\(Merry Bartlett Appears Exclusively in the Texas Observer SOME GOOD SIGNS gilt gnats Olistrurr Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art.JEFFERSON `But Christmas Isn’t for Two Years, at Least 5he Spoiling Signo “Don’t Let a Collision Spoil Your IIolidav,” the earnest visage of Governor Daniel was represented as remarking from one thousand billboards along the highways of the state during the annual Christmas season. Yes, \\ es, we checked ; no, the state didn’t pay. ‘Twas the Outdoor Advertising Assn. of Texas in. as said one of its officials, Ed St. John, its “biggest effort” \(whether for safety or Daniel, he did not say ; Consulting various state authorities, we learned that Official Austin, too, was curious. One question New Year is a time for resolutions, for bray e determinations against the gales of quixotic fortunes. For the Governor and the legislature we suggest this transcendent ideal: The University of Texas must not be permitted to become fourth-rate. Our sons and _taboo The private power lobby in Texas is the most successful of them all. Without a whimper or a whine from liberals or labor, public power has dropped out of public discussion as though it had been put on an index of unthinkable alternatives. As new darns go up in Texas, contracts are let for the exploitation of the resulting power potentialities for private profit. Texans, unlike the Americans of the Northwest, do not have a strong tradition of public power, so most of them hardly notice the oversight. We affirm now that for every considerable dam built in Texas, there ought to he a parallel development for cheap public electricity, and we would suggest that every public-spirited citizen take it upon himself to raise the question of public power every time the private power lobby abates its propaganda long enough for the wedging in of a word or two. Art proper We find manifestly improper the expenditure of the tax funds of the Northeast Texas Water District on mobile automobile telephone at a cost of more than $30 a month in the Lone Star Steel Co. car driven by Marvin Watson. We find highly dubious the expenditure of $300 of the water district’s money monthly to pay Watson, the president of the district, who is also a paid full-time public relations employee of Lone Star Steel. Finally we find at least doubtful the district’s sale of onefifth of all of its water and storage to Lone Star Steel in return for a trust agreement of a tricky kind from which all the district now realizes is $26,000 interest a year and JANUARY 2, 1959 Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on re was whether the billboard lobby will replace the tax-free manufacturers in the official favor. Then, when we asked Col. Homer Garrison, director of the Department of Public Safety, whether he had been a party to the bold new safety program, he said lightly, “No, no, if I had the Governor and I would have given them the message too -ether.” At any rate, the humor of the people will not be stifled in the collapse of their suspicions. The most pertinent variations on the ,slogan which have come to our attention : “Don’t Let Collusion Spoil Your Holiday,” or, “Don’t Let Price Daniel Spoil Your Holiday.” daughters are entitled to the very next best. Come what maynew sales taxes, rebukes from the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, even an unconstitutional natural gas tax we will have a third-rate state University. from which it apparently never will realize any income for construction. As for the tax-paying residents of the. seven. towns. in. the. water district, let them reflect on the single fact that if Lone Star Steel’s properties had been included as a part of the town of Lone Star, the tax rate per $100 for everybody in the water district would have been decreased about four-fifths. Strange are the ways of progress for Lone Star Steel Co. If this is an example of what’s going on in these water districts, the ,legislature should investigate them all. CenJorJhip We concur with Rev. Brandoch Lovely of Austin that the magazine vigilantes who shut 24 magazines, including Playboy, off some newsstands in Austin this week have committed an offense against each of us, against our rights to read what we please as long as it is being sold legally. As Lovely says, much of the material banned was trash, but the only proper way to ban it is through court action in which all arguments receive a fair and judicial hearing in the context of the heritage of a free press and the right to read. As long as any character who takes a fancy to pinning a badge on his mind can threaten newsstands with unfavorable publicity and thus have banned anything he doesn’t like, nothing, nobody, is safe from sudden private essentially fascist censorship, and we do not have a free marketplace of ideas. Playboy, for instance, can be said to be an argument for a way of looking at sex which has as much right to a hearing among