Page 5


More TB Centers Needed in Texas AUSTIN Progress has been made in the fight against tuberculosis in the state, the Texas Research League reports, but much needs to be done to bring tuberculosis hospitals up to minimum standards. The league told the Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools in the fifth of its series on state institutions: Tuberculosis hospitals are not located near enough to the TB centers of the state. They are most needed in such areas as El Paso, Harris County, and Dalas Fort Worth. Too many patients leave the hospitals before they are cured. The uncured patients can still spread the disease. More work should be done to convince patients and their families that they should remain under treatment until completely cured. State laws concerning the TB situationas for all state institutionsare obsolete. Laws governing location, control and treatment of tuberculosis patients should be brought up to date. Prostitution Inerease Noted in San Antonio SAN ANTONIO An “increase” in prostitution in San Antonio is reported by the American Social Hygiene Association, which has been conducting investigations in several Texas cities. The San Antonio investigation, made in February and March, noted that prostitutes were operating in massage parlors and bars, where they doubled as “B-Girl” waitresses. FOR THE TRUTH YOU NEED TO KNOW Support and Subscribe to THE TEXAS OBSERVER Address : Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin. Name: Street Address: City & State : One-Year Subscription, The Texas Observer, $4.00 \(We will be glad to send sample issues of The Texa Observer to friends of our readers at no charge. Sex us the name and address and, if you wish, the issue “””/PVIIMPONOMOIPPPIPMPIR3iii:kLVESTON MISSED BY RANGERS’ RAID Special to The Texas Observer GALVESTON In their week-to-week, year-to-year coverage of Galveston County Commissioner court session, newsmen paid little attention when bids were opened on mudshella generally disinteresting routine action in roadbuilding material purchases. For four years, according to County Auditor A. T. Barclay, the court received like bids of $1.25 per cubic yard from four firms, the W. D. Haden Company, and Parker Bros. Dredging Company, both of Houston, and two brokers, W. A. Kelso Building Materials Company and E. M. Belcher, both of Galveston. Barclay said that since all bids were the same, the court simply prorated the county’s shell business among the four bidders. He figures that the county purchased from 400,000 to 600,000 cubic yards of mudshell in the approximate four KICKBACKS CHARGED A Low Bidder Surprises Island in Galveston long enough to get a little sin between their toes they’d realize that.” Johnston said he was misquoted. The word was “sand,” not “sin,” he said. One of the most bizarre incidents ever to tickle the Galveston sense of humor was the intrusion of a “male madam,” a man named Theodore Jackson Parker, into the Post Office district. A week before the district as a whole was shut down, Johnston ran Parker out of town. “It doesn’t seem right to me that a man should operate on Post Office Street,” Johnston said indignantly. “Why that’s women’s work.” Pressed by Kugle’s persistence and by an American Social Hygiene Association report that 42 brothels operated openly within a four-block area near downtown Galveston, Johnston closed that district in 1953 with “reluctance” and “against my better judgment.” He said the bawds would move into the residential areas and banged away some more at the “self-appointed do-gooders.” When residential complaints did reach the Mayor, Herbert Cartwright, he referred them to Kugle, then a state representative. After all, the Mayor hadn’t closed up the district. In fact, he favors legalized gambling and legalized prostitution. We tried to find the Mayor for an interview three times. Each time we were directed to a local bar. We found him there on the third try, but the bartender brought a message that he was in “confererTe.” However, before passing o to other subjects, we should mention a remark the Mayor made when the district was closed. “I still have my convictions,” he said. “I’ve lived here 34 years and I’ve seen the district closed twice before. It created a nasty situation all over the city.” Now, of course, there are 12 whorehouses operating openly in Galveston. Half a dozen of them are ,downtown. There are other hints about the standard of public life in Galveston. Kugle has been offered bribes. He says: “They came to my office and wanted to know how much it would take to shut me up; and went away shaking their heads,” presumably overcome with shock from being turned down. The American caused by knowing your public officials are bribed,” Kugle