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have the experience of selecting the menu herself. Another instance occurred at the end of the session when legislators are wont to get together and gift each other, rather like high school graduation. My husband had worked Monday and Wednesday nights, often till very late, on the state affairs committee. When the chairman announced plans for a farewell banquet, we were pleased at the thought of sharing dinner with these men, who had spent so many gruelling nights together, and their wives. Somebody passed the hat to buy a gift for the chairman. My husband was distressed when one member, too proud to live off the lobby, simply refused to contribute because he had just enough money left to eat on that week, no more. We arrived at the banquet a little late, looking forward to a few drinks and a lot of sentimental speeches, but found that we knew hardly anybody there. The place was rampant with engineers. Instantly we understood: the engineering lobby was treating the state affairs committee to its own farewell dinner, a gesture to say thank you for some favorable legislation. They were providing not only the money, but their company as well, not to mention monogramed umbrellas for each committeeman and the interminable services of their own amateur comedian. I wondered during that long, boring, humiliating evening how many others in the Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week and Austin Forum-Advocate. 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. Associate Editor, Kaye Northcott. Editor-at-large, Ronnie Dugger. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Associate Manager, C. R. Olofson. Contributing Editors, Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Lee Clark, 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. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves 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. room thought it strange that the state affairs committee, one of the most prestigeous in the house, should accept the tacky largess of the engineers. ALL SOCIAL life in the Texas government is largely dominated by the lobby, and the legislature suffers from it. Private gatherings among lawmakers and their wives almost never happen. There is seldom an opportunity for a representative to talk informally with some of his colleagues about their mutual business. A lobbyist is always along to monitor the conversation and to pick up the check. A common question when the house adjourns for lunch is, “Hey, have you got a sponsor?” Right after the 1966 election, a member of the Dallas delegation who had served before told us with great enthusiasm of all the free shrimp, the free catfish, the free beer, the free Scotch, the free Canadian cheese soup that awaited us in Austin. It occurred to me then and it occurs to me now that if, occasionally, a few legislators would summon up their confidence and their sense of importance, refuse the lobby’s invitation, and sit down privately over lunch, sans sponsor, to talk seriously about the future of this state, their figures and their thinking might improve. It is disheartening to see young men, hardened by the battle for election, soften and succumb to the high-calorie table and low-caliber talk of the lobby. Subscription Representatives: A r ling t o n, George N. Green, 300 E. South College St., CR 70080; Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Corpus Christi, Penny Dudley, 12241/2 Second St., TU 4-1460; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; El Paso, Philip Himelstein, 331 Rainbow Circle, 584-3238; Ft. Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Kitty Peacock, PO Box 13059, 523-0685; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 4-2825; Snyder, Enid Turner, 2210 30th St., HI 3-9497 or HI 3-6061; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Wichita Falls, Jerry Lewis, 2910 Speedway, 766-0409. Washington, D.C., Mrs. Martha J. Ross, 6008 Grosvenor Lane, 530-0884. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., Inc., 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. Editor’s residence phone, GR 8-2333. Houston office: 1005 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, Texas 77019. Telephone 523-0685. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. Form 3579 regarding undelivered copies: Send to Texas Observer, 504 W. 24th, Austin, Texas 78705. Chances are the tone of the house could be improved immeasurably if these young men would take a tip from Congress and form a Tuesday Club to meet once a week for lunch, interested legislators only, for serious discussion of a given issue. No political gossip allowed about one bad ol’ bill or another, or what “the play” is, or who’s greasing whombut elevated discourse with occasionally a knowledgeable person from business, labor, the press, the university, the war on poverty or municipal, county, or another state government to moderate and contribute ideas. Naturally, preparation for the Tuesday Club should not be too time-consuming, but the purpose should be clear and adhered to: the growth of each participant, intellectually and effectually. Such a group could give the legislature the informed, independent voices that are absent now. It might be that if some legislators and their wives would agree to meet from time to time, unsponsored, for enchiladas or hamburgers to ,get to know each other in a private and personal way without the lobby to interfere, they might find their stay in Austin far more satisfying. If they made a point of getting to know some senators, some agency officials, some members of the press, they might find their perspective broadened, their preception deepened. The lobby is careful to preserve a rigid social system in Austin. Crosspollination might generate too much interest, too much awareness of what other organs of government are thinking, and things could get out of control. THE TEXAS government is currently a case of imbalance among unequals. It’s a natural condition of democracy that some elected officials show up in the , Capitol supremely unsophisticated and poorly equipped in education and experience for their jobs. Their purposes and their personalities are ill-defined and open to arbitration. Fear is sometimes the predominate emotion among the unprepared. A smart lobbyist, whose purposes are all too clearly defined \(protect and promote the interests of insurance or consumer finance or dairies or trucking, legislator’s insecurity. Anyone who doubts the unfair advantage of the lobby should have been in the house chamber the day a key rural representative was trying to amend the Trinity river canal bill to exempt railroads and trucks from taxation. His words grew more and more confused, the railroad lobbyist grew increasingly agitated, and finally he started barking instructions to the hapless legislator from the balcony with no concern for the humiliation he inflicted or the decorum he shattered. The ability gap is there to be exploited, but the financial gap is even more glaring. Most lobbyists come to Austin with generous expense accounts for entertaining government people. They bring their wives if they wish. A legislator with no THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 62nd YEARESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. LX, No. 10 7 May 24, 1968