Page 1


The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau 46th Year Oixan Obstrurr An Independent Liberal Weekly Newspaper Incorporating The State Observer The East Texas Democrat The State Week Austin Forum-Advocate We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. Established 1906 DECEMBER 13, 1954 AUSTIN, TEXAS No. 35 Shepperd Urges Port Arthur Truce By RAMON GARCES Laredo Correspondent The Texas Observer LAREDO, Dec. 13An organization that claims to be non-political and looking only for efficiency in. local government has brought the first opposition in nearly 20 years to a one-party Webb County political rule, which has often been likened to the turbulent brand now under state investigation in Duval County. Webb County citizens for a long time have had the strong suspicion that their county was going broke because of bad administration indirectly brought on by the oneparty rule, but nobody seemed to want to do anything about it. Last December the Webb County Taxpayers and Citizens League was organized by some of the county’s most prominent ranchers, bankers, businessmen and attorneys, headed by Radcliffe Gillam, a young and outspoken son of a Webb County oil millionaire. The League, after some probing of county officials, charged that the County was using road bond issues to finance the whole county government operation, and that since 1945 Webb County had had fourteen Vets’ Land Inquiry May Take 3 Months, Geppert Declares AUSTIN, Dec. 13The threeagency investigation of the veterans’ land dispute may take another “three months or more,” W. V. Geppert, head of the taxation division and director of the probe in the Attorney General’s office, says here. Asked if the situation looked serious, Mr. Geppert said’ “It looks that way at the present time.” It is a very complex situation, he said. A report will be ready for the press toward the end of this week, and it will take up the issue of legislative investigation, he said. “No outside investigators have ben called in, nor will they be,” Geppert said. “There has been some talk about it, but we decided against it.” “At least a dozen” investigators for the State are in the field, Geppert said, including five from the Attorney General’s office. The investigation is being conducted by three agenciesthe State Auditor’s office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Attorney General’s Department. The Veterans’ Land Board Tuesday ordered strict measures to make certain that veterans know when they are buying land under the program. TEXAS PROBERS MEET DEC. 27 SAN ANGELO, Dec. 12 Sen. Dorsey B. Hardeman has called the State Senate Investigating Committee into session in Austin Dec. 27 to inquire into the veterans’ land dispute. Hardman, chairman of the committee, has asked the three state agencies working on the case to have reports ready for the session. bond elections totaling $6,138,000. Fifty percent of the county’s tax money, the League charged, went to pay interest and principal on the bond debt. The League quickly brought suit to stop a road bond issue coming up for election. The voters approved the bond issue by the usual huge majority of 7 to 1, but the bonds were held up by the court suit. The League met a set-back in the courts. First the 111th District Court of Webb County sustained a plea in abatement filed by the County Judge and Commissioners. Appealing the decision to the Court of Civil Appeals, the League again met defeat as the Court upheld the District Court’s ruling. Recently the Texas Supreme Court denied a writ of error sought by the League, Shivers Says State Costs Outrun Income AUSTIN, Dec. 13A prospect of new taxes or redruced state activities is indicated by comments of Governor Shivers at his press conference last week. While the State’s general revenue fund will probably contain a slight balance at the end of the current fiscal biennium, Shivers said, automatic drains on state revenue are increasing. The Governor specifically mentioned expenditures on the foundation school program, welfare, and farm to market roads. With school population increasing, he said, the State may reach a point in a few years when “general revenue will be nil.” He did not say whether he will recommends new taxes to the Legislature in January. Shivers also said he thought the Insurance Commission should be given roughly the same powers as those of the Banking Commission, which has more regulatory authority than the Insurance Commission. AUSTIN, Dec. 13Texas security investigators have to be “particularly sensitive to the presumed allegation or the false allegation,” N. K. Dixon, chief of the Internal Security Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told The Texas Observer in a special interview. “We have to be aware in this division that there are a lot of groups who exploit an issue for their own benefit and are prone to put the emphasis where it doesn’t belong,” said Dixon. “Our investigators have got to recognize the, motive behind an allegation.” Dixon, who was promoted to his present position after a number of years as a Texas Ranger and has been with the Texas Department of Public Safety for 17 years, said that he selects investigators for the State’s security checking work on the basis of their “judgment, diplo Both Sides Spend Heavily In Test Case By RONNIE DUGGER Editor, The Texas Observer PORT ARTHUR, Tex., Dec. 13The tired but determined pickets are entering their second winter on the sidewalks of Port Arthur. Christmas is near, the cold lake wind whistles through this embittered and divided town, there is no whisper of cornboys, the bellhops, the waitresses, boys, the bellhops, the waitresses the dimestor, countergirls keep up their vigil for union recognition and higher wages. A few spokesmen of the business community here say the issue is communism. Some say that the strike began without recourse to established National Labor Relations Board procedures, and union leaders admit this was an error in the five stores over which NLRB has accepted jurisdiction. But most of the merchants seem to feel that the chief question is whether