As UH begins to consider priorities for Phase II housing, many students and administrators who work closely with international students hope the long-term housing plan will address the continually increasing enrollment of those students.

Phase II housing was originally designed to build "small group and theme housing" for "fraternities, sororities, law, honors and language or cultural study majors" on campus, according to a June 1988 report.

Jack D. Burke, director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, said he hoped Phase II would also include plans for international students.

"Housing is the most critical problem we want to address when foreign students are accepted," Burke said.

Burke said many of UH's more than 2,700 international students call his office at the start of each semester because they are having trouble finding affordable housing close to campus.

In the past 20 years, Burke said the number of international students has more than tripled while UH's student population has only doubled.

While fall 1991 statistics are not all available, fall 1990's total enrollment of 2,751 international students was the highest total since 1986, with more students applying every semester.

"About 400 to 500 new students came in this fall, and we expect 200 to 300 to come in the spring," Burke said. "Besides a dip every time international tuition goes up, there's been a gradual increase in the numbers."

Burke said the international reputation of Houston was a prime attraction for foreign students who come to UH even without guaranteed housing.

"Many students would like to live close to campus, but it's hard enough to get a visa to come here," said Waqass Anwar, a Students' Association senator from Pakistan.

"This is a chance of a lifetime for these students," Anwar said. "Housing is only of secondary importance."

Burke said demand for residence hall space was making the problem worse.

"It's a persistent problem," Burke said. "Sometimes it's better, but I think it's become worse since the mid-1980s due to the dorms being in high demand."

Burke said students were having difficulty finding housing close to campus when the capacity-filled residence halls have forced many to look


"If the dorms were filled before, there used to be a number of apartments close to campus for some years after I arrived," Burke said. "As these have been torn down, it has created problems."

Burke said many students once occupied the now-defunct King Apartments along north Elgin Boulevard. And, only last year, the Cougar Apartments on Wheeler Street were torn down.

"The construction of Cambridge Oaks has helped out some, but it's not enough," Burke said.

Cambridge Oaks is too expensive for many international students who don't want to commute, Anwar said.

"There's certainly not enough affordable housing on campus, and what's available is overpriced and too expensive," Anwar said.








Christmas is still more than two months away, but the spirit of giving made an early arrival in Hofheinz Pavilion Wednesday night as the University of Texas volleyball team swept the Cougars in an error-plagued match, 15-9, 16-14, 15-12.

The UH netters are the Detroit Tigers of the Southwest Conference. No one in the conference hits harder than the Cougars. However, just as Cecil Fielder and his fellow Motown Monsters led the bigs in strikeouts last year, so do the volleyballers with an average of 43 per match.

Wednesday night was no different as UH committed a whopping 46 errors, snatching defeat from the jaws of what should have been sure victory. One service error from Heidi Sticksel came as the game was knotted at 14 apiece. As quickly as Sticksel's shot sailed into the net, Texas scored two quick ones to win the game.

"I didn't feel like either team played good volleyball," Texas Head Coach Mick Maley said after watching the Horns commit 40 miscues of their own. "We need to get better if we're going to win the conference."

As far as serves were concerned, the Cougars' night got worse as it went on. Six of the team's 11 service errors came in the closely fought third game.

"We've got to start getting our serves over, especially," UH Head Coach Bill Walton said. "The later the match gets, we seem to lose confidence in our serves."

The night was not entirely without better moments. Sao Paulo sensation Karina Faber hit an amazing 22 kills on 48 attempts with only six errors, a .333 percentage. She also registered six blocks and 11 defensive digs, the first time this year she's posted double figures in that department.

Texas raised its record to 11-4 with a 5-0 SWC mark, while the Cougars dropped to 13-7 and 2-2 in league play. UH will take two days off and then begin preparing for the next match against the Rice Owls next Wednesday in Hofheinz.








After four consecutive losses, the Cougars desperately need a cure for what ails them. SMU could be the perfect wonder drug.

