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The Texas Observer An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Volume 53 TEXAS, FEBRUARY 16, 1962 15c per copy Number 46 SAN ANTONIO Three of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa’s field directors were expected to arrive here by the end of the week to lay preliminary plans for a study that may result in the Teamsters’ attempting to organize migrant laborers and other Texas workers of sub-standard income. In a recent visit to San Antonio, Hoffa promised to move into the migrant labor field if his advance men appraised the situation as hopeful. Hoffa’s three agents will look over the labor set-up in Texas for two weeks. At the end of that time, they will weigh the chances for success. Their appraisal will determine whether or not Hoffa will ante up $350,000 from the Teamster treasury for a ‘threeyear pre-organizational program of conditioning the migrants to the thought of union effort, and conditioning the state legislature to the thought of easing up some of the anti-labor restrictions now on the books. This was the prospect given Wednesday by Henry Munoz, executive secretary of the migrant labor project of the Bishops’ Committee for the Spanish Speaking. Munoz was the man who got Hof fa to visit San Antonio recently and also the person who set $350,C00 as the probable cost of the pre-organizational work. “I said $350,000,” Munoz told the Observer, “and when he didn’t jump, I said it might take more. Hoffa doesn’t care about the cost. He’s interested in success. He said if he lost a strike of even three men, the papers all over the country would jump at the chance to play it up. So he doesn’t intend to lose. That’s why he’s moving carefully.” But he definitely intends to move into Texas migrant labor as he has in California and else where. “Absolutely,” said Munoz. Munoz said that word of Hoffa’s interests has already prompted bitter comments from church and business leaders in San Antonio. “A banker came to me the other day, complaining about our working with ‘this racketeer.’ I said I wasn’t aware of Hoffa’s ever being convicted of racketeering. I told him, ‘It’s like these migrants are drowning and Hoffa comes along and throws them a tube, and you tell them don’t take that tube because it comes from Hoffa. Does that make sense?’ I told him if his bank would put up 8350,000 to study ways to improve life for the migrants, I would take it and turn Hoffa down. That quieted him.” When Hoffa arrived at the San Antonio airport, he was met by a delegation of Mexican Americans identified as migrant workers who were carrying placards and chanting, “Help us, Jimmy? Jimmy, help us?” Hoffa was so impressed that he insisted the group . be brought along to the $2.50-aplate banquet and fed as his guests, Munoz said. San Antonio Teamsters for a couple of months have been conducting a free truck-driving school for unemployed migrants. Some of the graduates of the school have been placed in jobs paying as much as $2.59 an hour a magnificent salary compared to what they have been , earning in agricultural and odd jobs. Cong. Henry Gonzalez, the only state senator to defend Hoffa’s piggyback pension assessment, flew back from Washington to speak at the banquet honoring Hoffa. Electoral Inequities Examined AUSTIN Texas cities and metropolitan areas remain seriously underrepresented in the state legislature, vitiating the ability of state government to find solutions to pressing urban problems, a special study of the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Texas shows. Writing under the title “Legislative Reapportionment in Texas: Plan for the Sixties,” research associate Wendell M. Bedichek discloses that 41 percent of the state’s population can elect a majority of the House of Representatives, 31 percent can elect a majority of the Senate, and .38.5 percent can elect a majority of Texas’ 22 districted seats to the U.S. Congress. The 1961 reapportionment act, Bedichek writes, “must be viewed against the economic and sociological changes that have occurred in recent years in Texas. The main features of these changes have been a rapid increase in population, a changing industrial and agricultural economy, and wide variations in the effects of population shifts. “From 1950 to 1960,” he continues, “the population of Texas increased from 7,711,194 to 9,579,677, or an increase of 24.2 per cent. Urban population, however, increased 46.8 percent while rural population declined by 16.7 percent.” Some 75 percent of all Texans now live in urban areas. Agriculture and industry are undergoing geographical change. Cotton production is moving west to irrigated land, cattle-raising is shifting from west to east. The Gulf Coast, Dallas-Fort Worth, and oth?r areas are rapidly becoming more industrialized. SAN ANTONIO Gov. Price Daniel got a surprise boost in his bid for re-election Sunday by winning the formal endorsement of PASO, the political arm of Texas LatinAmericans. After a bitter floor fight Daniel edged Houston liberal Don Yarborough, 51% to 411. The close decision presaged a likely split in Latin votes next May. Yarborough and former Navy Secretary John Connally had been considered the two principal contenders, but Connally’s efforts for support faltered early in the convention. Other PASO endorsements went to Sen. Jarrard Secrest of Temple for lieutenant governor, Tom Reavley of Austin for attorney general, and County Judge Woodrow Wilson Bean of El Paso for congressman-at-large. Some 200 delegates from 30 counties v. ere present. Although most of the delegates have been active statewide in the Viva Kennedy Clubs, this was the first time PASO had flexed its muscles on the state level. It was an impressive performance, clearly a historic step for a minority group coming into its own. Speaker James Turman, who lost the endorsement for lieutenant governor to SeCrest, called the meeting the beginning of “a new political era in Texas.” Although most of the 24 Democratic and GOP candidates were not as frank as attorney general hopeful Les Procter”I am here with my hat in my hand, asking your backing”his attitude was indicative that Texas Latins have begun to wield unprecedented organized power in state politics. A number of important factors must be kept in mind: 1. Despite the gubernatorial endorsement and the theoretical ar rangement binding some 200,000 votes, the Latin vote is clearly going to be split between Daniel and Yarborough, just as the Latin leadership was severely divided in the convention. Dr. George I. Sanchez’ walk-out before the final vote and his repudiation of the Daniel endorsement was symbolic of the division. 