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are o Politics Aired in Hearing THE WETBACKS ARE BACK LAREDO While District Attorney E. Jas. Kazen, Laredo, brought out in a court inquby that policemen and firemen contributed money to a political party, but not involuntarily, opponents of the political machine finally wrote off the votes Price Daniel received in the runoff election. “I can’t see how these votes for Daniel can be legal when they are based on fraud,” insisted Charlie Dick, Reform Party leader who described hithself as a backer of Ralph Yarborough. The Independent Club backed Daniel. Yarborough received 2,336 in Webb County to Daniel’s 4,063. Reform party leaders have said they believe many of the poll tax receipts issued in Webb County were illegally bought by backers of a political machine. A 49th District Court grand jury has returned several indictments against persons for advancing money to buy poll tax receipts. Among the indicted was city street commissioner Pepe Rodriguez. Kazen re-opened a special court of inquiry to look into voting irregularities and fired an average of 30 questions at each of ten witnesses, including eight who re. fused to testify in the investigation asked by the 98th District Court of Travis County. The hearing brought out that: I. Firemen and police contributed money to the political party known as the Independent Club. 2.They are not forced to do so. 3.They make contributions “irregularly” depending on their “financial condition.” 4.They have not been given money to buy poll tax rebeipts. 5.They have not advanced money to anyone to buy poll tax receipts. 6.They do not know of any voting irregularities in Webb County. Former Mayor Hugh S. Cluck testified he fired Pedro Salinas and 14 other firemen in. 1948 because they were “trouble-makers, rabble rousers and agitators.” Cluck was mayor 14 years. Six of I. ere later reinstated ,Ciucic’ said. Fire Chief George Renken, who has held, the job for 28 years in Laredo, and was assistant chief in San Antonio for 12 years, said that he gets the whole fire department together about “three or four” times a year and “I tell ’em that they’re working for the Old Party and should support it.” But he added he has never forced his men to get votes or buy poll taxes. He testified he collects the political contributions from the firemen, which he said are all voluntary, and turns them over to Assistant Chief Armando Pena. Pena in turn hands the funds over to Independent Club treasurer Manuel Gutierrez. Salinas testified earlier he got fired because he took part in a campaign to get civil service status for the firemen. Chief of Detectives A. H. \(Cufrom the packed courtroom sev -eral times. Once he was asked if he had ever fired anyone for not making contributions to the party; He answered: “Not yet.” Kazen asked him if he had received any political contribu / THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 4 Sept 19, 1958.1 McALLEN The wetbacks are back. The suspension of the sealift for apprehended illegal aliens from Port Isabel to Vera Cruz has given them heart again, and they are slipping across the river into the Texas brush. One day last week 500 were put across the berder and sent by bus to Monterrey. The U.S. Border Patrol has tightened its line all along the river. It started when a mutiny of wetbacks aboard the Mercurio resuited in the drowning of five who jumped overboard. Reports of “hell ship” conditions were variously made and denied, provoking interest in ‘Washington. Captain Rafael Izaguirre, director of the Mexican merchant service, ordered port captains in Tampico, Vera Cruz, and other Mexican ports to suspend the repatriation of the wetbacks “during bad weather,” which could mean until March of next year. In Mex -ico City it was understood the suspension resulted from the Mercurio incident. Three ships had been taking the wetbacks south the Mercurio, the Emancipation, and the Vera Cruz until the. Vera Cruz was ruled unseaworthy and pulled off the route. “it did not suit his purposes a the moment.” CORPPUS CHRISTI loyalists were also hurling bitter charges at the convention management. John E. Simmons, loyalist leader, charged that the rules the state executive committee recommended Were changed Monday night by an erasure to deprive the loyalists of the majority they won at their Nuesces County convention. Rules announced from the podium excluded the use of proxy votes in all unit rule counties. The erasure, Simmons said, had changed the original phrase, “including proxy votes,” to “excluding proxy votes.” Simmons maintained this made a difference only in Nueces County. Conservatives consequently took charge of the 24 Nueces votes, electing Mrs. Vann M. Kennedy and Jack Blackmon to the executive committee in place of loyalists T o m Brookshire of Kingsville and Mrs. J. H. Register of Corpus Christi. The county convention elected 25 loyalists and 23 conservatives and bound them by the unit rule. Only 17 loyalists showed up \(they conservatives were present, so the rule gave them the majority. Simmons tried to get recognition to put the rule to a convention vote, but he did not succeed. SUBSCRIBERS IN ALL 254 COUNTIES at Armstrong, TexasTom Armstrongwould find the Observer interesting and entered a subscription for him. The reformers in Laredo publish the Laredo Free Press, a crusading and inquiring weekly. Dick thinks of the Observer as “a state-wide Free Press.” Kenedy County is on the flat coastal plain of South Texas and faces Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico. It falls mostly within the King and Kenedy ranches and has a population of 632, the second smallest of all the Texas counties. i Borden is another big-ranch county. Gail has a population of 250, and the county’s total lopulation is 1,106, the sixth smallest in the state. The Texas Observer now has