Some Possibly Related Events May 10. Eduardo Velasquez, 48, of Victoria, Texas, was killed when a barge struck some steel piling he was working on near Alcoa’s docks in Port Comfort. According to witnesses, Velasquez, an employee of the Austin Bridge Co., was welding when the barge struck the ends of several of the pilings, causing them to shift and to crush him. He was a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Victoria. He is survived by his wife, five daughters, four sons, his father, three brothers, and one grandchild. 1 May 14. In Austin, the labor committee of the Texas House of Representatives favorably reported out to the House a bill endorsed by the governor and acceptable to Texas labor to create a job safety board under the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It would have given the board authority to “adopt and publish safety standards for the prevention of industrial accidents and occupational injuries in every employment or place of employment,” but provided no penalties for failure to comply with these standards. The sponsors, Reps. Neil Caldwell of Alvin and Carl Parker of Port Arthur, had introduced a stronger bill with penalties for violations, but they had agreed to run with the governor’s substitute. “This bill was drafted in the governor’s office,” Parker said. Rep. Ben Atwell, Dallas, opposed the entire bill unless the Industrial Accident Board was given jurisdiction. Atwell said, “You say this is the governor’s bill. Well, I talked to the governor, and he A miffed Rep. Carl Parker, Port Arthur, who “went along” on a four-year term for governor, but saw his industrial safety law defeated. said he would accept any bill we send over.” Parker replied: “This is the bill Connally wants, which he said he could support. He doesn’t want it under the Industrial Accident Board.” May 15. A 22-year-old workman, Clyde E. Williams of Fort Worth, was working on a construction job near Lufkin for Temple Associates of Diboll when he received an electric shock and fell from a utility pole. He died in a hospital of head injuries. 2 May 17. A 35-year-old Amarillo man, Oscar Wofford Holmes, died of electrical shock when a telephone pole he was helping to erect fell against a power line. He was working on a job near Tyler for Conkling Contracting Co. of Wichita Falls. 3 May 18. To Caldwell’s and Parker’s astonishment, the governor’s industrial safety bill was rejected by the Texas House, 6968, in favor of a substitute endorsed by the Texas Manufacturers’ Assn. which created a job safety division to set either “goals” or standards for safety, with no penalties for violations. The new division was to be under the Industrial Accident Board, which is regarded as consistently pro-management. The governor’s brother, Rep. Wayne Connally, Floresville, did not vote one way or the other on the decisive vote, and when asked why replied “no comment” [Obs. May 28]. Texas labor decided that the value of the T.M.A.-backed bill would be less than the chances of passing a better bill in 1967 if nothing passed this year, and Sen. Jim Bates, Edinburg, accordingly “tagged”that is, delayed for a required public hearingthe T.M.A. substitute when it reached the Senate. May 24. The Houston Post editorialized for the House-passed industrial safety act, saying, “if a word from the governor is still all that it takes, he certainly should give it.” May 25. Two bricklayers for an independent contractor were laying a brick wall on top of a six-story parking garage in Houston when a 20-foot section of the wall fell on them, their scaffold gave way, and they were thrown six stories to the ground. Morris Ray Castello, 21, was killed; Harold E. Gorom, 46, was listed in critical condition. 4 May 27. Asked about the industrial safety bill in the Senate, Jim Yancy, lobbyist for the Texas Manufacturers’ Assn., said he was “trying to get Hazlewood to run with it” \(that is, Sen. Grady Hazlebut Sen. Andy Rogers, Childress, then retagged the bill. Bates told the Observer that the House sponsor of the T.M.A. substitute, Rep. Gene Fondren of Taylor, was to arrange a meeting on the subject the next day. Bates also said Fondren had told him “five minutes ago” that the T.M.A. bill is “the governor’s bill.” Caldwell said, “That’s simply not so. I personally picked [the bill creating a safety board in the Bureau of Labor Statistics] up from Larry Temple’s office and manually put it in my folder. . . . It was typed in his [Temple’s] office. He said, ‘This is what we’re going with. This is the governor’s compromise.’ ” May 28. The meeting Bates said Fondren was to arrange did not occur. Late that night, during a Senate filibuster, Bates told the Observer, “I promised labor I’d run with a substitute from Larry Temple, represented as the governor’s bill. I’m not running with anything else and I’m opposed to anything that defeats that purpose. . … It’s been represented by others to me that [the T.M.A. substitute] was ‘the governor’s bill.’ I asked Fondren to get the governor’s representative, Neil Caldwell, me, and Sherman Miles [labor’s lobbyist] together today. He said he’d work on it and let me know. I haven’t heard anything else. I wanted to straighten out which one was the governor’s bill and then see if we could work something out that would be agreeable to labor. I’ve given my word to labor and I’m not going to break it.” Fondren told the Observer : “Sen. Bates said he would not release it [the T.M.A. substitute] unless there was agreement by labor. I’m real sad to see it happen.” May 29. Saturday night, with the session two days from final adjournment, Temple told the Observer, “I gave it [the governor’s bill] to Carl Parker myself. We’d rather have the Fondren bill than no bill. That’s the difference between our position and labor’s. If the Fondren bill is the best bill we can get through, then we’re for the Fondren bill.” Temple said the governor’s forces had tried to help pass the governor’s bill: “The day we voted, we talked to people and told ’em we were still for the bill as it came from Larry Temple to Parker. We didn’t feel that the Fondren bill was just selling everyone down the river,” Temple said. May 31. The regular session of the legislature adjourned. In his speech to the legislators telling them “the record of achievement you have written . . . has been the most productive of any session in this century,” Governor John Connally did not mention industrial safety. No special sessions are indicated, unless one becomes necessary on redistricting. June 2. Leroy Finley, about 30, was working near the top of a light pole at a neighborhood baseball park in Breckenridge when the pole fell down. He died half an hour later. He was an employee of Texas Electric Service Co. 5 June 7. An explosion and fire in a Texas City plant killed one maintenance worker, Leroy Wilson, 38, of La Marque, and injured two others. The accident occurred in the autoclaves unit of the Union Carbide plant for reasons that were not immediately understood. 6 1San Antonio Express, May 11, 1965. 2Dallas Morning News, May 18, 1965. 3Corpus Christi Caller-Times, May 18, 1965. 4Houston Post, May 26, 1965. 5Austin American, June 3, 1965: 6Austin American, June 8, 1965. June 11, 1965 5
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.