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An Isle Shindig for Jimmy GALVESTON Unofficial Galveston threw a splendid shindig for State Senator Jimmy Phillips last week. There was a parade complete with high . school bands, a big fish fry on the WPA-built Pleasure Pier with Utah Carl and his boys and a televised 30 minutes of speechmaking and music in the air-conditioned Marine Room. It had much of the trappings and some of the forensic of a gubernatorial campaign with a full head of steam. It proved that Jimmy Phillips, or the use of his name, can raise moneya lot of it in a hurry. Estimates of the party’s cost ranged from $10,000 to $20,000. About 5,000 Phillips fanatics, local politicos, tourists and townspeople turned out for the free fish. At least 2,500 stayed around for the speechmaking. Afterwards, at a private gathering in the Buccaneer Hotel, Phillips talked to newsmen and a few close friend. Someone said, “Jimmy, you need to start early, so why don’t you go ahead and announce.” “Bookkeeping,” said Phillips. “I haven’t got the timemaybe Senterfitt has to keep track of my expenses. I’ve got to get my law practice into shape first. “Take a look at the election code sometime, look up the chapter on campaign expenses. The first two lines de GALVESTON Off-again, on-again gambling operations. in the Galveston County community of Kemah have touched off a strange guessing game among the county’s antivice devotees. The riddle: Is District Attorney Marlene Johnson, Jr., their friend or their foe? Johnson, who describes himself as “a prosecutor, not a persecutor,” took office last October after winning -a hardfought contest with reform candidate Jim Simpson by. an uncomfortably-slim eightvote margin. Announcing he would not institute but would act onany complaints against vice conditions here, Johnson’s madcap regime was underway. Early in his career in the prosecutor’s chair, members of the Galveston Ministerial AssOciation complained about 18 fulltime and parttime bawdy houses operating in the downtown section of the city. A .few days later, Johnson’s special investigator . C. W. Van Dyke \(who has on a door-knocking “raid” instructing the madams to close shop. It didn’t take long for the zealous customers of the bawdy-houses to discover that the madams had simply closed their front doors and oiled the hinges on the back doors. When newsmen discovered this and the ministers again complained, Johnson closed down the back-door busi ness. too. One day a few weeks .ago, Johnson told newsmen who asked about a bawdyhouse raid he conducted: “Well, that’s the last of the bawdy houses operating.” Later that same night, three reporters gathering . information for a Galveston expose visited four brothels less than a mile from the DA’s office. They were steered there by cab drivers. Five months ago, Johnson’s activities made the headlines again. Declaring he was receiving “too many complaints,” the DA said he was ordering gamblers on the mainland at Kemah and Dickinson to close down their operations. But the closedown edict did not apply -Co Texas City, Galveston Island, or any of the other mainland communities where gambling also flourishes. He didn’t want to interfeae with Texas City law officers, he said, and he declined to give any reason for exempting -the other mainland communities and the island. The affected mainland gamblers failed to see the humor. They rounded up their peace officers and began threatening to raid the island’s myriad gambling joints. One mainland officer said angrily: “No man has the right to draw a line through the county and say you can gamble on one side but you can’t on the other.” They never carried through on their threat. Two weeks ago, newsmen decided to . THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 September 7, 1955 fine what a candidate isit’s `any person who has announced td any other person or to the general public that he is a candidate . .. You don’t have to make it official. It’s official, under the law, the first time you tell somebody.” So goes the strategy of Angleton’s “full time, personal state senator,” who now obviously would like to be the same kind of Texas governor. He will not announce until he is good and ready, but he will not hesitate to campaign loud and clear for what he considers his solutions to state problems. Once during the evening he mentioned that another sure-to-announce officeseeker had lifted part of his program. “Is it possible,” he chortled, “for an unannounced candidate to have his campaign platform stolen before he’s even announced it?” THE “JIMMY PHILLIPS Appreciation Day” in Galveston was amazing in many respects. First, it wasn’t an official affair of the city, and backers insisted on billing it as “non-political.” Still, the folks who took part in it were many and various. Walter Hall, the Dickinson banker who supported Ralph Yarborough last year, check on Johnson’s closedown order and discovered Kemah and Dickinson gamblers acting like they’d never heard of the district attorney. Gambling in Kemah was wide-open. \(When informed of it, Johnson said, porters hardly got that impression when they walked by -a brand-new establishment, the Club C, which brazenly displayed a large sign: “Open on or about August 10.” At Dickinson, conditions were the same, with the exception of the plush Cedar Oaks club, which strangely remained closed. The D.S. Club had just completed the construction of ‘ its brandnew layout and was moving to the new location. AUSTIN Texas .politics proceeded merrily on its two levels last weekthe party and intra-party conflict and the fight among the potential candidates. Tentative plans were announced for a meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee to replace the deposed Democratic national committeeman Wright Morrow. It will probably be in conjunction with a meeting of conservative Democrats in Fort Worth Sept. 22. Some loyalistshave been urging that no successor be chosen. . until the May convention. From Corsicana, Judge Jim Sewell, chairman of the Democratic Advisory Council, told the Observer, “I don’t know anything about the plans of the Shivers executive. committee.” He said that the D.A.C. is “getting along all right with our objective of strengthening the Democratic Party in Texas” but would not comment on specific organizational efforts. Bob Sawtelle of San Antonio has been taken on as statewide organizer for D.A.C. Dr. Howard Bryant of Tyler has been leading organization among East