‘Do You Realize, Beauregard, That We May Be Foahst to Vote for a Democrat or a Republican This Year?’ 4t , 411119311NO The Nine Amendments \(An editorial interpretation of the nine constitutional amendments, with acknowledgement to the Texas League of Women Voters for its objective and most AUSTIN The Texas Constitution bears an approximate similarity to Vernon’s Annotated Statutes, and when its provisions fall out of date, the similarity becomes more than a joke. The Constitution has to be amended and the people have to vote on complicated issues that should be settled by their elected representatives. It is more difficult to vote on issues than it is on candidates. Issues involve merits, statistics, fact situations, candidates merely symbols easy to assimilate or reject. Nevertheless, until the Texas Constitution is re-drafted and simplified by the assignment of most of its provisions to the statute books, voters will have to vote on essentially legislative issues. Nine such issues will be put to them in November, and if they would vote intelligently, we really ought to do as much research as we expect of our legislators. Here we can only suggest some viewpoints for debate. Amendment One lets the Legislature compensate people who have been falsely imprisoned. It is incredible that it does not now do so. Amendment Two lets county commissioners’ courts allocate tax sources among various county funds with more flexibility. Now the proportions of county revenue they can spend for various functions are arbitrarily limited. This seems to be a sensible amendment; local conditions are, after all, local, not general, and a rigid statewide formula seems unreasonable. Amendment . Three takes Texas A&M and the University of Texas out of a building fund financed by a five-cent ad valorem tax and gives them the right to issue negotiable bonds or notes for building purposes based on their own Permanent University Fund. The schools favor this. Secondly, it lets these two schools invest up to 50 percent of the Permanent Fund in corporate stocks and bonds. Full disclosure of all such investments would be made mandatory: The firms selected for investment shall have paid dividends for the last ten consecutive years ; not more than one percent of the Fund may be invested in any one corporation’s securities, and not more than five percent of the voting stock of any corporation may be owned. Presumably the schools would invest only with the greatest care. Nev Green Persimmons To the Editor : First, a sincere and tangible pat on the back ; then an equally sincere gripe ,. The pat : attached is my check for another year’s subscription …. The gripe : on the article, “A Teacher Views Our Schools’ Shortif I wanted to use unsupported generalizations and implications in a shotgun 360-degrees blast, I could say equally mean, meaningless, and harmful things about medical men, lawyers, journalists, or preachers. What is the lady trying to propose, prove, or suggest ? That the schools have gone to the dogs and are not doing their job? Then how did she and all her wistfully admired intellectuals and best minds get their fundamental educationby osmosis? I have been a teacher much longer than the author of the article admits to, both on the receiving and giving ends of teacher education, in one ertheless, there would be an element of risk as the market fluctuated. There is a rather remote danger that the corporate investments might benefit those controlling them. The interest yielded by the total investments would go up about one percent, and the schools are very much behind the plan. .Amendment Four is the most important of the nine for the welfare of the state. It updates the teachers’ retirement system, lets them contribute more, and provides that the state will. match what they put up. Such benefits are desperately needed in a profession so vital to the state’s well being and yet so plagued with low wages and overwork. Amendment Five extends the veterans’ land program and replaces the governor and attorney general on the land board with one expert in veterans’ affairs and another in finances. After the land scandals there is some question whether the program should be extended, especially since it has benefited only two percent of the eligible veterans, but in theory it is well credit to buy farm land. If voters have confidence that promoters’ speculation has been stamped out of the program for good, a yea vote would. not be subject to serious objections; if they do not, or if they think the program too limited in its benefits, they will vote no. Amendment Six is a technical correction of the constitution without policy significance. Amendment Seven will be widely misunderstood but is a carefully thought out solution to the problem of committing people of unsound mind. Jury trials often further warp people already sensitive and pained by awareness of their infirmity; neither are juries schooled in what constitutes insanity. It would be dangerous to give next of kin the right