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`This 01′ House .. . HOME IS THE SOLON… HOME FROM THE HILL The Year for Jimmy? Austin’s Claghorn Knows Politics, Aims High By RONNIE DUGGER Editor, The Texas Observer AUSTIN There is a man here in Austin who wears loud bow ties, silk suits, and big, floppy coatpocket handkerchiefs. He is forever chewing on a cigar. He stands on his feet and talks 23 hours without stopping. He works the clock two-thirds around, eats out of a refrigerator in his Senate office, flies all over Texas to track down obscure leads. He records speeches for hometown radio at breaks in committee hearings. He talks to reporters at tall hours of the day and nightand they love him. H e dictates hundreds of letters a week, manages four secretaries, and curses selected senatorial colleagues. Staff Photo SENATOR PHILLIPS IN HIS OFFICE The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau Mrs. George 11, Haggard 2.56 1507 Hardouin Austin, Texas Oixas Oharrtirr An Independent Liberal Weekly Newspaper 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. VOL. 47 JUNE 6, 1955, AUSTIN, TEXAS 10c per Copy No. 8 AUSTIN Texas legislators, some of them broke and most of them bushed and bewildered, are going home. In four months at the Capitol, they’ve solved a goo d many problems, caused a good many more, and ignored a number of others. the tax bill in the House. The vote was 72 to 67. The Senate vote was 18 to 13. Said Senator Gus Strauss of Hallettsville: “This is a soak-the-poor bill. Fully three-fourths of it is a direct sales tax on the people. I don’t think it is fair and I don’t think it is just.” Later he told a reporter: “They He is Jimmy Phillips, and he is running for Governor. He has not announced, but when veteran capitol newsmen start declaring, “Man, he is the next Governor,” an announcement isn’t necessary. The veterans’ land investigation, which he has led and kept alive, has projected him into a prominence and popularity he has never had before. He has color, flair, boldness. He can improvise. He has never bolted the Democratic ticket, yet he has never offended the industrial and natural resources interests that dominate Texas politics. He has the “common touch” that Texansespecially rural Texansunderstand. He once turned down the part of Senator Claghorn in “Texas Little Darlin’ ” at the Texas State Fair. I have seen senators laugh at him many previous sessions. “Buffoon!” their smirks said. They do not laugh now. They see that he is the same kind of buffoon many great politicians area man who cares less for the impression he makes at any moment than for the deeper imprint he is leaving on the slow-to-notice, slow-to-forget mass mind. In a filibuster, in the drama of Senate debate, Jimmy Phillips is a delight to behold. He hurls insults at his colleagues and needles the chairman. He frowns, whispers, implores, and cries out, pouts, growls, moans, and shouts. He prowls around the Senate floor and begs the gods to hear. You feel his fine sense of mockery and humor, his full enjoyment of the drama. But nail Jimmy Phillips down with that specter of the politician, a specific issue, and he dances away into the stage wings, and you can almost imagine him laughing there, sadly, to himself. Jimmy sat in his office toward midnight, beat down by a hard day of committee work, broadcasting, and Senate debate. He never seems to tire. “When I make up my mind to run,” he said, “who’s in the race will have no bearing on my decision. No man in public office who wants to serve the people could ever turn down a job as high as Governor.” He has definite ideas about the office. “Some status quo governors cut out puzzles and fiddled, but shining out of these every once in a while are people who did things. If you don’t raise hell, the people never get aroused.” Jim Hogg was a great Governor, he says, because he “busted the trusts and set up the Railroad Commission.” Jim Ferguson “got free textbooks and rural schools and care for the man who needed it.” And Beauford Jester, he believes, “was the finest man who ever served.” If he were Governor, Jimmy Phillips w o u l d see “everybody who’d come in.” A commoner on the individual level, he says he gets his greatest satisfaction from help ing people. “My degree of interest increases with the degree of need of the person who wants help,” he says. “The less he’s gotthe less money he’s gotthe more I want to help.” , On the broader programs for social progress, Phillips tends to toss the ball to the federal level. He has a theory that the more money a program involves, the more likely it is to be a federal problem. He is conservative on taxes. He is not very explicit on the social programs each Legislature has to consider. He voted for the Parkhouse bills, which labor leaders call antiworker legislation. But somehow he manages to put his finger on issues the people understand. He wants more statefinanced charity hospitals, and he fought with all the labyrinthine syntax at his command the Administration’s bills to raise college tuition and extra-curricular fees. \(Continued on The Lawyers, the Claims, and the Poor But their big mission, resolving the issue of taxes and spending, is completedtied up in a nice, neat Administration package after many rockings of the legislative boat. Another problem, a water program for Texas, is still unsolved. The lawmakers could take action this week before they adjourn. Last month, after a fiery, allnight session, the House passed out a tax bill to pay for increased state services. The Senate looked it over for several weeks, rewrote it. Last week the bill went back to the House, where Administration backers asked for a conference committee of House and Senate members. At week’s end both houses endorsed the conference report, which is expected to raise about $50 million a year. All of it except $3,300,000 comes from sales taxes on beer, gasoline, and cigarettes. Liberals lined up against sales taxes and other legislators who were determined to protect the beer industry almost turned back By ANNE CHAMBERS Corpus Christi Correspondent The Texas Observer CORPUS CHRISTI “Mucho, mucho dinero,” said the tin y, wrinkled woman, gesturing with her hands to form a large pile of money in front of her. Did she think the money was wasted? “Perhaps yes, perhaps no,” she answered in Spanish. Her animation was gone. Her feeling was expressed with a slight shrug of her Shoulders, a saddened stare as she thought over the question. Then she said she would not say any more. Just like many other South Texas people, perhaps 2,500 of them, this woman has invested in a legal gamble that may and very possibly may not lead her to a huge pot of gold. The guide is a fluctuating group known as the International Law Firm; the “pot” holds $160 million and is supposedly in the national treasury of Mexico. The way there is full of confusion, historical and contemporary. The hopeful, yet doubting woman is a descendant of a Mexican citizen who filed claims against the United States for war damages, probably property between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers that was confiscated at the end of the Mexican War. As soon as the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war in 1848, damage claims popped up from both sides of the new border. In 1923 two claims commissions were establishedone to deal specifically with the problems created by the Mexican revolutionaries between 1910 and 1920, and the other to settle claims arising from 1848. The commissions had to deal with 3,479 American claims and 886 from Mexico. U. S. claims came to $440 million; Mexican, $400 million. In a convention proclaimed by President Roosevelt in April, 1942, the two countries agreed to reimburse their own citizens. Mexico eventually paid the U.S. $36 million to make up for the difference in the two totals. The U. S. took care of its claimants soon thereafter, but the Mexican government has taken no action. Three years ago the grapevines around Corpus Christi buzzed excitedly. References to the claims began to seep into “La Verdad,” an English-Spanish newspaper published here. Names of prominent people in the Spanish speaking community were linked with the claims. Enthusiastic meetings took placeCorpus Christi, Robstown, Victoria, Raymondville, Kingsville. The promises reported were astounding. “The money is in Mexico City. All we need is a plane to go and pick it up and some money to cross a few people’s palms. Our case has been won.” Some claimants were said to be staying away from work in the belief that their money would reach them any day. When the first inquiry was made a year ago, one of the lawyers handling the claims, Noe Garza, stated that he had the power of attorney for 2,500 claimants. Their share of the total war claims was $160 million. Garza was one of a group of five people, operating under the name