Since returning from the death penalty two years ago, the Mustangs have still not won against a Southwest Conference opponent. On top of that, in its two life-after-death games against Houston, SMU has been outscored 139-38.

Throw in the fact the Mustangs' main man, quarterback Mike Romo, may never play football again because of a severe knee injury, and the frustrated Cougars are looking to take out a season's worth of frustrations on somebody. The prognosis doesn't look good for the Mustangs.

Yet, first-year SMU Head Coach Tom Rossley remains upbeat about his team.

"We don't have any stars, but a bunch of kids that just play hard together. We're working in the right direction, and it's going to be a fun thing when we do win," Rossley said.

Houston and SMU will tee it up at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Astrodome, the site of one of the most infamous games in SWC history. On Oct. 21, 1989, the Mustangs brought their team of freshmen into the Dome and were steamrolled by a Cougar team that ran up 95 points and an NCAA record 1,021 yards.

This season, the struggling Cougars have been similarly treated in their losses, and both teams come into the game with 1-4 records. Though the Cougars are down, Rossley said they're still dangerous.

"They are a good football team. They have great talent, probably as good a talent as there is in the SWC," Rossley said.

One positive for the Mustangs is they might not have to face David Klingler. The Cougar quarterback is still fighting an inner-ear infection, and is questionable for the game.

Rossley said the Mustangs will prepare for Klingler, but should he not play, the Ponies must adjust to a different quarterback and still be ready to defend the pass.

"I think they're still going to run the same kind of offense. I don't think they're going to go to any Wishbone or any running offense," Rossley said.

"I want to play Houston at their best," he said. "I hope they have their best quarterback there. If I looked back at the film from 1989, I probably wouldn't say that."

Since Romo went down against Baylor on Sept. 28, junior Dan Freiburger has been forced into duty. The junior quarterback led the Ponies to their lone victory of the season against Tulane. Rossley said it was just Freiburger's seventh career start at any level.

Last week, Freiburger and SMU were brought back to earth against Texas Tech in a 38-14 loss at home.

A surprise for the Mustangs has been the development of a running game. Since gaining just 34 yards in the first three games, superback Rongea Hill has gained 260 the last two.

Defensively, the Mustangs are led by inside linebacker Bill Kiely and right end Chad Patton. Rossley said Kiely is the "backbone of our defense." On Patton, he said, "If we had 22 Chad Pattons, we'd be undefeated right now."









Donald Douglas wants a chance to show he can throw the football, and there's no better offense to prove it in than Houston's Run-and-Shoot.

Douglas transferred from the University of Florida because he was labeled a running quarterback.

The 6-4 sophomore from Liberty wants to shake that label. He left Florida a year ago because Head Coach Steve Spurrier wanted him to switch to wide reciever or defensive back. Spurrier wanted quarterback Shane Matthews, who Douglas beat out the year before, to run his new wide-open offensive system.

"They didn't believe I could do it," Douglas said. "I came to Houston to prove I could throw the ball."

Douglas may get a chance Saturday against SMU to prove he is the Cougar's quarterback of the future. He, along with quarterbacks Jimmy Klingler and Chandler Evans, are involved in Head Coach John Jenkins' play-by-play rotation.

First-string quarterback David Klingler is injured with an inner-ear infection, making him doubtful for Saturday. Jenkins is using the rotation to find out who has the hot hand.

However, the rotation makes all three quarterbacks uncomfortable because of the inconsistency it can cause.

"It is hard to get up physically and mentally every third play, but you do what you have to do," Douglas said. "The coaches have to decide some time."

Douglas' performance at Arkansas awakened memories of former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware. He completed 12 of 22 for 125 yards and two interceptions, but he ran for 71 yards on nine carries and one touchdown.

"Last Saturday I proved I could throw and move around," Douglas said. "I threw two interceptions, but it's all a matter of adjusting."

