rice repares o aca e AUSTIN Trying to figure how he could most gracefully occupy his new governor’s chair and in the same move slide his vacated senate seat to the undisclosed candidate of his choice, Senator Price Daniel this week found himself in a unique political quandary. At least two of the candidates apparently waiting to pounce on his congressional post are men he emphatically does not want to have the job. First was Thad Hutcheson. of Houston, the Republican candidate for the post, who already has opened a campaign charging that Senator Daniel is trying to “influence the selection of his successor.” Next there is Daniel’s political arch-enemy, Ralph W. Yarborough, who hasn’t said whether he will run but appears to be a strong contender if he wants to be. Three others, U.S. . Rep. Martin Dies of Lufkin, State Senator Searcy Bracewell of Houston, and former Texas Supreme Court Justice James P. Hart of Austin, have vowed their candidacy regardless of when or where Senator Daniel decides to resign. They have already started touring the state making political noises. Another oft mentioned but as yet unconfirmed probable candidate, Attorney General John Ben Shepperd, kicked off a newspaperbannered investigation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which his non-supporters charged was really his campaign kickoff for the almost vacant Senate seat. With this array of prospective senatorial talent impatiently patting their feet for him to move over, Senator Daniel continued his legal investigation of the possibility of holding a special primary and a special election instead of the “sudden death” election where the majority of the votes wins. Research in Austin on the past election procedures brought out that there is precedent in Texas for special primary elections. John Nance Garner’s successor as representative was elected in a special primary election Feb. 25, 1933. But even with legal precedent, the question remained of where was the State Democratic Party going to get an estimated $250,000 required to finance a special primary election. AMONG THOSE CONCERNED with the money matter was Harris County Judge Bob Casey, who called on Senator Daniel to resign immediately so that his vacancy could be filled Nov. 6 or Nov. 13. “In the interest of economy, the special election to name a new U. S. senator should be held at the same time as the November general election or the Nov. 13 election on the constitutional amendments,” he said. “There will have to be a special election anyway, and it will be a `sudden death’ election regardless of whether primaries are held. No candidate has to participate in a primary unless he wants to,” Judge Casey pointed out. He said that a special election later than Nov. 13 would co* taxpayers across the state $250,000, including some $25,000 in Harris County. In addition, the county Democratic executive committees would have to pay the cost of the primary. Senator Daniel said another question he was attempting to settle was whether his resignation, effective immediately or on the first day of Congress, would permit state political party leaders to handpick their candidates. He pointed out that such a situation would permit the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas to select one candidate and arbitrarily eliminate all others. SPEAKER SAM RAYBURN came out in support of Daniers plan for a Democratic primary. “If we have several Democrats running against one Republican, Texas might have a Republican senator,” Rayburn said. He added that he felt sure “the overwhelming majority of the people of this state do not rant a Republican senator.” Rayburn’s statement drew an immediate blast from GOP candidate Hutcheson that Daniel, Rayburn and Senator Lyndon Johnson “plainly admit they are playing political checkers with the Senate seat to influence the selection of a successor “The political dishonesty of the attitude expressed by Mr. Raybutn is evidenced by the fact that he did not protest a plurality race Sheppard’s death. “And neither did he nor Senator Johnson, who was then defeated, or Martin. Dies, who was then defeated and now wants to run again for the Senate, raised any question about it being wrong Senate on what they call a minority rule. inTATIMPATIreirlrgriin a race has always been rejected by the public and will be rejected in this case by independent Texans. “I want to thank ‘Mr. Democrat’ for giving our campaign this additional recognition,” Hutcheson added. U. S. REP. AT LARGE DIES, promising not to be the mouthpiece of any special interest and to “serve the greatest good to the greatest numbers,” came out in favor of Daniel’s idea for a primary and runoff. In the last highman-wins special election in which he participated, that for \( fourth. In a “non-political” speech at Corpus Christi, Dies told members of the Sales Executive Club that he considered personal and states’ rights to be in “grave danger” when judicial interpretation basically changes the Constitution. STATE SENATOR BRACEWELL, winding up his preliminary 6,000-mile campaign tour, said he was ready to accept the decision of party officials on whether a “sudden death” election or a primary a n d special election should be held. Lake:Como Vote Fraud Case not become associated with the company “until long afterward.” ALBERT MARTIN firmly resists the suggestion that the operation is extremely . profitable. “Now this town, while it’s my own, it’s the poorest town,” he says. “The earning capacity of the citizens is low. We let them ride the bus for a five-cent piece for a long period of time. Now it’s ten cents, and five cents for children five to twelve” \(and four and a “Look at bus companies in other cities, and most of them charge more than a dime, and all of them are in trouble.” He says that of the firm’s twelve bus lines, only three make money. Mayor Martin backs up his uncle. “We’re not a bus-riding town,” he told the Observer. “It’s not a money-maker, that I can tell you.” The transportation c o m p a n y had to give the city a financial statement to back up a rate increase request. Presumably the net income figures did not include the acknowledged salaries Martin, Martin, and Morton pay to themselves. Even so, for the nine-year period, 1942 through 1950, the statement showed, the company had a net income of $169,627. THE BRIDGE is anther story that goes back a way. Originally the old two-lane international bridge was owned by J. K. Beretta. In 1946, the city of Laredo bought 60 percent of it for $695,000, while Mexico bought the rest of it. The reformers assail the price as entirely out of mind and cite