everJe Observer Notebook LAND COMMISSIONER Jerry Sadler last week sallied forth with a highly interesting accusation : the Feds are at work again, trying to finesse good old Texas out of Padre Island. “Did we fight and win the tidelands only to hand them back piecemeal?” Jerry demanded. “Are we to cast aside every principle of states’ rights because of hasty enthusiasm for a proposal that is strictly a one-sided bargain ?” The Feds should mind their own business and pay attention to keeping the grass mowed along Pennsylvania Avenue. The state of Texas, Jerry said, should keep Padre Island and make something out of it on its own. A curious proposition, indeed, when one considers that the state of Texas has retained only a miser’s interest in its present parksto the point, indeed, that one of the nation’s potentially most magnificent park systems had tottered perilously from one year to the next on the point of disrepair. The legislature, in fact, was so suspicious during the last session of parks in general that it almost abolished the park board and relegated its functions to that versatile and perspicacious group, the state game and fish commission. The commissioner says he is afraid that the Feds would take the 200,000 acres of submerged land around the island, mineral rights and all, thereby depriving Texas of several million dollars in mineral development. Yet IN HOUSTON last week, right after the sales tax had gone into effect, one fellow not only refused to pay it, he hit the waitress with a bottle of hot sauce, balked at eating the meal he had ordered, and stormed out of the restaurant. The gentleman’s unbecoming conduct may very well suggest things to come. If plans are shrewdly laid; there is going to be more hot sauce in next year’s elections than anyone would ever have imagined. That great groundswell of public sentiment the Sales Tax Citizens told us about in the spring has almost overnight, for some curious reason, fizzled and sputtered and spun crazily into reverse. The groundswell was so great in those days, you may recall, there were members of the 57th legislature who calmly and at every opportunity voted against pipeline taxes, corporate income taxes, escheat bills, two-factor corporate franchise taxes, 1 1A-factor corporate franchise taxesnot to mention our temerarious bugaboo, personal income taxes. From the reports we get, however, things aren’t going so well out in the provinces. Folks sense ‘Somebody has done them in. Certain legislators who have been around too long anyway are getting a little shaken up. Even old Wardlow Lane, grandpaw of HB 20, says he may ask for physical protection: The most harried people in the land, our waitresses, notice that tipping has dipped rather sharply. Home builders say the price of houses is going to go up to between $200 and $300. Letters-to-the-editor columns. are bristling; a fellow writes the Houston Chronicle : “State legislators who voted for the sales tax are fall ing all over each other trying to ex . plain why they voted for it. A friend suggested an essay contest, of not more than 500 words, by these ‘rep Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. SEPTEMBER 9, 1961 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Bob Sherrill, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager both the House and Senate bills on Padre Island, as well as the YoungKilgore legislation in Washington, reserved the mineral rights to either the state or its owners. Reviving the old tidelands issue in the name of states’ rights is as irrelevant as it could be destructive. The federal government, under Secretary of the Interior Seaton and a Republican administration, offered no less than $8 million to be spent in the first four years if Texas and Congress would authorize a national sea shore area. Seri: Yarborough and the Interior Department people have said that from the start there would be a system of access roads, hospitality centers, beach facilities, camping and picnic areas, and all the other facilities which have been developed on a grand scale in other national parks. This is Commissioner Sadler’s “onesided bargain.” Blind to its own self-interest, impoverished by the same sluggish and narrow-visioned conservatism that has made the state’s social services among the most dilapidated in the land, Texas may some day in the future awaken to the possibilities waiting to be tapped in the parks it now operates. But the chauvinism that raises the old bogeyman of federal encroachment on the Padre issue is not only ludicrous, it threatens to rob the whole state of a splendid holiday area that it may be able to have practically for the asking. roundoweit resentatives of the people’ entitled ‘I Voted for the Sales Tax Because . . Some have already come up with a few jimdandies.” An Austin restauranteur did a six-day test jest before September 1 and found out he would have collected $13.08 in pennies and would owe the state $20.11, for a net loss, not counting labor, of $7.03 for six days. If you think the restaurant people are mad, the retailers are seething like a group of Paris sansculottes. What is happening, of course, is that the people are beginning to understand where Granddaddy Lane’s hardy innovation falls most heavily : on little people and little businesses. The small merchant who sells small items, like candy bars and soft drinks, can’t collect the levy on sales under 25 cents but has to pay the state on his total sales. The small business with less manpower and smaller profits has to give the state more time and more money. As our printer said this week on the tax on newsprint: “This tax hits the little plants. The big outfits can get their paper three times cheaper than we can.” And that modest young enterprise, called the Texas Observer, which struggles for subscriptions and has never been noted for its earnings, has to hike its rate to $5.10, and add to the work of its two-man office staff while its more fortunate colleague, the Dallas News, continues nonchalantly to pile up its profits. And yet the most revealing development of all in the reverse groundswell comes to us from Joe Belden, who now tells us 54 percent of the people disapprove, with only 39 percent approving and seven percent not knowing yet. Mr. Sealy’s aspiring polls have either vanished down the kitchen sink or been sauted in hot sauce. IRESSrc Ronnie Dugger, Contributing Editor EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. 