Highway Agency Unscathed By the Scandals in Texas Bar Plight To the Editor: Anent your editorial entitled “The Lawyers’ Deal” \(Observer, up” was put over by the state government through its legislative branch. The so-called “State Bar Act” was passed in 1939 by the 46th legislature. A portion of Section 3 thereof provides that “all persons not members of the State Bar’ are hereby prohibited from practicing law in this state.” The resulting situation h a s prompted many leaders of organized labor to remark, as you have in your editorial, that lawyers are inconsistent concerning the rights of their “union” and the rights of unions in the organized labor movement. In reply, lawyers often assert that it is erroneous to refer to the State Bar as being “organized.” However, the Surpeme Court of Texas is on the side of the union leaders. Recently, in San Antonio Bar Association vs. Guardian AbGarwood began the opinion with the following sentence: “This suit is one for injunction by our petitioners, representing the organized legal profession of the state, to stop an allegedly unauthorized and improper joint conduct of three respondents-de AUSTIN Warner Brothers’ “A Face in the Crowd,” the latest collaboration of that erratic pair, Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg, caused a little stir in this currently somnolent community. And that, understand, is no mean trick. The last time anyone managed to bring off such a feat, it took the combined efforts of a naturopath, a legislator, and a tape recorder. Characters. congressmen, and gadgets figured prominently in “A Face in the Crowd,” too, but the center of the screen was generally occupied by a hillbilly musician whose great power of persuasion proved so ominously potent that he showed every sign of developing into a first-rate national menace. We haven’t seen one of those around here in years. The beast Kazan and Schulberg have created is first glimpsed, not in Texas, but in Arkansas, flailing a guitar in a county jail. In a series of arch devices I do not intend to recount here, he was discovered by the local radio station. and foisted upon. the good citizens f o r their edification. Homey chatter, more strumming, and no end of gall soon had him solidly implanted in their affections and also attracting the attention of more populous centers. Before long he was on TV, omnipresent and inescapable, successfully persuading the public to buy anything he was paid to sell and inexorably becoming something of a national institution. Such phenomena have been known to exist. Well, anyway, his utter lack of scruples and his fondness for the big money eventually allied him with reactionary interests. They wished him to participate in a package deal, peddling their brand of politics and one of their pet senators. He was well on his way toward attaining this goal when one of his associates, overwrought enough to realize the menace in his manner, revealed his true nature to the public by fendants, related to the practice of law.” Moreover, those members of the Bar who “are contemptuous beyond forbearance of the union shop” often attempt to define a difference between the rights of an individual who practices law and the rights of an individual who earns his livelihood by other means. \(I almost said who works mer Attorney General John Ben Shepperd contended on several occasions before several courts that a union shop was an infringement upon certain constitutional rights of the latter category of persons. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has indicated that there is no difference, that the rights of both groups in this respect are equal and may be subjected to the same restrictions. In Railway Employreferring to a contention similar to the one often made by Mr. Shepperd concerning impairment of constitutional rights by allowing a union shop, a majority of the court, speaking through Justice Douglas, stated that “there is no more an infringement or impairment o f first amendment rights than there would be in the case of a lawyer who by state law is required to be a member of an integrated bar.” To me, these decisions demonstrate that lawyers in Texas can’t have it both ways. Their “right to work” is entitled to the same consideration as that of a non lawyer. At the same time both are subject to the same restrictions and limitations. Union people and a sprinkling of lawyers firmly believe that the same rule should apply to both groups. They would hold, I believe, with the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Van Zandt vs. McKee that: “The right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, includes the right to work and earn an honest living, but it does not include the right to work for any particular individual without the latter’s consent. One man’s right to work stops just short of the other fellow’s right not to hire him.” SAM HOUSTON CLINTON, JR. 204 VFW Bldg., Austin. \(Mr. Clinton is an attorney in ‘Far from Truth’ To the Editor: Rev. Lucey’s picture of the Roman Catholic Church is far, far from the truth. It is shot through with false claims and misstatements. CHARLES M. ALBRECHT 202 E. May St., Yoakum I could find no one about who really liked the thing. “A guitar player who could have millions at his feet, hanging on his every twang? Nonsense!” WELL, WITH my ambivalent state of mind already made even more indecisive by the general Travis County torpor, I stumbled into a darkened theater more or less from habit the other day. I didn’t really come to myself until my fellow patrons begin to engage in so much restless mewling that, for one mad moment, I thought myself in the midst of the lemmings as they began their rush to the sea. Something very much like the ocean’s roar was relentlessly pounding on the sound track. Quickly, I brought all my senses into focus! SEEMS I WAS in the tumultuout midst of a showing of the latest contribution to Western culture, “Loving You,” starring Elvis Presley in Vista-Vision! Elvis, playing of all things a singer, was having hell trying to break into the big time since, it said here, his naturally shy personality chafed under such restrictions as gaudy clothes and excessive adoration. All the audience sympathized with the kid except me. When his agent attempted to explain away the havoc he caused by saying that Stravinsky had caused riots, too, I laughed outright. No one else did. The suspense was too great. Suddenly, the thing itself appeared, slack-jawed and mussed up, and went into a bump and grind. The theater exploded! I glanced into a cacophonous claque