tive Democrats and conservative Republicans. “The remarks, records, campaign utterances, and attitudes” of the nominees for these three offices, the report said, “obviously leave much to be desired, not only by organized labor but by all the people of Texas.” And in a key passage: “Texas State COPE endorses measures leading to the creation of an actual two-party system, and looks forward to the day when IN THIS ISSUE The labor convention and its unique political happenings are fully covered in this issue of the Observer: Cox and Connally, pages 1 and 6 Lieutenant Governor Candidates, page 2 Foes for Attorney General, page 2 Joe Pool and Des Barry, page 2 Speeches and Warnings, page 3 Convention Intelligence, page 3 both parties will offer the people of Texas candidates of the highest possible standards and caliber.” Should subsequent statements of these candidates warrant it, the convention decided, another COPE meeting will be called after the state party conventions to reconsider the no-endorsement policies. Conflicting Points While taking its stand-off policy on congressman-at-large, the delegates had some biting words for Republican Desmond is an irresponsible and vicious labor baiter whose whole campaign is a personal vendetta against a trade union.” Those delegates who opposed Connally’s recommendation argued that a delay would allow labor to bargain for a more effective position, and that Connally’s election would harm both Ralph and Don Yarborough in 1964. Connally supporters countered that a strong race by him would help other Democratic candidates friendly to labor and that his election would be interpreted as a victory for President Kennedy. In another important decision, a compromise was reached on the leadership’s proposal for a per capita dues increase, to be used chiefly for public relations and political activity. The assessment was hiked from 8 to 13 cents per member per month. Brown had requested an increase to 17 cents. ‘One-Party Rule The opening 15-minute statements by Cox and Connally were lively enough to provoke frequent laughter and applause from the some one thousand delegates, many of whom had never seen such a straightforward political display. Cox, speaking first, said: “I am not here on orders from someone higher up. Nobody sent me here, and nobody has told me what to say. Let m e assure you that although we may disagree on certain points I am not here to smear you. I do not question your patriotism. I do not doubt your love for our state, nor your loyalty to our nation.” Displaying a large reproduction of the “Connally Can Give GoAhead vs. CIO -Red” advertisement which appeared in an El Campo newspaper, Cox said it would “live in infamy as one of the most vicious and irresponsible mass indictments ever made. “Texas labor is by no means alone on the receivinc end of smearing at the hands of the man who is opposing me for governor,” Cox declared. “His long career as a behind-the-scene po -oft an abolition bill reported favor The Texas 1 bserver An Independent-Liberal Weekly Newspaper A Window to the South Volume 53 TEXAS, JULY 20, 1962 15c Per Copy Number 16 HOUSTON A new legislative approach to the abolition of capital punishment in Texas was indicated during a discussion led by Reps. Bob Eckhardt and Charles Whitfield here this week. Whitfield, who sponsored a bill for abolition in 1961, and Eckhardt, who favored abolition as chairman of the criminal jurisprudence committee, agreed that ably by that committee might have resulted in more harm than good. The bill sponsored by Rep. Ronald Bridges of Corpus Christi, they agreed, would have had the effect of substituting a large number of jury verdicts sending people to jail for life without parole in place of the five or six per Oil Scandals Reach Harris AROUND TEXAS The East Texas oil drilling scandal, which is already beginning to make the Billie Sol Estes extravaganza look minor league, spread this week to Harris County. Atty. Gen. Will Wilson filed a $4.5 million suit against two Tyler operators, R. H. Hedge and Billy Bridewell, after a survey on one of their wells in Harris County. Total penalties now sought by the state for the alleged illegal drilling stand at $23.5 million, and the surface has barely been scratched. The general investigating cornmittee of the Texas House, meanwhile, announced after a lengthy consultation with Railroad Cornmission chairman William Murray that it will investigate “conspiracies involving law viola; a tions.” The committee said it believes “a great number of people” are involved. Murray struck a similar theme. “This is not like shoplifting where one person can go into a store and do it by himself. This has to involve a large number of people.” Three Railroad Cornhave resigned, two more have been dismissed, and among those named in the state’s penalty suits have been County Judge Earl Sharpe of Gregg County and Judge David Moore of the 124th District Court. Of the some 500 oil operators holding property in the East Texas field, about ten percent have been involved so far. The investigation has yet to branch out to the West Texas fields. sons executed in Texas now each year. Eckhardt expressed opposition to abolition based on the adoption of life-without-parole. In give and take with members of the Houston chapter of the Texas Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment who had gathered at the Jewish Community Center for this occasion, Eckhardt advocated an approach he said would not reverse progress in prison practices during recent decades. He suggested, in effect, that a special board be created to decide, at the end of a given number of years \(he suggested life sentence in lieu of a death sentence would then be treated as a regular prisoner at that point, subject to ordinary programs for reduction of sentence for good time served, or whether he would continue to be a special prisoner not subject to parole. ‘Healthy Skepticism Whitfield said the Bridges bill was made tough to persuade as many