INSURANCE RATING STORM GROWS Teachers Told By Association: Get in Politics In the midst of a campaign for higher teachers’ pay, Texas State Teachers’ Assn. executive Charles Tennyson \(in January’s out qualification for teachers in politics. “They have a right to vote in all elections, to present their views on all matters of public concern, both in their home communities and before the legislature,” Tennyson wrote. V The honorary committee to abolish the poll tax as a re quirement for voting \(Obs. Dec. clude Reps. Bill Kilgarlin, Charles Whitfield, Jr., Bob Eckhardt, Roger Daily, Clyde Miller, and Dean Johnston of Houston; Mrs. Ellana Ball and Billy Goldberg, state Democratic committee mem bers from Harris County; Dr. Hec tor Garcia of Corpus Christi, founder of the American GI Forum, and other leaders of the Forum. Dr. Garcia, stating that 35,000 Mexican-Americans “live in slums,” argued in a statement Political Intelligence to the Observer that “Because of the economic discrimination against our people, the poll tax hits us especially hard.” V Texas Manufacturers’ Assn. lobbyist Ed C. Burris is agitated in the current “Texas Industry” house organ of TMA because “with a few exceptions, there is little evidence” of businessmen active in politics. He said that in 1959, 68 members of the Texas House of Representatives “voted against a good business climate 60 percent and more of the time. vIr T.M.A.’s annual conference Jan. 14-15 in Dallaswill attract, as speakers, Cong. Phillip Daniel, Texas Education Cmsr. J. W. Edgar, Hwy. Engr. Dewitt Greer, state welfare director John Winters, and Texas Congressmen Bruce Alger, Joe Kilgore, Jim Wright, and Frank Ikard. goif Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey is named as correspondent for a new bank in an application for the bank’s charter. If granted, the bank will replace the First State Bank of Tenaha, whiCh closed Dec. 3 after a shortage of $340,000 was discovered. IFormer Speaker of the House 0. D. Reed was named to the Texas Game and Fish Commission and as lobbyist for Texas railroads in. Washington in the same week. He told Austin Report that he will have time for the state job because he will be in Austin a lot anyway. V An article in the January American Mercury charges that Southern Methodist University is the principal base of radical operations in Dallas. Author Harold L. Varney \(writing in the magazine which has shown marked anti-Semitic tendencies SMU radicalism is not easily identified as communism or socialism but is mealymouthed radicalism which professes anti-communism but tolerates communism. Sen. Yarborough gave a nine-volume set of the works of Lincoln to the Austin library, as he had done before for the El Paso library . . . Joe Bailey Humphreys in Dallas accuses GOP poll tax salesmen of failing to identify themselves as Republicans .. . San Antonio Light defends Charles Lieck, the district attorney, in his small loan industry interests, which the Light called “free enterprise.” V Houston Chronicle, thinking over Rockefeller’s withdraw AUSTIN Thursday four men the three insurance board members and Cmsr. Bill Harrison can expect to hear enough abuse to last them the year, whether the legislature meets or not; and they will have defenders. Already, preparatory to the board’s re-hearing on the “safe driving insurance plan” administratively instituted Jan. 1, four senators have attacked, and one has defended, the new plan; representatives have shuddered under public reaction; the leading farm and labor organizations, ‘as well as an insurance organization which sees in the dispute a wedge for its program for company-bycompany ratemaking, have slammed into the fight against the plan; several daily newspapers have sided with the critics. In short, the plan has caused the loudest outcry since the legislators dispersed upon the completion of their taxing labors last summer. In an interview with a Houston Post reporter this week, Insurance Board members further defended their program. Said member Joe Gibbs: there are few “unavoidable accidents,” and 85 percent of traffic accidents are the result of traffic infractions. Chairman Penn Jackson of the board said of the program, “Maybe this could be compared to vaccination. If the plan makes people more conscious of safety and prevents accidents, it would be like vaccination, which will prevent your getting smallpox.” The only Senate defender of the plan so far in the public disputations is William Fly, the Victoria arch-conservative. He said he had no confidence in the chairman and commissioner of the