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Houston’s Wesley West in California A ONE-TRACK NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION AUSTIN Dear Editor: There being a freedom of the press for associate editors too, I pause to set down some random New Year’s resolutions, a sort of memo to R.D. to run for the hills to avoid the avalanche of the onetrack mind. So I have written. ten words on education for every three words on everything else; so put it down to prejudice and prepare for more. I have the founding fathers on my side and if that is too chauvinistic, then with heavy-footed bluntness I enlist the support of all of Western civilization too. Convinced that education remains the number one governmental challenge in Texas, a sort of cornerstone of reform on which all other e n 1 i g h t enment can be erected, so to resolve: To follow the Hale-Aikin recommendations through every committee, s u b committee and cloakroom session of the legislature in an effort to learn just how tax-conscious lobbies manage to undermine the potentialities of our land and its citizens, all the while getting a sympathetic press. To chronicle the long parade of educators headed by University of Texas president Dr. Logan. Wilson, the Commission on Higher Education, and the so-far exiled Committee of 75, with the intent not only of observing their pleas for reason and mercy before the legislative-corporate team that runs our state, but also how a parliamentary body mincingly sidesteps its responsibilities, all the while retaining its self-respect. To follow the Klan-like activities of the “Texas Bureau of Economic Understanding” \(as modified by the surface manifestation of a business suit supplantan effort to discover how many well-meaning, naive rural school superintendents and fundamentalist preachers it can enclose in its sumptuous corporate cloak. AUSTIN Rural liberal Democrats have been laying plans for their part in the 1960 party fight outside the Democrats of Texas organization’s effort. At a meeting in Dallas recently to which reporters were not invited, a group of such Democrats drew up plans on an area-by-area basis for their effort, which is conceived of as a supplement to DOT’s work. Waco district attorney Tom Moore and Corsicana Dist. Judge Jim Sewell, both loyalists who have been DOT leaders, were present, as was Sen. Yarborough. A story appeared in the Dallas Times-Herald saying Yarborough “turned down a plea by Texas liberals” that he lead a fight to keep Sen. Johnson from controlling the 1960 delegation to the Democrats’ national convention. The story represented Yarborough saying he will continue his fight for principles and will side with those who share his views but will not carry on a personal vendetta against Johnson; defending Johnson, saying his differences with Johnson were far less on U.S. Senate matters than on political infighting in the Texas party. Asked for comment on the Times-Herald story, Yarborough told the Observer, “no comment.” AUSTIN Bruce F. Allen, California legislative assemblyman who presided over an inquiry into a dispute over California tidelands rights at Buena Park, Cal., Oct. 1, has sent the Observer a . hefty transcript of the testimony which indicates the legislative probers were “fishing” when they asked Houston oilman Wesley West about the gifts his and Lyndon Johnson’s family have exchangd. The testimony involved an alleged effort by West to get Johnson’s Washington office to interest the executive branch of the government in assigning Aaron Shal Cheerfully to eat crow and pledge temporary fealty to the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey et at if the business community decides to relent a little and spend less money for economic propaganda in the schools and more money on the school systems themselves. Number four may strike you as self-delusion, but so many states with Republican controlled state senates have faced their responsibilities in public education that I have hope, though only yesterday a lobbyist said that the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association “couldn’t care less” about the Hale-Aikin school reforms. Preoccupation with the Yankee dollar notwithstanding, our schools have not yet fallen to the status revealed by the secretary of the Soviet writer’s union who attacked Pasternak with the statement, “We simply cannot tolerate anybody who questions everything.” Even without TIPRO around their necks, the Russians have a few obstacles of their own blocking school improvements. For 1959 let Joseph Addison be invoked: “I consider a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties till the skill of the polisher fetches out the colours, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot and vein that runs through the body of it.” Happy New Schools. L.G. It is the Observer’s firm understanding that when one of the persons present at the meeting raised the question of supporting or opposing Johnson for president, Yarborough said he did not want to discuss that subject but that he wanted to discuss organizing Democrats. He said, in addition, that he is neutral in the presidental competitions among Democrats. The direct remarks attributed to him by the Times-Herald are believed accurate. While declining to discuss the Times-Herald story itself, Yarborough said to the Observer: “As I have stated before, I am neutral in the matter of the presidential nomination. At least six of my Democratic colleagues are either active candidates for the presidential nomination, or their friends are pushing them. I have been asked by some Texans to support Senator Johnson for the nomination. I have been asked by other Texans to support Senator Kennedy; by other Texans, Senator Symington; by other Texans, Senator Hubart Humphrey; and Albert Gore and Estes Kefauver have their backers in Texas. I am working with all of these men in the Senate, and I do not think my work in the Senate would be aided by my being for any one of them.” owitz, a federal map expert with the Coast and Geodetic Survey, to develop a position on the Orange County, California, tidelands favorable to West’s financial interests in a pending lawsuit. West said he never discussed the matter with Johnson himself. WEST ADMITTED he had ” bought a mortgage on the home of Joel Ogle, the county counsel of Orange County, as a favor to Ogle, at an interest rate setback to West, on the note he bought and the note he signed with Ogle, of two or two and a half percent. West also admitted he sent Ogle a Weatherby rifle worth $700 or $800 for Christmas, 1957, and a Patek Phillipe watch worth $600 or $700, “because I like him.” West said Ogle cooperated with him after looking after the interests of the county. Assemblyman Burton asked West about the mortgage on Ogle’s house: “Did