‘We’ve Got the Answer Up Here, Boys’ A Grimm Fairy Tale ,57 Votes i t; cto ao 5hat The Texas House of Representatives displayed great sensitivity for the big corporations and the banks in that tumultuous session Wednesday ; the people ran a close second. W. T. Oliver, the conservative from Port Neches, rose on the floor the next day to attack the governor. “Anytime someone casts light on me because I voted, the way I think my people wanted me to vote, or because I represent my people, I am going to use the floor of this House to answer them,” he said. That is Mr. Oliver’s privilege, of course, and it is also his privilege to represent “his people” in any manner he judges. We doubt most seriously, however, that a voting majority of his people are bankers and multi-state corporation executives ; it is our right toexpress the hope, just as it is Oliver’s right to vote as he chooses, that the “people” down in Port Neches and in a number of other districts will be given the simple information to understand what was truthfully at stake when the votes were taken Wednesday. 1 The issues were pre . sented so clearly, so painstakingly clearly. If you voted against the revised franchise tax, as Gov. Daniel and Franklin Spears and Joe Cannon repeatedly warned, you were voting against home-owned and home-operated Texas business, which has been burdened in contrast with the wealthy interstate corporations by one of the most inequitable franchise taxes in the United States. You were voting in favor of a continuation of that tax. It was that simple. 2 A vote against the escheats bill was, clearly and irrevocably and beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt, a vote against the depositor and against the state of Texas. Charlie Hughes, the pleasant and well-liked Sherman liberal who has been fighting for various escheats bills for years, said he had served in the House since 1951 “and this is the most black-and-white issue I’ve seen.” The San Antonio Express even endorsed it, and Lynn Landrum of the Dallas News all but did so. The argument used against the bill”the sanctity of the banker-depositor relationship” and all the restwas sophistry of the most fantastic kind. You were either for the banks or you were for the people; it was that simple. 3 On one series of votes built around a Korioth amendment meeting one protest from the bankers while preserving dormant accounts from being consumed b’y .”service charges”the issue was so tautly drawn between a special interest and the interests of the people that, had Banfield, Mrs. Myra \(Rosen Bartram, Raymond \(New Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1931, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. MARCH 4, 1961 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Bob Sherrill, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager it been drawn any further, it would have snapped asunder. 4 On the motion to table the Cory amendment to Max Carriker’s uniform tax on gross utilities, if you voted no you were not only voting against a fair tax : you were actually voting to reduce much of the present tax on the wealthy private utilities. These propositions are not presented self-righteously. This paper is not infallible, just as the Chicago Tribune is not infallible. But when questions before an elective body are so patently clear, any informed person can easily understand that the issue of the interests vs. the larger society is the fundamental consideration. Gov. Daniel, who is no dangerous reformer, was never more correct when he said the House of Representatives has taken a lot of money out of the taxpayers’ pocket and made a gift of it to the interests. Perhaps, knowing something about human beings, one should be less condemnatory than sad. As one legislator said after the fiasco was all over, the lobby is really the only permanent institution in our state government. Young senators and representatives come and go, the faces in Austin change each year, the committees have no permanence; only the lobby endures, each time cajoling the unsophisticated young freshman with entertainment and suave conversation, often persuasive in warning him of those unbalanced and dangerous liberals who will be his colleagues. In the case of the escheats bill, bankers are among the most powerful people in a community : they hold notes, they make loans, they finance campaigns and children’s educations, they are capable of applying unmitigated pressure on a representative from Giddings or Bremond or Austin. They have an advantage in any fight. Fifty-seven members of the Texas House voted no on the four issues listed above, 57 people who, for some reason or out of some weakness, voted with the entrenched interests. It would be idle to call all of them “tools of the lobby.” True, some of them are, they are notorious for it, cynical and hardened men who well understand what they have done. Many of the others are decent, well-meaning people : earnest young freshmen wanting to do right, wishing their constituents to be proud of them ; some who may not have fully grasped the implications of their vote ; others yet who were victims of intense and relentless pressures. For whatever reason, whether understandable in deep human terms or cynical and selfish in the fashion of the self-interested, 57 voted against the people as every opportunity presented itself. Here they are : it ‘r. Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 15c each. Quantity prices available on order. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: Mrs. R. D. Randolph, 419% Lovett Blvd., Houston 16, Texas. AUSTIN The latest Texas Outlookthe Texas State Teachers Association’s propaganda magazinetells another chapter in the pitiful tale of civil defense in Texas, a tale that is pitiful both because defense of the civilian population in a thermonuclear age is impossible and because all efforts to pretend otherwise only contribute to an atmosphere of hysteria, police stateism,’ and unlimited expenditure for the military. With a cheery busy-busy tone, the article “Civil Defense Preparation for Survival” by Reba. Rasor, public information official with the State Civil Defense Disaster Relief Office, and Mary K. Herolz, Houston journalist, set forth the merits of the 12-hour course stressing “the importance of duties of federal, state, county, and municipal government in time of warcaused disaster, instructions for building shelters, food necessities, warning and communication methods, decontaminating families from radioactive fallout, and personal responsibilities in emergencies.” In other words, it is a course whose purpose is to establish in the minds of its students the normality of war, to bring them around to the idea that although the world is blown to hell in a nuclear war, citizens who are properly trained can, with a modicum of rearrangement, go right on living constructive livessnug in their bomb shelters, built to specification ; eating out of canned goods stocked thoughtfully away; dusting the baby with decontaminating powder, and in general behaving in this Orwellian year of 1961 like The Authorities tell them to. NATURALLY THE PITCH in this article is that learning civil AUSTIN “A Chinaman who could hardly speak English threw us out,” said Sen. Henry Gonzalez, with a laugh. “That’s the funny part about it.” He was referring to the now wellknown incident of his being refused service in the New Worth Cafe in Fort Worth because his party included Mrs. Bessie Byrd, a Negro. He and his supporters had gone to the cafe after a political rally at which Gonzalez spoke. There wasn’t really anything funny about it, incoherent Chinaman not defense is all the rage among teachers. And it is ever so much fun. A picture accompanying the article shows a smiling, sparkle-eyed teacher knitting and drinking in the advice being handed out by her civil defense instructor. In the Anahuac Independent School District, the core cell of this cancer, the training program is compulsory. In Spring Branch, 800 teachers and 1,400 other district personnel took the course. And in Houston, teachers were let out of class early to attend civil defense discussions and to see civil defense movies. Often it is considered part of a teacher’s in-service training. But the dreary ordeal by fear will probably drag on and on. The TEA is successfully drafting the next generation already. In Spring Branch, girls who belong to the Future Teachers of America were baby sitters for their teacher-elders who attended the night civil defense sessions. NOW IF THE TEA can just sell their teacher dupes on the idea of teaching the alphabet by spelling out words like B-O-M-B, there should be no problem of perpetuating the program indefinitely, yea unto the fourth and fifth generations. “Once upon a time,” the Grimm of 1985 will write, in an age when not living but “survival” \(the thing the is the motif and the normality of hiding will have been established, “once upon a time there was a little thermonuclear bomb. It was a clean little bomb, with very little fallout, and the youngsters in the HoustonAnahuac-Spring Branch area loved playing hide and seek with it, until one day . . .” B.S. withstanding, and of course Gonzalez didn’t mean there was. He was just laughing to cover up the embarrassment Texas should feel for developing an atmosphere in which a major candidate for the Senate of the United States cannot bring to dinner whomever he damned well chooses. But indeed there was something ironic in the situation : an Oriental who must at best be only tolerated in Fort Worth, which vies with Omaha and Wichita as the capital of provincialismrefusing to serve members of another racial minority. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Jl eavy irony
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