Douglas said his running ability only opens things up for the offense because it gives the defense something else to worry about. His running should be seen as an advantage, not a hindrance.

One other advantage Douglas has is his experience with adversity. He has been in big games before in his days as the Gators' freshman quarterback. He can handle the pressure of filling Klingler's shoes.

"I've dealt with pressure before, and I've dealt with situations like this before," Douglas said. "I am more mature now because of it."

Douglas said he has no animosity toward the other backup quarterbacks. They are all friends, and they help each other even if it means the others may get the upper hand.

The amount of playing time each may have against SMU may be small, but Douglas realizes playing time will be hard to come by once Klingler is healthy.

"I plan to take advantage of every opportunity I get," he said. "I believe I can lead this team to victory."

With Klingler leaving for the greener pastures of the National Football League next spring, Jenkins knows he needs to find another starting quarterback.

If Douglas has his way, Jenkins will not have to look any further than number 12.





Dreading having to do that paper over the weekend or study for that test on Monday that you can't possibly prepare for anyway? Then don't bother!

Friday, Rudyard's will try to contain de Schmog for the measley sum of three bucks. At the Axiom, all will be revealed through the appearance of the Glass Eye, along with those nerds with the Three Day Stubble.

Saturday night at the Axiom is Peglegasus, as well as some bumpkins from Illinois called Uncle Tupelo and the Walkabouts.

At the Vatican is a FREE SHOW with Blender, Pretty Wild Planet and Atomic-Situp.

Sunday night the Vatican will attain Nirvana in a strange rite of Buddhist Catholicism. By the time you've attained Nirvana Sunday night, there'll be no need to worry about that silly test on Monday.








It's the year of the remake.

Celebrations, tributes, collections -- these are the excuses artists use for destroying original songs.

They boost their already-inflated egos by re-recording the song and giving it "an extra kick." Like they will be able to make a great song better. Ha!

The two releases now under fire are Two Rooms, and Straight to My Heart.

Two Rooms is a collection of Elton John and Bernie Taupin songs. The recording artists are big names, but they bring nothing to the songs.

Out of the 16 songs on the CD, only two are worth while. The

main reason these two are bearable is the artists were sensitive to the originals.

The first song is performed by Sting. "Come Down in Time," is a ballad that triumphs because of its anonymity. Sting is quoted in the sleeve of the CD saying he loves the song and wished he had written it himself.

"Burn Down the Mission" has Phil Collins singing vocals, playing piano and showcasing his talent on drums. In Collins' quote, he hopes "they (John and Taupin) feel we do it justice." No one could think Collins didn't do this song justice!

The massacred songs were the most popular ones. "Crocodile Rock" recieved such poor treatment by the Beach Boys that one would rather be eaten by a crocodile than have to listen to this rendition.

The only thing exciting about Wilson Phillips is the photo in the sleeve. Their harmonies don't add anything to "Daniel."

Enough about the Two Rooms' atrocities, let's talk about Straight to My Heart.

This would-be tribute to the music of Sting turns out more like Muzak than jazz.

The Bob Belden Ensemble tries to bring Sting's work back to his jazz roots. However, if Sting wanted to return to his jazz roots, he would do it himself.

Vocals on "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "Sister Moon" do no justice to the lyrics, and they never should have been attempted in the first place.

Other than the general gripe, the original is best and anyone who remakes a song is hurting for work, neither of the CDs should be bought for creativity. Fork out the money for Two Rooms if you are a die-hard Elton John fan, but try not to get too mad.

As for Straight to My Heart, buy the original works. The satisfaction gained will be well worth the money.








Goblins, Indians and fair princesses can all be found in the Wortham Theater lobby today for UH Drama Department's annual costume sale.

The sale, in its third day, enables the department to get rid of the costumes they do not use, while providing students with a chance to purchase ensembles for Halloween or the Renaissance Festival.

Rebecca Morse, a sophomore majoring in English, was surprised to find several bargains Sunday.