says, “you have to consider too that ‘justice doesn’t -get done. They don’t prosecute these people for other things they do. Everybody involved is protected.” When we first arrived in Galveston, having previously announced our intention of running a series on the interesting way of life there, we were surprised to hear an announcement on the radio from Marsene Johnson, the county attorney, that the Texas Rangers had just closed up all the gambling houses on the Galveston County mainland. The Houston Chronicle and Houston Press both suggested that the forthcoming publicity may have precipitated this radical step, but Johnson denied it. Other informed sources suggested that the gambling interests on the island were becoming a bit testy because the mainland competition was too strong. There is a “dream palace”‘ called Bayou Oaks about two miles out of Dickinson on the mainland. You have to have a pedigree to get in. Other gaming houses were running full steam. The mainland shutdown in no way affected Galveston itself. This created an interesting situation. The Texas Rangers had closed the gambling houses on the mainland and left alone the much more numerous games on Galveston Island. Why? Captain Hardy Purvis is the Ranger chief in that area. He headquarters in Houston. One day, passing through Houston, we called Captain Purvis and asked him why had he not closed down Galveston gambling, too. “I don’t care to comment on that,” he said. . Captain Purvis had been asked by a Houston newspaperman what he thought about something, and he replied, “I’m not supposed to think.” We asked him if this meant he got orders from Austin. “I don’t think that’s any of your business what I meant,” the captain replied. The only explanation he gave for the Rangers’ selective justice was that he had “plenty of major crimes to keep working on.” Then he said: “I’m not helping you out a damn bit on your story, I guess you understand that.” “I’d rather guessed it, yes,” I replied. Col. Homer Garrison, director of the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers, has been out of Austin a lot recently’ and we have not yet been able to talk to him about all this. County Attorney Johnsonnot to be confused with Police Chief Johnston has received guarded compliments from some of the reformers in Galveston. He certainly could not be called a “self-appointed do-gooder,” but he has filed suits when he has received complaints. We talked to him a good while on a street corner half a block from the Turf Club, the plushest gambling place left on the island. “Whenever I get any complaints I’ll do my duty,” he said, “and I’ll do a helluva lot when I don’t get complaints.” Johnson said that he cannot trust the assistance of the police and sheriff’s office because so many times a “leak” gets out to the people he’s preparing to prosecute. “I have only one investigator, so I have to rely on the sheriff’s and police offices,” he said. “Now man, I’m tellin’ you unless I pick my man there’s sure to be a leak.” He spoke longingly of the cooperation between Harris County and Houston law enforcement officials. “It’s excellent,” he said. “I wish I had it here.” Why did he ask the Rangers to close up the mainland? “Well,” he said, “I got complaints mostly from Kemah \(a small men running dishonest games. You didn’t have a chance to win! Now th os kind of people don’t belong in Page 5 March 21, 1955 THE TEXAS OBSERVER Irving Vote Due on 26th Legal Ballot Battles Loom in School Fight IRVING Legal and ballot battles loomed this week in Irving’s strife-torn school situation. Citizens are to vote Saturday on whether to abolish the Irving Independent School District. The election was petitioned by the Irving Citizens Committee as a move to oust the school board which fired Dr. John L. Beard. If it is abolished, reorganization of the district with a new board would come immediately. About 180 appeals from dismissed teachers and school workers who walked off their jobs in protest of the Board firing have been filed with the present board, and notices of appeal are also being sent to the Texas Education Agency. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes has ordered Irving school trustees into court March 30 so that attorneys for Beard can get depositions he says he needs for a’ suit he will file against them. The original date of March 19 for the taking of the depositions was changed because the results of the March 26 election might be affected by the deposition. Judge Hughes said. Dr. Beard, who was ousted ,Feb. 16, has complained to the court that he was fired illegally, that the board has libeled him, and that his salary is being paid wrongfully to his successor.. Meanwhile, the school board’s public relations counselor has distributed “fact sheets” to citizens. The public relations firm, the Cain Organization, Inc., of Dallas, said the board has been vague in its charges against Beard because “the details involve many technical matters requiring knowledge of board procedure.” The pamphlet stated: “There is no profit to the community in public dirty-linen washing.” The board also charged through the pamphlet that “all techniques of a collectivist effort” have been employed to embarrass the board. this county. So I figured if I was gonna close one I’d close ’em all.” He hasn’t closed them in Galveston, and he was asked about that. “Of course, you know, it’s awfully hard to keep the American people from gambling,” he replied. “But when I get complaints about these workers with $35 a week coming home with nothing to their wives and kids because of slot machinesI’m gonnaa do my duty.” We made the point that tipbooks a dime a pull for a shot at the jackpotare being played all over Galveston and that these, too, get heavy play from people with small incomes Johnson replied: “Yeah, that’s true. Of course, you have gotta be broadminded about some of these things.” Of prostitution he said: “I’m for legalizing prostitution if the people want it. If you have ’em in one district you can have ’em examined regularly and also mugged and, fingerprinted. You can keep your finger on ’em.” He said that he is going hard against narcotics pushers. “Boy,” he said, “I’m really after those narcotics people. No, it’s not bad here, but there’s some, and it’s five or ten years if they get before a jury. I wish it was more.” As we prepared to leave him at the corner, the county attorney observed sagely: “Of course, this town’s always been sorta lax.” RD POLIO PLANS MADE AUSTIN Some 530,000 Texas school children will receive free inoculation of Salk polio vaccines as soon as the vaccine is licensed for general use. The State Health Department, already making plans for the mass inoculation, said the starting date hinges on the evaluation report on last summer’s vaccine field trials. The report is due soon. year period at a total cost of from $500,000 to $770,000. But, this week newsmen saw the story they had been missing when shell prices suddenly dropped 40 per cent as the county accepted a bid of 75 cents a yard on a 25,000 cubic yard contract. The low bidder was Bill Bauer, co-owner of the Bauer-Smith Dredging Company of Port Lavaca. He predicted that his firm will secure similar contracts throughout the Houston Gulf Coast area. While Bauer-Smith’s bid was interesting because it was $12,500 under what the county tax-payers would have paid for the same shell a few weeks ago, court attaches pointed out that the other bids submitted were fascinating for another reason. Firms which had each bid $1.25 per yard for years suddenly offered shell at new prices in a vain attempt to meet the Bauer-Smith invasion. Bid specifications called for delivery of 20,000 yards of shell at Dickinson, 5,000 at each San Leon, League City and Kemah. Parker Bros. offered delivery at Dickinson for $1.01 per yard, $1.05 at League City and $1.00 at Kemah and San Leon. W. D. Haden bid to deliver at Dickinson for $1.03 per yard, and Belcher didn’t bid. Bauer-Smith’s 75 cent bid for delivery at Dickinson and San Leon got the bulk of the contract, 25,000 cubic yards. W. A. Kelso, previously a $1.25 per yard bidder received a contract to supply the 10,000 yards at Kemah and League City for 84 cents, since BauerSmith didn’t bid on delivery at those points. But, it wasn’t the bids alone, which finally alerted newsmen to the mudshell matter. A deposition taken in a civil suit between two of the shell dealers, C. H. Armstrong of Texas City and Melcher, helped bring the matter into sharp focus. In his deposition, Armstrong charged that he couldn’t sell mudshell to the county because he “wouldn’t pay Bob Palmer \(a yard on it.” A county grand jury briefly questioned both Armstrong and Palmer on the matter, then issued a report saying it had “found no evidence of any wrongdoing.” Palmer flatly denied the kickbacks charge made by Armstrong and said the shell dealer was “trying to ruin Me, politically.” Palmer was the first to point out “how much money we are saving” when the county accepted Bauer-Smith’s low bid. Social Hygiene Association investigator into Galveston prostitution reported the following comments from Galveston bawds in 1953: “We pay off to stay open.” “Sure there is protection to stay open.” And, “The la: idlady pays off for protection. We are never raided by police.” One of the bawds told me that the house where she works is visited by detectives frequently. She had somehow conceived a particular hate for one of them. On Feb. 10, 1953, the former Gal