Page 3


Holmes Says He’ll Run It Right What Happened to Leon. AUSTIN Does anyone remember the gentleman who ran third in the first primary of the last Governor’s race? It was disturbing to realize the name had already slipped our mind. There was an additional shock when the first fellow we came across couldn’t remember either. The third person questioned did, and told us it was J. J. Holmes, of course. J. J. Holmes and his crackers and cheese campaign. It’s easy to remember now, but it did take some memory jogging, and six months wasn’t so long ago. The reason, we decided, was that Holmes hadn’t been sold to the people of,, Texas like so much soap. Holmes wasn’t sold like anything, in fact, but he hopes to remedy the situation. We talked to him and he very definitely plans to run again in 1956. He’s going to give the people of Texas what he now thinks they wanta wide open campaign in majestic, big time style. “Statewide television and radio broadcasts several times a week, a well staffed organization, flying trips all over Texas,” he said. “It’s too bad Texans expect a man to spend a couple of million dollars for that office, but if that’s what they want, I’m going to give it to them next time.” He won’t say how much it cost him to run last year. “It seemed like a lot to me,” he said, “but it was nothing compared with what Shivers and Yarborough spent.” He thinks about $21:2 million was spent on the Shivers campaign, and about a million and a half dollars for Yarborough. Holmes, an Austin contractor on a statewide scale, said he is already working up an organization for his ’56 campaign. After the first primary last year he threw what support he had to Gov. Shivers and he thinks this move had something to do with the outcome. “Shivers would’ve lost if the election had been held two weeks earlier,” he said. “I think I helped some.” Holmes still isn’t on friendly terms with the Governor, though. “He’ll get whipped if he .runs for a fourth term,” he said. Holmes describes himself as “more or less a conservative.” He added: “But I don’t like machine rule whether it’s liberal or conservative.” Thinking about political campaign costs set us to remembering one race that will never be forgotten. We had been trying to track down a fellow named Leon Huff. He was never a candidate, but he Page 3 February 21, 1955 THE TEXAS OBSERVER Interpretive worked for a gentleman who once peddled flour and politicsmaking a mint out of one and a mess out of the other. Leon struck out with Pat, Mike, Molly and Texas Rose on the campaign trail of 1938. One phrase registers vividly: “Sing it, Leon.” Well Leon sang it and the boys played real pretty and W. Lee O’Daniel won it easy. We know what happened to O’Daniel, but we never could find Leon. Jerry Sadler, now a member of the Legislature and a former Railroad Commissioner who once tried to buck O’Daniel at his own game, knew most of the story. Leon, the big, blond hillbilly crooner and leader of the O’Daniel band, was given a job with the State after the 1938 campaign. He was in charge of clerical work in the motor pool for the adjutant general’s department at Camp Mabry in Austin, and he stayed at it two years. One night during the 1940 campaign somebody knocked on Jerry Sadler’s door. “This fellow told me he was Leon Huff and that he was quitting O’Daniel,” says Sadler. “He said he was quitting because O’Daniel was a hypocrite, that the Governor had broken his pledge to the people.” Sadler thought it over and figured it might help his own campaign. He hired Huff and a steel guitarist from the O’Daniel band named Kermit Whalin. They joined Sadler’s Cowboy Stringsters and pushed on into the closing weeks of the campaign. “It didn’t help a bit,” said Sadler. “In fact it hurt me. Folks got mad at Leon instead of O’Daniel. They didn’t like Leon quitting the king.” Sadler recalls that Leon didn’t sing it much after the 1940 campaign. He believes he went into the furniture business in Austin. “I didn’t hear much about him after that,” says Sadler. The nextand lastthing he heard was just about two years ago. Leon was dead. “He died of a heart attack while boarding a bus. In ‘Sherman I think,” says Sadler. WLB \(First of Two . AUSTIN As the Legislature enters the second month of its biennial session, this year emerges as a crucial one in Texas public education. The vision of a system of free public education that springs from the roots of the fight for independence continues strong in the tradition and aspiration of our history. A national crisis in education, which finds resolution if not solution in President Eisenhower’s suggestionthat Congress launch the “fah-Tral go -veiiu-neta-t-0n –a program of federal aid for school construction, provides the backdrop for our own State’s dilemma. Because Texas is a growing state both economically and in population, public education responsibilities, which in every state are difficult, have reached critical proportions here. There is no possibility in sight which indicates that our responsibilities will take any other course in the next two decades than they have since World War II, and growing inadequacies which have resulted from patchwork solutions in the past promise, unless dealt with immediately, to snowball into even larger problems. In 1949, with the passage of the Gilmer-Aikin program, Texas was launched upon a major effort to correct the chaotic conditions which prevailed in the public school system. At that time the State was committed to a minimum foundation program, below which no school system was to be permitted to fall. In 1954 the Legislature changed its original formula for state aid by pushing down to the local levels more financial responsibility for their school systems. Even after the effect of this act, however, Governor Shivers estimates that from some source the Legislature will have to raise about $21 million additional in the next two years unless it intends to again retreat from the 1949 formula. In describing the “progress” of our public school system in the last few years, the Governor exhibits an optimism with which it is difficult to agree. For example, the National Education Association ranks Texas 21st among the states in classroom teacher pay, although only last year a special session was necessitated to bolster , up teacher salaries. I n school enrollment, Texas ranks fourth, but in amount of money spent for capital improvements in 1953-1954, it ranks eighth. This year it is estimated that Texas will rank no higher than 26th in the amount of current expenditures per student. Against the progress of other states in recent years and the common assumption that since 1949 Texas has assumed a high rank in education, these figures do not spell progress. But the most disappointing fact which emerges from the Governor’s policy as presented to the Legislature in his opening address is his conception of important educational problems as being mainly of a financial nature. For example, he proposes placing state aid allotments to counties from the Available School Fund on the