three-man commission, telling him they were in Howard Rose’s office and would like to see him. Rose is an administrative assistant to Connally. Dodgen had already heard by grapevine that Weldon Watson, the No. 2 man in the State Department of Welfare, was to succeed him. The three commissionersOdom, Moursund, and Dellingerwere there in Rose’s office. Odom “just told me that the commissioners had decided to put Mr. Watson in. They asked me if I’d accept a status as consultant until the first of the year. I did some quick adding up and it came to $4,000, and I said I’d do that. Of course, I never was consulted, except on one occasion, when Mr. Watson asked me for a report on the white wing season. “Odom said that they had figured out that I was entitled to full retirement, and I corrected thatthat not either by length of service or age was I entitled to full retirement. I said, ‘Let’s also get it straight that I’m not retiring voluntarily. I ,don’t want the people to think anything like that.’ ” Dodgen said the release the commissioners had in hand specified he was entitled Six points of view on the Parks and Wildlife Commission’s ruling that permits shell dredgers within 300 feet of live oyster reefs in Texas bays: “The plain truth is that the wonderful sea belongs to everybodyit is the unmatched heritage of all of us. And no politically pushed scheme that would allow a few people to make a filthy, mud-spewing mine out of it should be tolerated. . . . And nobody should be allowed to despoil Galveston and Trinity Bays.”George Carmack, as editor of the Houston Press, Oct. 12, 1963. “If these industries that are dependent upon shell are not given relief by the Parks and Wildlife Cmsn., there will be many thousands affected adversely. Plants will shut down. Men will lose their jobs. Family incomes will stop. The economy of the whole Gulf Coast area will suffer.”E. B. Good, president, the Houston Shell & Concrete Co. and the Gulf Coast Portland Cement Co., in the Houston Post Oct. 20, 1963. “The Commission is satisfied beyond question, based on testimony and opinions of experts, that live oysters will not be injured or adversely affected so long as dredging is not permitted within 300 feet of live oyster beds.”Parks and Wildlife to full retirement pay, but that after Dodgen corrected Odom on this, the release was also corrected. Dodgen says that if he had stayed on until he was 65, he could have drawn, social security plus retirement pay, about $600 a month, and “I coulda lived on it.” DODGEN CONTENDS that the new commission changed the state’s rules on shell dredging purely for political reasonsthat the shell dregders had put up campaign money for Connally. “I think it was purely a political situation,” Dodgen said. “The consolidation was motivated by politics, and shell was the big end of the push. The shell people knew that they were never going to get within 1500 feet of those shell reefs as long as I was in there. The law says the executive director has to sign the permit. They knew that there wasn’t enough governors, game commissioners, or vice presidents in the world to get me to sign a permit, because I just wouldn’t sign it. The commission could direct me to sign it, but I wouldn’t do it. I’d just say, ‘You’ll have to get yourselves somebody else.’ ” Cmsn. announcement of the 300-foot rule, Oct. 24, 1963. 1 4. . many informed, experienced and competent persons, including marine biologists, believe that from a practical standpoint implementation of the commission’s decision will mean the death of these reefs and, within a short time, the depletion of this natural resource. . . . It is a gamble in which, if the public loses, it may not be possible to recover the loss.”The Houston Post, an editorial, Nov. 10, 1963. “This isn’t just a little guy after the big guy. This is the people vs. a few shell dredging companies.”Rep. Bob Eckhardt of Houston, attorney for oyster fishermen and sportsmen, at the organization meeting of “Save Our Shell” in Texas City, Nov. 10, 1963, quoted in the Houston Chronicle. Dodgen said the shell people had been before the old Game and Fish Commission many times trying to get relief from the 1500 foot rule that barred them from dredging for dead oyster shell closer than 1500 feet to live oyster reefs. There is, he said, “a little more than 100 million dollars, gross, involved. It’s about 100 million yards of shell that they can now get at they didn’t used to be able to. They’d been before our game commission many times, asking for relief. The old commission refused specifically to do the thing that the new commission did.” On Oct. 24, the new commission approved a rule permitting shell dredgers to dredge within 300 feet of the shell reefs. On the one hand, the dredgers and spokesmen of industries that use the shell had argued that they needed to get the shell closer to the live reefs or they would be out of business and men would be out of work. On the other, sportsmen and oyster fishermen said siltation caused by dredging this close to live reefs would kill the oysters, as well as hurt fishing which flourishes in the vicinity of live oyster reefs. Rep. Bob Eckhardt has been retained by oyster fishing and sportsmen’s interests and is seeking a court order against. the 300-foot rule. The commission has modified it, but basically it is still in effect. One of Eckhardt’s opponents for the Democratic nomination for state representative, Art Forbes, had a full-page ad against Eckhardt in an advertising supplement in the Houston Chronicle last week in which shell interests contended that unless they are let dredge 300 feet from the oyster reefs, thousands of Houstonians will be thrown out of jobs. The oyster argument has ramified dramatically into the current governor’s race, with the entire oyster industry in Texas giving the gross proceeds of a whole day to Don Yarborough’s campaign \(“A Day for associated with the Connally cause allegedly assisting in an advertising campaign in the Houston area designed to discredit oysters as not fit for human consumption. Now Howard Dodgen contends that this complicated story really runs back to a time in 1955 when Lyndon Johnson and his friend, A. W. Moursund, had a falling out with three game officials on Moursund’s ranch. Johnson has since become President of the United States, and Moursund is one of the two trustees of the Johnson family’s radio-TV empire and one of the three park and wildlife commissioners. Carl Dupuy of Lufkin, one of the old game and fish commissioners from 1959 through 1963, said, “If it did happen, it’s a bad thing for Mr. Johnson to have had Mr. Connally put Moursund in as commissioner. I don’t think Moursund has any place on that commission, because of his refusal to have his bag searched. That would be my personal opinion.” Dellinger, the present parks and wildlife commissioner from Corpus, referred the Observer’s inquiry for comment on why Dodgen was fired to Odom. Odom did not respond to the Observer’s call. R.D. The Live Oyster Reefs: Six Points of View “I did not hear the testimony [in the shell dredging hearing], have not personal* ly studied the matter nor carefully analyzed the order or its effect. But I know the commission had an open hearing and I have confidence in the three members and their integrity and desire to do an outstanding job. If I did not feel that way, I would not have appointed them.”Gov. John Connally, quoted in the San Antonio 4 The Texas Observer Expres’s Nov. 14, 1963.
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