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VOTE DECIDES STRUGGLE In Two Installments for the medicine. We just have to BEEVILLE diagnose our own trouble and The Texas Observer An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Volume 53 TEXAS, JUNE 3, 1961 15c per copy Number 9 HOUSE VETOES TAX IN ANGUISHED FINALE GOP’s Triumph: T6RmAnfs New Political Era? AUSTIN In the unfolding history of one-party Texas and its oneparty Southern neighbors, the election of Republican John Tower to the United States Senate is an event of crucial significance. Tower’s slim 10,000-vote margin over interim Sen. William Blakley serves notice to old-line Southern Democrats in both Texas and the deeper South that the traditional antipathy toward “local” Republicans has become moribund and that Southern Republicans are becoming more aggressive and politically acute with each passing election. John Tower Bill Blakley From first to last, the TowerBlakley fight was a fight between two arch-conservatives of almost identically similar political beliefs. Tower attempted to attach the stigma of the New Frontier on his opponent; Blakley worked with matching fervor to disown the Democratic administration, staking his claim on traditional conservatism and party loyalty. Just as Tower did not seek Richard Nixon’s campaign talents because he was considered too liberal, Blakley failed to ask any prominent national Democrat for active help. With partisan labels the central issue, a Republican carried the day and becomes the first GOP senator from the state since Reconstruction. Carrying only 75 of Texas’ 254 counties, Tower owes his election to his big margins in Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, and Bexar Counties. He carried Harris by a thumping 78,668-40,287, almost 2-1. He took Dallas, Blakley’s home, 57,00444,467, and won less comfortably in both San Antonio and Fort Worth. Of the state’s eleven counties with cities of more than 100,000, the Republican carried seven. The three others were Potter \(AmBlakley was first in Travis, Nueces, Jefferson, and Wichita, Tower’s home county. More than any other factor, Tower’s victory stressed the political significance of the population shift from country to city in Texas and the growing Republican allegiances of the technician NEXT WEEK In next week’s issue the Observer will present a detailed analysis of the $2.6 billion appropriations bill approved by the House-Senate conference committee and passed by the Senate in the closing minutes of the regular session. professional class, many Northern-born and -educated, in the state’s metropolitan areas. Blakley generally ran strongest in east, northeast, and central Texas and in south Texas and the Valley. Tower was ahead in the GOP-oriented Hill Country, in the Panhandle and South Plains areas. In deepest East Texas he carried five counties: Smith, Gregg, Rusk, Tyler, and Walker. Liberal and moderate Democrats defected from the Democratic banner in droves. The vast majority went fishing, although some liberals voted for Tower. A close comparison of the runoff vote with the first vote in April reveals the extent of the Blakley collapse among moderate and liberal Democrats. Blakley received 190,000 votes in the first race to Tower’s 327,000. The combined April turnout for the four moderate and liberal Democrats, Wright, Wilson, Maverick, and Gonzalez, was 491,000. Blakley was able to pick up only 247,000 new votesroughly 53 percent of the moderate-liberal vote in April. Tower, on the other hand, firmly retained his basic Republican strength and added 122,000 new votes. It was just enough to see him through. Blakley’s cause was materially damaged by Negro defections as well, with his widely-publicized’ questioning of Federal Housing Administrator Robert Weaver an apparent motive. In 18 Dallas Negro precincts with 19,000 poll tax holders, less than 3,000-15 percentturned out to vote. These precincts went as much as 9-1 for Kennedy. This time Blak \(Continued on Page Wood has worked 48 of his 77 years for the railroad, telephone companies, and a Texas gas pipeline. His employers rewarded him upon his retirement in 1948 with a monthly pension of forty two dollars and fifty cents. Including their social security, Wood and his 74-year-old wife scrape along now on about $175 a month. Out of this they are having to support a neglected grandchild in high school. The Texas Department of Public Welfare refused to help them do it. Wood raises potatoes, beans, onions, and turnips in his garden, but “outside of that, you can’t grow much on account of this heat.” Still, he says, “a fella can make a good meal outa turnips anytime, if he can eat ’em. “Our income is pitifully low these later years. We are in need of medical care, but we do not have any money for this,” Wood says. “We just don’t have the money to go to the doctor and pay AUSTIN Monday will be remembered as “The Day the Speaker Killed the Sales Tax.” It began with the gift of a riding crop from staunch horseracing foe W. S. Healty to staunch horseracer Red Berry, progressed through more extravagant horseplay and blistering tempers, and ended in a furious night’s session when the parliamentary mechanism sometimes seemed almost to break down. Twice the House directed its five tax conferees to negotiate further with their Senate counterparts in an effort to devise a tax bill acceptable to the House before the closing of the regular session at midnight. Both times the conferees returned with the same tale: the Senate would not budge. Finally, in the dying minutes of the session, Speaker James Turman cast a deciding vote, creating a 72-72 tie and killing the Senate tax measure. The whole proceeding was moot anyway, since Gov. Price Daniel ly vowed he would veto the Senate version of HB 334, which included a two percent sales tax and increases in the present corporate franchise tax and the natural gas production tax. But the House action, no matter how