Beyond City Limits
Edited By Mike Clark-Madison, Fri., Oct. 25, 2002
Jazzed by his streak of endorsements from state newspapers, Democratic attorney general candidate and former Austin mayor Kirk Watson was upbeat and optimistic at his last local fundraiser, held Friday evening at the Warehouse District's Cedar Street Courtyard. Watson implored the crowd -- mostly stylish, young professionals -- to take friends to the polls Nov. 5. "We've got to have the turnout," he said, predicting that 100,000 votes will determine whether he or GOP candidate Greg Abbott will become the state's next chief lawyer. This week the Houston Chronicle endorsed Watson, joining the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Statesman, and others. -- L.A.
On Oct. 17 the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse released the findings of its most recent "Texas School Survey" of alcohol and drug use among Texas kids. This year's findings reveal that past-month tobacco use is down significantly among all students -- from 31% in 2000, the last time the survey was conducted, to 19% in 2002. But the survey also revealed that self-reported alcohol use has remained steady across grade levels (71% report having tried alcohol at some point), and illicit drug use appears to be up, nearly across the board: 32% of kids in grades seven-12 report having smoked pot at some point in the past, while 14.4% say they've smoked pot in the past month, up slightly from 2000. Ecstasy use has more than doubled -- 8.6% of students report they've tried the drug, 3.1% in the past month. The most dramatic rise in Ecstasy use has been among seventh and eighth graders: 3.6% of seventh and 5.6% of eighth graders say they've used the drug. -- Jordan Smith