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A COMFORTING MESSAGE
During his confirmation hearing last week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Donald Hodel, the current Energy Secretary who has been asked by President Reagan to succeed William Clark as Secretary of the Interior, was subjected to a revealing line of inquiry. Although each senator phrased it in his own way, the question that all of them, liberals and conservatives alike, in essence kept asking was "You're not Jim Watt, are you?" And Hodel kept replying, in effect, "No sir, I'm not Jim Watt."
By allaying fears that he was the second coming of former Interior Secretary James Watt, Hodel, who had been Watt's undersecretary at Interior and a Watt loyalist before taking over the Energy Department in 1982, ensured that he would be easily confirmed, probably early this week, as the boss at Interior. Whether Hodel's deeds in his new job will match his words remains to be seen, but here's his comforting message to the senators: He supports the Endangered Species Act (which had been on Watt's legislative hit list); he favors, budget permitting, acquiring more parkland (Watt thought this sort of thing was socialistic); he has no elaborate plans for "privatizing" federal lands (a favorite Watt project)—in part because there isn't much of a market for them. In general, he spoke favorably of preserving natural resources. He also said he hopes to bring together Interior's often quarrelsome constituencies, the preservationists and the developers. Environmental consensus was anathema to Watt.
The thrust of Hodel's confirmation hearing was that nobody on either side of the political fence wants to see Interior go through the sort of trauma it did when Watt was running things. Watt was uncompromisingly partisan, and his chief legacy has been to underscore the desirability of a nonpartisan approach to environmental issues.
YOU DON'T SAY
Philadelphia Phillie pitcher Steve Carlton has started a sports management company that offers pro athletes help in contract negotiations, career planning, marketing and public relations. And how does SNC (for Steve Norman Carlton) Enterprises Inc. of Clearwater, Fla. presume to instruct clients in public relations when the boss is famous for not speaking to the press? Naturally, Carlton won't comment, but his associates at SNC Enterprises, whose customers so far include Phillie pitcher John Denny and golfer Craig Stadler, hasten to explain that Carlton doesn't necessarily expect others to subscribe to his mum's-the-word policy.
"Each athlete's program is tailored to the individual," says managing director Carl Fuhrmann. "If he wants to talk to the press, he can. It's strictly up to the individual." Ray Schulte, a New York marketing man who is handling that aspect of SNC Enterprises' business, says, "Steve, for personal reasons, decided to eliminate talking to the press. But he realizes it's his own decision. He would never advise another ballplayer not to talk. To be frank, a lot of athletes need the press."
Following an all-too-familiar pattern, International Olympic Committee members are being wined, dined and lavished with freebies by cities hoping to host the 1992 Winter Games. For example, organizers in one of the aspiring cities, Falun, Sweden, have offered to take IOC members on an expenses-paid trip to Falun after their scheduled session next June in East Berlin. At a recent gathering of national Olympic committees in Mexico City, SI's Anita Verschoth was standing with Wolfgang Gitter, secretary general of East Germany's Olympic Committee, when Wolf Lyberg, a Falun representative, told Gitter, "We'll have a special charter plane at your airport to take IOC members to Falun. I cleared it with [ IOC president Juan Antonio] Samaranch. It's O.K. Anybody who wants to can come."
Verschoth later asked Lyberg about the trip. "Oh, no," he said. "Please don't write about it."