2.”Yarborough has the troops,” as one insider said, and the principal way to reduce his strength was to offer something quickly and concretely to a -Latin community disgruntled over jobs and patronage. This Daniel could do. Connally could not. 3.Of utmost significance, a central thread connecting an unusual set of events, was the sense of estrangement ranking Latin leaders feel toward Texas liberals and labor. \(Said state president Albert Pena: “Too long have Mexican Americans voted blindly for candidatesDemocrats for the most partwho have then taken them ply, that liberals and labor have ignored the burgeoning Latin political force, that they have been patronized, and that an aggressive show of discontent would dramatize their grievances within the historic liberal coalition. The DOT endorsement of Sen. Yarborough in 1958 without a corresponding endorsement of Cong. Henry Gonzalez, the choice of la TARGET: MIGRANTS Hoffa Launches Texas Campaign PRICE EDGES YARBOROUGH Latin Group Split On Endorsement Coldblooded Wardens, Homemade Knives HUNTSVILLE Pete McKenzie is 59 years old, but he looks 75. He is a hard man, but life has been harder. McKenzie has spent about 33 years in prison, most of that at one stretch. He has more one-stretch time to his credit than any other inmate of the Texas state prison at Huntsville, and, with the exception of a sex criminal known fraternally as Old Trusty Dutch, McKenzie has lived the longest life behind “The Walls.” Old Trusty Dutch has spent 48 years there, punctuated by three clemency releases from his original 99-year sentence. McKenzie has been out only oncelegally–since he went to Huntsville 38 years ago, come this March 7. For 21 of those years his home was Cell 13, Row 243. That portion of the prison has since been torn down, but McKenzie has kept the key to Cell 13 for a momento. McKenzieeverybody in Huntsville prison from the warden down calls him Pete, but any man whose career has been such a violent phenomenon probably deserves more formal addresshas three killings to his credit: two lawmen by gun, a fellow convict by makeshift knife. He admits only the last slaying. For the second slaying he was sentenced to the chair, and lived under threat of that penalty for 12 years, 13 months of it on death row. McKenzie will tell you that technically he is still living under threat of the death penalty because he was sentenced to die as John Daniel Aaron McKenzie \(the sentence was commuted for John Daniel Marion McKenzie, his real name. “They pardoned the wrong man,” McKenzie told us with a wry smile and with the hint of secrecy, though this bizarre touch to his career is probably one of the bright spots of his life and he has undoubtedly told it dozens of times. We went over to Huntsville to find out about the evolution of penal philosophy in Texas, and the officials of the prison agreed that it just wouldn’t do to leave without talking to McKenzie, who had lived through all the changes. Warden Moore personally escorted McKenzie down from the old folks ward of the prison hospital to his own office and left us alone to talk. Moore has been a prison official for 30 years, and there is obviously a comradely bond between the two men. Coming down in the elevator, Warden Moore told about how he had been forced to manhandle a recalcitrant convict out of the bullpen and, when it looked like the convict \(a big man; Moore is small, might want to fight back, “Pete, stepped between us. and told the other guy he’d better forget about it.” As for McKenzie’s feelings about Moore, he confided privately that the convicts call Moore “Owlhead” because “he cocks his head to the side, and he knows everything that goes on. He’s square. He could lie down in the prison yard and go to sleep, and nobody would harm him.” McKenzie, an emancipated welterweight with an expansive forehead and intense blue-gray eyes, is hard-pressed by asthma. He gulps for air and frequently resorts to his medicinal atomizer. Several guards accosted him with the joke, “Hey, Pete, carrying your Luger?” and McKenzie pulled the atomizer from his pocket and waved it at them, explaining in a smiling aside, as a good craftsman speaks of his tools: “I always liked a Luger. I could use it best.” A merchant policeman, investigating a burglary, was shot and killed in El Paso in 1923. McKenzie, then 19 years old, was convicted of it and sentenced to five years to life. “The judge told me, you go down there to prison and be a good boy for five years and they’ll let you out,” McKenzie recalled. “Well, I was a good boy, though it was mighty hard to be a good boy in prison in those days, but at the end of the five years they didn’t let me out. So I appealed to Governor Bush and he gave me a brush pardon.” This, in prison patois, means McKenzie took to the high timber; escaped. It was simple. McKenzie, an employee of the dining room on the Eastham prison farm, slipped out the door when the guard was not looking and walked off across the watermelon patch, leaning down to thump about every fifth melon, as though he were hunting a ripe one for the officer’s mess; then jumped into a ravine, hightailing it. “It was comparatively easy to do in those days,” he said. “If you got a few minutes start, you were all right. That’s all over. You