Austin Welcome, and welcome back, to our fair and beloved city, somber gentlemen of the Texas legislature. On January 27, Governor Connally delivers his address to keynote the session and fulfill his duties as the leader of the state. Accordingly we remind him of some undelivered promises. For three years he has promised us better colleges. We have nothing to show for these promises. He did veto $11 million or so spending for the colleges because he wanted to put brains before bricksthat was the reason he gave, was it notbut the result of the veto was to deny the colleges $11 million in bricks. Brains are better than bricks but bricks are better than nothing. We have not had any Rainey, Abernethy, or Koeninger cases during his tenure, and for that we can praise fate, but hardly the governor: he has put no pressure on the two Texas colleges censured officially for violating academic freedom to get off the censured list; to the contrary, he honored one by putting its president on his personal committee on the colleges. This committee did its best, which was not very well. We have in hand, in gross consequence, two proposals: one, to spend more, a lot more money on the colleges, a sensible prescription ; two, to give Governor Connally total personal control of the colleges, outside in, for the next decade by giving him a super-board, all of the members of which he would appoint, to run every significant detail of college policy in Texas. In light of the governor’s blatant policy, at least in the University of Texas architects’ case, of awarding state contracts as “gifts,” Frank Erwin saidto political friends, this second prescription could be poison. In light of the governor’s big business stacking of his own colleges committee, it also suggests its own real, even though perhaps not wholly intended purpose, to make the Texas colleges prep schools, not for life or scholarliness, but for dutiful service in the networks of needs of the industrial and corporate power structure. Yet the governor tells us that if he doesn’t get his super-board, he doesn’t want higher professors’ salaries. If he means this he makes mincement of his own most tirelessly repeated promises. The 27th we shall hear what we shall hear. He has promised to help working people by getting them an industrial safety law to help protect them from being hurt at work, and by getting them a State Department of Labor. It has been some time since he made these promises, true, and labor union leaders have not dealt with him kindly since then, but several hundred thousand people, union and non-union, continue to get hurt preventably at work in Texas every year, and a promise is a promise. He has promised to help adults who can’t read and write to learn how. There are, he says, seven or eight hundred thousand of 2 The Texas Observer these people in Texas, functional illiterates, and he wants the state to give them a hand up. This would be wonderful. In fact, we dare say that if the governor delivers on this promise, history won’t go hard on him if it is problematical whether he has delivered on higher education. To help the poor was the work of the Lord. We could make up one of those lists of “the issues facing the 59th legislature,” but it’s really very striking the way those lists do not change much, odd year to odd year. We seem still to need a water program, the districts haven’t been redistricted yet, our mental patients need more intelligent provision, education is still the poor cousin who needs a handout. Baffling. In this session, especially, alas, in the House, we see the power structure, skin peeled back to the muscle and the bone. Lt. Gov. Preston Smith has announced his committee appointments, and characteristically they serve conservatism, but given that are not unfair. Yet the Senate has already affronted Sen. A. R. Schwartz of Galveston, who does his own thinking, by passing him over for president pro tern. The governor’s shuffle of Byron Tunnell to the Texas Oil Commission \(block that misnomer, the “Texas Railroad CommisDeLeon to the House Speakership could mean a somewhat more moderate House than under Tunnell, but probably will not, for there seems to be little independence in the House. The first day only nine representatives, at the high point, supported Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Brammer, Larry Goodwyn, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. Subscription Representatives: Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; El Paso, Mrs. Jeanette Harris, 5158 Garry Owen Rd., LO 5-3448; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 4-2825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; Rep. Bob Eckhardt’s baleful, necessary opposition to a minor rules change that is plainly unconstitutional. This s pr in g and early summer we shall see what we shall see. We are tempted to prejudge the House as the most conservative since the Shivers era; but forebear. At least the official state front for the Sales. Tax League, \(to block yet another misnomer, “the Texas mending abolishing the exemption of groceries from the sales tax or raising the sales tax rate. In our intuitive judgment, the primary goal of good men in this legislature ought to be the avoidance of either of these two new burdens on poorer Texans. If it isnecessary to hold down new spending to avoid them, it should be held down. In Beautiful, Beautiful Texas let us do our part in the War on Poverty at least by refraining from warring on the poor any more than we already do. The 59th, you know, is a dinosaur legislature. After this, the Redistricting. Then we may faintly begin to hope for a legislature more responsive to public interests, so that its attitude toward having so recently soaked the citizens with the sales tax will not be, “Well, let’s soak ’em some more,” but rather, “Well, it’s the corporations’ turn,” say with a corporate profits tax, or a graduated personal income tax or a tax on long natural gas pipelines. If you gentlemen of the 59th will just get out of town without sales taxing groceries or raising the sales tax, and without giving away the state property tax that’s paid mostly by wealthy landowners and business, and without making it harder for people to go to college by raising college tuition, your work will be its own reward; and of course, you want no other. San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6 -3583; Tyler, Mrs. Erik Thomsen, 3332 Lynwood, LY 4-4862; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, 33 Aberdeen Ave., Apt. 3A. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer publishes articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present it is token. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage. Unsigned articles are the editor’s. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26. 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.00 a year; two years, $9.50; three years, $13.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. Welcome, Somber qentiernen THE TEXAS OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 59th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 57, No. 2 74OPP January 22, 1965
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