Texas Observer Ltd. BOOKSELLERS BOOK FINDERS In association with the House of Books, Houston Buy All Your Books Through The Observer PROMPT DELIVERY Regular Retail Prices No Mail Charges Statements of Purpose Putting First Things First by Adlai E. Stevenson. Recent speeches and papers on such subjects as Western Europe, Soviet Russia, China and the Middle East, assistance to underdeveloped countries, the responsibilities of pr i vat e capital, education and housing. Random House. Hardcover $3.00 Paper $1.50 The National Purpose: America in crisis. An urgent summons. Ten distinguished Americans express their profound convictions on what has happened to the U.S. at midcentury and what we can do to recover the national purpose. Foreward by Henry LuceHolt, Rinehart, Winston. Hardcover $2.95 Paper $1.50 Send your order for ANY book to DEPT. B, Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. “I voted for him in ’50. I was convinced he was gonna be a great man. He had the prestige and the personality and the charm and the intellect and the money he had everything. He could’ve been president of the United States. But he chose to go against the people. “I never will forget one day, D. B. Hardeman and I were walkin’ up the promenade to the capitol. It was right in the middle of the fight over the farm-to-market roads. It was a sunny afternool in spring and we were strolling along, when all of a sudden Shivers walks over and throws his arms around both of us and puts on the charm. After he left, I told D. B., ‘He’s really got the charm,’ and D. B. said, ‘Yeah, he’ll charm the skin off you if you don’t watch it.” Hughes was a member of the now immortal Gas House Gang of 1951, along with Hardeman, who was the leader, Maverick, Jim Sewell, George Nokes, Dolph Briscoe, and the others. In the extended fight over the gas-gathering tax, per diem pay had expired and the gang moved into a weatherbeaten old house on Rio Grande and pooled their resources to get by. “We lived there and got by and fought the battle,” Hughes remembers. “No expense money, no per diem, no nothing. The lobby was trying to starve us out. was mean. He’s not mean anymore. He’s become a ‘good Democrat.’ He’s thawed out with the times.” A Tiny Band In those early ‘fifties, when the House liberals were a tiny, beleaguered band of fighters who got their ears boxed on almost every vote, it was the Hardemans, the Briscoes, the Mavericks, the Hugheses, and their cornpadres who fought the prevailing conservative tide with flashing, angry, usually futile nays. This is how Hughes remembers them: Hardeman \(now Speaker Sam political training as Homer Rainey’s campaign manager. He was quiet and soft-spoken, he never opened his mouth on the floor,” Hughes recalls. “He just got everybody together, and let us talk and suggest ideas. Then he’d suggest a few ideas himself, and they were good ones. D. B. was just about as valuable a legislator as’d ever been in Austin.” Briscoe: “He was the man among all the Gas House Gang who had the most potential. He had the wealth and the prestige of an old Texas family. He was decent and fine, a great guy.” Maverick: “He was the dissident force, the conscience of the whole crew. When all of us decided this was the wrong time, Maury would say, `No, let’s fight tomorrow.’ ” On the McCarthy era in Texas: “It was a mean time, a really mean time. Everybody was scared including me. We gave in on several billsit was foolish to oppose ’em. We knew those bills weren’t constitutional”the bookbranding, the “anti-sabotage” and the “search-and-seizure” bills “and the whole business was designed to do one thing, and that was to defeat people. “But the revolt was beginning in ’51. They tied the whole thing up so tight and so clever, they thought they could do anything with the state. They were wrong.” Hughes has been a persistent advocate of escheats legislation since he first came to the legislature. Several times he has sponsored bills; each time they have been defeated. The Daniel-endorsed measure missed in the regular session of this legislature by ten votes. “You know the saying, ‘They laughed when I sat down at the piano?’when I started . on that escheats bill several years ago, everybody thought I was crazy. Subscribe to The Texas Observer Name Address City State Send $5 to The Texas Observer, 504 W. 24, Austin, Texas. $ SHERMAN VIEWS A DECADE They weren’t taking it seriously but they’re taking it seriously now.” He predicts some kind of escheats legislation will pass in the special session. The Big Changes How has the Texas legislature changed in the last decade? “The biggest difference is honesty,” Hughes believes. “Lobbying still goes on, and there are a lot of questionable tactics, but overall it’s much more circumspect. You don’t see bribe offers out in the open anymore. That’s the biggest thing. “The members are nicer to each other. Back in ’51 it was awful. You got called all kinds of names on the microphones. There’s more mutual respect. Debates aren’t as vicious as they used to be. We’ve gotten more civilized. “There’s been a major shift, of course, from the extreme conservative to the more liberal point of view. In those days we had an extremist legislature. We don’t anymore. Why, in 1951, a bill the general public was enthusiastically for would be deep-freezed and killed in executive session. There were times in ’51 when they wouldn’t even let the press in. “But take this session. Almost every bill that looks like it might have some support gets its run on the floor. “There’s been another big change. When I was first in the House, the crucial fight was on appropriationson how much to spend. The conditions in the eleemosynary institutions \\ were just shocking; everything else was in terrible shape. The conservatives simply didn’t want to pay the money. “For the first time, in this session, you find all those people who fought spending programs in the past saying we’ve got to go ahead and spend the money. Of course, they want to raise it with a general sales tax. “No doubt a lot of manufacturers and businessmen in the Dutch Criminologist Suggests Expansion of Probation Program DALLAS A Dutch criminologist visiting Texas this week said the state could alleviate its crowded prison conditions by broadening its parole system. Dr. Jacob Van Bemmelen, professor of criminal law and criminology