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me, and we all shook hands. Will apologized for the light in our faces; he had the lamp on his hat. He spoke in a soft friendly voice and seemed well spoken. He was a big man. We climbed into his boata long, flat-bottomed square prowed cypress craftand pushed out into the stream. Will shined his light from bank to bank, picking up the familiar landmarks. The channel was invisible itself, we were aware of it by the forests on each side. We droned on into another slough, which we followed for thirty minutes, then turned abruptly into the swamp itself. The entrance to the cut was jammed by flood-borne driftwood, but Will revved up the motor and the boat slid over. Now the channel narrowed to just a few feetat times we were brushed by branches and moss but Will picked his way with the sureness of a thousand journeys, and we progressed farther and farther back into the woods. Only the stars and the beam from Will’s lamp reflected from the white trunks broke the darkness. After an hour we emerged into a long lake. We passed through three more until we reached the largest one where we were to shoot. The first light of dawn touched the sky when we finished setting out. The ducks came in in singles, pairs, flights. We had beautiful ac tion for more than an hour. There was a keen pleasure in hitting a black at an extreme range and hearing the professional say someone is doin’ some good shootin’. Don and I hit a pair clean on another long passing shot one-two and Don jumped up and down in the boat in pleasure. It is a good thing to see a grown man jump up and down in pleasure. The trees formed fantastic gold reflections in the mirror of the swamp. We shot until we passed into the bright morning, and then sat and talked to each other. We passed the bottle of brandy around and told stories of past seasons. Then we picked up the decoys and lapsed into silence thinking our own thoughts and looking at the greatness and wonder of the swamp. It’s hard to describe passing through a forest which lies under water, laced with river-like passages where the flood flows fastest and the trappers and hunters travelthe forest was flooded now and the water flowed in a swift brown torrent through the sloughsyet the surface of the swamp seemed absolutely flat. No trace of wind, no hills, no relief from the sameness and infinitude of the swamp except for the changing perspectives and the spaces of the passages. When we arrived at our jump ing off point, having seen no one else for six hours in the forest, the Bayou seemed like civilization. JOHN W. HILL Over $133 Million Insurance IA Force Oil Joie/4\(44/04 cr INSURANCE COMPANY P. 0. Box 8098 Houston, Texas HAROLD E. RILEY Vice-President and Director of Agencies “BOW” WILLIAMS Automobile and General Insurance Budget Payment Plan Strong Stock Companies GReenwood 2-0545 624 LAMAR, AUSTIN Let’s Abolish the Poll Tax! The Forest Was Flooded Now HOUSTON The lofty moguls of the Scripps Howard newspaper chain have sent out a directive to the effect that every newsman and columnist working for the organization must sign an affidavit that he is not guilty of participating in the game currently known as payola. Since the press generally has taken a holier than thou attitude toward TV and radio in playing up the payola game, chances are that similar affidavits will be presented to newsmen and columnists on other newspapers. So there is anguish in the land. The newsmen and columnists are, in some instances, sweating it out. A few are doing more than that. They’re hustling around to the payola source, trying to work out an “understanding” about those checks that might be difficult to explain. All of which is, in my opinion, unfair. Press payola is as old as the press. And it begins at the top. The minute a publisher sends a “Business Office Must” into a newsroom, he relieves every working newspaperman on the sheet from any obligation to be objective and honest. For the publisher is indulging in payola of the sorriest kind. The B.O.M. is a degrading thing in a newspaper. In the early days of my newspaper career we had a different name for it. We called it a knee-pad. The B.O.M. is a story that is not worth running but which any publisher who ever sends a B.O.M. into the newsroom has no right to bitch about an underpaid reporter taking the little payola that comes his way. The truth is that payola is a basic part of our entire way of life, which is not surprising, considering the fetish we make of sellingof forcing people to buy things they do not want or need. We have made a commodity out of good will, now we scream to high heaven when we see it sold over the counter. Texas Ranks low In Voting Level AUSTIN Texas ranked forty-second just six states from the worst record in the countryin the percentage of civilians of voting age who cast ballots in the 1956 presidential election. Idaho led the states with 77.3 percent. Mississippi was last with 22.1 percent. Texas was 42nd with 38.1 percent. The national average was 60.4 percentthree out of five voting age civilian Americans voted. According to the 1960 Information Please Almanac, the five states with the poll tax ranked this way: Arkansas 41st among the states, 39.9 percent; Texas; Virginia 44th, 34.2 percent; Alabama 46th, 28.5 percent; Mississippi. