WHAT JUST ONE PERSON CAN DO Everything you need is downtown and at the Downtowneryou’re there For information on how you may obtain a valuable Downtowner Motor Inn Franchise, write the Downtowner Corporation, Franchise DepartmentHA, 202 Union, Memin the center of tines Austin One of my most-cherished notions is that one individual can make a difference, no matter where or what he is. Lending nourishment these days to this fragile axiom is a persistent former Texan who now publishes and edits newspaper in Frederick, Col., a tiny town north of Denver. You’ve probably been noticing an occasional headline back near the classified ads of your daily paper latelSi, saying something about oil shale. J. R. Freeman is the; cause of these headlines, and I suspect that they are going to move toward the front of the newspapers, and into larger type, before too much longer. What’s it’s all about is this: the Interior Dept. has been getting ready to sell about eight million acres of its land in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. The conservativelyestimated reserves of oil in the shale beneath the Rocky Mountains in those states is two trillion barrels, whose worth would work out around $40,000 per U.S. household. There is enough oil there to last this country 1,800 years. Some of that land has more than three million barrels of oil per acre and some of it has been sold to oil companies for $2.50 per acre by holders of nongovernment land in the area. The nation’s major oil companies had been hoping to buy that land from the government without anyone paying much attention, perhaps grabbing the tracts at non-competitive prices through dummy buyers. But then J. R. came along and, late last year, began a weekly frontpage series in his paper about the situation. Moreover, he began writing 0-very governmental official he could think of, urging that this national treasure not be let go too cheaply. Ramparts magazine, in its current issue, discusses J. R.’s efforts and, last month, the Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee began hearings, inquiring into the situation. “We do not start on the premise that the Interior Dept. program is noncompetitive,” said subcommittee chairman Philip A. Hart of Michigan. “But we have learned through experience most recently with the quinine stockpilethat agencies facing the nuances and complexities of disposal of government property sometimes do not put the value on competition we would like to see.” So perhaps, through J. R.’s efforts, the nation’s treasury will receive a wad of cash commensurate with the value of that treasure trove of oil. On May 8, as J. R. was driving to Boulder, to confer with someone on the situation, a blue Oldsmobile pulled up behind him and three shots were fired into the rear of his car. One of the shots sent a shower of shattered glass down his neck. Fortunately, he was unhurt. The last I heard, no one knew who had done the shooting, but I expect the police are working on the theory that some people had become upset with J. R.’s brand of journalism, particularly his concern about the oil shale reserves. Just a few weeks before the shooting J. R.’s office had been broken into, while he was on vacation, and his files gone through. Some cash and other valuables, worth several hundred dollars, were untouched. The punch line of all this, for me, is the fact that J. R. spent ten years working in the composing room of the Dallas News, cursing his employers and laying away every dollar he and Elaine didn’t need for raising their children. Finally, in 1964, he began looking around for a newspaper to buy, and settled on The Farmer and Miner in Frederick. And now he’s bugging the big money boyswith a newspaper purchased with Dallas News money. Houston and Huelga I’ve been wanting to be in several different places at the same time in the last few days Austin, Houston, and Starr county, to name three. Much is going on in Rio Grande City as the farm workers’ strike there has reached a crucial point. Please be assured that we are mindful of this and intend to have a full report on the situation, hopefully in the next issue, if the closing of the legislature doesn’t crowd things too much. And of course, Houston. What is going on at Texas Southern University? What factors have caused the anguish the people of that city’s Negro community have suffered so that some of them became anarchistic? I intend to get to Houston between now and the next issue to spend as much time there as I can. Without pre May 26, 1967 15
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.