The Texas Observer An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Volume 54 TEXAS, June 1, 1962 15c per Copy Number 8 AUSTIN Two of the most effective campaigners in recent statewide politics, with political styles and philosophies differing emphatically, wind up their bitter run-off battle for governor Saturday. The outcome is expected to be close: 50,000 votes one way or the other may decide it. John Connally, suave, handsome, and 45, has steered a steadily more conservative course since his superb first-primary turnout gave him just under 30 per cent of the six-way Democratic vote. Thirty six year old Don Yarborough, freewheeling and flamboyant, is making his bid for reform on all fronts. The ideological clash has been frontal and far-reaching, embracing most issues from state taxes and appropriations to specific planks in the Kennedy Administration’s proposals. In a newly-born coalition even more uneasy than the pre-War popular fronts, some conservatives who plan to vote for the GOP’s Jack Cox in the November general election are obviously supporting Yarborough on the theory he would be easier to beat than Connally. In many areas unsigned letters addressed to “Dear Fellow Conservatives” have been sent out asking support of Yarborough, adding,: “The true conservative, Jack Cox, can defeat Connally Campaigning in Houston, Galveston, and Texas City, Connally charged Yarborough with attempting to lay groundwork for a state income tax. “Based. on his wild spending proposals, the people of Texas can come to one of two conclusions,” Connally said. “He has advocated repeal of the sales tax, which was passed to alleviate a financial crisis: So, he is advocating either financial bankruptcy or laying the groundwork for passage of an income tax in Texas.” Such a tax, Connally declared, is favored by Americans for Democratic Action. It would be a “terrific setback for all of Texas, but it is in keeping with the political philosophy of the ADA handbook for political power. “Yarborough and many of his hackers are followers of the tactics of the ADA, which has sent aides into Texas to help my opponent.” ADA vice-president Joseph Rauh, Connally said, has become so worried about Yarborough’s chances he is issuing statements in Washington trying “to tell Texans how to vote.” Advising supporters not to be dismayed by smear tactics, Connally said: “This has been done before by the same crowd. Don’t let it upset. you. It is difficult for me to take this slander and this abuse. But the people of Texas are not morons and arc not misled.” As Yarborough “becomes more desperate, I he tempo of either Connally or Yarborough next November.” Connally’s recent attacks on out-of-state influence for Yarborough from “radical left-wing ADA” and “Eastern labor organizers” may be a reflection of concern for this right-wing response. General concensus apparently is that Yarborough, as in the last days of the first primary, is gaining. Whether the almost eight percentage-point gap which separated him from Yarborough can be closed is the deciding question. The extent of Saturday’s vote turnout is crucial. In the ShiversRalph Yarborough run-off eight years ago, there was a secondprimary increase from 1.35 to 1.46 million. In 1956, a DanielRalph Yarbcirough run-off, there was a drop from 1.57 to 1.39 million. Connally has predicted a one million second-primary vote, which would involve a 30 per cent decrease from the May 5 balloting. The figure might end up between 1.1 and L2 million. Connally has scheduled campaigning Thursday and Friday in San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, after concentrating on Harris County earlier in the week. Yarborough will be in Dallas and San Antonio Thursday, Fort Worth and Austin Friday. Most of the major themes of the campaign were stressed by the two candidates this week: Yarborough 0 In a swing down the Texas coast from Houston to Corpus Christi, Yarborough charged Connally has thrown up”a smoke screen” on the religious issue “to hide the fact that he left his secretary of Navy post not because he was anti-Catholic but because he was told to come down here and capture the governorship.” Texas would never have , had a sales tax, he said, “if Eastern interests hadn’t put the finger on the Texas Railroad Commission and got cozy with them on getting an eight-day allowable.” He referred to Connally’s state train tour as the “greenback special.” Connally, he said, will spend “bales of money” the last week of the campaign. He charged Connally supporters are “trying to buy our people. I’ll stand before the people of Texas and prove it with dozens of them if they ask me.” In Freeport, continuing his attack on what he called Connally’s allegiance to “Eastern monopolies,” he said former state Sen. Jimmy Phillips, now a lawyer for Dow Chemical, is “the biggest lobbyist in this area and he’s supporting Connally.” Later in the swing he said: “My opponent says it is irresponsible to repeal the sales tax, but he never mentions the real tax we ought to have on Interstate gas pipelines, because these are his cronies and his fellow lobbyists. That’s why every big lobbyist. In Texas is backing my opponent. PECOS The Billie Sol Estes investigation shifts to El Paso, to Washington, to Nashville, to Austin, to Memphis, but among newspaper people one of the great auxiliary dramas of the Billie Sol scandal is contained within one city block of Pecos. Lined up on the west side of this block is the Pecos Independent and Enterprise, snug up against radio station KIUN, which is right next door to the Pecos News. All are stucco buildings. Even by West Texas standards it is as bleak a city block as you will find. You stand in the middle of the street and either way you look the street seems to vanish into the prairie. All the buildings in sight are one-story, flat-top structures, except for the courthouse around the corner. In this block the fratricidal aspect of the scandal took place. The Pecos Independent, as everyone must know by now, can be credited with launching the massive Estes investigation. And the Pecos