The Insider

All the King's Towels
Bob Lanier gets the royal treatment from a compliant City Council, so visitors to the Lanier digs at The Huntingdon tower shouldn't be surprised to find that the monogram on Hizzoner's bath towels features a crown above the initials "R.L." (First lady Elyse's towels are more down-to-earth: her monogram pictures a rose along with her initials.) At present, The Insider knows of no plans by Council to incorporate the imperial monogram into the city seal.

Spare the Rod
Houston school superintendent Rod Paige was peeved to discover his name among a list of supporters for David Ballard, a Garden Oaks Realtor and candidate for the at-large Position 3 seat on City Council. Paige said last week that he was preparing a letter notifying Ballard that "he has no authority to use my name" and asking that it be removed from the candidate's literature. "Otherwise, I'm going to take some other action," Paige vowed. But Ballard has since smoothed things over, explaining to the HISD super that his name was included by mistake and that the Ballard camp actually intended to list the support of Democratic activist Ray Paige. Oops.

Also being scratched off the Ballard list is Bill Tryon, the governmental affairs director for the Greater Houston Builders Association. It seems the GHBA just endorsed Ballard opponent Orlando Sanchez, so Tryon had to remove his name posthaste from Ballard's finance committee.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
We haven't seen former Post owner and newspaper carcass plucker Dean Singleton since his speech to the Harvard Business Club here in May. But now comes word from Peter Crabtree, a reporter for the Rutland Daily Herald, of a Singleton sighting in Vermont. Crabtree reports that Singleton visited several papers owned by Eagle Publishing, one of the last family-owned newspaper chains in the country. Eagle president Michael Miller confirmed that Deano had given his papers a look-see, but said that a deal for their purchase is not done. Workers at the chain, which operates three Vermont dailies and papers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, were no doubt left terror-stricken at the prospect of becoming Singleton employees ... for a while.

Couch Potatoes Arise
Two world championships have come and stayed, but some Rockets fans haven't forgiven Warner Cable for its ill-fated pay-per-view telecast of a Rockets-Suns playoff game on May 17, 1994. Warner subscriber Elizabeth Evans and her attorneys, Ken Morris and John Brannon, are still pursuing their class-action suit against Warner on behalf of fans who paid to view the game but didn't see it all due to a cable equipment snafu.

State District Judge Greg Abbott has authorized the mailing of suit notices to everyone who subscribed to the game. If recipients don't return a refusal form by the end of this week, they may be enrolled as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, at no cost or risk to themselves. And no exertion, for that matter, making this an ideal TV viewer's legal action. If they prevail in court, members of the aggrieved class could be entitled to a refund of the cost of the telecast, along with interest and attorneys' fees.

The Insider is compiled by Tim Fleck.


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