it occur to you that in view of your dealings with the county of Orange, and in view of Mr. Ogle’s capacity as county counsel, that making available funds to him that would enable him to get a ,$2500 discount might subject you or Mr. Ogle, or perhaps both of you, to some criticism?” West replied, “I think my attorney advised me that it might be so interpreted, yes, sir. I also told him that I didn’t particularly give a damn; that I was interested in helping the man.” “Did you have any intention to influence Mr. Ogle’s judgment in his official capacity as county counsel in giving him these presents?” Burton pressed. “Well, not at all, except that I thought possibly the Golden Rule wouldn’t hurt anybody. And if they could learn to live by it, it would be a pretty good deal,” West replied. \(The Golden Rule was inscribed West also said Ogle gave him a “wonderful little Zenith radio, the transitor type,” the value of which was not asked. He said he gave Cap Tamura, an employee in LOLITA, Vladimir Nabokov, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 319 pp., $5. AUSTIN Humbert Humbert says “sex” is not his interest at all in setting down his memoir before he is sentenced for seducing an innocent and murder; rather, jurors, he is engaged in a greater endeavor, “to fix once for all the peril , ous magic of nymphets,” little girls aged 9 to 14. What is your judgment, response, idea, feeling? Are you, too, \(as surely all your fellows on. the jury are, and the judge, the jailers, and the into the deepest darkest devices of your hardly known self, their overtly i n n o c en t, mystically wicked appeals? Well, you probably must read Lolita to know, and then you may not know. I am disposed toward an extremely direct interpretation of the Russian. Nabokov’s somber masterpiece. True, he sports with American materialism and ad-mess, with the sovereignty of the inane in the United States; he takes the startling knowingness of his nymphet necromantic \(“Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. “the campfire racket a n d so forth”; by a wrenching stretch of the material into the allegory, one county counsel Ogle’s office, a cigarette lighter which cost between $150 and $250. “Have you made any other gifts to any employees or public officials of the state of California?” came the question. “No, sir, I don’t believe so …. Well, now, wait a minute, I may have, too. I gave Mr. Forgy a watch and he is, probably, emplayed by the county now in connection with this suit. And I gave his son one. And I think his son works for them.” CHALOWITZ was assigned the 0 task of making a report on the Orange County tidelands “at the request of somebody in Senator Johnson’s office,” the questioners and West agreed. West said that a lawyer he employs talked to somebody i n Johnson’s office about this. What did West think Johnson’s office did about this request? “… it is just a matter of getting an introduction,” West replied. “There are some places in Washington, I understand, where in order to see public records, if they have been stored in the archives, you have to have some sort of a pass or introduction before you are permitted to get in.” What, West asked, had this questioning to do with the Orange County tidelands litigation in which he was involved? Allen replied, “If the federal government has assigned a federal officer to do some work on this subject in assistance of your side of the litigation, we want to know about it.” West rejoined that he thought they might be trying to try the lawusit before the committee. Assemblyman Weinberger said in. reply, “Mr.. Chairman, after the testimony we have \(heard from this gentleman today, I am not prepared to sit here and listen to any criticism of you from him.” Weinberger then asked West “whether or not you had any gifts given to Senator Johnson.” “Senator Johnson’s and my family, and I and his family, have always exchanged gifts for the last 20 years,” West said. may say this is the Old World debauching the New. But I find it implausible that Nabokov, who one place has Humbert Humbert confess to a Dostoevskian fit of some kind, means much more than Humbert Humbert implores: Try to understand, man, virtue is for babes in arms and death beds, righteousness for innocents and hypocrites. Recall, Dostoevskians, when the character in one of the great Russian’s novels took himself, too, to a nymphet, and then, suspecting she was hanging herself in the bathroom, did not go to see. There are thosethose given to literary talk, true, but,.it is said, with some documentation there are those who say that Fyodor cast himself into the presence of the hated Turgenev and confessed a similar deed in the still bizarre Russian tradition of the public confession. Who is to say? Even Time Magazine has suggested that Nabokov may not be a perfect personal stranger to the identity of Humbert Humbert: he seems so precisely apprised of that anguished nymphetmaniac’s fantasies! Nabokov assures us, however: he picked up’ all that lore about the Great American Road during a trip West with his wife to collect butterfly specimens. So, he says, there are some episodes in his book … some proscribed lusts. “But after all we arc There followed this exchange: Weinberger: “What were the values of the gifts you gave?” West: “God knows what the value of them was.” Weinberger: “Well, Were they watches? Watches with this touching allusion to the Golden Rule on them?” West: “I am certain that he has one of them, but I will say this to you now. In the face of your line of questioning at this moment, I don’t think I will answer any more questions.” Weinberger: “Well, that is a very safe retort after all you have told us so far.” Burton said he did not see that there was any, relevance in the questioning to the issues before the committee. West repeated, “There were no gifts that affect the tidelands, let me make that clear to you.” Weinberger argued “we have to be the judge of what is relevant.” “There have been no gifts made to Senator Johnson or any members of his office or staff for the purpose of getting favors from his office with, respect to this or anything else,” West said. “Well, the purpose of a gift is something that someone else has to go into,” Weinberger said. “No,” said West. “Senator Johnson has no interest in the tidelands or the American Marine, either directly or indirectly,” West said. \(American has never had, no member of his family has ever had, and I don’t expect them ever to have.” Weinberger asked if West is still giving Johnson gifts. “No,” West said. “I will always give, him gifts if I want to give them to him, sir. They do not perthin to this committee and I do not intend to be browbeaten about my friends.” THE QUESTIONING about the gifts to Johnson was not carried any further. not illiterate juvenile delinquents,