I KEFAUVER HEART 0′ TEXAS FAIR, WACO Introduced as the “successor to Davy Crockett,” lanky, barbed-tongued Estes Kefauver set out to kill himself a Texas GOP elephant, using the Republican’s “too little, too late” drouth relief program as a club. The handshaking campaigner from Tennessee, who drew a Fair-going crowd of 5,000, described the GOP administration’s help to Texas’s drouth-stricken farmers as “like throwing a man a ten-foot rope when he’s drowning 100 feet from shore.” atchdogs The Laredo Situation Old Man Yearns For Countryside AUSTIN AND HOUSTON Paul E. Wander, 79, is a sad, frail little man whose only offense has been growing old penniless. He’s one of the seven thousand needy senior citizens who are living out life in rest or nursing homes on $55 a month old age assistance. He lives in a San Antonio rest home, “a private poor house” in his vernacular. Thirty-six other, old folks are finishing their lives there. Wander occupies a tiny, hot, smelly house trailer trailer. It’s so hot in there I just parked next to the rest home can’t stand it, and I think it’s wash house. Most of his time gonna be awful cold in winter … is spent in a wired-together In winter I like a wood stove, I chair under a shade tree have to get up right next to it where he pencil-sketches car and it’s fine then. toons and religious scenes. He would prefer to work in oils, just try it here three months. If but he hasn’t the money to buy I didn’t lil a it, she said I could supplies. Sometimes he colors his go sketches with crayon. be no trouble. If I get sick they Wander was a house painter can call the county doctor and and did some commercial Bob Bray si g n he’ll send me to the hospital. I promise I won’t be no trouble. Mister, will you tell the lady for me?” painting in his younger days. “I was a hard worker,” he recalled. “I wasn’t lazy. People I used to work for would say, ‘Wander, you better rest awhile,’ but I would never stop. The ladies sure liked my workI could paint a kitchen ceiling without ever getting a drop of paint on the stove. “I did a lot of painting around Castroville and Medina Lake. Lots of those country folks know me, and they’re friends of mine. That is Where I want to go, back to the country. I’m not happy here … sometimes I’m so lonesome I could cry … I don’t have any friends here. “I don’t never stay in that ACTUALLY, Wander isn’t near as badly off as he might be. His trailer is a castle compared to the bedbug-infested winehead-filled flophouse hotels where many of Texas’s unfortunate old folks end up on their meager pensions. His case illustrates why the state is not enforcing state nursing and convalescent home requirements according to a strict interpretation of the law. J. W. Homburg, chief of the Nursing Home Licensing Service section of the Division of Hospital Services of the State Health Department, directs the licensing and supervision of the private Vol. 48 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. Obsrrurr c” sf\\ ! t Liberal Weekly Newspaper TEXAS, OCTOBER 3, 1956 10c per copy No. 24 The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau He said President Eisenhower’s campaign promises and attitude in office reminded him of a recent Elvis Presley recording ; “On one side it says`I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.’ Then you turn it over on the other side \(when the Republicans Ain’t Nothin’ But a Houn’ Dog’.” Kefauver was presented to the crowd by Senator Lyndon Johnson, who led the parade from the motor caravan to the speaker’s platform. Among those participating in the program were Byron Skelton and Mrs. R. D. Randolph, national committee members from Texas, and Mayor Tom Miller of Austin, head of the statewide Democratic campaign committee. Among those present but not in troduced were Ralph Yarborough and Tom Moore. Presumably, Senator Price Daniel did not attend, as he was not introduced. Johnson, introduced by Skelton as “our great and lovable Senator,” received moderate applause as he set the stage for Kefauver’s address. He recognized Grace Tully, former personal secretary to the late Franklin Roosevelt, as the woman who led the Democratic fight through “those trying years of Herbert Hoover when we learned to eat rabbit, and then armadillo …” He commended the Waco newspapers in general as “fair and objective Democratic” publications. “I can’t say that everywhere in Texas, Estes,” he remarked. Then he likened the vice presi A TEACHER SCORES SCHOOL PRACTICE For a provocative criticism of education and its schools by Georgia Earnest, a perceptive Corpus Christi teacher, see page six inside this week’s Observer. `Do-It-Yourself Demos Lay Plans Reaction to Fort Worth Takes Form in Austin AUSTIN Loyalist reaction against the liaison of Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn with Price Daniel crystallized here last weekend in a meeting of between 100 and 125 “Do-ItYourself Democrats” who are staging district meetings for S t e v e n s o n and Kefauver around the state in 29 of the 31 senatorial districts this and next week. They met in Austin in a new kind of political event for Texas, a gathering of Democratic workers that was not called or attended by the state’s traditional party leaders. Mrs. Kathleen Voigt, director of organization for the group that was formed \(Texas Democrats for the 31 districts were represented. “We’ve got the organization,” she said. Johnson, Rayburn, and Daniel have set up the official campaign headquarters in the Nalle Building in Austin under Mayor Tom Republican leaders had intended to get the huge Sam Houston Coliseum for the affair. The Music Hall, with a seating capacity of between 3,000 and 4,000, was obtained, instead. Three hundred extra seats were set up