The Texas Observer A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South APRIL 14, 1967 25c Political Intelligence Texas’ City Sales Tax And Two Former Mayors V So far as can be determined, from reports from across the state, the city sales tax became a central issue in only two local elections at Amarillo and Wichita Falls where it contributed to the defeat of the mayors of both towns, men who support such a tax. In several other localities, Corpus Christi for one, the question bobbed up from time to time, but candidates voted not to embrace it, either way. The first elections on adopting the tax are expected later this year in several cities. Gov . John Connally has lately predicted that the state sales tax probably will have to be raised to three cents by the next legislature, in 1969, a statement that is sure to be a factor in any local option sales tax election. State Rep. John Traeger, Seguin, has hailed enactment of the city sales tax bill, which he introduced in the House during the last two legislative sessions, as offer-, ing municipalities an option to the prop erty tax. V At Wichita Falls, Mayor D. Clifford Burrus, a prominent sales tax advocate, was defeated by a challenger who campaigned on a platform opposing the tax. Burrus is the president of the Texas Municipal League, the prime lobby interest that was at work this legislative session in successfully pushing the tax into law. V At Amarillo, Mayor F. V. Wallace, an other tax supporter, was beaten in a record turnout by Ernest Stroud, a foe of the measure. Stroud ran up nearly a twoto-one margin over Wallace in a five-man race. Another issue at play was Wallace’s support of a socialized bus line for his city. Asked for a comment on his defeat, Wallace told the Amarillo paper: “No comment. I will tell you something funny, though. I was just called and informed I had been chosen to become president of the Texas Municipal League. Also, two other officers of the league from other towns sufferred defeats in city elections. All three of us are just a bunch of lame ducks.” Urban Renewal, Too t # Urban renewal was another issue. Mc Camey citizens voted five-to-one against instituting the program. In Denton a slate of three opponents of urban renewal won election to the council, which they will control. go0 At Fort Worth the Good Government League, organized last fall by the city’s Establishment, fared ,badly in its first test at the polls, clue largely to the The G.G.L. lost the two big races, including the mayoralty, and faces runoffs in six others later this month. The spectre of the five-to-one vote against urban renewal in 1966 was used with effect against the G.G.L.’s candidates, several of whom were incumbents on the council which supported the program. A coalition of staunch conservatives and real estate developers appears to have captured control of Fort Worth politics, particularly if a few others of the antiG.G.L. slate win in the runoffs. The G.G.L., though only somewhat less conservative than its challengers, is thought by some to have become deeply concerned about the city’s real problems such as diversifying the economic base, maintaining housing standards, and building more public facilities. The founders of the G.G.L. backed the town meetings which drew wide community participation in discussing the city’s more pressing needs. The anti-G.G.L. group is believed concerned, mostly, with loosening strictures that have applied to home builders and owners of rent property \(“slumlords,” City Mgr. J. L. Brownlee resigned last weekend to take a job with a local milling company; his job with the city was considered in jeopardy with the victory of the G.G.L. foes. Mayor Willard Barr, a conservative-tomoderate politically, who enjoys the support of organized labor, was beaten by staunch conservative DeWitt McKinley. Despite the politics of the two mayoral candidates, Barr carried eight of the nine precincts which Barry Goldwater won in 1964, precincts that are the home of the city’s civic and business leaders. McKinley won 45 of the 57 boxes in Fort Worth which went for LBJ. The defections of many liberals and moderates in support of the more conservative anti-G.G.L. ticket occurred, one theory runs, to break up the downtown powerhouse that has been running things for some time. The hope is, this analysis continues, that since neither slate of candidates was agreeable, then put the less powerful in office and hope for more suitable challengers in future elections. The six G.G.L. candidates who are in the runoff are not running as a ticket, but are conducting separate campaigns and publishing advertising about themselves only. Other Ins Win v Meanwhile, other Establishment po litical machines did better. The Good Government League in San Antonio won six council places and has candidates in runoffs for the other three seats. V In Dallas the Citizens Charter Asso ciation captured all council seats, facing dispirited opposition for only five of the nine places. V The Dallas school election held a sur prise, however. Three Establishment candidates, endorsed by both newspapers, and evidently sure to win, managed one victory, one runoff, and a loss against the upstart League for Educational Advanceinclude some of Dallas’ discreet liberal community. LEAD’s runoff candidate is a Negro physician, Dr. Emmett Conrad, who drew good support from Negro precincts. The American Nazi Party, now Dallas-based, distributed handbills calling for Conrad’s defeat. There was some question as to what day, a Tuesday or a Saturday, the runoff will be held; Conrad’s backers have urged a Saturday, as many of his support
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