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,St ;* It goilliiiED RELIEF .-TEXAS’ WATER fROBLEMe d ,,, Bartlett Appears Exclusively in the Texas Observer The Senate Lineup Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art. JEFFERSON Another Mirage? 3artictotic Juture- Harry Burleigli is a very \\vise encr. z ,ineer. He understands that the Texas water problem is political, economic, and historical ; but he also understand that it is not physical. Perhaps the closest student of Texas wate t r patterns alive anywhere, Burleigh told the Observer this week that the problem is almost easy, so far as engineering is concerned. It is big -; it takes a wide vision, in time and breadth, to see the answer. The Legislature will have to be willing to enter into a contract with the United States for the cooperative construction of a canal connecting Texas watersheds and dams for stream control. The cost, says Burleigli : $1 billion. The return for the period of liquidation, for the Gulf Coast alone : $6 billion a year! Oh. title insurance is a merry business, indeed. It is very; difficult to lose money in it. The state sets’ monopoly rates for the policies ; then, the companies refuse to insure titles until they’re sure they don’t need insurance ; then, you see, you just lean back and rake it in. As the Observer’s story points out this week, in 1955 the 19 companies doing title insurance business in Texas paid off all claims with less than one percent of their gross premiums. Granted, title searching costs are high ; but not that high. The Legislature should be asked why, in a competitive economy, does the State of Texas require monopoly prices by law ? Why, when the state is supposed to protect the public from unfair insurance charges, does it instead prohibit title insurance firms from re Sh e p and John Ben Shepperd, knight-erratic of Texas state’s rights, has complained bitterly that the Federal Trade Commission has impinged on the Texas jurisdiction by ordering a San Antonio insurance firm to stop what the FTC.says has been “false and deceptive” advertising \(page Horrors ! says Sir Shep. Here we’ve been fighting to attract insurance companies to Texas for fifty years, and now the United States butts in telling us how to run a Texas business \(even if it does From another quarter in the state government, the Observer picked up the delectable little item that the Insurance Commission has never, so far as its legal officer knows, Incorporating The State Observer, combined with The East Texas Democrat DECEMBER 12, 1956 ltomnie Dagger, Editor and General Manager Bob Bray, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager OBSERVER MAILING ADDRESS 604 West 24th St., Austin, Texas Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 10c each. Quantity orders available.. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1987, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the set of March 8, 1879. The legislators will snarl and dodge about ad valorem and water users’ taxes ; they will fight for their up-river, or their down-river constituents. That is as it must be. The $100-million revolving fund plan espoused by the Water Resources Committee and now backed by Governor-elect Daniel is a good thing, and we hope it goes through. But if it does notif, as before, it cracks up against unyielding regional interestswe hope the legislators will also have inaugurated the really important program, a bold, watershed connecting, stream-damming project over two or three decades, financed by the general revenues of the United States and the State of Texas, to the enduring enrichment of the people of Texas and the nation. \(hieing their rates to customers who provide them with up-to-date abstracts of property? Why, in a $14-million-a-Year .business, has the Insurance Commission never even developed a formula for setting ratesits title insurance director admitting, candidly and directly, that they are set on “an intelligent guess” basis? Why, if the state is going to permit montgage lenders to require home buyers to pay for title insurance policies, does it not require that these policies protect the owner, as well as the moneylender, from loss in event of faulty title? The state law in title insurance is obviously designed to maximize profit for the title insurance firms and minimize the public’s protection. It is a situation for legislators of conscience and good will to improve. S 21radon brought a single legal action against any Texas insurance firm for misleading advertising practices. Thus this is a riotous instance of a state defending one of its rights with infinitely more vigor than it has used in exercising it. There may, indeed, be a fair question of state-versus-federal jurisdiction. Had the state built a record of social responsibility in regulating business advertising before the San Antonio case came up, perhaps the FTC would have been loath to intrude. The Attorney General, too, is charged with implicit responsibilities in the area. As it is, one wonders whether he is as concerned about the public’s right to protection from misleading advertising as he is about Texas business interests. -6 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. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy ; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. MAILING ADDRESS: 504 Wit 24th St.. Austin, Texas. EDITORIAL AND BUSINESS OFFICE: 604 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. TELEPHONE in Austin : GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: 2601 Crawford St., Houston, Mrs. R. D. Randolph, treasurer. The Belden Poll is, of course, a very odd poll. It appears early in every campaign ; then, when the public interest picks up, it disappears. This, as Joe Belden explains, obligingly enough, is because it is sold to the highest bidder. Poll-taking is supposed to be a public interest activity to tell the people what they’re thinking before they know themselves. The way Belden does it, however, it is akin to selling inside tips in a stock.: market. This cavil aside, we must needs take note that Belden’s pre-seson form sheet has now appeared on the Senate race. It confirms what liberals statewide have been fearing : that Martin Dies is almost effortlessly a potent contender. Ralph Yarborough got 36 percent of the votes, Dies 33 percent, Searcy Bracewell and Thad Hutcheson four each, Wright Morrow three, and James P. Hart two. Almost a fifth had not made up their minds. The poll was taken Nov. 19-24, shortly after the Eisenhower victory, so Hutcheson, the RepubliCan, won’t gain much by neglecting his law practice. Yarborough’s strength is, as expected, very substantial ; but it is dogged close by that of the congressmanat-large with the apparently magic name. Last suns ner Dies was opposed for his office by Bill Elkins, who visited every county in the state. He didn’t even leave his Washington office and got 905,000 votes, more than anybody else all summer. In recent years he has had almost no statewide publicity. Yet here he looms out of the silence as the Number Two man in the race, and not Number Two by very much, at that. Yarborough’s friends, devoted and steadfast, gave him. 29.5 percent of the vote in a tough field of six in the first primary last summer ; then he pulled a tiny fraction less than 50 percent in the runoff against Price Daniel. In the present field of six, he shows 36 percent at the start. That’s 6.5 percent better than his first primary showing. But the disturbing thought intrudes again that Dies has hardly been heard from lately and still pulls a third of the votes. Most surprising is the fact that Hart has only two percent in midNovember. He worked on through the fall campaigns, but apparently he hadn’t made much of a dent. His speeches are still abstruse, he discourses on issues instead of disbursing symbols. The election is’ still a good. way off, and he will take some comfort in that, but if Belden is right he knows now he has not one, but two political peaks to take. That Bracewell, Hutcheson, and Morrow were all better known or better liked than he may also conditibn his campaign in the future. But whether a liberal is a Yarborough man or a Hart man at this pointa. question causing pain among friends all over the stateit is clear that Yarborough, with all his popular following, will not be a cinch over Martin Dies, and that Hart, with all his appeal to intellectuals and professional people, has not even started to penetrate the’ general consciousness. The key man is Martin Dies. When we interviewed him in a Houston hotel room recently \(for a series that against the bed headboard and rolled his fists around his shoo-in. “What’s Yarborough gonna say about me ?” he asked. “I’m a loyal Democrat ; never left the ticket when I was a nominee. I can’t be connected with Shivers or Daniel. I’ve got a progressive record. I voted against federal aid? But so did every other Texas congressman.” He was excited, a trial lawyer at the bar. He is ready, waiting. R.D. 5itie ,_9rtJurance Zir Toms Mhstrurr