The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. TiroREAu ,fi t 6v Trurr .42;S> G’c, o ff ` hidepoident-/;’ -,C3 $, TEXAS, 0. A% 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. 10c per copy No. 38 Vol. 50 A Juperintendent Exults DAINGERFIELD, HUGHES SPRINGS, LONE STAR Strange doin’s in the Northeast Texas Water District have set some of the pine country folk in these parts to wondering. Marvin Watson, president of the water district at $300 a month and also a “full-time” public relations staff man for Lone Star Steel Co., has installed a private mobile unit telephone at the water district’s expense more than $30 a month in the 1955 Chrysler car he drives. The car belongs to the Lone Star Steel Co. Watson is regarded in this area as the right-hand man to E. B. Germany, president \\ of Lone Star Steel. In the company heirarchy he works under L.D. “Red” Webster, public relations director for Lone Star Steel. He is the district one man on the state Democratic executive committee. The water district, at Watson’s instance, paid more than $400 for a gift of a tea set to a federal Army engineer, a colonel, at the dedication of Ferrell’s Dam July 5, 1958, the Observer has learned. The colonel, William A. Lewis, was in charge of the New Orleans office of the Army Engineers. He was about to retire and has’ done so. Water district tax money has also been used to entertain the colonel and in one instance to pay motel costs for two of the federal engineers. . The water district is supported by a $1.65 tax rate per $100 property valuation in just seven towns ringing the Ferrell’s Dam reservoir, the largest body of impounded water in Texas, which backs up conveniently to the dam and lake adjacent to. Lone Star Steel Co. AUSTIN The chief research arm of the legislature, the Texas Legislative Co unci 1, advocates a small loan licensing law which would skip over the vital interest-rate question until the people approve or reject the abolition of the ten percent interest rate in the Constitution. The council recommended a controversial traffic safety-toughening program including arrest of citizens by highway patrolmen without a warrant; the use of drunkometer tests in court prosecutions; revocation of drivers’ licenses of “frequent violators” of traffic laws or drivers who fail to show up in court on a traffic ticket; authority for the Department of Public Safety to require attendance at a ten-hour driving school; the addition of $1 to every traffic fine except overtime park ing to encourage courts’ reporting of offenses to the DPS; and the The 19,000 residents of the seven towns have an assessed valuation of $11 million, roughly a third of actual values. One of the towns is Lone Star, home of the Lone Star Steel Co., but the company’s extensive properties are not included as part of the town. This means that Lone Star Steel’s $150 million operation, or, for tax valuation purposes, $50 million; pays no taxes to the water district. Were the company properties included, the tax rate, instead of $1.65 per $100, would be about 33 cents per $100. Lone Star Steel Co. already has a pre-emptive right to 80,000 acrefeet of water from the Ellison reservoir adjacent to its properties. In addition, the firm has already bought one-fifth of all the water district’s water. The water district issued $500,000 more bonds than it needed money for construction; Lone Star bought the bonds; held now in trust by Republic Bank, they are scheduled for cancellation as soon as the district can pay off its debts on almost $2’million more in bonds it also issued. Meantime the interest on them is used for the operating costs of the water district. The district has issued $2.45 million in bonds to date, but Watson says only $1.9 million was needed for construction. Republic Bank got the $500,000 from Lone Star and holds the extra half million worth of bonds. “We don’t owe $2.45 million, we owe $1.95 million,” Watson said. Then why hadn’t the district issued bonds for only $1.95 million? “We had to have the income to operate the district,” he said. Privately a water district official said the operating income might have been reduced by application for federal forbearance on some debts. charge and trial of juveniles 14 or over under regular courts, not the juvenile courts, for traffic violations. Council reports on several other issues are summarized later in this story. Small loans, says the council’s report, are a legitimate economic activity but are the most expensive loans to make because of the paperwork for small return, so that only the largest lending institutions can make small loans “at reasonable rates,” forcing most small borrowers to turn to “highraters” whose abuses include “overcharging, pyramiding of loans, and harassment of borrowers.” The council recommends a constitutional amendment giving the legislature authority to set small loan interest rates and abolishing the ten percent constitutional interest limit as soon as the legislature does so. For the 1959 legislature, the BURNET A s c h o o 1 superintendent who is taking an active part in the public school projects of the busines s-financed Texas Bureau of Economic Understanding \(Obs. Nov. continue our socialistic movements, we’ll just become more like Russia. The people are afraid of strong centralized power and government in competition with business.” In an interview with the Observer, J. C. Petty, Burnet County school superintendent, explained that the Observer “misunderstood our economics studies program” and added, “It is not political.” Petty, a slight, deferential man of about 45, said the program, sponsored by the TBEU, a Dallas business group, and the Texas Educational Association, a Fort Worth business group, is a “study of America’s heritage” and that his teachers and their students have participated in the program for four years. “We’re trying to raise a generation of students who will assume , their own responsibilitids and not look to the government for support, not feel that the government owes them a living,” he explained. “America is moving toward stronger centralized control, more federal support than 50 years ago I’m not objecting to thatbut we don’t want any more. The businessmen in town tell me they cannot operate a day without violating hundreds of government regulations.” The Observer interviewed Petty after learning of a “Faculty Bulletin” the Burnet Superintendent published in response to the Observer’s critical editorial appraisal of the address made before 300 Hill Country teachers by Dr. Kenneth Wells. Petty’s faculty bulletin declared: “The first attack on our program came after Dr. Wells talk. The Texas Observer, an Austin paper, declared that ‘It is only after a while, after 15 or 20 minutes of his oratory, that it becomes apparent that Dr. Wells is a shrewd rabble-rouser seeking to infiltrate the public schools with ideas curiously like the propaganda once parceled out by the followers of Father Coughlin and Gerald L. K. Smith.’ Also, another quote. ‘We demand to know whether the Texas Education Agency is formally or informally sponsoring the dissemination of right-wing slush into public schools through the so called “Texas Bureau of Economic Understanding.” This propagandistic outfit is pouring anti-social drivel and eyen anti-Negro and antiSemitic hate-mongering into mass meetings of teachers under the guise of official state approval …’ Therefore \(continues Supt. Petty’s cialists, Anti-Communist Program has stepped on some toes. It only goes to prove that we are making headway on the Freedom Movement and attracting enough attention to stir up opposition of jealous parties …. I can’t see how a true American can object Private Ownership of Property, Defends Program On Freedom Protector, not a Provider. Please let every Burnet teacher redouble his efforts in teaching American Heritage in every class and grade throughout the system.” `Misunderstood’ The Observer asked Petty -if by first .quoting the criticism of antiNegro, anti-Semitic remarks and then asking the teachers to redouble their efforts, he meant to endorse such remarks. Smiling, Petty said, “No, no, I don’t see how you can twist that into there. We’re an integrated school here, been integrated for over a year. I talked to Harvey Bellew \(the Lampasas superinyou people just misunderstood Dr. Wellswhat did you think of those things Dr. Wells told us about his trip to Russia?” Petty asked quickly. \(The reporter said he agreed that Dr. Wells had some shocking things to say about Russia, but he didn’t quite understand what relationship they had with slum clearance or social security in the United States; that for a talk on “America’s Heritage,” the speaker had somehow failed to say anything about Thomas Jefferson or any other people just misunderstood him,” said Petty. “I didn’t think Dr. Wells’s talk was political. We’re studying American heritage, not AUSTIN University of Texas and Texas A&M officials braved direct and indirect criticism of the Governor of the state while the National Education Association was fur t her down-rating the state’s public school system. Governor Daniel dealt U.T. and A&M what their officials regarded as solar plexus blows in his budget recommendations \(see Here j,s what has now happened: Dr. Logan Wilson, president of the University of Texas, said Daniel’s recommendations, if enacted, “would not only halt further progress, but would also cause a serious setback … that could turn a crisis into disaster.” Daniel’s budget director, Jess Irwin, in denying the budget represents a ‘serious slash In higher education, said the recommendations did not apply available funds of the University which are left to the discretion of the school. J. R. Sorrell, chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents, said the Governor’s recommendations “come as quite a blow to the Board of Regents and other interested Texas citizens who have been trying to build a University in keeping with the real needs and opportunities of our state.” Dr. M. T. Harrington, president of Texas A&M College, said anything political. I just don’t get the connection. I don’t guess I know politics well enough to get specific points like that.” Asked to comment on Wells’s prediction that “Russia is warming us up for the kill but not until we are softened up by leftwing commentators, left-wing editorial writers, left-wing teachers, and left-wing union leaders,” Petty said he thought Dr. Wells was right, “but I guess it all depends on how you define leftwing.” Petty said the study program was “not interested in the left-wing, the right-wing, or the middle-wing.” `Too Detailed’ He said he thought the Observer had also misunderstood the Texas Bureau of Economic Understanding. “They’re helping a study of American heritage,” Petty said, “not anything political.” Petty said the management-labor-agriculture education panel teams sponsored by the University of tailed, over the heads of ignorant fellows like me,” but that the programs of the Dallas and Fort Worth business groups were “good programs.” Petty said that he thought “what is important is the strong centralized power in the federal government that is leading us to socialism.” He said a guide to what would be socialism would be “any assistance received from the federal government that you in Tyler “we cannot continue to hold our heads in the sand, trying to buy first rate education for our youngsters at cut-rate prices.” At Lufkin, , Dr. Ralph Steen, president of Stephen F . Austin State College, said the public has been “treating as old wives’ tales” stories of “low teachers’ salaries, crowded classrooms, inferior libraries, and laboratories and easy academic standards,” called on the state to climb out of the “lower half” of the national education effort. Asked by the Observer about the Governor’s cuts in the Commission’ r e c o m mendations for the University of Texas, Dr. Ralph Green, executive secretary of the Higher Education Commission, said, “We feel that the funds we recommended are the minimum. The need is not only strong but critical in faculty salaries, and the libraries are a sadly neglected area.” The latest National Education Association report released in Washington reported El Paso’s Herald-PoSt, said Texas ranked 43rd among the states in average salaries for high school teachers, 42nd in salaries for teachers in all grades, and 33rd in expenditures, $308 per pupil compared to $390 for New Mexico. Next to North Dakota, more teachers on the average are leaving the profession in Texas to enter other types of employment than in any other
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