close, amounted to a House veto of the Senate and left the governor’s position considerably stronger than if the controversial revenue measure had been approved by both houses. Chairman Charles Hallman of the House conference committee made the first of three reports at 11:55 a.m., when he said, “The result is the same as before. The senators have refused to come up doctor ourselves.” Wood has had to have one operation since he retired. “The doctor sent me over there to Galveston as a staff patient. I’d call it something else but he called it a staff patient,” he said without changing his tone. When he was retired he had to drop his medical insurance because without the company contribution it was too expensive for him. He took out another policy in 1950 and carried it until 1958 it paid for about half his operation at the ‘Galveston medical school hospitalbut “like everything else, they doubled it and didn’t raise the benefits.” The premium was jumped from $5.50 to $10.50 a month in 1958, and he cancelled. “I was forced to, because I was havin’ a hard time keepin that up.” Wood has politely bitter things to say about his local newspaper editor, the president of the American Medical Assn., and “the doctors for their opposition to medical care for the aged. He favors it for those who, like himself, with any solution to end this stalemate. I hope the people of Texas will place the blame for this tax dilemma strictly on the backs of the Senate where it belongs.” Wade Spilman, the McAllen conservative, moved the appointment of a new set of House conferees to try again and report back at five that afternoon. He argued it was “important not to cut off negotiations with the Senate until the last hours. Let’s keep our negotiations alive.” Tony Korioth, Sherman liberal and a member of the conference committee, said renewed negotiations would be futile. “Sen. Lane has run out of jokes and Sen. Hardeman he’s amazing he’s still working his crossword puzzles in ink.” Ballman, however, said he had no objection to Spilman’s request, and the speaker re-appointed the same five conferees. All afternoon the House worked out last-minute routine business awaiting the conference report. At one lull in the activity, a House are caught, ailing and impoverished, in old age. Had his life begun on Jan. 5, 1774, instead of one hundred years later, Wood might have been the kind of pioneer, building his house with wood he had hewn, fighting the Indians, clearing the pasture, we have made an American hero. Instead he arrived at his manhood in time to work his way through half a century of the industrial American economy. Here is how he reached the end of his working life after 24 years with the Houston Pipeline Co.: “They hadn’t even notified me that I was supposed to retire before I was 65. I worked three days in December, and they called me up by long distance telephone and told me that I was retired as of December first. I didn’t even get a lead pencil. Just told be to take the car and keys to the main office and turn ’em over to the superintendent down there. His union, oilworkers’ local 4-227, “had a squabble with ’em that I was retired before my time,” but all they would have gained for him was a few more barbershop quartet sang “I Walked in the Garden Alone,” and Rep. Neil Caldwell sang portions of an unsolicited solo, “Taxes, My Taxes.” It was late in the day when Rep. W. T. Oliver and other ccnservatives brought in boxes filled with bright-colored Hawaiian leis and distributed them to House sales-taxers. “Last call for the boat to Hawaii,” Oliver chanted at the back microphone, a tart reference to Gov. Daniel’s trip to the governor’s conference in Hawaii in late June and to the rumored month’s interval if a special session were needed. Bill Walker, conservative from Cleveland, told the House, “The grass skirts for the secretaries are coming later.” At 5 p.m. Ballman tersely reported, “We’ve made no progress; they’ve offered no compromise.” They would report again at 10 p.m. Lengthy debate then centered on a motion by Franklin Spears, San Antonio liberal, to instruct the conferees to negotiate with the Senate chiefly on deficitretiring tax measures. The motion was tabled, 75-70. Another motion by W. W. Glass, liberal from Jacksonville, to discharge the House conferees failed, 78-62. It was 7 p.m., and the clock was racing to midnight, when the House adjourned for dinner. The Drama Begins The galleries were packed with lobbyists and other spectators when the embattled House returned at 8:45 p.m. for what was to be one of the most dramatic and hectic finishes in years. The chamber was hazy with the bluish smoke of several dozen cigars. On the floor a number of representatives still wore their Hawaiian leis. Ballman stepped up to the front microphone. “Well, we’re going back to see ’em again,” he said, and he and his four associates moved toward the Senate lions’ den like overworked gladiators who had long since lost all hope of survival. There was bantering applause, and Red Berry handed Charles Wilson his riding crop “to whip them senators with.” The electric tension of late afternoon had given way to languid idleness. Since there was nothing to do but wait for the return of the conferees, a resolution was offered giving Heatly and ‘Berry “free run of the floor” to debate the merits of Globemaster and Carryback. Berry had left the chamber, however, and for the next several minutes the incredulous non-lobbyists in the galleries were treated to an impromptu debate between Heatly and Will Ehrle, the two staunch conservatives who will be opponents next year in a new district. Heatly, faithfully wearing his yellow lei, asked Ehrle what issues they were going to run on. Ehrle replied that taxes might make a good issue. “The hell of it is, you’ve voted like I have,” Heatly said. After several barbed exchanges between the legislative lords of Childress and Paducah, Berry ambled back onto the floor. He An Old Man from Beeville