insurance department, but their plan was good. Any inequities can be worked out “in a reasonable length of time,” and the board can go on controlling “the amount of profit” the companies make, he said. Sen. David Ratliff, Stamford, said charging all a family’s tickets against the insurance rate on the family car “makes the odds too great against the policyholders,” opposed including moving traffic violations, and said the legislature did not ask for this plan. The Department o f Public Safety becomes “a mere agent for the casualty insurance companies,” Sen. Henry Gonzalez, San Antonio, said. “If that is so, the officer should get an agent’s commission.” He said the board waited until the legislature was gone before acting. “What the board is really doing is legislating,” he said. al from the GOP presidential picture, said he had bowed gracefully to the inevitable in “a laudable announcement.” Dallas TimesHerald said non-committally that since the GOP is still conservative Nixon is its logical candidate, and that Nixon is now “on the spot.” vir The Dallas News indicated its concern for closing up federal tax loopholes. It advocated that the exemption of the first $50 dividends from the income tax be extended to “all dividends” because taxing dividends is “double taxation.” vor The Houston Press, in a two page editorial layout, proposed its ten-year platform for the 1960’s including a Padre Island ‘seashore area, better highways, more spending on the state’s parks, state financial support for the University of Houston, “a fair trial of the merit-rating insurance program,” and no state sales or income tax and no state fair-trade law. Gonzalez will ask Gov. Daniel to call a special session on the merit-rating plan. He said he has received more public reaction against the plan in a short time than on any other subject, including integration. Sen. Jarrard Secrest, Temple, was the Senate sponsor of the plan supported by the National Assn. of Independent Insurers to let each insurance company set its own rate. He favors letting each firm work out its own merit rating system. He called the board’s plan “unfair and unworkable.” Vestal Lemmon, the general manager of the association backing Secrest’s bill, called the board plan a “monstrosity” designed by “high cost” companies and “foisted” on the board. He said the plan is evidence of what happens “under a monopolistic rating law.” He said the plan is evidence of what happens “under a monopolistic rating law.” He wants the flexible rating plan, as do his companies. Jerry Holleman, president of Texas AFL-CIO, said the plan should be abandoned and an alternative one adopted “adjusted to the safety of individual drivers.” He said the plan should consider how much a driver drives. He believed that any honest error by a driver, in reporting details as to what happened to other parties in an accident \(“Did they be used by insurance companies as excuses for not paying just claims. He warned the courts will be clogged; people who need insurance will drop it. He sided with Secrest and Lemmon on behalf of letting each company devise its own merit plan for safe drivers. The dominant farmers’ organization, the Texas Farm Bureau, which is even more influential with the rurally-dominated legislature than labor, also sounded out J. M. West, president of the state bureau, in a letter to the initial critic of the plan, Sen. Grady Hazlewood, Amarillo, condemned assessing drivers higher premiums for “past minor offenses for which they have already paid.” Rep. Charles Whitfield, Houston, said that he would defend the plan “to the end.” He blamed * A prominent San Augustine, Texas, white man, Hugh Sparks, 37, was charged with murdering a 15-year-old Negro girl after midnight Jan. 1 by running her down with his automobile. Tests were made to find if she had been raped, but the results were not disclosed. “The people here are sorry it happened. It is very bad,” said Sheriff Elbert Nichols. *Five Port Arthur Negroes and two Hardin County white men were charged with “fire-hunting,” hunting at night with a light. They had headlights on their caps when arrested. They said they were hunting rabbits. The Kountze News observed, “The oldtime method of fire-hunting was to use a pan containing fire held high so that it would reflect in the animal’s eyes.” *Studies of 1957 income tax returns showed 13 Texans banked $1 million that year. This compared with Pennsylvania’s 17, California’s 16, Michigan’s 14, Ililinois’s 13. *A British reporter, for the London Express, was told by John Wayne at Brackettville, Texas, that