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 January 15, 1960 There is fee-splitting among doctors. The minister prays hardest for the parishioners who give most. The legislator votes along lines dictated by those who financed his campaign. To single out the disk jockeys or working newspapermen is unfair and a bit silly. On newspapers the best opportunities for payola are in my field promotions such as wrestling, boxing, horse shows \(always for charcolumns, since many eager junior executives of big corporations employ publicity agents who are happy to indulge in payola to get the young genius mentioned. DOWN THROUGH the years I have steadfastly refused to be bought. I’ve stood and watched other newspapermen rake it in. I’m no holier than thou, but I bitterly resented the idea that some two-bit jerk could buy me for peanuts. Hart Stilwell But have I avoided participating in the payola game? I have not. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do so, if you place a strict definition on the term payola. An airline invites me on a trip to some fIshing hotspot way down in Mexico, all expenses paid. I have an understanding before I accept the invitation that there is no obligation on me. I will write only what seems worth writing. That’s fineeverybody is in agreement. It isn’t fine at all. I try hard to repay the airlineand the hotel operator and boat owners, etc. by giving that fishing spot some space in print. So I’m guilty of payola. And who isn’t, if you want to stretch the point fine enough? Sure, I turn down offers of swanky boats and motorsoffers made on condition that I take photos of the rig and get them in print. I have never taken a dime cash in my life from the “outside” for anything I wrote. I won’t even write a commercial, an advertisement, no matter how much I might be offered. Yet when I permit myself to be entertained as a deadhead guest of people trying to promote a fishing spot, then write about it, I’m no different from the reporter who takes $50 a week to promote wrestling. THERE ARE TWO WAYS to re duce press payola to an absolute minimum. The first is to forever abolish that shameful B.O.M. No advertiser should ever be given news space when the story does not justify such space. The other thing necessary is to pay newspapermen a living wage. The average wage for working newspapermen in Texas now is around $100 a week, maybe a shade less. The newspaperman is required by the code to live in the style of suburbia. He can’t possibly do it on $100 a week. So his wife works. Or he does outside work, holding down two jobs. Or he takes payola. Pay newspapermen what they’re worth, $8,000 to $10,000 a year, and you’d notice the difference in no time. LAFAYETTE, Ind. This morning at three o’clock I left with two friends on a hunt. It was cold and dark, but there were stars and there was warmth and good food at the roadside joint we -stopped at. We were to hunt with Will Stanton, a trapper and fisherman who lives on Bayou Sorrell. When we arrived his shack was dark and locked. We saw a light at the next cabin a hundred yards over the meadow and walked to it. I looked in the window and saw a khaki clad leg and a booted foot and a pile of bedclothes, and at the other end of the bed which I could see plainly a touseled fair haired woman’s head. There were snores coming for the shack and a bare bulb hanging on a taped wire from the ceiling. Probably a man and his girl sleeping off a winter night’s drunk. We saw lights flashing beyond the Bayou in the trees and drove down as far as we could and stopped the car and called again into the night for Will Stanton. A lamp was lighted in a small canvas sided houseboat, and a voice called out and acknowledged us. He had a loose fleshed, stubble face, iron grey hair cut in a Buster Brown. He said he’d dress and be right out. The lights went off and a light came to us through the night. Will recognized Don and they shook hands. Don