EN. AND THEIR MOTHER Cracks Between the Floorboards Staff Photos A BOY IN EAST AUSTIN Michael Eugene,Moore IN THE SHADOW. II The Farm Issue AUSTIN Texas politicking abated.’ last week as attention focused on the meeting of the Democratic. National Committee in Chicago, but loyalists Ralph Yarborough and John White both pounced on the Eisenhower farm policies in speeches in the hinterlands. Yarborough said that a return of the Democrats to power offers “the only hope of improvement for the depressed condition of Texas agriculture.” He said he was not wrong in advocating 90 percent of parity prices for basic farm commodities in 1952 and 1954 and that he is still for that formula.. ; , “Benson percent of parity sup port price f\(51 rhaize in the Panhandle and South Plains discriminates against Texas grain farmers in favor of grain farmer in the Midwest,” Yarborough told a banquet of the Terry County Denioc-rats at%Brownfield. “This Republican Administration has reduced cotton acreage of Texas in 1956, but it has increased the total acreage allotted to cotton farmers in California and Arizona for 1956. The Republican Party has written Texas off for 1956, and it is penalizing the Texas grain and cotton growers for ‘the benefit Qf grain and cotton growers it hopes will go Republican.’ This is “cheap politics,” Yarborough said. White went to ‘ Yorktown and /barged before a farm group that in effect the Republicans gave Texas the tidelands”what was rightfully ours in the first place”and the . farmers of the state are “buying” them back at an annual rate four times their value. “Farm prices under the present administration have declined to . such a degree that farmers will lose $163, 584,387 this year on cotton, wheat, and grain sorghums alone. This is the difference in value of only three major crops in 1955 compared to the crop prices of 1952,” White said. “On. the other hand,” he continued, “the tidelands … have had a historical value of only $54,809,636. That is the total amount Texas has received to date on rents, royalties, and bonuses from oil, gas,. and sulphur.” “What Interior Secretary McKay giveth -Texas,” White said, ‘Agriculture Secretary Benson taketh away four fold.” southwest, around Manchaca Road and Red , Street, and a large East Austin. area.-east of East Ave. between Manor Road and the Colorado River. . An Austin Housing Study” by the Economic Research Agency of Wisconsindone for the Austin Housing Authority in February, 1950revealed that in Austin’s major blighted area, 4,694 dwelling units were found which by minimum standards “are unfit living quarters.” Over a third1,769did not have running water inside . the building. “At least 20,000 persons in the heart of Austin are existing in unsanitary or unfit habitations,’ said the report. “This inadequate housing constitutes .a breeding place for crime and disease. The more than 2,000 privies, in a thickly , settled area menace public health. These conditions exact a heavy toll from taxpayers for police, fire department,hospitals, charity, and delinquency.” B ECAUSE. OE THE severity .of the East Austin problem, a Greater East Austin Development Committee was famed with E. W. Jackson, president of the Steck Company, as its, president. The committee has asked the city council to adopt ordinances to prohibit the re-renting of housing defined as unacceptable and then to enforce the prohibition. “Until that’s done, we can’t do any -thing, else,” Jackson said. The present -ordinance provides for occupancy permits but does not say what agerrcy is ‘supposed to issue them. They have not been issued. A pilot area has been selected in. East Austin for concentrated ordinance enforcement and a campaign to get tenants and landlords to co-operate with up-grading the hctuses. Jackson said the committee has not looked into the question of federal aid under the. Housing Act of 1955 for urban renewal and rehabilitation. Such aid is unavailable to Texas cities except possibly San Antonio because the Legislature has not passed legislation to enable the cities to get the federal funds. Herman Jones, a member of the committee, said that the members’ main hope is that enforcement of minimum standards can be improved. He said federal aid had been explored “thoroughly” bir the comrinttee and said there is ‘”not any disposition” to pass up federal aid “because it is federal.” The committee asked the council to try to get Austinincluded in ‘ the urban renewal enabling legislation last session, and there was an effort to this end by Austin representatives. . “It is such a big job \(clearing the Federal Government or the State Government or the ‘United Nations or anywhere -else, then I would -say that we would take it, and I think that is the sense of the -committee,” Jones said. . “They talk about local self-government,” Jones said; “if the State would get out of the , the cities could go about their work. The State’s now telling the city what it can and can not do” . M AYOR -TOM MILLER’ is proud that programs initiated under lais administrations have resultedin 850 public housing units in Austin. Pre-war projects include Chalmers, Rosewood, and Santa Rita Courts. Since 1950 Meadowbrook Homes and Booker T. Washington *Terrace haye been added. Rosewood and Washington are for Negroes. Miller said the council had asked the city attorney to “study present ordinances and see if they suffice.” “We don’t want to go too slowly but we want to feel our war,” Miller said. “We want to recheck those \(subtell the owners we wish they wouldn’t try to rent them until they fix them up. We don’t want any great fanfare, we don’t want to confiscate anybody’s property, its not a bitter crusade against anybody. We have a conserva , STEPS FOR FOUR CHILDR And in the House, No Windows, tive, middle-of-the-road, moderate committee, and we hope moderately to improve the situation. It’s not any Renaissance or New Birth. . . It’s gonna be slow -, and those people in East Austin are not happy, and I don’t blame them, but we are doing what we can.” . Hesaid that the paving situation cannot be corrected easily because the cost has to be borne by the abutting property owners, who can’t afford it in the blighted areas. Thus Austin has developed some of the ugliest slums in Texas, has appointed a committee, has’ recommended a study, and is working on it. R.D. The Texas Observer Page 5 Nov. 23, 1955 \(Continued from Page out that a lot of these are tenantowned \(about 50 percent, a housing such Latin or Negro tenan’ts: “He would rather live in that shanty and have his freedom.” “The one factor every sociologist overlooks is that not everybody wants what I have,” Pearson said. “They want their freedom. They wouldn’t understand what to do with an eightroom house. They don’t want carpet grassthey. want swept yards. The Mexican woman has got to have coals for her tortillas, so she doesn’t want gas for cooking.” F THE 38,640 occupied dwelling units in the city, 3,975 were ruled dilapidated in 1950. Of these 3,975, 3,525 did not have hot -water or a private toilet or bath. Montopolis -slum and was annexed into the cityafter the census was taken ; its over-. whelming *dilapidation would affect the 1950 figures. Many more units are regarded as “sub-standard.” For example, the 1950 census shows that more than 7,000 Austin living units had no private bath or were “dilapidated” and that 4,133 units had no rinning water. , Montop’olis is entirely without sewers, but the city is preparing* to spend $48,000. as -a start this year. Also without sewers are areas in the . , SHACKS, AN OUTHOUSE, AND A DUMP Part of the Montopolis Section of Austin Recently Annexed NO STEPS ON THIS SHANTY, FOR RENT Harrison-Wilson-Pearson Handles the Property A TYPICAL SH/CK IN THE MONTOPOLIS SECTION A Hideous Melange of Shacks, Privies, Abandoned Frame Houses
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