subscribers in all of the 254 counties of Texas. It has been recognized across the country : HARPER’S MAGAZINE : “THE TEXAS OB-SERVER, a crusading weekly published in Austin, reports regularly on poli ical shenanigans which are seldom mentioned in the metropolitan press.” REPORTER MAGAZINE : “An eloquent voice of the Texas eggheads …” LOOK MAGAZINE : “A crusading opposition newspaper . . ” CORONET MAGAZINE: “A courageous … weekly newspaper .,.. ” THE NATION : “A courageous liberal weekly … ” This week in a letter to the editor, Mrs. R. D. Randolph, the Democratic national committeewoman from Texas, says : “Let us all subscribe to that great weekly, The Texas Observer, our only means of knowing the Truth about what goes on in our state. The Observer is the only statewide news weekly in Texas. Every week it gives its readers full and objective reports on all the news of importance from one end of the state to the other. Every week it offers exclusive features found nowhere else. Every week, on its edi, torial pages, it seeks to defend the rights and hopes of the people. And every week, on page six, it takes up subjects as widely varied as whiskey for rattlesnake bites, what’s the matter with Texas teaching, and what Margo Jones did for the theater. Do you subscribe? If notfill out the blank below, If soget a friend to fill it out! ,11. %O. ar ow. ..011 .dp THE TEXAS OBSERVER Subscription Blank Please enter the following name for one year’s subscription : Name Address Mail the subscription to Texas Observer, 504 West 24th Street, Austin, Texas. P. S. Should you get more than one new subscriber, list them on separate sheet of paper ; careful to give name and correct address. LAREDO BACKGROUND refused jurisdiction,” he said. Meanwhile, he added, the city de pository was moved to another bank. Reform leaders say the practices complained about came to an abrupt halt. THE POINT IS ALSO MADE that the United Gas Corporation, which operates here under a city franchise, and the Laredo Waterworks System both rent office Space in the Bruni Building. Joe Martin, Sr., the sheriff and school board president, married one of A. M. Bruni’s daughters. Thus the sheriff’s wife is one of the beneficiaries of the Bruni estate froM which the gas company and the waterworks rent. R.D. port to the convention management, parliamentarian Jim Lindsey told him it was too late, Eckhardt said. “I didn’t even know what the majority report was until it was read on the mike,” he said. El Paso’s conservatives thus were seated by the majority report of the committee without a vote of the convention, since the convention management would not accept a minority report. Even with the El Paso switch, the Daniel-Johnson-Rayburn coalition had only a 43-vote majority in the permanent organization of the convention. Without throwing out El Paso, they would have lost control of the permanent organization by 25 votes. Back in El Paso, Ernest Guinn, vice-chairman of the loyalist delegation, said he, Bean, and all others in. that delegation refused the deal. “As a result of their actions. Rayburn and Johnson have lost all leadership of the Democratic Party in Texas,” Guinn said. He said that both he and Bean had been called backstage “by officials in control of the machinery” to be told they had to vote for the Houston conservatives or be unseated. R. E. Cunningham, member of the El Paso conservative delegation, hailed the seating of his group as a “complete victory” and said that if Bean refused to trade on Harris County, it was because THE EL PASO DISPUTE The Obscrver ha an important signposi: it now has subscribers in all of the 254 counties of Texas. At last . eport \(Observer, Aug. scriuers in 252 of the counties, Borden and Kenedy being the only hold-outs. Without explanation subsequently, a subscription came from J. C. Chorn of Gail. the only town in Borden County. C. B. W. Dick, wealthy cattleman and a leader of the Reform Party in Laredo, noted the Observer’s drouth in Kenedy County \(which is ranch country facthat a conservative friend of his AUSTIN George Harrison, chief patrol inspector for the McAllen sector of the Border Patrol, said the Mercurio had been equipped with 600 life jackets, five inflatable boats, ten life rafts, and two life boats and was staying close to the coastline. The boatlift had cut wetback entries from about a million in 1953 to 95,000 in 1955. The Border Patrol’s efficiency causes hostility against it among Valley farmers. Wetbacks used to be a source of cheap and pliant labor for them, but now they must contract with the Mexican government for braceros, that it, legal Mexican farm workers. As J. T. Ellis, the state representative from Weslaco, puts it, the Border Patrol “upset an economy of many years standing, and Valley people aren’t happy about it.” Ellis is himself irritated by the government disposition to con sider the braceros first and the farmers second. He says: “The bracero program has not worked. The government is more interested in the labor union aspects of the bracero program \(hours. wages, facilities, insurof the individual agriculturalist.” Valley farmers as a whole favor a “white card” system which would let Mexican nationals register and then come and go over the border. Last week Mayor Cardenas Montemayor of Matamoras intruded a somewhat different civic perspective. He said that . Valley farmers sometimes work wetbacks for a time and then call the Border Patrol to come and get them just before. payday. He complained that during the cotton season of the last three or four months, wetbacks have cost the city of Matamoras about $8,000 for food and travel funds. tions. He quickly answered: “Yes sir, but we call them donations.” Supt. of Schools J. W. Nixon testified teachers are free to vote the way they choose and are not required to contribute any funds to the Independent Club. RAMON GARCES