"I found this great jacket for only $10, and a really cool pair of pants," Morse said. "This is stuff that I'll wear every day. I was so excited."

Bargains like Morse found are not hard to spot at the costume sale.

Overall, prices range from 25 cents to $65 for the more elaborate ensembles.

For the animal lover, a bright yellow, spotted dog costume, complete with pants, coat and mask can be purchased for $15.

For someone who loves the call of the wild, authentic-looking Aztec Indian costumes can be bought for $25 to $30.

For a person who really wants to go all out this Halloween, complete costumes of "Babar" and other famous farm animals can be purchased for $65.

UH drama student Christine McPeters said the money from the sale goes back into the costume shop for funding and future shows.

Most of the costumes have been hand sewn by people in the costume department, she said.

"Most of the really good things go early," McPeters said. "Sometimes if we do a contemporary show, that stuff is sold immediately."

The sale continues today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.









A UH employee was arrested by UHPD and charged with criminal mischief Friday after a traffic accident with a UH student led to an altercation on campus Thursday.

Eliza Belle Burney, 40, an office manager for parking and transportation, was charged after she allegedly keyed the car of Laura S. List, 27, a UH student. The two were involved in an accident that occurred on I-45 at the Pierce elevated a few minutes prior to the keying incident.

Burney then followed List to campus, where a discussion took place near the information booth at entrance one. During the course of the conversation Burney allegedly struck the student.

"For unknown reasons, during the course of their talk, the suspect (Burney) allegedly struck the complaintant (List) in the forehead with a closed hand," said UHPD Assistant Chief Frank Cempa. "The complaintant attempted to get back into her vehicle and the door was closed on her left leg."

List told UHPD that Burney then took a key and began scratching the hood of List's car, a 1990 Chevy Cavalier.

After trying to stop Burney, List asked an information booth employee to call police and was told that she could reach them by using the call box located nearby.

Burney left the scene before police arrived to take the report from List. Burney was identified by UHPD later that day, and questioned.

"We contacted the suspect and gave her Miranda warnings regarding the incident," Cempa said. "We wanted to get her side of the story."

After getting an estimate on the damages done to List's car, UHPD notified the Harris County District Attorney's office. A warrant was issued on Friday for a Class A misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief naming Burney as the suspect.

Burney was arrested by UHPD at 2:34 p.m. Friday and taken to the Harris County jail. Bond was set at $500.

Neither List nor Burney could be reached for comment before press time Monday.








It's about five-thirty. No, don't look at your watch.

It's about Five-Thirty, the band, and their debut album, Bed. These pseudo-psychedelic psalmers psail, ahem, hail from London, England, a kind of a late, late member of the British invasion (late afternoon?). The music has that Liverpool-feel to it too.

Riding high on the rave-wave crashing through London clubs right now, the name Five-Thirty seems pretty appropriate for a scene where things don't get popping until about 2 a.m., fizzling out just in time to go to work. Sounds like the Vampires' Club, doesn't it?

The really nice thing about the rave craze is that acid house is on its way out. Good riddance. Never liked it to begin with.

Sampling seems to be returning to its original intentions. Bed contains trains, voices, telephones, all kinds of neat things, implemented as instruments as opposed to repetitive backbeats, as God (Eno) intended them to be.

The wah pedal is also making a comeback. Five-Thirty sounds like Daniel Ash with a healthy dose of Texas funk, maybe with a few amphetamine chasers for good measure.

Don't look for depth in the lyrics, but you will find Salman Rushdie (see "Junk Male.") Bed is more of an album to make one's neck muscles sore in the morning, especially with "Psycho-Cupid" and "Automatons."

So unless you're one of those people who knows a good chiropractor who's cheap, then I strongly reccomend going to Bed.








Love and all its permutations will take the stage today and Saturday when an all-student production of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's The Secret of Susanna plays the Wortham theater here on campus.