News, owned by Estes, has steadily done what it can in a pathetically yet heroically loyal fashionproducing some highly questionable news coverage and some incredible news play–to squash the matter. There is absolutely nothing about the papers in makeup or content that would prompt the average Texan to look at them twice, or even once. were it not for the accidental role that they have been called to play. At bottom, it is this basic insignificance that furnishes the drama of the Independent and News to many newspaper people around the country. These two papers offer the promise to smalltown newsmen everywhere that if they will just stomach the humdrum and the monotony of smalltown gossip and trivial news long enough, someday someone important in their community may turn out to be notorious and then they too can have a strong intoxicating draught of journalistic kudos. To the Defense President Kennedy’s televised press conference a couple of weeks ago, in which he said officials of his administration first revealed the Estes problem, was met by the press, especially the Texas press, with rebuttals. Editorially the Corpus Christi CallerTimes said: “While Kennedy and Attorney General Will Wilson are claiming the first action against Billie Sol Estes, let them be reminded that a small, bi-weekly newspaper, the Pecos Independent, deserves the credit for setting off the investigation.” David W. Hostel., editor and general manager of the Taylor Press and president of the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association, said in Dallas this week: “Long before the Estes case gained general interest in the East and especially in Congress, readers of Texas newspapers had been fully informed of the Estes scandal.” \(Which isn’t exactly true. Earl Mazo of the New York Herald-Tribune, for example, did some of the best. early stories on the national signifi In any event, this desire by the press to make a hero of itself quickly shifted from the general to the particular, and the anointed onethe one hundred percent full-time heroselected by the press was and is Oscar O’Neal Griffin, 29-year-old native of Daisetta. He is editor of the Pecos Independent and will continue to be until June 1, when he will pack his bags and move to Houston to join the rim of the Houston Chronicle copydesk. Until the Estes case came along and he was allowed to play at most a cooperative roleand rrobably more accurately described as a supporting role in developing itvery little of interest or importance had ever happened in Oscar’s life. He graduated from Liberty High School, edited the Fort Bliss News while in the army, graduated from the University of Texas In the Senate AUSTIN There are five Democratic run-offs for the state Senate Saturday, and in three of them political lines are significantly drawn. OIn the Beaumont-Port Arthur district, two House members are battling to succeed conservative Sen. Jep Fuller, who finished third in the May 5 first primary. Liberal Rep. Roy Harrington of Port Arthur faces conservative Rep. W. T. Oliver of Port Neches. Harrington led in last month’s election and has emerged as the favorite. OFor conservative Sen. R. A. Weinert’s vacancy in District 19, Rep. Ray Bartram of New Braunfels, a conservative leader during his long tenure in the House, meets Walter Richter, former director of the Gonzales Warm Springs Hospital who is running with liberal-labor support. Richter led the three-way first primary field, but this one could be close. OIn the sprawling El Paso Midland district, conservative incumbent Frank Owen of El Paso is being challenged by former Rep. Louis “Andy” Anderson of Midland, whose voting record in the House was moderate-to-liberal. Squeezed out in the first primary was Rep. Pete Snelson, also of Midland, a conservative. Owen is the favorite here. One of the other two run-off races may carry ideological significance, though on the surface it is not so apparent. This one is In Galveston, and pits a liberal in school of journalism, and then worked on a couple of weeklies before drifting to the Independent, a point in his career at which he arrived on August, 1960. He walked into a ready-made situation. Already the data that was to destroy Estes’ empire was being collected. For some time the Retail Merchants Association of Pecos had put out a bulletin which listed all sorts of records, including tank mortgages. About two years ago, the merchants’ bulletin stopped carrying news of the tank mortgages, at Estes’ request, but the damage to Estes had been done. ‘Write It Up’ Alan Propp, one of the owners of the Pecos Independent, told the Observer: “We’ve lived here a long time, and we know the farmers, and we know a farmer worth $75,000 is not going to be buying $100,000 worth of tanks. We discussed this while the bulletin was printing the tank mortgages, and when they quit running them, we out why. “We had a woman who collected data for us at the courthouse part-time, and we told her to start taking them down, and we sent her to courthouses in surrounding counties for the same In the House AUSTIN Liberals will have a chance to recoup some of their first primary losses to conservatives in Saturday’s run-offs for the Texas House. There are 40 runoffs for the 150-member chamber, and in a number of them liberal or conservative votes are on the line. More crucially, the battle for the House speakership will largely depend on the outcome of Saturday’s races. Conservative Rep. Byron Tunnell of Tyler, and Rep. Alonzo Jamison of Denton, a moderate liberal, have been vying for pledges ever since the regular session. A majority vote of House members decides who will be speaker. Eighteen incumbents have been forced into Saturday’s ‘run-offs. Among the most interesting challenges to conservative incumbents: Former UT football all-American Maurice Doke, a liberal, is running against Rep. Jack Connell, one of the four or five most conservative House members, in the Wichita Falls district. In El Paso Rep. Ned Blaine, a conservative, faces L. R. Downey,
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.