in the foyer, along with television screens for the overflow. An advance news report said permission would be asked to “block off the street in front of the hall” and observed that “there is space for a large overflow crowd across the street.” But the Houston Post’s report the next morning didn’t mention the size of the crowd; Nixon “told Texas” his message, it said. The Houston Chronicle next afternoon said there were 1,800 there; the Houston Press said “about 2,000.” Bud Mosier, a pro Stevenson Democratic leader, said the emcee asked those present to sit at the front so it would show better on the television cameras. The hall was not filled. Nixon told the crowd and a statewide radio-TV audience the Republican program is bigger than any political party and represents the best thinking of both Republican and Democratic parties. He demanded Adlai Stevenson say “what parts of the Truman program he accepts and what he rejects,” calling attention to a Stevenson-Truman meeting that had been announced. ates the discredited philosophy of the ADA and Mr. Truman, he will forfeit his right to the support of millions of Democrats who sincerely believe in the true princi All this was greeted by Independent Club spokesmen as running down Laredo, and the point about low wages especially galled them. A. R. Tony Sanchez charged for the Independent Club on. TV that the greater part of reform leader Charley Dick’s fortune “was made through the familyowned Cannel Coal Company of Dolores paying truly slave wages of 7.5 cents an hour” \(Dick first arrived in Laredo in the late thirties to close the family coal kuowledge what wages” Gates had been paying his braceros on his ranch. THE TAXPAYERS’ LEAGUE has sought to keep separate from politics, preferring instead to watchdog city and county officials in their administration of county funds. This year it was able to claim it has already saved Webb County taxpayers almost a million dollars. The county’s expenditures in 1953 were $1.2 million, but they were down to $725,000 in both 1954 and 1955. During the first five months of 1953, the county employed an average of 201 men on the road and bridge payroll; the first five months of the first year of the league’s operation, 1954, that figure was down to 137. The league also obtained clear identification of county equipment \(there were reports about its perThe league’s researchers turned up expenditures which were fantastic on their face. For example, the county spent $2,150 in 1953 repairing a 1947 Dodge pickup that cost $1,345 in the first place. A 1949 Chevrolet pickup that had cost the county $1,749 was repaired to the tune of $1,802 in a single year. Of that $1,802, more than $1,000 was for tires and tubes on the single truck. After hearing such figures, the county commissioners set up a requisition sys tem. There was the story of Pepe’s Pickup …. A green 1952 pickup was turned in for repair at the city shop. A league representative asked at the shop about the truck and said he was told it belonged to the street department, then that it was the property of the City of Laredo. But then Mayor Joe “Pepe” Martin, Jr., explained to the representative that he had turned in the pickup to a local car dealer, who was a city alderman, for credit on a new truck or car at such time as Martin might want to buy it; then, said Martin, the city bought the pickup from the car dealer. The league dug deeper and found that various city officials were doing business with the city. When that was disclosed, it stopped. The league’s crusade to systematize parking meter collections hasn’t succeeded. It reported in February that the city’s 700 parking meters produce a gross income of about $21,000 a year, about a dime per meter per day. Two collectors simply make the rounds, collect the money in a satchel, carry it to city hall, \(Continued on Page LAREDO When the Taxpayers’ League first started peering under the rocks of Laredo politics, “it was very difficult to get information, the place was so fear ridden,” says Francis Maher, attorney for the League. But now it’s “loosened up.” Perhaps the loosening up is a result of the tightening up of the business practices of the elected politicians. For the first time a few weeks ago the county was ordered by a court to buy certain goods and supplies on competitive bid. Webb County politicians, now inordinately sensitive to criticism, wince and explode when their stewardship is questioned by the reformers. Head of the Taxpayers’ League is Radcliffe Killam, wealthy oil and cattleman. Back in 1953 he and other property owners found that Laredo, with the highest adjusted total tax rate in Texas as of 1949, offered inconsequential services to its citizens and engaged in quite startling business methods. Laredo even now has no supervised program of recreation, no public swimming pool, no public tennis , courts, no town hall, no community center, no municipal auditorium. “You name it and we haven’t got it,” says A. W. Gates, a Reform Party leader. In February of this year the Reform Party charged that Laredo is first \(for employment, low wages, school truancy, and illiteracy. Texans See and Hear Number Twos NIXON I HOUSTON Vice-President Nixon’s campaign stop here last week didn’t go too smoothly. He was himself weakened by flu and laryngitis ; his crowd for his major speech was less than 2,000 after a herculean build-up in the press ; and then, as he talked to reporters before leaving town, it was brought out by questioning that he accepted an honorary membership in the NAACP in 1946. Nevertheless, he got in lusty whacks for the Republican cause in Texas, and he stood fast for integration at a “moderate, steady” rate.
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