The Insider

Officially, the nominating process goes like this: Councilmembers put names on the table, and the entire body votes to pick one. Behind the scenes, though, Mayor Bob Lanier will be the primary factor in determining the winner.

Among those mentioned as potential replacements for Maldonado are a handful of Hispanic attorneys. One is Olga Lydia Moya, an assistant professor at South Texas College of Law, who has the backing of state Senator Mario Gallegos. If Council wants a squeaky-clean replacement for Maldonado, environmental law specialist Moya might be the ticket.

Another potential contender is Andrews & Kurth attorney Doris Rodriguez, whom Councilmember Gracie Saenz unsuccessfully backed against Michael Solar, Maldonado's predecessor on the commission. Saenz, who reportedly is pushing Rodriguez again, did not return The Insider's call.

Also expressing interest in the Port assignment: Ed Cazares, an affable, retired assistant city attorney who could be counted on to understand campaign-contribution laws.

Yes, He's Running
A well-placed source in one of the city's largest corporations avers that he/she was present when Rice prof Lee P. Brown visited the company's CEO. According to our witness, Brown abandoned his habitual pussyfooting around and stated flatly that he'll run for mayor next year. Since Brown would have to resign his university sinecure if he enters the race, don't expect an on-the-record declaration until, oh, about August 31 of next year -- the traditional start of the mayoral campaign season.

Call The Insider now at 624-1483. Or fire up your fax: 624-1496.

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