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. mire’s stand the St. Louis Post Dispatch commented : “The courage to fight a lonely battle, and to fight it harder because it may be a losing battle, was displayed by Sen. Prokmire in his two-day attack on confirmation of O’Connor. President Kennedy proposed the Texas oilman for the FPC, Speaker Rayburn wants him there and so does the oil and gas industry. Against such opposition, Sen. Proxmire did not expect to ther appointments of industry men to federal agencies which regulate their industries. If such appointments have somehow become traditional, the tradition totally opposes the purposes of regulatory law and the interest of consumers.” WE HAVE received a communication from Martin Frost, a graduate of Paschal High School in Fort Worth and a sophomore journalism student at the University of Missouri, on the National Student Congress After serving as a delegate, Frost concludes that “liberalism still reigns supreme among the nation’s youth” despite Time Magazine’s observation last February that “a conservative tide is sweeping U.S. colleges.” The student delegates, respresenting almost 400 colleges and universities, passed resolutions against the House Un-American Activities Cornmittee and for the re-opening of the East German border to provide free access to all students to the University of Berlin. Another resolution condemned the Cuban invasion. The principal conservative opposition, Frost writes, came from an organization called the Young Americans for Freedom, and a MadiSon daily kicked up a storm on the opening day of the congress by listing almost a dozen men’ who serve as both directors for the YAF and the John Birch Society. The most heated debate of the session was between Mike Harrington, a socialist, and Fulton Lewis III on the ominous film drama ‘Operation Abolition. When the delegates went on record against the HUAC, 269156, Lewis left the meeting and told reporters he intends ; to take a copy of the resolution and debate its merits on campuses all over the nation. Some delegates, Frost said, wore large gold buttons proclaiming: “Goldwater in 1864.” A MANUFACTURING friend of ours in Houston describes Jim Wright’s speech on Latin America before the Houston Rotary Club this week as a “superlative statement” in which he “dealt realistically with the necessity of land reform and with the necessity of our not being friendly with the wrong leaders in’ these countries.” Citing the “past failures and disappointments” in U.S. foreign policy, the Fort Worth congressman said the “decisive battle of the cold war” will be fought in Latin America. “Let there be no mistake about it,” he said, “Latin. America will not be denied. “Today it is a power vacuuma churning cauldron of conflict, of keyed-up emotions and long-smothered aspirations gasping for air. “But the status quo will give way.. Its threadbare barricades are already in tatters. Change will comeand it is the shape and direction of that change which concerns each one of us deeply and intimately. “Lest there be any doubt of our personal stake in the future of the 20 nations which make up Latin America, consider that they are not only closer to us but also more important to us than any other area of the world .. . “The promise of land is communism’s greatest weapon in Latin America. The ownership of land is ‘its greatest fear. In Venezuela, 90 percent of the land is owned by three percent of the people. In Cuba, 90 percent of the people do not own an inch of land or a penny’s worth of equity in any real property. Throughout Latin America, more than onehalf of the tillable acreage is owned by 1.5 per cent of the people . . “Our involvement in the abortive attempt last spring was the worst blunder we have .made in recent times . . . “Simply shoring up the shaky regimes of existing governments in times of local strife is not enough. “The United States too often has been identified in Latin minds with unpopular and undemocratic regimes which have often dispensed our largesse as though it were their own patronage and sometimes used our military assistance for their own internal purposes in the manner of police states. “There needs to be a new outlook, a new understanding, and a new approach.” HARRIS COUNTY Chief Probation Officer Paul Irick has urged James Turman, head of the Texas Youth Council, to concentrate in one metropolitan area all four juvenile probation officers authorized by. the special session of the 57th legislature. “If you let them all work one area, people can see what a parole supervision program can really mean,” said Trick. “If you scatter them out, the lesson won’t be as striking. Houston would probably rate one of the new parole officers, but I have told Turman we will gladly dispense with the addition if he will concentrate all four in one spot.” Houston, the sprawlingest metropolitan area in Texas, is covered by only three county-paid juvenile parole officersone of whom handles 375 cases, including those he checks on periodically in Gatesville–and yet even with that skeleton staff, the Harris County juvenile probation department has been able to cut the number of returnees to prison from 42 percent \(as of January 1954, when ent 24 percent. Irick claims that with a strong parole staff they could cut the number of returnees to 14′ or 15 percent, which would be one of the best in the nation. 4:HOUSTON public school teachers are receiving invitations to another “citizenship” courseapparently the same one that was endorsed by the school board last spring but under a new name. The latest program is being conducted by Jim Dobbs and Associates of Austin. Last spring they were known as the George Roberts Citizenship Courses, and they were run by Professor Roberts and his top associate, Jim Dobbs. Professor Dobbs this time has the endorsement of Professor Bob Eckels, an acutely vociferous member of the school board. Several HOuston teachers had protested having to attend the compulsory lectures on comparative economic systems conducted by Professor Roberts. Their main complaint was that Professor Roberts was in truth not a professor at all, and that he derived his income from a number of large companies who had hired him when they thought their junior executives needed their politics straightened outor, more correctly, melted down and twisted in rightish curlicues. The Houston Press looked into Professor Roberts’ background and found the academic part of it to be somewhat hazy. The Professor has reportedly left Houston, and the younger savant is now in charge. An assistant purchasing agent of a large pipeline company in Houston, one Roland Sledge, has .also endorsed the citizenship programs of both Pro fessors Roberts and Dobbs. When re porters and photographers from the Press came to interview Professor Roberts at his room in the Rice Hotel last spring, Professor Sledge re mained in the wings. More specifical. ly, he hid in Professor Roberts’ W.C. W.M. The Old Bogeyman i rrelevant and Aotructive THE TEXAS OBSERVER
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.