“BOW” WILLIAMS When Your Home Policy Expires, Check With Us About Special Savings On Our Homeowners’ Policy GReenwood 2-0545 624 NORTH LAMAR, AUSTIN Let’s Abolish the Poll Tax! Biggest Show of Season in Hearing on Racing ets, just the people who most need to hang on to their money because they most heavily use the credit system and are constantly faced with another installment payment. Berry witness No. six, James E. Wilson, vice-president of the National Horseman’s Beneficial and Protective Assn., had testified that racing is responsible for producing $200 million in business in Michigan and that in Michigan 18,000 people derive their living directly or indirectly from racing. Laugh Competition To this Smith said: “He overlooks the fact that Michigan’s economy is a deplorable one, perhaps even worse than Texas’. As for employment benefits, the same argument could be made for prostitution, dice tables, and roulette tables. These put people to work.” The first committeeman to question Smith was Rep. John Alaniz, one of Berry’s San Antonio colleagues, who first tried, unsuccessfully, to pull Smith into an argument over the escheat bill and then suggested that if Smith or Smith’s bank dealt in stocks and bonds, they were gambling. Alaniz got a gallery laugh from this, but Smith got a heartier one when he recommended that Alaniz “go back to school and take a course in basic economics.” Alaniz took another approach: “You have said that gambling attracts undesirable people. Do you know that J. Edgar Hoover attends racing meets?” Smith retorted: “If you had ever had a course in logic, you would know that to say that undesirables go to the races is not to say that everyone who goes to the races is an undesirable.” Alaniz persisted: “Ex Vice President Nixon goes to the races. Do you consider him undesirable?” Smith: “No sir. I know nothing about Mr. Nixon. But I consider gambling undesirable. Gambling interferes with the logical and reasonable meeting of credit obligations.” When Alaniz suggested that the economic risks taken by merchants constitute gambling, Smith answered that the legislators were expected to be intelligent enough to differentiate between the “necessary economic risks that someone must assume,” such as the merchants assume, and gambling. Berry then moved in on Smith. First he said he wasn’t sure that Smith, a former professor, deserved the title “Doctor,” then he tried to swing Smith into an argument over the escheat bill, then he voiced mock surprise that Smith wasn’t willing to pursue the democratic process to the extent of letting the people vote on the amendment. Smith: “If a person brought a bill in here to legalize prostitution through amendment, dO you think it should go through your committee merely for the sake of democracy? What are you here for?” Berry jumped at the suggestion: “Well, if we did thatHow much revenue do you think it would bring into the state?” Laughter at this point was so thunderous the committee chairman threatened to clear the galleries. Berry was riding high. Berry: “I don’t believe you have even read the bill. Why do you come in here opposing a thing you haven’t even read? You haven’t read it, now, have you?” Smith: “Would you like to question me on it?” Berry: “All right, what percent is the state’s take?” Smith: “Seven and a half percent.” Berry: “That’s wrong. It’s seven per cent.” Smith put on his glasses, picked up a copy of the amendment lying at his elbow, and read the statement of the state’s take which would be, as he said, seven and a half percent. Smith: “Would you like for me to keep reading so you will know what is in your amendment?” Berry’s angry reply was drowned by the amused roar from the gallery and floor. Clearly he had lost the engagement, and he did not again fully regain the dominance of the situation he had held before. Berry’s 18 witnesses, who included Ches Benson, executive secretary of the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Dr. T. M. Johnson of Del Rio, also representing the TTBA, Chapman Finley, a student from San Antonio ,W. W. Morrow, president of the National Thoroughbred Trainers Bureau, and Homer Garrison Jr., director of the Department of Public Safety. Garrison’s testimony was strictly non-committal. The others argued: Race tracks are not breeding grounds for vice and crime. Cities with race tracks find their hotels jammed with business during the season. People who run up debts’ and blame them on losses at the tracks would be dead-beats anyway. Horse breeders need more tracks in temperate regions for winter racing. Tracks contribute taxes to the state and employment to the community. Racing in Texas during the 1930s got blamed for many evils that actually were the result of the depression. