Quotes of the Nineties

Eric Mitchell
Eric Mitchell (Photo By Alan Pogue)

1. "Compassionate conservatism." This phrase, coined by Gov. George W. Bush and his handlers, has only been around for a few months, but it looks like it's going to stay a while.

2. "Relax and enjoy it." Clayton Williams should have relaxed and enjoyed the lead he held over Ann Richards during the 1990 gubernatorial race. But the West Texas cattleman just couldn't keep his mouth shut and for some reason compared the inevitability of bad weather to rape. The line helped send Richards to the Governor's Mansion.

3. "Knuckle-dragging environmentalists": That rascally Rich Oppel, editor of the local daily, thought he was being cute when he started slapping around local environmentalist Tim Jones earlier this year. Instead, by using the above quote while lying about what Jones had said and done, he looked more chimpish than impish.

4. "I will bankrupt the city." Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold CEO Jim Bob Moffett has always had a way with words. He used the above threat during the height of his battle with the city over his development project on Barton Creek.

Quotes of the Nineties
Photo By Alan Pogue

5. "I think of that guy up on the cross." Jim Bob strikes again in a 1990 story in Texas Monthly. What better way to gain sympathy than to compare your plight to the persecution suffered by Jesus Christ?

6. "If we moved the Capitol away from Austin, it'd be a goat farm." State Rep. Ron Wilson has never been known for subtlety. But when he blurted this line out earlier this year, his silliness quotient went way up.

7. "Screw you." Former City Council member Eric Mitchell responding to a critic.

8. "I was devastated to learn that I have not received a degree." Lena Guerrero may have been devastated, she was also soon out of office. In 1992, the former Austin legislator and chairman of the Railroad Commission was forced from office after news reports came out that she had lied about her college credentials.

9. The June 7, 1990 City Council meeting: It's impossible to pick one quote from the dozens of memorable lines that were delivered during the 14-hour marathon meeting held to discuss the Barton Creek PUD project being pushed by Freeport-McMoRan. But the words spoken during that meeting are still resonating and the city is still wrestling with development issues in the Barton Springs watershed.

10. Austin's water quality ordinances "will cost the city $9 billion." That was the 1991 prediction of Waco economist Ray Perryman, who was paid $9,700 by the Chamber of Commerce to come up with his gloom and doom scenario.

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