Wayne is using 4,000 Mexican extras but was discouraged from filming his “Alamo” in Mexico by the Mexican President because the Alamo story is not Chicago and New York insurance circles for the opposition. Visiting in Austin, he told the Observer he is considering an appeals division in the insurance department for drivers who believe they have been dealt with unjustly. In Dallas three House members were hostile to the plan. Rep. Ben Atwell asked that minor violations and the three-year retroactive feature \(starting the program with Bill Jones said Dallas drivers will be penalized because Dallas police faithfully report all their accidents while some other towns do not. Rep. Bob Hughes does not like penalizing the husband for tickets a wife gets, or vice versa. Rep. Ben Lewis said he has been getting heavy mail and calls of protest. ‘Poor Old Harry In three editorials, the StarTelegram of Fort Worth said that there are indications the plan “can not survive” in its present form. “The public has rebelled,” especially against using moving traffic violations, which will result in “double jeopardy.” “Motorists were not on notice as to what the pocketbook consequences” of paying minor fines would be, the paper also said, arguing that penalties for moving violations should be abolished and then p e r ha p s introduced gradually. Again, the S-T argued, the system purports to base rates on individual driving records but does not do so and cannot be upheld as fair. The paper pointed out that Negroes, military men, and some older drivers have to pay higher rates under assigned risk plans because of the class they fall into, but then are not eligible for the rate discount, even though their driving records may be perfect. The paper noted that the California plan, on which the board’s plan is based, uses a two, not a three-year period; gives drivers two points before starting their rate increases; and sets $50, not $25, as the damages level above which accidents count against drivers. A personally displeased editorial writer in the Abilene ReporterNews called the plan “down.right silly.” He had passed a slow popular there. Wayne also said that he had needed 1,500 horses for the movie, but with so many Western TV shows now, he could not rent any in Hollywood and “had to comb seven states to find ours.” * Tlie Dallas school district would like to start television education of public school stu dents, probably in forekgn lan guages, American history, and adult courses in homemaking and home budgeting, as of June, 1960, School Supt. W. T. White said. The Way of Life Meanwhile, the Joint Council on Educational Television reported that denial of a pending educational TV channel application for Corpus Christi would be tantamount to a ruling that the educational channel there will be used for a commercial station. Of 45 educational TV stations on the air, reported J.C.E.T., only oneKUHT in Houstonis in Texas; but two of the eight stations under construction in the U.S. are and advanced planning is proceeding for another one in San Antonio. poke in a school zone, was ticketed although he had not been violating the speed law, and now loses his discount on this account on a policy “already so high we can’t see over the top of itsome $160 per annum.” The program, said the driving editorial writer,’ is “a trap, a deadfall, a deadly blow.” The San Antonio News speculated that “poor old Harry” might swerve to avoid killing a cat \(“There are more than 75,000 cats in town and at any given moment there are probably 1,000 crossing some street to see what’s on the center stripe he loses $60 over a three-year period. “If he’d just gone ahead and run over poor old Kitty,” the writer mused … The Dallas News and the StarTelegram both agreed that drivers should be merit-rated on their insurance premiums. The StarTelegram thought the plan should be personally fair, however. The News said moving traffic violations have “no bearing” on the business of the insurance department, their inclusion in rate-making amounts to “double jeopardy,” and the plan, by being retroactive, “mulcts in the cost hurrying folk who would rather pay ‘the small fine than take time to fight a minor case in court.” Judges Concerned One burgeoning concern of judges and police officers: the substantial likelihood that more drivers will contest their guilt of driving infractions. In San Antonio’s corporation court, the first hour of the New Year 27 people fought traffic convictions \(19 were fined, two were cleared, six cases
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