retail workers should organize . So far as the local union leaders are concerned, the issue is the recognition of the local CIO union as the sole bargaining agent for the 400 retail workers who are on strike. You ask a middle-aged woman picketing the Goodhue Hotel what she’s striking for and she says: “Well, we want recognition first, and then a little bit more pay, you know.” A 20-year-old Port Arthur girl, Nada Jean Rogers, pauses in her pacing to and fro in front of Woolworth’s on the main Port Arthur stem to tell you that before the strike started nobody made over $30 a week, and “the average was about $25.” At first it seems a puzzle why a strike involving only 19 of the more than a thousand Port Arthur retail establishments, only one out of every hundred Port Arthur workers, and only one out of a thousand of the State’s 450,000 retail workers has caused such statewide bitterness and emotion. macy and tact, and flair for the academic.” He said that since security work involves “philosophies, ideologies, and subtle meanings,” investigators should be well-read and “alert for the dangers and pitfalls of this kind of work.” Asked if his division has turned up any disloyal personnel in the State Government, Dixon replied: “As far as I know, we have no knowledge of anybody in State Government whose allegiance is not to the State of Texas and the United States.” Dixon’s office is the agency charged with enforcing the 1951 Texas law requiring Communists to register with the State and the 1954 legislation outlawing the Communist Party. Colonel Homer Garrison, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told this newspaper that no cases have been filed against Communists, but he added: Staff Photo PICKETS MAYFAIRMrs. Bob Hughes, 20-year-old Port Arthur housewife, pauses in her picketing of the Mayfair shop in Port Arthur to pose for a picture. She worked at the Fair store down on Procter Street when the strike began 13 months ago. Radar Road Signs `Psychological’ Only 17 Speed Finders In Use, Garrison Says AUSTIN, Dec. 13Many thousands of motorists driving around the state have of late been startled perhaps even startled into cautionby large signs on the sides of the roads reading: SPEED LIMIT RADAR ENFORCED What do these signs mean? How are the limits being enforced by radar? Colonel Homer Garrison, director of the Department of Public Safety, told The Texas Observer: “Frankly, it’s a psychological thing.” Only seventeen radar speed measuring machines are now in use “Keep in mind we are working with other agencies and not only filing cases against people. It’s our job to get facts. I would rather protect the innocent than convict the guilty.” Dixon, granting that no Communists had registered with the State, added that they had not been expected to do so because of a Communist Party directive instructing them not to comply with “any restrictive laws.” “We have to work in close liaison with federal agencies,” Dixon said. “We must accept the fact that the federal government has a national program, and any action on our part damaging that program would not be compatible with the national interest. “We presume the intent of the Legislature in these \(ant.* smash organized subversive activi Red Charges Don’t Apply Now He Says AUSTIN, Dec. 13 Attorney General John Ben Shepperd has declared that the Port Arthur strike situation has “altered” since he said it appeared to be part of “a Communist plot to take over Gulf oil ports.” Settlement of the strike would be “good for the state,” he said. “From all indications,” he said, “it is now a straight labor-management dispute.” In a special interview with The Texas Observer, Shepperd said that “as far as I can ascertain, the withdrawal of the questionable international union has altered the picture.” Shepperd charged a year ago, on Nov. 25, that the strike-leading Distributive, Processing, and Office Workers Union, which had the full backing of the national CIO, was engaged in “what appears to be a Communist plot to take over the principal ports of the Texas Gulf Coast.” Two days later, the Port Arthur strikers formed a local CIO union and DPO withdrew from the strike, but the next day, Nov. 28, Shepperd declared: “Any reorganization retaining the present leadership will not be acceptable to the people of Texas.” On Dec. 4, the local CIO union was recorded by the federal government as “in complete compliance with legal requirements.” DPO was dissolved early in the year and its membership and officers entered the CIO retail workers’ union. In Austin, Shepperd told The Texas Observer that he thinks “CIO was sold a bill of goods by DPOWA.” hadn’t cleaned up, but they had their neck out so far they had to go on,” Shepperd said. “Settlement of any strike is good for the State,” Shepperd said, “but that applies particularly to tb,is one. It would be very helpful to the industrial peace and tranquility of the State, and it would be helpful to labor’s standing with th people of Texas.” Asked if a rcpresentative of the Attorney Genera l’s Department would attend a management-labor conciliation session were one arranged in Port Arthur, Shepperd said that he would have to “cross that bridge when we come to it.” “It would have to be the bona fide leaders of both sides,” he said. The strike is not a “test case,” Shepperd believes, but is merely a dispute in which the CIO erred by getting involver’ with what Shepperd regarded as a Communist-led union. He declined to comment on whether he believes retail workers in Texas should organize. “That, of course, is up to the parties concerned,” he said. “They themselves must pass on it, and no one in government should express an opinion about it.” Shepperd charged on Nov. 17,. 1953, that leaders of DPO were “proven Communist sympathizers” who “have repeatedly refused to deny under oath that they are Communists” and who have “a long record f o r supporting subversive causes.” On Nov. 25, eight days later, he said that one of the DPO FIGHT IN COURTS Webb County Split By One-Party Rule WATCHES MOTIVES OF GROUPS Texas Security Chief Warns of False Charges