House members as possible to vote for the abolition of the death penalty. Even so, there were not enough votes to pass it, he argued. Whitfield had first introduced a simple repealer, but gave this up. Eckhardt opened the discussion saying the main reason he opposes the death penalty is his “healthy skepticism about judicial progess.” While he thought the Anglo-American judicial process the most ingenious ever devised, still it is far from perfect. “A determination that cannot be recanted, that cannot be rechecked, is something that we ought not to undertake,” he said. “Man, if he is intelligent and restrained, understands the limitations of his own procedures.” Whitfield presented his reasons LAREDO Leaders of the new Republican organization in this border town predicted this week that Jack Cox will get up to 40 percent of the nine to ten thousand votes cast in Webb county in November. In neighboring Zapata county Angel Flores, a write-in GOP candidate for county judge, is given a 50-50 chance to win over his Democratic opponent in November. These activities sum up the remarkable progress the new Texas Republican party has made in recent months in those South Texas counties sometimes referred to as being in “the George Parr area of influence.” Only the status of Starr County seems to remain the same. The story of the Duval County anti-Parr faction’s switch to the GOP has become well known around the state since Clarence Schroeder, Duval County Republican chairman, was jailed May SAN ANTONIO A historic state convention for Texas’ AFL-CIO, with direct ramifications on a developing two-party system and with the strong suggestion that organized labor is emerging as an independent political force somewhat removed from the two major parties, “recommended” Democrat John Connally for governor over Republican Jack Cox, but took a neutral posture on general election races for lieutenant governor, attorney general, and congressman-at-large. Candidates from both parties for the four principal statewide offices appeared in public session before the convention delegates, made speeches and answered questions, and waited until late this week for floor action on the COPE executive committee’s report. That report, presented to the full convention Thursday, was approved by a large majority, with the only concentrated opposition to it coming from the OCAW of Jefferson County. COPE’s recommendation of Connally means that Texas organized labor will remain at least tentatively intact in the governor’s race, with the possibility of some scattered dissent. President Hank Brown may be expected to campaign for the Democratic nominee. Listing the statements and pledges of both Cox and Connally, who met in an inflamed confrontation Tuesday, the approved report said Connally’s views “more nearly coincide with our goals.” But since Connally “will be the chief architect of the Democratic plat’orm in September, “we will watch closely to see the views expressed before this convention take definite shape” in the plaform. In other words, a “second look” will be made. In the other three races, labor made it quite clear there was little to choose between conserva 28., for contempt of court in a hassle over his party’s primary records. The grand jury subpoenaed Schroder’s copy of his party’s records after County Attorney 0. P. Carillo, a friend of Parr’s, called for an investigation of the May 5 GOP primary which attracted 260 of the county’s approximately 6,000 voters. Carillo said “evidence of wholesale fraud” had come to his attention, although some questioned his use of the word wholesale in reference to 260 votes. Schroeder was jailed overnight, then released by a federal judge and nothing has been heard of Carillo’s investigation since, although he told the Observer that he planned to carry on. Take away the dramatic court fight, and the Webb County story is very similar to Duval’s. In Duval County the nucleus of the new Republican organization came from the old, anti-Parr Freedom Party. In Webb County, the GOP organization grew from what was called the Reform Party. Although Webb County is generally considered to be in the “George Parr area of influence,” the local political jefe is Joe C. Martin. Jr. Martin is caleld “The Cricket,” a nickname from his school days. Homero Martinez, a husky exPOW of World War II who refuses to accept a government pension, is one of Webb County’s most enthusiastic new Republicans. He is associated in business with John Hurd, Laredo oil man who is Webb County GOP chairman. The Webb County Reform Party was organized in 1956, Martinez said, to oppose Martin’s “Independent Club.” In 1961 the Reform Party was dissolved and the Republican Party organized. Six Republican candidates for county offices will be on the November ballot. “But the changeover wasn’t all peaches and cream,” Martinez said. “Our legal and strategy committee has discussed it for six months. We had been In poll tics for six years and had only won three places on the county school board and four places on the county Democratic executive committee. We were trying to see why we were not quite making it, although we were coming close in some elections. In 1960, for example, we got 48 percent of the total vote.” The decision to go Republican was made, Martinez says, for several reasons: “We had always had some in the Reform Party who were really Republicans. We realized that the Democratic Party in Texas was influenced too strongly by our opposition to ever listen to us. Also, many of us began to realize that we identified more closely on a national level with the Republicans than with the Democrats. It was a very controversial decision, however, and some of our members remained Democrats.” Only 500 voted in Webb County’s Republican primary on May 5, but Martinez predicts that, just LAWMAKERS SPECULATE New Approaches To Death Penalty HANDS-OFF IN OTHER RACES Labor Favors Connally THOSE SOUTH TEXAS REPUBLICANS
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