at the University of Leiden, said the parole program is not only cheaper than long prison sentences, “it is better for the individual and for society. In prisons you take away all of a person’s responsibilities. They are human beings, not patients. “Prison terms in Texas are too long,” he said. “They should hire more probation officers. Probation, if it is a good one, is not easy but it does not take away a man’s world like a prison does.” Van Bemmelen praised the federal prison at Seagoville, a minimum security prison which allows inmates to work outside during the day and report .back on their own at night. Discipline is very flexible, and prisoners are allowed to keep their own keys to their rooms. Speaking out against the death penalty, he said, “It is not -a deterrent, it is an excitement. Studies show it does not reduce violent crimes. We have no death penalty in the Netherlands. “It is also immoral, absolutely immoral. People who think the thought of the death penalty might deter crime are believeing in a fairy tale,” he Said. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 2 June 17, 1961 state have suddenly decided they want a first-class state, although they want to do it with a sales tax. But then there are some people I doubta lot of the ones financing this Citizens for a Sales Tax campaign. I don’t know whether they want a first-class state or not. My guess is that these people have decided the issue must be resolved, and if they get this sales tax through, they’ll escape other taxes on themselves.” Hughes stressed the extent of the great change in the political composition of the legislature over the last ten years: “In ’51, there was only one member of the House who was a second-termer and who could be identified with the liberal or moderate cause. Why, you could be a moderate in that legislature and be out of character. The conservatives had all the know-how, and they used it. Progressive Measures “My theory of politics is this,” Hughes said. “The people deserve an efficient man working for them in office. I’d rather be a good, conscientious conservative than a poor, unconscientious liberal. I’ve enjoyed working more with good conservatives than with poor liberals. It’s good to work with an honest man, even though he may disagree with you. “One of the reasons I think I’ve been able to be re-elected all these timesmany people who disagree with my politics feel I’ve done an efficient job for my district. Many of my backers have been staunch conservatives. “I’ve run into two types of conservatives,” he said. “Those who vote the way they do because it’s to their immediate advantage to do so, for money reasons; and those who try hard to follow their own consciences.” Frates Seeligson, former representative from San Antonio, and Bob Hughes of Dallas he considers to be “fine, decent conservatives,” and he has been impressed this session with freshman Reed Quilliam of Lubbock, “for the way he handles himself, and for his conscientious decisions.” But Hughes, remembering those early days, has a deep understanding of the intense pressures exerted on young novices. After the first three weeks or so of this regular session, his desk-mate, a young man backed in his election by conservatives, turned to Hughes and said, “Charlie, you’re not as bad as those guys have been saying.” Why does he remain in politics? “Well, it’s hard for a lawyer to stay away from his practice so long, but this is the only thing I get any abiding sense of satisfaction out of. Some people do church work. Some work for charities. I’ve helped pass some pretty good laws. “It boils down to this, I guess you’ve got a lot of people down here who’re pretty nice guys. You’ve got a lot of bastards. We work for things that a majority of the nice guys can go along withprogressive measures that make a society better.” Sales Tax Fight president of the Texas AFL-CIO, has started a series of speeches around the state, with stops to include Waco, Fort Worth, Amarillo, Lubbock, Borger, and Abilene. ‘This is a fight between the representatives of the people and the representatives of large interstate corporations,” he said. The pressure for a broadbased tax will become greater rather than slacking off, it appeared, as Daniel declared that the estimated state deficit may be revised upward. General Irked by Picketing KILLEEN The Observer learned this week that the office of the commanding general at Fort Hood requested the Red Cross transfer the husband of a woman who picketed a Killeen store protesting racial discrimination. The request for the transfer was rescinded when the Red Cross disclosed that their staff member, Charles Ludwig, who has worked at Fort Hood for nearly five years, was already scheduled for a transferand a possible promotion. The Ludwigs are white. Last Sunday Mrs. Ludwig carried a picket sign reading “Racial discrimination as practiced by Craig’s is unfair to all,” parading in front of Craig’s Variety Store here, while six uniformed Negro soldiers staged a sit-in at the store’s lunch counter. The soldiers gave up their sit-in when a policeman told them that unless they did he would arrest them. A three-soldier sit-in on April 22 at the same store resulted in the arrest of the soldiers by 15 military police. The three were held incommunicado. The base public information office at that time told the United Press-International that the Negroes were being held in “protective custody.” While most Killeen lunch counters and all movies have resisted integration, the Negro military personnel are admitted to some counters. Sunday, three of the six who were turned away from Craig’s were subsequently served at the lunch counter of a drug store across the street, where the owner appeared uneasy but announced that “Their money is as good as anyone’s.” But the counter was closed shortly after they left. Craig’s lunch counter was closed when the six took seats. The store owner, A. G. Craig, refused to discuss the matter with the Observer reporter. The police officer who threatened the six with arrest refused to comment when asked what law he based his actions on. Five white observers, three of whom were soldiers in civilian clothes and two of whom were from the deep South, were interviewed. None felt the soldiers should have been turned away.
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