behind me and found a middleaged lady leading the cheers. Later, I discovered Elvis was supposed to be a Texan. I left, the pounding o f guitars breaking about me. Once out into the pure air of Austin, I promptly determined that all should see “A Face in the Crowd.” They may not believe it but no ‘matter. I have a hard enough time believing in Elvis Presley. CARRIZO SPRINGS AND AUSTIN While it has not infrequently been the Observer’s unrelished duty to call to the attention of its readers certain derelictions in the state government, it can be reported that the State Highway Department has emerged from t h e Texas scandals with its high repute in Texas and the nation unscathed. C. H. Langdeau, the hardheaded assistant state auditor who has supervised the state’s audits of the Highway Department since 1938, says it is “one of the best outfits of the state.” The reasons, he says, are that it is “practically free from politics” and its top administrator, State Highway Engineer DeWitt Greer, is “tops in his field. While he’s a fine fella, he’s tough. You mention something a little out of line, you don’t have to follow it up, he’ll take care of it.” Most of the jobs in the department are careers for the people who hold them, Langdeau says. Key people have been there 15 to 30 years. “It’s just not politics,” Langdeau says; “if a person does a good job, he stays. You never find Senator Jones writes and says Mary’s got to have a job. They’re tough. And they don’t go out and hire outside people as their own auditors. They make all those guys earn those places, within the organization.” The Highway Department does not have civil service, but the policy is, “you do your job honestly and effectively and you’ve got our confidence,” Greer explains. ALL CONTRACTORS are required to “qualify” before they can bid on given types of jobs. They must have certain experience, equipment, and employees before they are eligible to bid on certain kinds of jobs. The tests are objective. Any contractor who qualifies job. The low bidder “in practically all cases” gets the contract. The law says “lowest and best,” but the system of preliminary qualifying for the job type involved weeds out ‘untrustworthy contractors. “If he’s qualified and has the low bid, he gets the job,” Greer said. “He doesn’t even have to be in Austin when the bids are opened., If he’s low he can bet his bottom dollar he’s got the job.” What about collusion among contractors on biddingan especially difficult thing to prevent? “I don’t know if there is any. If they do we just reject ’em,” said a department spokesman. The department maintains traveling auditors to be sure people on the payroll are actually working. There are also district engineers, c o n struction inspectors, and resident engineers \(“We see that they do the work according to specifications; they know they There have been a few episodes that’s inevitable in a huge organizationbut they have usually occurred farther down the line. The minute Greer hears of it he cracks the whip. When it came to his attention that one of his engineers was receiving an engineering fee from the city of Austin for services rendered, he asked for the man’s resignation. “He didn’t argue about it. And the engineer was one of his capable men,”. bandeau said. Herbert Petry, one of the three part-time highway commissioners, says the most outstanding thing about the department is that “the integrity of Mr. G r e e r goes through the whole organization. The employees have a great spirit of love of their department. They feel it has brought honor to the state government and want to keep up the record.” Petry, Lions International president in 1950-51 and now an attorney in Carrizo Springs, also emphasized the commissio n’s freedom from politics. “Men who are appointed by the governor to the commission have six year terms, and the governor’s term is for two years,” he said. “Once the governor names the commissioner the only way the commissioner can be removed is by impeachment.” James Richards, spokesman for the highway branch of the Associated General Contractors of Texas, believes the Texas agency is “by far the most outstanding department in the United States because it’s been kept free of political influence.” He credits the caliber of commissioners and the staff. “In general the contractors feel that the department is honest and fair in their dealings,” he said. THE STRENGTH of the department thus seems to reside in its freedom from politics, its tight bidding system in which the idea of the “best” bid is bypassed by the qualification system, and its top man, Dewitt Greer. Ralph Has Bill For Vet Hospital WASHINGTON Sen. Ralph Yarborough has invide for construction of a veterans hospital anywhere in the 32county South Texas 14th or 15th Congressional Districts. Yarborough made construction of a hospital in the districts a plank in his Senate race platform. “In all this area of approximately one million persons and 34,168 square miles, there is not one Veterans Administration hospital,” Yarborough told the Senate. “Recent testimony before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs reveals that there are 300,000 veterans in the area. The need is immediate.” A similar bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Joe Kilgore. Baylor Young Demos Fight Over Status AUSTIN Baylor’s Young Democrats are in a bit of a mess. The charter of the Young Democrats’ Club there was renewed by the Young Democrats of Texas at their recent Dallas convention. Shortly thereafter a group of students, mostly in the law school. obtained a charter under student government of a new Young Democrats’ Club. The new group then filed a petition with the student court of student government claiming the right to the club name. As of our last report, the student judge had forbidden the group approved by the state convention from using the name, “Young Democratic Club of Baylor University,” or words to the same effect. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 Aug. 9, 1957 switching on the studio mikes during a telecast when he thought he was off the air. Seeing the beast in his element for the first time, the public recoiled, and it’s all up with our hero, whose name, incidentally, was Lon es o m e Rhodes. AS YOU no doubt see, Kazan and Schulberg are once more flensing another aspect that looms large in our natural life and tearing away all the obstructions with the same cheery fervor that laid bare some though hardly all of the truth of dockside corruption
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.