Texas Democrats. From the Republican quarter, G.O.P. committeeman Jack Porter told a gathering of 600 Dallas Republicans that Texas. will elect a Republican governor next year. Porter drew an immediate chiding and an incidental remark taken by some to be a declaration of candidacyfrom Ralph Yarborough. Yarborough said Porter must have been kidding about the Republicans electing a governor, “because Texas has had a Republican governor for the past six years.” “Porter is whistling in the graveyard,” he said. “After six years in the governor’s mansion of Texas, the Republicans are on the way out and the Democrats are on the way in. The Democrats of Texas will nominate a true-blue Demo was a member of the arrangements committee, E. J. Pennington Sr., president of the Chamber of Commerce, made the presentation of an “appreciation plaque.” Vic and Tony Fertitta, inheritors of the Maceo Syndicate, attended the fish fry and lunged for a chance to shake Phillips’S oft-shook paw. Maco Stewart, Jr., a University of Texas law student and son of Galveston’s wealthy Maco, Sr., handled some of the araangements and attended with a batch of young friends. The Galveston News wrote of the affair in the sacred phrases it ordinarily reserves for the Moodys. It was all the more amazing because Phillips in 1946 ran for the State Senate opposed by the Maceos, labor, and the Moody interests. The News neglected to mention his name during the entire ’46 campaign. Even the incumbent he beat that year, District Judge Bill Stone, was present at last week’s party. Now Galvestoniansranging from the “bluenoses” to the pro-vice tourist boostersseem to like him. And the delegation from Phillips’ home county of Brazoria were well-nigh ecstatic. The appreciation day opened with a parade in the afternoon and a visit to a livestock show. The marquee outside the Johnson said he’d close the gambling again. This time, he went to the mainland in personbut he only visited Kemah. Dickinson missed the second assault. One week later, reporters checked again and found only one significant difference in the Kemah gambling joints: the proprietors had moved the crap tables away from the immediate vicinity of the front doors. Customers had to walk an average of ten steps to reach the gambling tables in the back rooms. Re-informed of the situation, Johnson said he’d do it again “in my own way.” This time, reporters didn’t bother to check up; and the anti-vice leaders believe they may have solved their riddle. crat for governor of Texas next year, one who has been proven in the fire of combat, and a majority of all the people of Texas will elect him.” It wasthe “proven in the fire of cornbat” reference that was taken to be almost an announcement. Pleasure Pier read: “Free Fish Fry To night Welcome Senator Jimmy Phil. lips.” Along toward 6 p.m. the crowd gathered while the Texas City Band held forth. They struck up “The Eyes of Texas” when Phillips appeared, and he made no attempt at a grand entry. Instead, he shook hands all the way. It took him 30 minutes to negotiate the 100 yards to the fish tables. “I’ll swear he’s a smart operator,” said a local resident. “Who’s he?” inquired a tourist, and when told, said: “Oh, I thought he was Utah Carl.” Another shrimp chomping visitor was asked what he thought of Jimmy Phillips. “Whaaat?” said the visitor, and moved on with his plate. Another tourist stood outside and identified himself as an Alabaman. “Is he for segregation?” he asked. “If he ain’t for segregation I’m not even cominf in.” There was talk among the cynics that most of the 5,000 attending were tourists out for a free feed, but when the program shifted to the Marine Room and the speeches, the floor was filled as TV cameras panned the crowd. THERE WERE 15 minutes of introductions and tributes to Phillips, then the Senator took over. Gone were the trademark cigar, floppy handkerhcief and Panama Stetson. Press Agent Jimmy Bankswho describes his client as ‘conservative loyalist”said it was the first time the ex-filibuster champ had ever read a prepared speech, but he soon warmed up to it after a stiff and tooformal beginning. He talked about John Sealy hospital, highways, parole super vision, water problems, and, of course, the veterans’ land fraud. He even took a few knocks ‘at lobbyists and pressure groups in the legislature. Several times he left his prepared text. When he touched on the land scandal, he inserted the information that of the $100 million used to finance the land program, $25 million was lost on “doubtful deals.” “Only $500,000 has been recovered so far,” he said. “Who got the other $24,500,000, Where did it go? I intend to get it back” One line in his script read: “I have been given perhaps more credit than I deserve for bringing to light many of the amazing veterans land deals …” Phillips, instead, said: .”I have been given credit for …” In an obvious reference to future plans, he ad-libbed at another point: “My vote in the Texas Senate .belongs to you. It will always belong to youin the Senate or in any other public office.” The TV timing was slick, and the orchestra struck up “The Eyes of Texas” just at the right tithe. There was a big burst of applause, a standing, howling, ovation. Phillips held both arms aloft; someone handed Mrs. Phillips some roses; Jimmy reached for a cigar. Afterwards, at a gathering where there was some sustained and serious drinking and talk, a close friend allowed: “We got the money and we got the man. We just gotta show the people he ain’t no clown.” B.B. Free Fish for 5,000 as the Ex-F ilibuster Champ Has His Day; Phillips, or His Name, Shakes Loose Some Big Money for An Unannounced Candidacy Long Before Election Day Reporters’ Runaround in Galveston Politics Proceeds on Two Planes Labor Day Greetings from the TEXAS JOINT RAILWAY LABOR LEGISLATIVE BOARD Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen J. T. STEADHAM, State Legislative Representative Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers HERBERT 0. PAUL, State Legislative Representative Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen R. R. BRYANT, State Legislative Representative Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen REAGAN FERGUSON, State Legislative Representative Brotherhood of Railway Clerks R. R. WHEATLEY,. State Legislative Representative Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees B. S. SWIM, State Legislative Representative QUALIFY TO VOTE IN 1956 PAY YOUR POLL TAX I:REGISTER for EXEMPTION