the owners seem to agree on is that if they improved their property they would have to raise their rent to a price the tenants could no longer afford to pay, not only to cover the cost of improvements but also the rise in taxes. One landlord says that tenement owners would really like to sell their properties but cannot find any buyers. One counter argument against the position taken by landlords is that owners could improve their property so that it meets minimum health and safety standards and then write off the improvements on their income tax returns as investment losses. One El Paso man who has tenement property of his own and who also works at a real estate agency on South El Paso Street, has a supply of reprints of a Saturday Evening Post article which he gives out to interested parties. The article, by prize-winning New York Post reporter Joseph Kahn, is entitled, “We Need More Slumlords.” The article stresses the idea that the average slum landlord is not a heartless fellow living on the misery of the poor. When asked what he would like to see happen in South El Paso during the coming year, the landlord replied: “Nothing.” He doesn’t want a fair housing code because he said that inspectors could then come into the apartments anytime Incorporating the State Observer and the Eak Texas Democrat, which in turn incorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor. Greg Olds. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Editor-at-large, Ronnie Dugger. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Associate Manager, C. R. Olofson. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Sue Horn Estes, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The Observer publishes articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present it is token. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated they wanted to creating a situation which he felt was bad. He also doesn’t want urban renewal. “Those who don’t have it usually want it; those who’ve got it want to get rid of it,” he said. He had definite views about South El Paso. “I’ve lived here in this town all my life. I know these people; they’re not too ambitious. You just can’t build them a brand new apartment and then charge $5 a month for it. They would tear it up. It happens every time. Read the article.” Since El Paso does not have a fair housing code it is ineligible to receive federal funds for urban renewalassuming that such funds were ever desired. The city does have a tenement ordinance which, among other things, requires one bathroom facility for every eight rooms and one sink for every 24 rooms, but this ordinance is not rigidly enforced. Some of the tenement owners are in favor of closing the border to immigrants. one owner, who states he was once a student of Eugene Debsand quotes Debs as saying that “every social remedy creates another social problem” says, “There are always going to be poor people. We can’t take care of everybody.” He gives Stockholm, Sweden, as a model for El Paso to follow. “There are no slums in Stockholm,” the landlord says. “And you want to know why? Because they with the enterpriSe shares’ this ‘rearkinsibility with him. Writers are responsible’for their ‘Own work, but not for a.nything they have not theniselves written, and in publishing them :the editor does not necessarily imply that, he .agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. Unsigned articles are the editor’s. Subscription Representatives: Arlington, 0080; Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Corpus Christi, Penny Dudley, 12241/2 Second St., TU 4-1460; Dallas, Mrs. Cardye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Denton, Fred Lusk, Box 8134 NTS, 387-3119; Ft. Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St., Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 42825; Snyder, Enid Turner, 2210 30th St., HI 39497 or HI 3-6061; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c: prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer. 504 West 24th St.. Austin. Texas 78705, Telephone GR 7-0746. Houston office: 718 Capital National Bank Building, Houston, Texas 77002. Telephone CA 8-7956. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. stopped immigration. I’ve been there; I’ve seen for myself.” O N JANUARY 4 of this year three children, Ismael, Orlando, and Leticia Rosales, died in a South El Paso tenement from smoke inhalation and asphyxiation. A bed too near an illegal gas heater and a faulty gas connection were blamed. City building official Carlos Bomback said later that the apartment’s heater was improperly vented. He recommended that the city ordinance be changed to require proper appliances, properly installed, as a condition before property can be rented, enabling inspectors to deal with the owners instead of the tenants. The 1964 Slum Council report says on page 17: “We are of the opinion that many persons would be asphyxiated each winter, if it were not for the loose windows and doors and cracks in the floors and walls, allowing fresh air to enter the rooms to supply oxygen to the occupants.” South E1 Pasoans became aroused at the deaths of the Rosales childrenmore aroused than the Anglo leaders in the city realized, according to Dr. Knowlton. He feels that South El Paso could have exploded if demonstrations had not occurred to express the feelings of the south side community. The day after the deaths demonstrators mainly young peopleflowed out of Sacred Heart Church after a special mass and marched to the City-County Building carrying’ banners demanding that the city do Sorriething to prevent a recurrence of such` a: tragedy. Frank Gallardo, asistant director of the Project BRAVO barrio program, was asked by the marchers to speak to Mayor Williams on their behalf. Mr.’ Gallardo’s meeting with the mayor in’ the ‘mayor’s office ended in a shouting’ match, with Mr. Gallardo saying to Mayor`Williams as he left; “I’ll see you at the polls.” Mr. Gallardo was later called before BRAVO board members for questioriing about the part that federal agency employees had had in the demonstration. An editorial in the El Paso Herald-Post stressed the fact that the city had an ordinance forbidding the use of unvented heaters. \(It is legal to sell unvented heatThe editorial went on to say that if the protestors were going to picket city hall they also ought to picket the tenement owners who do not provide adequate and . safe heating facilities in their properties. It also suggested that they picket the El Paso citizens who, a few years back, “howled down a proposed housing code on the grounds that city inspection of homes, in the name of safety, would constitute a `police state’.” As a result of the children’s deaths in the tenements, the current seminar series was organized by the UTEP sociology department in cooperation with various community service organizations. Many in the south side who were under the impression that the seminars were going to provide immediate solutions to long-ex THE TEXAS OBSERVER Co Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1967 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South ‘ 61st YEARESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. LIX, No. 20 74W Oct. 13, 4967
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.