taining their offices than in why they held them.” There is a split between San Antonio labor-liberals in the Coalition and what may be called business-liberals in G.G.L. “I’ve been associated with G.G.L. through the years on municipal government,” Bill Sinkin, pro-Yarborough businessman and a figure in Hemisfair, said. “It’s been smart enough as a reform movement to open the door a little wider each time, so that there is another Negro, another Latin-American . . . not necessarily like Sutton or Pena, abrasive people, who are needed … but the Rev. [Sam] James [a Negro on the City Council] isn’t going to take anything he doesn’t like.” Sinkin argues that it was not a liberal-conservative split. “Is Bernal a liberal? Is Nowlin a liberal? Is Daniels a liberal? And Reeves.” This division among people who consider themselves liberals has led to events that garble San Antonio politics. Pena speaks of legal fees paid attorneys and of other benefits received by liberals participating in the G.G.L. The issue, he says, is “the Coalition versus the power structure, and that’s all there is to it.” At one point he called Sinkin and Bob Sawtelle, attorney and a G.G.L. leader, “nematodes,” which Sinkin concluded meant parasites that live on golfing greens. Since Grace plays golf, Sinkin conjectured Grace was the source of the epithet. “Hell, it was just too much,” Sinkin says. “I can’t be at home with the Connally people. Philosophically I’m much more attracted to what Pena says and what Grace says.” But he has become opposed to the Coalition, which he says has eroded and started to “denigrate its integrity” by endorsing, not the best liberal in each race, but the candidate who is “anti-G.G.L.” THE REPUBLICANS voted this spring in the Democrats’ primary in San Antonio. The turnout in the GOP primary, Pena noted, was less than 1,500 compared to 12,000 two years ago. Maverick tells of a call he received from a Republican telling him they couldn’t keep their people out of the Democratic primary this time. “We couldn’t get out our people,” Pena says. “We can only surmise that the grand jury investigation into voter registration intimidated many of them.” Criminal District Judge Archer Brown, who has disallowed 500 of the registrations, who has criticized Franklin Spears’ Bexar manager, D.A. James Barlow, for not taking enough interest in the investigation, and who appeared tandem with Crawford” Martin in stories on the investigations, had about 8,000 letter mailed to naturalized citizens, former aliens, asking thetn for evidence of their naturalization. Bernard says U.S.naturalized natives of Mexico don’t want any truck with the law, especially a criminal district judge; poor people are alarmed when they hear from Authority. “My inlaws received these letters, and they’ve been American citizens for quite some time,” Pena says. Word of the letters could have spread throughout the West Side. Raleigh Mull, who works closely with Pena on political matters, has noticed that the 4 The Texas Observer turn-out in the West Side, between 25 and 35%, was numerically about equal to or higher than four years ago, and he conjectures that the free voters mostly didn’t vote, accounting for the low percentage turnout. Bernard says the figures show the poorer free registrants didn’t vote, while the financially better off free registrants did. “We couldn’t drag a free voter to the polls,” Bernard says. Apart from a candidate for justice of the peace, the Coalition was backing just one Latin-American for the legislature, and his name was Vale; the G.G.L. backed some Latins for the legislature about Whom, except for Bernal, liberals could not be enthusiastic. In radio spots on Spanish language stations the G.G.L. hit Pena for this, and Pena didn’t answer. He says that his position has always been that candidates should be selected on merit, not race. A G.G.L. strategist remarked to the Observer that his side made sure the West Siders knew Pena was opposing Bernal; “We told ’em!” the G.G.L. spokesman says. “The reason I couldn’t support Bernal was because he was tied in with that group. The lines are pretty well drawn,” Pena says. Racial and religious feeling, and a blend of them, worked against Grace and those on his ticket. “I suppose it’s a mixture of Republican Party and anti-Pena sentiment, and that the poverty war has broken down into a religious war between Catholics and Protestants,” Maverick says. The Observer will report further on this subject shortly. In brief, Catholics have long been engaged in works with the