politan areas in the Southwest have low incomes and that Laredo and the Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito area in Texas and the California labor market areas of Los Angeles-Long Beach, San BernardinoRiverside-Ontario, and San Diego contain large numbers of poverty-stricken families. The “subculture” of Latin-Americans in a border city was delineated by Marion Cline, assistant professor of education at Texas Western College in El Paso. The city of El Paso is reluctant to spend tax funds in the mexicano slum areas and private enterprise shies away from investments so close to the border, he said. A child growing up in this situation clings to his native Spanish, watches Spanish TV programs from Juarez and listens to Spanish radio broadcasts, and having no or few Anglo friends, is embarassed to use his broken English. Growing up in an overcrowded house, he finds it hard to study, even as, in school, he finds the proceedings difficult to understand. About 70% of the LatinAmericans in El Paso drop out of school before high school graduation, Cline said; perhaps 10% of the Latin-American population there attend college, and “all but very few fail out or drop out. It appears they never had a chance to begin with. Perhaps it won’t always be so.” Mrs. Vera Burke, director of the social services department of the Bexar County Hospital District, presented a grave indictment of conditions in San Antonio. The district consists of a general hospital with 330 beds and a geriatric and convalescent sanitorium with 250 beds and is part of the South Texas Medical School Hospital. It serves the poor, whose illnesses, Mrs. Burke said, “are frequently a result of severe economic deprivation.” She pointed out that mothers getting aid to four dependent children who are under 16 years of age get just $115 a month for them from the aid to dependent children program. “Most of these families live or shall I say exist on $115 a month, and it is, therefore, easy to see why our hospital wards are filled with children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea,” sicknesses usually associated with underdeveloped countries, she said. In December, 1964, in San Antonio, 2,520 families containing 8,862 children under 16 were getting an average A.D.C. payment of $87.46 a month ; the average per child was $24.87 a month. In addition in Bexar County, 10,211 recipients of old age assistance were getting a maximum of $83 a month; 274 blind people were getting $90 aid at the most per month; 420 permanently and totally disabled persons were getting, each month, a maximum of $69 aid. Mrs. Burke said: “. . . in San Antonio the schools do not require that all children be immunized against such diseases as diptheria, whooping cough, and polio with the result that in 1962 San Antonio with a population of a little over 600,000 had 4% of all diptheria cases in the United States.” The cost of providing medical treatment of these sicknesses would have more than paid for immunizing every schoolchild. 6 The Texas Observer Compulsory school-attendance laws in San Antonio are not enforced, she said. “Freouently children are taken out of school because of inadequate clothing, inadequate food, and ignorance on the part of parents on the importance and value of an education. Can we really hold these parents responsible for not sending their children to school if we as a community do not provide them with the basic necessities for keeping children in school, nor show them the rewards for continuing in our schools? It is not possible to inculcate standards of middle class morality on an empty stomach in housing that defies description. . . . “Children are brought to our hospital malnourished, unkempt, and frequently abused by their parents; they are the innocent scapegoats in a life that is like a ‘page out of Dickens.’ ” The district’s clinicial facilities, designed for 10,000 to 15,000 visits a year, in 1964 handled 172,954 visits, she said. “In our hospital, which has 39 obstetrical beds, 3,504 babies were born in 1964. Simple arithmetic will show that the mother’s stay in the hospital averages 48 hours. . . . Is it a wonder then that the baby is frequently neglected and is brought back to the hospital several weeks later weighing less than its birth weight.” THE THRUST of the statement of the Dallas County department of public welfare, presented by its staff director, G. R. Coker, seemed to present a more positive sounding picture than Mrs. Burke’s statement, but touched also on apparent deficiencies in the Dallas situation. “We are admitting we are administering a limited service that in the last eight years had doubled” in total cost in Dallas County, he said. The state of Texas, Coker said, has no general assistance program for the poor, and the Dallas county program is not required by state law. As a state, Coker pointed out, Texas ranks 34th in old age assistance payments \(an average of $70.24 and 45th in aid to families with dependent “It is obvious that these programs are not adequate to meet the needs of welfare families, or to help them move above their current status as poverty stricken persons,” according to the statement of the Dallas County welfare department. The total expenditure for 1964 by the Dallas county welfare department, according to its report, was $710,000, which was 3.6% of its total budget. The average spent per client was $21.34. The agency’s federal food division issued 444,600 pounds of federally donated foods to 182,000 persons. The Rev. Earl Allen, CORE leader in Dallas, and Clarence Laws, regional director of the NAACP in Dallas, each assailed the Dallas school system for maintaining effective segregation under cover of token integration and for denying Negroes the opportunity to progress adequately in the school system. Herbert Wincorn of Dallas Conference Photograph `We have the means to do it.’ Vice-President Hubert Humphrey in Tucson told of a vocational training program for unskilled unemployed people jointly conducted by the industry concerned in Dallas the textile industryand the schools. Four Dallas people who went to Tucson to tell of their poverty got no chance to. Although about $20,000 of federal money was spent in part to bring about 120 such people to the conference under subsidy, few of them hand a chance to be heard. Each morning of the conference a breakfast was held during which officials of the federal war on poverty described various aspects of the law and told what to do to get under its provisions. \(In subsequent issues on poverty in this region the Observer will make use of insights here obence that of the seven regional offices to be opened for the war, one will be in Austin and another one in San Francisco and that these two offices will correlate the anti-poverty program in the Southwest. If the conference on poverty here was a “pseudo-event,” that is, one contrived to happen for reasons of publicity, at least one aspect of it was not: the testimony of six Arizona social workers that the Arizona state welfare board should stop its conscientious objection to the war on poverty. One of the panelists, Steve Allen of TV, while apologizing if his remark sounded dramatic, still said that if there was any retaliation against the six for their bitter indictment of Arizona welfare, please to tell him, and he would tell the country.
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