basis of students who actually attend school. This would have the beneficial effect of discouraging local officials from countenancing mass absences among students such as those who are seasonally employed in agriculture. With this suggestion few will argue; with his assumption that it ought to be ‘Undertaken and justified on the basis that it will mean a saving to the people of $7.7 million in the next two years many will disagree. If the suggested changeover actually results in reduction of state aid by $7.7 million at a time when our school system is falling behind its needs, it can only be a retreat from facing up to the situation. If, on the other hand, the “saving” contemplated is a mere paper transaction or an assumed economizing, it contributes nothing to the solution of any problem, least of all the problem of school standards. Many persons interested in education throughout the Nation see in the public school problem elements which financing or economizing alone cannot solve. Ours is a growing school population; moreover, in Texas there is a significant shift from rural to urban schools accompanying population changes. The problem of distributingstate aid in such a way that cities will not be penalized because of rapid influx of students is not so much a problem of amounts as it is one of fairness and efficiency. It is also recognized that many of our school districts are too small to support adequate schooling for their students, a problem which the quest for economy does not reach. Other organizational changes in county school administration are indicated for sound administration. These questions are vital to the future of public education in the state, and their answers require more than a financial approach for solution. The Governor did not deal with them in his message The leadership which produced the Gilmer-Aiken program s i x years ago is not evident in the present hold-the-line policies which have been followed since. The assumption that Gilmer-Aikin is the edifice rather than the foundation of a sound education policy for 1955 not only does the architects of that program an injustice, but obscures the fact that in the light of growing needs the State is falling short in measuring up to the traditions of public education in Texas. By Countryside and Town Let’s Run Check 01 Ex-Commies False Perjurers NEW W` WAVERL Y “He needed the money paid him as a witness,” explained one of the pet caged Communists in extenuation for another one who bore false witness against Owen Lattimore and in the Texas case, in which the Attorney General imported a set of these kept Communists. Though their witnessing seems to be mercenary and political, the testimony of these trained, paid and kept imposters who, having actually been Communists, have turned with a faked conversion to making their living as professional witnesses, has been accepted and insisted upon by attorneys general. Hardly a crowned head in the darkest days of tyranny and oppression gave a more disturbing example of the use of paid witnesses against plain men being tried for political offenses. Small wonder that at least one Congressman is demanding that Attorney General Brownell prosecute this man for perjury. But what of the others? What of all those men and women who, for a price, have diligently helped to spread the dry rot of fear throughout the Nation? What punishment for them? How define so great a crime? We need to hear again the calm and steady and cheerful voice which, lifted in the midst of pandemonium and crashing confidence, spoke to all Americans recalling them to their heritage of courage: “We have nothing to fear but fear, itself!” Wouldn’t it be interesting if in addition to prosecuting the excommunists for perjury, we could have a look at their income tax returns: That used to be one way of getting at bootleggers. Perhaps it will work with false witnesses. Or maybe”not, because I do not By FRANKLIN JONES Written for The Texas Observer MARSHALL The Texas Heritage Foundation, Inc., has published an inspiring and informative pamphlet entitled “Freedom’s Advocate.” In a foreword to a collection of speeches by John Ben Shepperd, we are told that he is a member of 25 boards and commissions of the State Government; often puts in an 18-hour working day; frequently boards an evening plane at the end of the day’s work to meet a speaking engagement, returning late at night, to be the first at work the following morning; and that he has traveled three-quarters of a million Integrity of the People To the Editor: Please allow me to congratulate you on the excellent paper that you and your staff are publishing. Texas has long needed newspapers that are not afraid to print factual information and individuals who still believe in the integrity of the American people …. L. D. PE’rrEY , Publisher Bremond Press Calvert Tribune Bremond, Texas From Dallas To the Editor: The Texas Observer is a great newspaper and I’m happy to have it come to my desk. We have some of the same objectives: Mostly to get the truth to the people at a time when so many lies are being told. Our newspaper is the only Democratic paper in Dallas county; yours is one of the few that we get here that tells the truth about the scandals in Austin. Power to you …. ELTON L. MILLER Editor-Publisher The White Rocker Dallas, Texas think there is a blank for such a return. Or would it come under that frustrating “other ” which is supposed to cover the odds and ends of a farmer’s sales …. only that always says “explain . How explain perjury with official approval? MFC miles by airplane to speak to hundreds of thousands of people about the American Way of Life. The piece I like best in the collection is entitled “Uncle Sam’s Nephew.” He seems to be the one who votes to abolish the church by not attending, and to do away with the institutions of democracy by not participating in them. But let my friend and neighbor John Ben speak: “He likes to turn all his responsibilities over to his friend George. When it’s time to vote or serve on the jury, he says, ‘Let George do it.’ It was George who got us into war. It was George who ran up the public debt. It was George who thought up the idea of big govern Disturbing To the Editor: Thank you for reporting so temperately the disturbing situation in one of our fine public libraries, a library which has had much influence on library standards in its area. And thanks to Glenn Brooks too for his articles on bookselling in Texas … The Texas Observer gets better with each issue. MISS E. S. GOREE Burnet, Texas Another Good Word To the Editor: May I say that this paper of yours is truly one of the best buys in the journalistic field. I enjoy reading it from cover to cover …. C. T. JOHNSON, Austin Good News To the Editor: My son sent me your issue of Feb. 7 from Austin. I let a friend look at it and today there have been 15 people read your paper. Please send me your paper for one year …. You probably will have other subscribers if you have any old January or February issues left. C. D. KIRKHAM Cleburne, Tex.