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 Feb. 18, 1961 4 Jim Tucker Several of the witnesses were wealthy. Typical of these was Fred Wagner, Dallas oil man who said that although Texas has almost taxed him “out of business,” he still manages to ship “lots of horses, principally to California, as a hobby.” Another was Bob Abercrombie, Houston, who admitted under questioning from Berry that he and his family own “a whole ocean of oil.” He said all the people in his circle favor racing. He said his friend, Clint Murchison, who owns Del Mar race track in California, gives all the profits to BoyS Town of America. Berry said it would be nice if Murchison could build three or four charity tracks in Texas, and “more than likely” he would if he could, although “I don’t know.” Harold Kilpatrick, executive director of the Texas Council of Churches, was, after Smith, probably the most effective opposition witness. Backing up his contention that on-track betting breeds off-track betting, with the latter contributing no tax revenue to the state, Kilpatrick cited the Massachusetts Special Crime Commission’s estimate that for every $1 spent at the track, $3 is wagered away from the track. The commission also said that off-track bookies take bets as low as 50 cents, tempting the lowest income bracket worker. The influence of the professional gamblers spreads eventually to the state legislature, he said. He cited a Harper’s Magazine article that told of how 14 legislators were “employed” by a Rhode Island track and of how in three New England states legislators enjoyed $1 million patronage at the tracksthat Is, 85% of the tracks’ employees were hired only on the recommendation of the legislators. He quoted a Rhode Island governor as saying that unemployment compensation paid to track employees in the off season more than cancelled out the taxes taken from the tracks. For those in the crowd old enough to remember, there was one dramatic moment at the hearing when the past seemed to return. This was when young Sam Houston Allred took the mircrophone. Sam, a student at the University of Texas, is one of the sons of the late James Allred, who, as governor in 1937, ended the horses’ four-year run. Young Sam testified: “Where will the people who oppose lawlessness get the money for full page ads like the gamblers who take in every newspaper in every area of our state? “Where will the people who oppose economic irresponsibility get the funds which the gamblers will pour into the salaries of public relations men and advertising agents from big firms in New York, Dallas, and Houston, to tell the working man that he needs legalized gambling, and the man who hasn’t read the reports of the Crime Commissions that he needs legalized gambling, and the people of Texas who don’t remember the earlier days of legalized gambling when Texas felt the lash of organized crime? Alaniz asked him: “Do you consider scalping tickets a form of gambling?” Johnson: “No sir, that’s brokerage.” Alaniz: ‘Have you ever sold tickets at a higher price than you bought them?” Johnson: “Yes sir. I consider it a form of brokerage.” Berry: “Have you ever been in jail?” Chairman: “Confine your questions to the issue.” Berry: “Well, he was pointing his finger at me. Were you ever arrested?” Johnson: “No sir.” Berry: “Someone misinformed Directing the opposition speakers was Rep. Bill Heatly of Paducah. His selection for the role surprised some people who, knowing that no love is lost between him and Speaker James Turman, feared Heatly’s presence might hurt the cause of the opposition. “Which side will get a fair shake?” Dr. E. S. James, editor of the Baptist Standard, official publication of the Texas Baptist Convention, said gambling is a “breaker of hearts, an adversary of Jeus Christ. If it were not, how could the Roman soldiers have sat on the ground at his feet and gambled for the clothes of our Savior?” Dr. W. R. White, president of Baylor University, said “This bill has the passing-the-buck concept. The proponents say, ‘You don’t have to vote yes or nojust vote it out and let the House vote on it.’ Then they will say to the House, ‘You don’t have to pass on thislet the people of the state have the final say.’ Then they will go to the counties in which tracks would not be built and say, ‘This is a local option bill. Give the people in the counties affected the final say.’ And in this way they will try to work it so that only nine counties make the law of the state.” C. T. Johnson, an Austin realtor, shouted and pointed his finger at Berry until the chairman ordered him to stop pointing. WASHINGTON Interim Senator William Blakley, Dallas conservative, is feuding with the Washington Post, which the Dallas News tags as a “liberal” newspaper and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as an “ultraliberal” newspaper. When he opposed the appointment of Dr. Robert C. Weaver as the nation’s top housing administrator, the Post said Blakley “has quickly demonstrated his unfitness for any position of public trust” and that his conduct was “clumsy and embarrassing to his home state of Texas.” The Dallas News supported him editorially. On the floor of the Senate Blakley had other support, mostly from Southern senators. Weaver is a Negro. Blakley opposed Weaver mainly on security grounds. He said Weaver had belonged to a number of Communist-front organizations. Blakley also said that because Weaver had worked and written articles and books to improve Negro housing, he was “a man who will throw the field of housing into a veritable hotbed of emotionalism and strife under the guise of equal opportunity if he attempts to put into practice even a small portion of his printed and undenied views regarding forced integration and open occupancy.” But it was Blakley’s security argument that especially rankled the Post. Its last editorial broadside, called “A Texas Opportunity”: “Last Friday we commented on the acts of Sen. William A. Blakley of Texas in opposing Dr. Robert C. Weaver as Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. At the time we described Senator Blakley’s conduct as clumsy and embarrassing to his home state of Texas. “Further information indicates But Heatly, a rough political in-fighter, swapped blow for blow in the banter with Berry. Heatly read from a sports column quoting Fred Turner of Midland, whose Tommy Lee won the 1959 Kentucky Derby, to the effect that “for every $10,000,000 blers will rob the working man of $200,000,000.” Heatly was one of those threatened by Berry. At least Heatly took it as a threat. He told the Observer: “He said some country boys need re-districting, knowing I come from the country. I presume he intends to use his influence with the Speaker to get me redistricted. But on the political stump I welcome a horserace gambler as an opponent, if he has that much courage.” The other legislator who spoke against the amendment was Rep. Truett Latimer of Abilene. Berry told him that the last man from Latimer’s district who took that position ran third in the next election. Said Latimer: “That’s a risk I’m willing to take.” To the Observer he added, “When I have, to choose between going along with gamblers and getting out of office, I’ll get out of office.” The subcommittee to which the proposed amendment was referred: Rep. Charles Sandahl of Austin, chairman of the main committee; John Huebner of Bay City, Ben Jarvis of Tyler, Berry, Grainger W. McIlhny of Wheeler, and Jerry Butler of Kenedy. B.S. that we have failed our readers in so charitably describing the Blakley performance. We have now learned that Senator Blakley contended that his only doubts about Dr. Weaver arose from allegations of association with Communist dominated organizations, and that Senator Blakley asked for, and received, personal assurances of Dr. Weaver’s loyalty from the following officials: F. Kennedy; Congressman Francis E. Walter, Chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities; FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. “Having solicited and received these unprecedented, firsthand assurances from the executive and legislative branches of the Gov*ernment, Senator Blakley then proceeded to a demagogic hazing of Dr. Weaver in Committee hearings and on the Senate floor. “Senator Blakley, who has never been elected to high public office, has quickly demonstrated his unfitness for any position of public trust. We hope his conduct will not pass unnoticed by the citizens of Texas. On April 4 they will have an opportunity to elect a successor to Vice President Johnson, whose seat Senator Blakley now temporarily fills as an appointee of Gov. Price Daniel.” Blakley responded that the Post’s claims were “not factual.” “I received no assurances from J. Edgar Hoover or the FBI,” he said. “That information is available to the President alone.” He said the only assurances that came from Kennedy, and these after much delay, were addressed to committee chairman Willis Robertson, of Virginia. And he said he hadn’t received “any assurances one way or the other” from Rep. Francis .Walter, chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
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