The opera centers around a husband and a wife in 1911 Venice. The woman, Suzanna, is an out-going woman who destroys the common stereotype of women by smoking while her husband, Count Gil, is not home. When Gil does return home, smelling the vile smoke, he assumes his wife has been fooling around while he was gone.

Gil confronts his wife with his erroneous exaggeration, and she says she doesn't understand what he's talking about.

So the count decides he's going to catch her in the act and returns home to find her with her cigarette and no lover. Since Gil has misjudged his wife, he asks for her forgiveness, and they both smoke together -- happily ever after.

This comedy deals with miscommunication between men and women, and is right in line with contemporary issues. It demands equal rights for women, without question.

Senior drama student Khaled Ali directs this opera and said he's very proud to do so because it's totally under the direction of students.

"This has never been done here at UH," Ali said. "They've not been done only because an opera is so much more for students to do."

Most people conjure up images of a opera being a three-hour expedition into the heart of boredom, Ali said. But this is just not so.

"They don't have to wait for the big, old fat lady with the viking ears to sing," he said. "This is nothing like that. It's a very interesting piece."

Students need not be turned off because it's free either, Ali said.

"Don't think that just because it's free that it's going to be underquality."

Another facet of the opera is the overture, which will not be a live orchestra, but rather a CD recording, Ali said.

The comradery of the cast members will help the overall effectiveness of the opera, Ali said.

"It's like a second family."

Dawn Ubelhart, who will play Suzanne the first night, agrees with her director. "We've been very supportive of each other."

To her, working in an opera that has been double casted helps her to better understand the character. It's like a learning ground, she said.

Donna Hines, who plays Suzanne the second night, also likes the fact the opera is double casted.

"I've never been in a show that's been double cast." Hines said. "It helps a lot. You get to learn off each other and get to see what works. If it does work you can steal it, if it doesn't, you know not to do it."

The opera opens at 8 p.m. tonight at Wortham Theater. Admission is free.

Also playing for free this weekend will be a student production of Land of the Living, an original play by Tom Vaughan.

Showtimes are 8:00 p.m. Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday in Wortham Lab Theater.







The government cannot broadly control the speech of university researchers who use federal money, a judge has ruled in an academic freedom case with possible far-reaching implications.

The issue at stake was the extent government can curtail the speech of researchers who get government grants.

U.S. District Judge Harold Greene ruled Sept. 26 in favor of Stanford University in its case against the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We think this is an extremely important ruling. We think it will free U.S. science from a burden of possible censorship," said Iris Brest, general counsel for Stanford. "We can hardly exaggerate its importance."

The ruling stemmed from a disagreement started in August 1989, when Stanford researchers refused to sign a government contract to receive a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to conduct research on a new artificial heart device.

Stanford researchers objected to a confidentiality clause in the contract requiring researchers to give a government contracting officer advance notice of any intent to publish preliminary findings. That officer could prohibit the researchers from publishing, based on broad guidelines.

As a result of the disagreement, the grant was rescinded from Stanford and awarded to St. Louis University.

Greene, a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., ruled the government must now return the contract to Stanford because the stipulation in the contract was "vague and overbroad."

Randy Bezanson, dean of the school of law at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Vir., and an expert on First Amendment freedoms, said Green's ruling was not surprising.

"It does not say that the government can't place restrictions, but that there have to be narrow restrictions. They must be stated in a way that is not vague and ambiguous," Bezanson said. "That's very sound constitutional law."

The judge based his ruling primarily on the May 1991 Rust v. Sullivan case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a regulatory restriction prohibiting health professionals in government-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with their patients.

In the Rust ruling, the Supreme Court said the specific nature of the government limitations did not violate the First Amendment and did not limit the free speech of the health-care workers once they left work. In the Stanford case, Greene said the government was limiting researchers across the board.

"To put it another way, if the Supreme Court decision was to be given the scope and breadth defendants advocate in this case, the result would be an invitation to government censorship wherever public funds flow, and acceptance by the courts of defendants' position would thus present an enormous threat to the First Amendment rights of American citizens and to a free society," the judge wrote.