the city’s ability even at current prices to pay its 60 percent of the cost of the new four-lane prestressed concrete bridge now being built for less than $300,000. Mayor Martin replies: “It might have been high, but we’ve been operating it since 1946 and look lectors. Gault says it was one big happy family before they installed the system, and that if anyone had suggested any of the collectors would take a dime, he would have been shocked. Nevertheless, the first eight months after the system was installed, income increased $18,000. Each toll collector counts the money he collects, puts it in a bank deposit bag, locks it with his own key, and takes it to a teller at the Laredo National Bank. The teller has the only other key to the bag. Entirely independent of this, an electronic checking system counts the net number of car axles that cross the bridge. Every -Uniea collector takes in a toll, he pushes two buttons, one recording how many axles on the vehicle in question, and the other recording what kind of vehicle it is. All this is registered electronically, minute by minute, even transaction by transaction if desired, on a long tape that is rim off every day in the system’s office near the bridge. The office help never sees the cash, and the toll collector never sees the electronic record. A small percentage of error is allowed, but if a man shows up short” consistently, hes called in. Francis Maher, an attorney who has worked with the Taxpayers’ League, is well satisfied with the operation. In 1955, the bridge system had a net operating profit of $303,420.96. After allowances for bond retirement and reserve and a contingency and improvement fund, the city of Laredo received a total of $217,072.28. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 Sept. 26, 1956 tired, “asked us for a franchise,” Martin recalls. 4 “I personally thought the man was a shooting at the stars. But anyway, we set it up and so on, and we gave him the franchise. That was in 1936. . . .He went to dorsement on his note, and I think Joe said, well, how do I come in on it? The two of them formed the Laredo Transportation Company. “Two years or so after I left the mayor’s office, about 1942, they needed money to buy more equipment, so they approached me. I was in pretty good financial condition at the time, I had had some oil deals, and they knew it. So they came to .me . . . . They had 15 buses when I went in, and they have 93 now, and six more on order.” Joe Martin, Senior, has been sheriff since 1932. His only comment: “I became associated with Mr. Martin in 1936. \(Morton owns Joe Martin, Jr., contributes the additional information that Morton “put up the capital” when the company was farmed. When Lonnie Gates, Reform Party leader went on TV to say that the City of Laredo gave the bus franchise to Albert Martin, Martin’s Partisans replied through “The Independent,” a short-lived Press. A news item in the Inderesponse to the Laredo Free pendent denied the statement and and said the facts were that the franchise was awarded to Morton in July, 1935, “after many attempts and advertisements on public bids.” “For a number of years,” the article said, Morton was “the sole owner of the franchise and of the Transportation System,” and Albert Martin did what we’ve got out of it.” Albert Martin says: “We may have paid a little too much, but it has never failed to meet the bonds and has meant a lot of income to Laredo.” The old bridge was washed out in the flood of the summer of 1954. Under pressure from Laredo merchants suddenly isolated from customers in Northern Mexico, Mayor Martin skipped the advertising of bids and contracted emergency pontoon bridge. The cost, Martin says: $200,000. Nor does he deny reformers’ charges that maintenance costs have been high on the pontoons. “We made a lot of mistakes,” he says, but the pressure was on and he had to do something. Although they insist on these charges, the Laredo reformers seem fairly well satisfied with the current management of the bridge except that they point out that Mayor Martin draws $150 a month as a trustee of the system. ANDREW GAULT, the bridge manager, takes sharp issue with the suggestion that the 1946 price was too high and is very proud of what he calls “an airtight system” for the collection of bridge tolls. In the first place, he points out, the price of the new bridge doesn’t include any of the piers, since the flood did not wash away the old ones. “Add 50 percent to the total price to allow for that,” he says. \(The total price is $409,000, of which the Laredo share is Furthermore, Gault says, the new contract price does not cover engineering costs, lighting, a $9,500 item, nor side railings, which would cost about $40,000 had they not been saved from the flood. The “airtight system” is an automatic check on the toll col Hey, Democrat! GOT A SECOND? There’s a way you can help elect Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver president and vice president of the United States. How? By organizing a Young Democratic Club in your school of your county, composed of young people from 18 to 40. Interested? Want to have a harid a real part in winning the Democratic victory in November? Then write any of the following officers of the Young Democratic Clubs of Texas: EDGAR L. BERLIN President Goodhue Bldg., Beaumont ROGER DAILY Natl. Committeeman 2501 Crawford, Houston MRS. DALE ‘SASSY’ HODGSON Natl. Committeewoman 2306 Cloverdale, Arlington A. L. ‘DUSTY’ RHODES. Vice President 609 Mims Bldg., Abilene FORT WORTH The Lake Como precinct vote fraud case is dominating political news in Fort Worth, and some loyalist leaders here accuse the grand jury and the newspapers of trying to associate them with the fraud unfairly. The grand jury has indicted Mrs. Charlie Mae Allen, election chairman of the precinct, on several counts of vote fraud. L. Clifford Davis, who was also an official in the Lake Como voting, took a lie detector test at the request of the grand jury and was found to have “no guilty knowledge” of any fraud. Davis is an attorney for the NAACP. The grand jury also subpoenaed about 20 loyalist and labor leaders who had no apparent connection with the Lake Como incident. Among those called were Sen. Doyle Willis, State Rep.-nominee Howard Green, Mrs. Margaret Carter, E. L. McCommas, Ross Mathews, Paul Gray, and Doug Crouch, all prominent Tarrant County loyalists. Gray, representative of -AFLCIO CWA, said he thought an at tempt was being made to discredit “union leaders and liberal Democrats.” McCommas, international representative of AFL
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