Denton What will be needed to reform Texas government? The mind boggles at the very idea. Perhaps a 2,000-gallon drum of napalm in the Capitol Building in Austin and a 20-megaton bomb at the intersection of Commerce and Akard in Dallas going off together would be an acceptable start. But, friend Dugger, if you’re really serious about this business of formulating some sort of program that us wild-eyed folk can rally aroundhere goes. I think it’s a fairly accepted fact in Austin that every elected official of our state government sells out in some form or another. Let’s face it, with what we pay most state officials, especially legislators, and the cost of campaigning, you’ve got to get money from someone. I know this may be regrettable, but it’s true and we might as well work from there. So ole Honest Joe Blow is selling out perhaps to those nice guys over at the Texas AFL-CIO or maybe to those evil oil pipeline companies. But if the voters knew who is selling out to whomwhere Jae gets the money to livethey could at least This item appeared in The New York Times Book Review Sept. 11, in the column “In and Out of Books” by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, under the title, “Good News from Texas”: The second biggest state, known for wide spaces, high piles of money, flying bullets and men of few words, has been of late stacking a literary deck. For openers: from Scribners in September, This Stubborn Soil by William A. Owens, a memoir about a boy growing up on the frontier to become a teacher. \(The protagonist is now on The October, The Last Picture Show a third novel by Larry McMurtry, the earlier two having been Horseman, Pass By and Leaving Cheyenne. And from N.A.L./World, The Texas Country Editor: H. M. Baggarly Takes a Grass-Roots Look at the National Scene. Mr. Baggarly’s editorials appeared in the Tulia Herald, Tulia being a small town not far from Amarillo. What at least Owens and McMurtry have in common, besides being Texans, is publication in the Texas Observer, a weekly newspaper published in Austin and advertising itself as “A Journal of Free Voices; A Window to the South.” Clustered on the masthead of the Observer is a clutch of writers who should be heard from. Among them are Larry L. King, whose first novel The One-Eyed last year, and who is at work on a second; Ronnie Dugger, the editor and guiding spirit of the Observer since the mid-fifties, and the author of a book about Claude atherly, the Hiroshima pilot, to be pub see what those special interests were getting for their money. Take the case of a leading public figure who has been hopping all over the Lone Estar State, not to mention other climes. Now I don’t know where he is getting his money. I know the taxpayers are slipping him $4,800 a year plus other considerations. But my friendly travel agent tells me, round-trip, Houston to, say, a certain South American city, economy-class, is $476, and I know of few family men making $4,800 a year who can make that trip. Of course, like most other legislators, the present subject may be holding down a fulltime job somewhere. I haven’t heard of it, but then Denton is not the best listening point in the state. But obviously as much as he gets around, he must be getting some contributions from somebody. That’s not necessarily badif we know where they are coming from. I feel the solution is fairly simple. Every year, every public official in Texas from justice of the peace on up should be required to make his income tax statement public. If he felt this was an undue lished in England by Victor Gollancz but thus far without a publisher here; Elroy Bode, perhaps the Observer’s most prolific writer, mud .’ pursued by book editors but yet to produce a book; Bill Grammer, author of The Gay Place; and Willie Morris, now a New York magazine editor. Actually, Morris comes from Yazoo City, Miss., but he went to the University of Texas in Austin “to get liberated.” The memoir he is writing, a piece ‘of which appears in the current issue ‘of Commentary, sounds the keynote of the whole Observer group liberal, intelligent, personal, and slow to anger. The winner of a Houghton Mifflin Fellowship Award, Morris’s memoir will appear next year. We might add to this item from New York that Larry Goodwyn, another of our contributing editors, is at work on two books, one on the history of the Southwest, another about the South of the present seen against Goodwyns interpretations of the historical South. Robert Sherrill, a contributing editor of the Observer and the Nation’s Washington man, has completed his book on Southern politicians. Elroy Bde’s sketches are receiving serious consideration for publication as a book, despite a commercial prejudice among the trade publishers against sketches as a form for writing. A book based on the Observer’s special editions on three men, Roy Bedichek, Walter Prescott Webb, and J. Frank Dobie, has been signed up for publication and will appear next year.Ed. invasion of privacy, well he could just not run for public office. With that statement would come a supporting document, if needed, to make it clear just who paid him money for what. Non-taxable income such as campaign contributions, the fair market value of such things as the use of airplanes, cars, and hotel rooms should also be included. Most important, suitable penalties for false reporting or non-reporting, such as an automatic suspension from office, should be included. In short, a man who believes it’s perfectly all right to accept a legal fee from some person would be perfectly free to do so. Then it would be up to the voters to look at his voting record and decide for themselves if that fee influenced the man’s voting. So there you area potential plank in the liberal manifesto. Or should we stick with Guy Fawkes? Jim Barlow, P.O. Box 939, Denton, Tex. Guest Editorial An editorial from the Arkansas Gazette of Sept. 16: John Connally is the best governor Texas has had since Price Daniel, the last one. Who else would have been considerate enough to go all the way to New Braunfels to tell the Rio Grande Valley huelguistas that he would not be in Austin when they got there? The new federal minimum wage bill finally reported out of conference committee and sent to the president for the first time includes some categories of agricultural workers. However, not all of the protesting Texas field workers will ‘be covered .. . and the “floor” to be established next February for those who are covered will be only $1 an hour, where the Valley marchers were asking a state-determined minimum of $1.25. The new federal law establishes a new minimum of $1.40 an hour, starting on February 1, for manufacturing workers and others who were already covered under existing law . . . While the House and Senate conferees were still wrangling at Washington, Generalissimo Franco’s Cabinet at Madrid issued a decree establishing the same legal minimum of $1.40, starting now. We have been unable to determine whether farm workers are included under the Spanish law, but if they are, Governor Connally’s message to the Valley Latinos could have been an even simpler one: “You should of stood in Spain.” September 30, 1966 19 ………….,……..,……._………._.,……__,…., Texai Society i I to Abolish 1 Capital Punishment memberships, $2 up I eassuaibuisrwoue.orsamiru.s…..rwmeolm. ,..m.onws.a. PORVIE OR AIRFOILS\( A Modest Proposal ‘Good News from Texas’ P.O. Box 8134, Austin, Texas 78712
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