Three Con tenders o Lyndon Johnson came back to Texas and his ancestral ‘home on the Pedernales River last week. On Saturday, his 47th birthday and eight weeks to the day since he suffered his heart attack in Washington, press and radio men were invited to the ranch near the Hill Country community of Stonewall. The Johnsons were kind and obliging to the dozen reporters and photographers who converged on the place, and the newsmen, in turn, were kind to the Senate majority leader. They asked him about balanced budgets, reduced taxes, water conservation, avid the 1956 electionsthey sat quietly while Johnson held forth on anything he fancied. None of it touched on state politics and the personalities thereof. Johnson obviously preferred to keep the conversation going on things federal and the very genuine achievements of-the Democratic congress, and newsmenlooking at the pale and slimmed-down version of their senior senatorhesitated to badger him with. anything controversial. The Johnson place facing the Pedernales is -a white Colonial structure with vast, green grounds, kept that way through a rather elaborate sprinkler system running off the river. Once giant pecan trees lined the river, but a good many were swept away during the big flood some years ago. There were a couple of saddle ponies tied up near the house, on this Saturday morning, and Johnson’s young daughter, “Lynda Bird,” had been -riding. Newsreel and press cameramen had the Johnsons out in the front yard in the shade. They made shots of the Senator with his wife, “Lady Bird,” the n his mother, Rebecca Baines Johnson, then with the daughter. His brother, Sam Johnson, was also around for the restrained birthday party, along with a few Austin friends of the Senator’s. Mrs. Johnson moved about the gathering, a little nervous, a little bit protective. Johnson, his weight down from 220 pounds to 180 in eight weeks, was obviously weakened by the loss and inactivity. His movements were agonizingly slow, and some newsmen felt he was less alert than before. Others commented that prior to the heart attack he was considered the second most powerful man in the countryand that half a Johnson at this time was good enough. He handled HOUSTON One of the least noticed events of the week may turn out in years to come to have been the most significant. Leopold Stokowski declined to be photographed on horseback. He accepted a commission as an honorary deputy sheriff. He was the guest of the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, which, besides making a handsome turnout for parades, occasionally tracks down some runaway in the thickets of the creek bottoms, where a horse is still more useful than an automobile. But straddle a horse and be photographed for the newspapers? No, said Mr. Stokowski. He has not been on a horse since he was a small boy. This may be Texas and all that stuff; but he feels no urge to impersonate Charlie Siringo riding tip the Chisholm Trail or Sam Bass cantering into Round Rock to rob the bank. All he would do was pat a Shetland pony. Mr. Stokowski will direct the Houston Symphony this season. V. M. Molotov accepted a ten-gallon hat on a recent visit to an area which still considers itself the Wild West. Years ago, Calvin Coolidge would go so far as to put on a Sioux war bonnet. But times change. Even though Mr. Stokowski did not say so, it may be that he thinks Houston is about to, or ought to, grow up. After all, when Allan Shivers goes to New York, do the natives present him with a derby and a pair of spats? Harris County will vote September 17 on a pr!oposal to tax the motorist onethird of whatever he spends for his automobile license, the money to be used to buy right-of-way for more freeways. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 4 August 30, 1955 A Pale and Slimmed-Down Man Adjusts to the Facts Of Human Physiology the newsmen well. Some pointed out that before the attack he had been uncertain, impatient and ill-at-ease at press conferences. Now he was relaxed and smiling and in charge, giving straight answers and making frequent off-record cracks. “I’ve always taken what I thought was the best advice I could find,” he said, leaning back in a leather lounge chair, sipping saccrine-sweetened lemonade. “I took it from lawyers, from businessmen, from politicians. I’m doing it now with my doctorsI’m doing just what they tell me, perhaps a little more.” Someone asked what he planned on. his birthday. He said after his newspaper friends had departed, he would try some of Lady Bird’s consomme, watching the calorie count, take a three-hour nap in the afternoon, then administer a domino lesson to some old domino-playing pals who Were driving down fi s pm Austin that night. One. of the players was Congressman Homer Thornberry, who secretly played the gaMe with John -son when he wasn’t permitted visitors in the hospital. “I’ve found that one out of every four adult males has this thing,” said Johnson of his heart condition. “Well, I haven’t heard from all of ’em maybe, but a good many have written me and they’ve been about the sweetest people in the world tryin’ to help. Three contenders for the loyalist