Now, the government is studying the ruling and deciding whether or not to file an appeal.

"We really don't have any comment on the case as of yet," said Don Ralbovsky, spokesman for the NIH office of communications.

Stanford will not begin its research until the entire case is resolved.








Those minimalist folk-rockers from Austin, Timbuk 3, are back and groovier than ever with their fourth album, Big Shot in the Dark.

But Pat and Barbara K. MacDonald have changed a few things around. The pointed lyrics and smoothly nasal vocals remain, but gone is the boombox rhythm section, replaced by real-live human beings. Specifically, Wally Ingram on drums and bassist Courtney Audain.

"Wally's the greatest guy in the world, and he drums like a mother -- strong and affectionate," Pat MacDonald notes in the band's bio. "Sometimes we call him the groove monster."

In addition to slapping the bass, Audain plays keyboards and steel drums on an instrumental of the song "Sunshine."

What is amusing and enjoyable about Timbuk 3's offerings is the sparse, quirky and subtly groovy nature of the music and lyrics.

"Mud Flap Girl," a musical ode to those oh-so-sexy kewpie-doll adornments found near tractor-trailer wheel wells, showcases the sardonic humor of the MacDonald's writing, all the while racing along on a guitar-propelled engine.

Probably the most infectious tune on the whole album is the funky "Two Medicines."

Here a twisting bass line and some clever percussion keep the pop philosophy from sounding too pop and give the wole arrangement an air of sublime truth.

For some reason the duo-turned-quartet has recieved some very negative press around town, being compared to a poor imitation of David Byrne and being blamed for interrupting the jukebox tunes at Austin's Hole in the Wall club.

Compared to some of the tripe which passes for credible music not only in this town but all over the country, Timbuk 3 still provides a refreshing alternative to the overproduced, overblown and overly stupid work that bands and record companies want you to drop small fortunes on. As the lyrics of "God Made an Angel" note, "malice in Wonderland, days of guns and roses."

Be choosey, not cheesey.








Gov. Ann Richards filled three vacant UH Board of Regents positions Thursday, choosing one UH alumnus who has given his alma mater a total of $27 million in gifts.

John Moores received both his undergraduate and law degree from UH and his son, John Jr., is now enrolled at UH.

Richards' additional appointments of Zinetta Burney and Beth Morian, puts four women on the nine-member board of regents -- the highest number on the board in its 46-year history.

Moores, 47, is replacing C.F. Kendall, and Burney, 50, fills the vacated seat of Xavier Lemond. Morian, 45, is replacing R.E. Reamer. The three new appointments will serve six-year terms ending Aug. 31, 1997.

Moores is the founder and chairman of the board of BMC Software Inc. and Peregrine Systems in Houston.

"I'm very excited because UH means very much to me and my family," Moores said.

His wife and sister graduated from UH and his brother-in-law is currently doing graduate work here.

"I think the appointment is dynamite, and I am very excited," he said.

Burney is an attorney with the law firm of Burney and Foreman, of Houston. She earned her bachelor's degree from Texas Southern University and her law degree from TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

She is the first African-American female to chair the board of commissioners for the Houston Housing Authority.

"Women still have a lot of catching up to do and is glad the board will have new (female) voices and new opinions," Burney said.

She said she hopes to increase female and minority representation and involvement at UH.

Burney's only daughter, Sharon, is an alumna of UH, and Burney said she has always been keenly interested in the university's advancement.

"I truly believe education is the key -- the lead to change."

Morian is the president and owner of Cockspur Inc., an independent oil and gas producing firm, and owner of Westview Development Inc.

She graduated from the University of Texas and is a trustee of the UH Foundation. She also is a member of the UT Health Science Center Development Board and has served as chair of the Cullen Trust for Health Care.

