiders are a

mysterious team that can go up or down.

"We have no limitations to what we can accomplish," Dykes said during team two-a-days. "We are not a

good football team at this time. It all depends on how much we improve before the season opener."

The Raiders lack a strong defense, so the team will go only as far as the offense takes them. The offense will have to score a lot of points because Tech's defense is full of questions, which have to be answered if the Raiders wish to contend for the conference title.

Tech returns eight offensive starters, including quarterback Jamie Gill, and a wide receiver corps, which could be one of the best in the conference.

The wide receivers are led by All-America candidate Rodney Blackshear. Blackshear, out of Houston Reagan, caught 44 passes for 973 yards. He has the big-play capability the Red Raiders need.

"Rodney Blackshear is as good a wide receiver as there is in America," Dykes said.

Joining Blackshear are Lloyd Hill, Byron Hooper and Anthony Stinnett. This quartet will challenge Houston's and Texas Christian's wide outs to see who's the best in the Southwest Conference.

Throwing to the wide receivers will be Gill, now recovered from last year's injury-plagued season. Dykes said he won't hesitate to use Robert Hall at quarterback if Gill falters.

Gill will be at the helm in the season opener, and Dykes is hoping his "on again off again" quarterback will show the same form he showed in 1989 when Gill led the Red Raiders to a 9-2 record.

With Gill throwing to the wide receivers, running back Anthony Lynn and fullback Louis Sheffield will be called on to be on the move often enough to divert pressure from Gill and the wide outs.

If the Red Raider offense is clicking on all cylinders, Texas Tech will cause problems for opponents on Saturday afternoons.

Defensively, the Raiders return only five starters from a unit that allowed 32 points and 420 yards a game last year.

"We don't have a lot of size, so we're going to have to rely on some quickness," said defensive coordinator Carlos Mainord. "We are trying to take advantage of what we've got personnel wise."

Texas Tech is switching to a 3-4 defense this year. Inside linebacker Matt Wingo and free safety Tracy Saul return to lead the defense.

The Red Raiders must show signs of an improved defense if they want to contend this year. Dykes is a recruiting class away from becoming a strong enough force to pick cotton.








The winner of the 1974 Tibor Varga International Competition in Switzerland and a graduate of the Julliard school of music, UH's new violin professor, Henry Rubin, has a down-to-earth demeanor.

Rubin taught for 14 years at the University of Alabama, before jumping at the opportunity to teach at UH.

"I decided it was time to be retreaded. I needed fresh opportunities," he said. "The students at UH are very bright. They want to learn and are not afraid to ask questions. That's what a teacher likes most."

Rubin's still new to Houston -- a town he calls a cultural mecca -- and UH, whose faculty he says are world renowned.

The new violin professor is grateful to be working with such high-caliber people and already feels very much at home at UH.

Rubin learned his music appreciation from his father, Mitchell Rubin, who he considers to be the cornerstone of his career in classical violin.

"My father was an amateur violinist, and he played records all day long. A lot of his friends were musicians, so our house was always filled with music, Rubin said. "When I was a boy, I thought musicians could do something special. Music is very exciting to me. Most little boys want to be like their fathers. I guess if he was a bird hunter, I would be a bird hunter too."

But music was not always Rubin's passion.

"I had a love/hate relationship with music. I wasn't a good student, and my teachers hated me because I didn't practice my lessons," he said. "But when I was 16 (years old), I basically grew up," he said.

While attending a Mozart symphony, he changed completely. Rubin says he finally understood what the master was saying. His life changed entirely, and he felt like a born-again christian, he said.

During his professional debut in London, while performing all of Bach's work in a single concert, Rubin attained a new level of musical competence.

"When I was playing, the scope of Bach's music hit me. It was like each work was a mountain, and I saw the whole mountain range," he said.

While auditioning to do a recital for the British Broadcasting Corp., Rubin's career got another bonus. The managers at the BBC put him on stage.

Rubin believes people should not be intimidated by the classics, but should listen and appreciate them.

"Everybody should have a high quality, intense exposure to music and all the arts," he said. "Unfortunately they feel ignorant and very intimitated. They believe you need something special to understand classical music, but you don't."

All you need is a open ear, a thoughtful mind and a passionate heart, he said.

"It's like a fairy tale. Kids read it and think it's fun," Rubin said. "Adults read it and think it's an allegory."

Rubin said the invention of television and videocassette recorders have obscured he the importance of a live performance.

"People can go out and buy the tape or the album or watch it on their television, but that's not the same as a live performance," he said.

"The experience being at a concert is unique. The interaction between the orchastra and the audience is special."








Bob Lanier wants to clean up Houston.

The 66-year-old mayoral candidate, who has had a long history of success in business and public service, says the time is right for a change in city leadership -- and he's the man for the job.

"I thought that it was time for a change," said the soft-spoken Lanier who made his fortune in real estate. "Not just a change of person, but a change of programs and policies."

Lanier said firmly entrenched Mayor Kathy Whitmire, running for an unprecedented sixth term, is probably a slight favorite in this stage of the mayoral race. The other major candidate is State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston.

"The city won't throw out Whitmire for just anybody," Lanier said. "I think I have a pretty strong chance to win. In gambling terms, slightly below 50 percent."

He described Whitmire as remarkably skilled in the areas of public relations and marketing, adding that while her political skills have increased during her 10 years in office, her governmental skills have tapered off.

He said Whitmire's closest allies consist primarily of powerful special interests.

"Really, to some extent she's the insider she started out campaigning against," he said.

With public safety at the forefront of Houston's ills, Lanier's ideas on how to control the city's festering crime call for politicians to quit "scurrying to blame one another" and get into action.

Lanier's plan calls for an additional 600 police officers, which would add one extra officer in every square mile of the city during Houston's "crime shift," which is 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. The effect would significantly deter crime, he said.

"Really, deterrence is easier than anything else," he said. "Out of 100 crimes, only two (arrests) end up in prison."

Lanier's crime package, intended to make Houston neighborhoods a "clean, safe environment," encompasses a wide range of initiatives with short and long-term goals.

If elected, Lanier said he will see that inner-city projects and mid-city neighborhoods will be the sites of comprehensive rennovation work by the city so that retail businesses will be encouraged to move in.

He said resources should also be funneled into neighborhood watch programs, drug treatment centers and education.

"I think we could set (goals) and achieve being the most literate city in the nation over a period of about 15 years," he said.

As for where the money will come from, Lanier pointed out that the $115 million rail plan promoted by Whitmire could go into other much-needed urban programs.

"It (the rail plan) won't carry any people," Lanier said, adding that it's only a 24-mile system that would be trying to serve the needs of a city with 18,000 transit miles.

"Transit, itself, is a declining function," he said. "It carries one-third of what it used to 50 years ago."

As a result, he said, transit in Houston should broaden its boundaries, taking over maintenance for city streets and traffic management, which would free up more resources for the city.

The Chair of Economics at Harvard University called Lanier's transit plans the best he had ever seen, he said.

"I think we could have the finest transit system in the nation," Lanier said.


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