those who wish to buy the magazine as do the editors of Reader’s Digest or the American Legion Magazine. But what can be done when the vigilantes mount? quest. Extra copies 10c each. Quantity prices available on orders. Entered as second-class matter, April 28, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. AUSTIN An optimistic thought or two upon the New Year. The Democratic sweep nationally has placed our senior senator in closer proximity to liberals, north and south, and if the shift does not qualify as a full rapprochement, it gives little comfort to Barry Goldwater and the ravenous rightists of the GOP. Furthermore, the changed national scene should soften the more savage aspects of conservative rule in Texas. Within the state, there are growing signs that men of responsibilityconservative and liberalare appraising the status of the state in somewhat more realistic terms. The regents of the University of Texas, who can hardly be characterized as a covey of do-gooders, trailing as they do their wreaths from Shivers and Daniel, were enough concerned for the future of the University to appoint a Committee of 75 to make a searching inquiry into its status. The 75, again a right-leaning body including the same Mr. Shivers, summarized its findings in one of the most challenging public documents to grace the province in years. Conservative prudence intruded here and there to dull the sharp edge of academic research but does not diminish materially the resolute facingup-to-facts appraisal that suffuses the 50-page document. The Committee of 75 demonstrated its respect for excellence, its ability to distinguish the pedestrian from the brilliant ; its report lays down with sober academic zeal what must be done to make the state university an institution of the “first class.” The University’s request for funds, made in full knowledge of the “crisis” as outlined in the report of 75, was pared leeringly by the Commission on Higher Education, but here again there was a certain facing of responsibility’, a sort of harbinger of a more enlightened era. The Commission on Higher Education, an almost wholly business dominated body, demonstrably responded to pressures more corporate than academic but also drew a line behind which it did not retreat. Painfully aware of the very real crisis surrounding the university faculty, the Commission carefully preserved the recommended pay raises but put them off a year and insisted on attempting to do something about the “critical needs” of the university’s library. That the Governor did not have the courage to stand by either the Commission or the regent’s committee dulls the picture, of course. His budget for 1960, denying faculty increases and slashing library appropriations, means that part of the state’s business community, untouched by educational matters, put still more pressure on the Governor to keep taxes low. Much of this pressure, one suspects, actually does not emanate from Texas business but from the Eastern giants who have long regarded Texas as a colony to be dealt with distantly through their hired local representatives, but Standard Oil of New Jersey to the contrary, there are some Texas buisnessmen ready to try to repair the ravaged schools. The legislature itself promises to be more responsive to the people than since the thirties. The House particularly will have a growing number of men concerned with the vacuum in the field of industrial safety, the oppressive migrant labor situation, the toolong delayed water-conservation program, and of course the schools. Turning from the Texas conservative mind circa 1959, there is the other side of the coin, the liberal movement itself. The DOT has not traded its liberalism for votes and augurs a continued policy of organizational integrity; it is a unique enterprise in Dixie and its survival, on its own terms, a massive portent. Texas labor, possessing excellence and integrity in its leadership, is a healthy force that has demonstrated its courage amid the most hysterical slanders ; there are many liberals here in the finest sense of the tradition. The rural Democrats, who almost by instinct through the years have fought without orgapization the sundry conservative hierarchies, county and state, noted the events of the San Antonio convention and reacted with an agrarian outrage, part of which. at least, will endure. And at random, just a few of the individuals a fragile and charming librarian in Burnet named Mrs. Edwin Sue Goree ; the unfragile Alaury Maverick ; the extremely unfrarile Bob Slagle ; earnest, articulate AK/alter Hall ; quiet, friendly Jake Sorrells, Jr. ; and then the Dallas friend who insists he is -a conservative but voted for Yarborough and Gonzalez and has entered Hubert Humphrey as his winter-book candidate for president. In such surroundings it is hard to regard the. New Year with foreboding. 1 ..G. ear o VOW
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