"We're (women) becoming a majority. I have been involved in UH for quite a while and am honored and thrilled to be a part of this growing and exciting university," Morian said.

She said she will be resigning from her trustee position with the UH Foundation to avoid a conflict of interest.

Bill Cryer, Richards' press secretary, said he was not surprised by the two female appointments because Richards promised during her campaign that she would make the government inclusive to all the people in Texas.

"Since women make up 51 percent of the population in Texas, Richards is making an attempt," Cryer said.

He said Richards has appointed more minorities and women than previous Texas governors.








Mayoral candidates Sylvester Turner and Bob Lanier took their best shots at Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire Thursday during a live, televised debate at the UH Hilton -- with Turner emerging as a surprising crowd-pleaser.

"People ten years ago elected Whitmire and she appointed Lanier, both have had an opportunity to serve and now is the time for both to take a break," Turner said.

The Students' Association and the Student Program Board hosted the candidates' debate in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, where a poor turnout of about 100 of the university community left many seats unoccupied.

The candidates fielded questions from five panelists, including: Tim Fleck, senior editor of the Houston Press; Jane Ely, Houston Chronicle columnist; Chris Payne, Daily Cougar editor; Michael Berry, SA President; and Richard Murray, UH political science professor.

Whitmire, running for an unprecedented sixth term in office, chastised both Lanier and Turner for spouting inaccurate facts, blasting her opponents for saying the Houston Police Department has lost 4.5 percent of its force.

"This (4.5 percent) is half of what it was when I came into office," she said.

She said Lanier and Turner don't have the facts on the Metro rail system's current direction, refuting that it will go only from Downtown to the Galleria.

Although Lanier wants Houston to rid itself of the monorail plan, Turner said he is in favor Houston having a rail system -- just not the one Metro has on the drawing board.

"I disapprove of this project, but not in destroying Metro," Turner said.

Turner suggested having the major stops of the rail plan at Houston's major airports.

Whitmire boasted of vastly improved city revenues, Houston's status as an internationally-known city and her efforts to improve the environment.

"We've opposed hazardous waste sites and have established a strong record dealing with environmental issues," Whitmire said.

Lanier, however, gave Whitmire the grade of `F' for her environmental record.

Lanier also charged Whitmire with political doublespeak.

"When the mayor says there are more jobs, they are not in the city limits," he said.

Lanier again reiterated his stance on using Metro funds to bring in additional police.

"My first duty will be to make the citizens safe," he said.

But he was challenged on how he would pay for additional police officers. Turner and Whitmire say Metro funds cannot be used for HPD.

Lanier said he would raise city taxes if he had to in order to ensure a larger police force and would ask police officers to work one day of overtime.

Turner staunchly defended his proposal for a citywide juvenile curfew, saying civil liberties will have to take a backseat to making Houston safe.

Although he is the head of the Harris County Delegation in the Texas Legislature, Turner was questioned as to why felt qualified to be Houston's mayor in light of the dismal reputation of the Legislature.

"I believe it's a lot better now," Turner said. He added that the Legislature got considerably better when he first arrived there, prompting laughter from the audience.

"I am one out of 150 and Sylvester Turner has been able to deal with Democrats, Republicans, blacks, whites and browns. I'm one out of 150, but one can't turn it around overnight," Turner said.

Whitmire chided Turner for not initiating or showing interest in state crime bills until he decided to run for mayor and also welcomed him into the Houston voting district, implying he was not a Houston resident when he announced his candidacy.

Turner fought back -- although he didn't address Whitmire's implication -- saying he is native Houstonian and again tickled the crowd praising his alma matter, UH.

Both Whitmire and Lanier were asked questions about some of the ethical charges leveled against them in recent headlines.

Whitmire fired back when asked if she had met with and berated some reluctant campaign contributors in a City Hall dining room who had yet to cough up additional campaign funds. She called it an absurdity.

"Yes, there was a meeting in the dining room, but we often have meetings. I did not solicit anyone for funds."


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