to commit such people without trial or medical testimony, but the amendment does not do this. It first provides that no person can be committed except on competent medical or psychiatric testimony; then it says laws could provide for a waiver of trial by jury if the person in question or his next of kin and the court-appointed attorney representing him agreed. The right of jury trial would still be available if demanded, but it would not be required unless a criminal act was involved. ‘Texas is now the last state in the union which requires a jury trial in these cases, and it is barbaric to leave the parties concerned no option to such a humiliating procedure in obvious cases. room schools to ivory towers. I shave seen much of the defects in teaching but also much of the preponderant excellences. Tell the lady to punch her curriculum director on the nose, if that will make her feel better, and to stop eating green persimmons this … is hardly cricketand far below Observer standards. GEORGE I. SANCHEZ Austin \(Dr. Sanchez is chairman of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Education at the University Fine Service To the Editor: …. I enjoy all of every number. I especially enjoyed “A Teacher Views our Schools’ Shortcomings.” You are doing a fine service to Texas in publishing the Observer. MRS. JOHN BARROW Austin THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 Oct. 17, 1956 Amendment Eight is a proposal that previously convicted felons be denied a gasic civil right. Judges or ,magistrates could deny the right of bail to anyone accused of a felony \(except previously been convicted of a felony. He could be held in jail up to 60 days without bail, and possibly longer. This plan is defended on grounds it would prevent habitual criminals from going out on bail and committing more crimes. Such a theory, based on sus-. picion and speculation, does violence to civil rights. A man’s past wrongs do not settle his guilt or innocence on a present allegation ; often he is suspected principally because he has a bad record. There is no good reason to withdraw this protection against speculative imprisonment. To do so would also be double jeopardy, extra punishment for crimes for which a person had already been punished. Because of faulty drafting, Amendment Nine will be voted on November 13, not November 6. It is a very vimportant amendment. It would authorize the state to put up as much as $20 a month for permanently and totally disabled people, who are not now included in the state’s welfare program.. Their omission from the program makes it comparable to providing free lunches to all needy school children except those who are starving to death. It is important for people to go out and vote for this one, even though it means a special trip to the polls. Who will refuse a half an hour to help a neighbor who is completely and forever helpless and suffering ? Most important for the welfare of people of the state will be votes for Amendments FOUR, SEVEN, and NINE. A no vote on Amendment EIGHT will be a vote for the AngloSaxon legacy of individual rights. The Observer welcomes letters from readers on this interpretation and other matters related to the amendments. The Listening Post …. Carl Victor Little writes a column, “By the Way,” in the Houston Press. Last week, without any specific provocation, -Little took off like a jet plane on Price . Daniel. We reprint the paragraphs here for their historical interest : Daniel in the .Lion’s Den Some people are getting mighty bored with the Hon. , Price Daniel, junior United States Senator and Governor-Designate who .apparently wants to eat his cake and have it, too, in addition to the pan it came in. But By-the-Way doesn’t see . eye to 4eye with the Great Man’s detractors. It’s just like unappreciative voters to slam the most outstanding statesman that Texas has had for two or three generations. The sage of Liberty has served the people for years. Of course, he hasn’t done much for them, but he served them nevertheless. And the cliches he has coined in his addresses! He fairly drips with the ordinary platitudes of hack politicians. We believe that a statesman of such stripe is ‘The Indispensable Man of Texas and we are working on the interpretation of a law that will not only do away with a silly old primary but with the necessity to fill Junior’s -senatorial post altogether.. Can’t we make an exception and have Price keep his Senate seat._ and become governor, too? As we said above, they only come like Price Daniel once every two or three generations, thank goodness. Of course, he should draw the salary he’s worth for each job, say a. dollar a year. …. Cong. Frank Boykin of Alabama is circulating a commencement address by Hugh Roy Cullen, the Houston oillionaire. “A wonderful, wonderful speech which should be very, very helpful,” says Boykin’s blurb about it. It is a defense of the “right to work” laws and an attack on the “labor boss.” The Stump
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