Garcia returned to say, “You have come to maturity, as we have in San Antonio. You have shown you are first class citizens willing to do everything you can for your country. . . . Your compadres’ in San Antonio have come down here on their own time to help you. Now you must help others in Sinton, Mathis, Baytown, Eagle Passall the towns where our people need help. I don’t care what they say there is discrimination in Texas and the only way we can stop it is through your vote. Nothing can stop us!” A high pitched and enduring roar. Fuentes closed: “Go, in peace, to victory. Remember the words of the great Benito Juarez: ‘Respect for others is peace.’ ” Then there was a dance on the round cement slab, and an auctioning off of a large TV set. Roberto Lopez’ bandaccordion, steel guitar, and guitar, back stopped by a drummer who looked about 14began to play. Couples formed, including the very young . . . girls dancing with girls down to the age of five . . . a maelstrom of arms and legs and whizzing dust and wind howling through the microphone. S ELECTION DAY broke, Anglos’ resentment permeated the town, a living hostility that broke out suddenly in conversations. Mayor Holsomback and the late city manager, L. L. Williams, admittedly ran the town for 25 years. Holsomback had carried on, since Williams’ death last year, with fellow councilmen E. W. Ritchie, J. C. Bookout, W. P. Brennan, and S. G. Galvan. Their differences were laid aside now ; they stood united against “Cornejo and his boys.” City Atty. Jay Taylor’s office stood just beyond the crowds queued up to vote at city ‘ hall. “Certainly we’re resentful of this union bunch coming in here and stirring up a bunch of rabble,” he said. “We never 6 The Texas Observer had any trouble beforeor any discrimination.” He said the local Mexicans had the purest motives, but the union people shoved them into the background and “named their own slate.” Taylor said the pro-incumbent forces were worried but thought that they would win. “Our better Mexican element will not go along with this movement,” he said. “This is a good town. Shoot, I’ve seen some towns in South Texas where they won’t even let Mexicans open a business downtown. We’ve never had that here. We have a number of Mexican teachers in the schools. Our assistant football coach, assistant band director, are Latins. My oldest son . . . has a Mexican teacher for Spanish. . . . My youngest boy is named Joe, but do yob know what they call him in school? Jose. . . . One of the little girls came home and told her mother she had a new boy friendnamed Jose. Her mother made an inquiry and come to find out it was my boy.” Taylor said there is no discrimination in the schools, and as for the streets not being paved in the Mexican quarter, “Well, all streets not paved by bond issue are paid for onethird by the property owners on each side of the street, with the city paying the middle one-third. It’s as simple as that.” Fuentes charged that the swimming pool was segregated, Anglo or Latin, on alternate days, and disinfected after the Latins’ day. Just when this practice endedlast year, or several years agois not certain. The mayor denied the pool is segregated, and said he never heard of any such practice. A Mexican has never been on the police force, a fact Anglos explain by the smallness of the force. Stories are commonplace among the mexicanos of being fined $100 for offenses for which Anglos would be fined $10. But in fact, the campaign charges of both sides were difficult to assess. Garcia’s claim to have been thrown out of a restaurant along with one of the candidates was front-paged in San Antonio papers and agitated the town for days. He was, indeed, asked to leavefrom a restaurant . that made a practice of serving beer only with meals. Informed of the policy, he says he ordered a “piece of bread” and in the resultant furore was asked to leave by the proprietress. The Boy Scout incident also drove most of the town’s Anglos wild. They explained, with some heat, that one businessmen’s club in town had always sponsored the Mexican troop and another club the Anglo troop. It was only after this second group stopped its sponsorship, went the explanation, that the Lions stepped in and offered to take up the burden. The Anglos were outraged at the heavy coverage given these pre-election incidents by the press of San Antonio. “You can quote me as saying the coverage in the San Antonio papers was sickening,” said city manager Taylor. Though the specific campaign charges of discrimination that helped keep the mexicanos heated up were denied, some Anglos conceded what one called “the broad pattern of discrimination.” He said there were 1,400 outdoor privies in town, “and at an average of six people to a family, that’s practically every Mexican in town.” One incumbent councilman said, “There’s no discrimination. There’s just too many of one race.” But another citizen said, “The Mexican is still the chili-belly, the garlic-eater, the spic, the greaser to the Anglos in these parts. And we are still the gringoand what else, I don’t know to the Mexican.” A prominent young Anglo matron, who declined to be quoted by name, conveyed emotions that give insight into some of the feeling: “Why this whole thing is awful. Those outsiders coming into a little ole bitty town like this. I’m just mortified. People like that coming in and taking over. It just scares you to death. . . . They don’t know how to handle money. Haven’t handled over a $35 paycheck in their lives. . . . If they take over and spend all this money, who’s going to pay for itthe landowners? . . . And young Latin girls, running around to some of our best Mexican people and saying awful things to them, like ‘Gringo lovers.’ Deserters of your own people’things like that. That’s the kind of thing these outsiders have stirred uppeople in this little town hating each other now.” She was angry with local Republicans for backing a local minister, Arnold Lopez, one of two independent candidates. She was furious with Pena and Reps. Alaniz, Johnson, and Rudy Esquivel of San Antonio about letters on their official stationery backing the five candidates. “Isn’t that illegal?” she asked. At mid-morning the line outside the city hall was a block long, with
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