introduced -us, George and SAN ANTONIO Why are people in Texas Democratswhy are they Republicans? Faculty and students of the government department of St. Mary’s University here have polled 900 San Antonians, selected to represent a cross-section of racial and economic neighborhoods, and produced some answers for this complex, cosmopolitan city. Dr. Kenneth Carey, chairman of the department of government, and Bill Crane, another member of the faculty, supervised student surveying of every fourth house in selected neighborhoods. Sixty-eight percent of the people polled were Democrats, 32 percent Republicans. Tradition played a part in the Democratic advantage, since 63 percent of the persons who have lived more than half their lives in Texas were Democrats, only 56 percent of those people in Texas less than half their lives. But this did not explain the Democratic advantage entirely. The Democrats had their widest lead among middle-years voters aged 30 to 50, among whom they enjoyed a 70 percent majority. In the 20-30 age group they had only 57 percent of the voters; among those older than 50, they had 56 percent. \(The non-committal persons were taken out of the percentages, SO the Republicans had It did not seem to make much difference in party choice whether the subjects were male or female, nor whether they were married or single. But race had a distinct relevance. Among Anglo-American San Antonians, 58 percent were Democratic; 42 percent were Republican. Latin-Americans were Democratic, 70-30 percent; Negroes were Democratic, 77-23 percent. “Many inferences can be drawn from these figures, many of our preconceived notions were substantiated,” said Carey. One partly upheld preconception: the poorer a person is, the more likely he is to be a Democrat; the richer, the less likely. In the San Antonio poll, persons PRESS PAYOLA earning $2,000 or less a year were 65-35 percent Democratic; between $2,000 and $5,000, 66-34; $5,000 to $15,000 a year, 6Q-40; more than $15,000 a year, 37-63. On the other hand, many Democrats like to think that more educated people are Democrats than Republicans, but the St. Mary’s poll indicates that they are wrong. The St. Mary’s group classified party choice among their census by education, and they found these relationships: Grammar school or less, Democrats, 66-34 percent; Less than high school, Democrats 71-29 percent; High school, Democrats, 64-36 percent; tic, 51-49 percent. College graduate, Republican, 58-42 percent. A final stereotype somewhat anti-climactically confirmed: business and professional people tend toward Republicanism in San Antonio, labor people toward the Democratic Party. Grouped by organizations to which they belong, the persons polled fell into these patterns: Business, Republican, 56-44 percent. Professional, Republican, 59-41 percent. Labor, Democratic, 70-30 percent. The poll was taken late in 1958 and tabulated last year. A Circle of Beat-down Grass BUFFALO GAP Buffalo Gap is a gap in the Callahan Divide a-bout twenty miles southwest of Abilene. At the foot of Big Chief Mountain near Tuscola and the town of Buffalo Gap, they say there once was a grove of more than four thousand pecan trees where the Tonkawa Indians lived. Buffalo wore a clear trail, and Loving and Goodnight drove their cattle through. In 1933 Abilene gave the state five hundred and seven acres of land, including the grove. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the New Deal made the park, and it was dedicated as , Abilene State Park in 1934. Says a State Parks Board pamphlet, there are pecan, live oak, post oak, hackberry and mesquite; groups can picnic and reunion; and, The visitor can camp just as the early Texas travelers did in the shade of the trees, but the present day visitor has the added advantage of modern sanitary facilities, concrete units with fireplaces, water, and lights, about which Mr. Bedichek would have his say, was he still among us. There is a swimming pool, too, and playground equipment, a miniature golf course, and “a large dance terrace, seldom unoccupied.” Nevertheless, the shades of color in the mountains, and the great trees, some still bearing the markings of the Tonkawas, are said to be very stirring. One cold night I drove through the trees to a place enclosed by trees and brush, laid out my sleeping bag, .and slept, waking only to feel the cold on my face Texas CampgroundsIX and see the sky of stars and where the moon had moved to. There is a dollar fee, but I left too early to pay it. All I know about the park is what I read, and this warm circle of beat-down grass where I slept coldly, and returned nights