poor and have organized to adapt this ‘interest to the federal poverty war in San Antonio, in which they now have a dominant influence. At one point a Protestant group walked out of an antipoverty council in San Antonio; a Catholic close to Archbishop Robert E. Lucey has become the chairman of the San Antonio war on poverty. The matter may come to a climax soon over the issue of birth control. “Anglo Protestants were disenchanted with the Anglo liberals who went with the Catholics on this fight, which would include Charley Grace, “Maverick ‘says. Grace’s position in the dispute has been that more poor people should be on the central anti-poverty board. In that context he had John Gatti, mayor pro-tem, knocked off the board, and a Latin-American put on in his place. Gatti, angry, was in the first group that asked Reeves to run against Grace. The welter of publicity, Bernard says, is hard to follow even with a college education; Grace’s position has been similar in respects to that of Saul Alinsky’s, “but who knew it? You couldn’t follow it,” ‘Bernard says. “The thing about the low vote in the Mexican areas has got to be probed and studied and found out about. They don’t care about Grace? But why don’t they care about Alaniz? And the thing that’s scary is that the people we thought were close to it aren’t. Pena isn’t.” ALBERT PENA was the big bad wolf,” Maverick says. Speaking of “the horror movie,” he continued, “The fear of the Mexican influence in this town had something to do with it. Pena is hated by the businessmen in the same way they hate Walter Reuther. He’s a Walter Reuther Mexican and is in trouble.” Bernard said Pena’s being forced into a runoff two years ago and winning only three-totwo ought to have been a warning that the PASO-Crystal City matter had hurt him. In a parting, someone called playfully to another attorney who figured in that matter, “Remember Crystal City!” Bernard muttered, “Too many did.” “They start the TV program with the Hank Brown quote and then you see me whispering in Grace’s ear, the implication is the Mexicans are trying to take over,” Pena says. Obviously the Coalition was over-confident. Rex Ballard of the brewery workers believes it was spreading itself too thin, into too many local contests. No mailing went out to the Coalition’s county-wide backers. Most of all the Coalitionists were relying on the huge fund of expected support from the new registrants, including the 33,000 registered in What Judge Brown called the city’s “blighted areas” by youths in the war on poverty programs. The success of the registration drive caused a fatal euphoria. The absence of a “lead horse” on the statewide ballot who captured liberals’ and minorities’ enthusiasm was a serious factor. “We couldn’t sell Stanley Woods,” said Mrs. McClure. Bernard said copies of the ballot with Wood’s name circled at the top tended to be discounted. Spears is from San Antonio and carried ‘his home county over Martin almost 2-1, but did not excite the liberals. “There’s no question but that the governor was out to get us, and he did,” Pena said. “They spent a lot of money,” from $100,000 to $200,000, Pena said. “A lot of people were bought off on the East Side and the West Side,” he charged. “They claim they paid ’em to work at the polls and then they gave ’em an additional $3 to go to the conventions.” “They paid $3 a piece to attend the precinct conventions,” Sutton charged. “They offered $25 to $50 to get out of the race for committeeman. We had people in their campwe had people who got $3.” Mrs. Georgia McKinney, candidate for chairman of precinct 169, and a Negro, told the Observer, “They offered me $25, and then they went to $50, and I asked ’em was my reputation worth but $50. ‘What do you want?’ I just want to know what you think I’m worth.”Well, what about $100?’ `Well,’ I said, ‘call me back.’ They told me if I didn’t give the convention to them they were going to take it anyway.” ‘Mrs. McKinney said she had had this conversation with a lady on the phone. “I had a man to call me,” too, she said, and he also started at $25 and went to $100 if she would sign a letter resigning as a candidate for precinct committeewoman. THE OBSERVER had a long talk with a G.G.L. strategist who preferred not to be named. The Coalition’s first mistake, he said, was assuming that the LatinAmericans will always vote the liberal cause if they can be got to vote. The poll tax, to which he was opposed, nevertheless never kept many people from
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.