nomination for governor next summer were out on the hustings last week. James P. Hart made a declaration of convictionshis first major political speechbefore 600 people at a rally of East Texas Democrats in Henderson. Ralph Yarborough blasted what he called “a reign of economic terror” at the United Labor Assembly in Dallas. John White, the Commissioner of Agriculture, proposed a presidential preferential primary in Texas in a speech to the Texas Electric Cooperatives convention in GalVeston. From Our Correspondent It thus became faintly embarrassing when an enterprising reporter turned up with the information that in the past five years the commissioners court has paid five state representatives $38,245 for making appraisals on right-of-way purchases. A good many special laws affecting Harris County have been passed by the Legislature during that time. Pay for elective officials has been raised, new courts created, and so on. The Tax Research Association, in a report. not yet published, has suggested that the county hire regular appraisers and cease hiring legislators on a parttime basis. The records of payments show that for nine days in January and February of this year Representative Carlton Moore drew pay for making appraisals and at the same time was answering roll calls. in Austin. Representative Charles Murphy got the most appraisal fees during the five years, $17,008 in all. Others doing appraisal work were Representative Robert W. Baker, J. M. Heflin, now a city councilman, and William A…Miller Jr., now a judge in County Court at Law. Once more the school board delayed definite action on the eligibility of one of its members, Mrs. A. S. Vandervoort Jr. The attorney general sent word that a committee will restudy an opinion of July 12. It held that Mrs. Vandervoort was serving illegally because at the time she was elected the First National Bank, in which she held stock, was the school depository. The opinion was based on general laws, whereas the Houston schools operate under a special law. The conservative group on the school board, now a minority, has been demanding court action. “Except for a few hours of pain on the afternoon of the attack, I’ve had no real discomfort . And there’ve been some compensations. I never knew there were so many nice people in the world.” Then he laughed and pointed out in off the record words that, of course, there are still some who aren’t so very nice. “I’ve given up eatin’ and smokin’ at the same time,” he said, “and if any of ya’ll have tried givin’ up just one of them you’ll know how hard both could be:” He said he had time to read “for the first time in years ;” and that he had been given more books for his birthday than he could possibly read”even if I read every minute from now till December,” when his first speaking engagement is scheduled in California. He’s now reading “Lee’s Lieutenants,” and enjoying it immensely. He said his physicians think his recovery has been as “near perfect as possible.” He’s still not certain whether he can continue as Senate majority leader and he won’t know for sure until December. While his Autsin office will be open during the remainder of the summer and early fall, he will remain at home and inactive, preoccupied with twice-a-day naps, books, and calorie counts. His only reference to state politics and it was an obscure onecame when the talk got around to,the 1956-elections. “I’m not going to assume who the Republicans will nominate,” he said. “All they’ve ‘got is Eisenhower, and I think people pretty well understand he’s a man Hart was the only speaker at Henderson, except that Mrs. Wayne Wagonseller made a short non-political talk. Senator Jimmy Phillips of Angleton had been billed as a speaker, but he will no doubt hold forth Thursday of this week at a “Jimmy’ Phillips Day” in Galveston. He expects about 4,500 to attend. Hart was applauded when he called for more taxes, when he slapped at Governor Shivers on party disloyalty, and when he referred to scandals in the state and national governments. He attempted to paint “with a broad brush” a picture of “a modern, first-class state” dedicated to peace and good-will among ourselves and toward others and to “the expansion and greater fruitfulness of our free way of life.” “The world is moving on and changing day by day,” he said. “We must build modern state and keep it modern.” ON RACIAL PROBLEMS, Hart said the state government should promote good will, tolerance, and cooperation instead of stirring up “suspicion, dissension, and ultimate hatred.” The Supreme Court decision on school integration “has been a hard one for many of us to take, since it overruled prior decisions by that court of long standing,” he said. “But the law has been definitely settled by the unanimous .decision of the court of last resort, and it_would be foolish to expect that the Supreme Court will hold otherwise in the foreseeable future. So the only sensible thing to do is to accept the decision outlawing segregation, instead of making futile complaints or resorting to devious ways to get around it,” he said. He suggested revisions in the organization of the three state governmental divisions: a stronger governor, with more responsibility and authority; adequate salaries for legislators, paid on an annual basis; and reconsideration of the State Bar’s recommendations on the judiciary to reduce the number of courts and improve the administration of justice. On the legislative matter, he said: “Legislators simply can’t get by on their present state salaries and so they have to depend on income from some other sources in order to make ends meet. The temptation is very great to accept employment or favors from lobbyists or other people who are interested in legislation.” He said the 120-day pay per,. iod for legislators often ends just as important tax and appropriation bills are coming up. He stressed his faith in the limited powers of government and individual rights, “no matter how unpopular the individual may be.” He was speaking of “freedom of religion, freedom of speech, ‘reedon of thought, the right not to be punished except by the due process of peers.” . without a party. The Democratic Convention delegates. I feel sure, will pick a good man. The delegates will he made up of intelligent, informed, and constructive citizens.” No one asked him about the Texas delegation and how he thought it would vote. He indicated intense pride in his own work as Senate majority leader, and ex2 pressed the belief that the big problem todayboth nationally and internationallyis that of “men working together.” He talked about the newspapers which had complimented him on his work “more than a hundred”and reminded that the Democratic congress had passed “one-third more bills in one-third less time” than the GOP-controlled Congress. He described the Congress just ad journed as “liberal,” and expressed pride in the “aggressive housing bill, mammoth road construction program,” and raising of minimum wage standards by 25 cents. “And there was not a Angle recommendation in foreign policy by President Eisenhower not heartily embraced by the majority party,” he said. “The proof of the puddin’s still in the eatin’, and the Democratic Party is winnin’ the . electionsdespite what the Madison Avenue hucksters and pollsters say. We’ll keep winnin’, toofrom courthouse to White House.” Mrs. Johnson broke in then and suggested that it was time for a nap. Newsmen, photographers and friends shook hands and trailed outside one by one. Johnson agreed to the nap, almost looking forward to it. Thus has the man who two months ago was being seriously considered for the presidency adjusted to the physical .facts of his life. B.B. law and the verdict of a jury of one’s YARBOROUGH said that Texas *has been in the grip of a “reign of economic terror” since the end of World War II. He said an informed citizenry is the antidote for this reign. He charged: “Texas is in the clutches of powerful influences that . unashamedly seek to wreck the business of any businessman who opposes them, and which seek to fire any laborer, school teacher, clerk, or other wage or salary earner who does not laqw his knee to do their bidding. “This reign of economic terror should never have been permitted to grow up in the government of an . American state. I am confident that the people will end this one in Texas, but more is needed.” He said that “the governmental and political education of the people” is needed to forestall such developments. Yarborough called attention to what he called the top deficiencies in Texas. Water conservation is the primary economic problem, he said. Other matters needing attention, he said, are a poor -mental hygiene program, insufficient public hospitalization, insufficient oldage pensions, restoration of the community service division for juvenile delinquency, and establishment of paid probation and parole officers, which. only TexaS and Rhode Island are without. WHITE SPOKE OUT for presidential preferential primaries in Texas so that .Texas voters could elect their own delegates to the national conventions. “I maintain that state delegations should not be in the power ofor controlled byany one man in the convention hall. The delegates should be instructed in advance by the voters as to who they are to supportuntil circumstances dictate otherwise,” White said. “But by all means, a delegation should not be a prize bait, liable to an early sell;. out on the convention floor.” A presidential primary, held at the same time state officials are elected,. Would take national politics in Texas away from “self-interested state leaders, controlling uninstructed delegations, who go to conventions with ,the power to swap political principle for personal gains,” he said. “They can jump political fences without fear of retributionall because they . hold delegate votes in the palm of their hand.” White also said that farmers have lost their voice in government and called for “a bloodless revolution against the forces which would seek to deprive the voter of his. basic democratic right.” He asked for the defeat of the present state and national administrations. ‘Pep. Clark Thompson of Galveston said voters should keep their eye on White for higher office. Lyndon Comes Home HOUSTON LETTER
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