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Mathis Mathis, since its citizens elected a predominantly Mexican-American city council in the spring of 1965 \(Obs., Sept. 17, of what chicano political emergence could mean, nor has it degenerated into another Crystal City. It was in Crystal City, 150 miles to the west, that Texas Mexican-Americans first won a breakthrough at the ballot box in local politics. \(Obs., years ago a slate of Mexican-Americans was elected, to end, for a time, the political hold that Anglos traditionally have enjoyed in Crystal City as elsewhere in South Texas. In many of the region’s locales Anglos are greatly outnumbered by Mexican-Americans, yet have been able The writer now lives in Austin after spending a year in Mathis on the faculty of the public school system there. 12 The Texas Observer to maintain superiority in political influence and economic power. The Crystal City revolution by ballot box has since been undone by a sort of counter-revolution which Anglos there Louise Stanford managed. The insurgents were inexperienced in the ways of government and unaware of many of the nuances of political power. Some gains have been managed by Crystal City’s Mexican-American citizens, in terms of being somewhat better served by their local governments; since 1963 the Anglos, restored once again to power, are now mindful of the political potential the more numerous latinos can manage. The example of Crystal City has, to a very mild degree, improved the lot of Mexican Americans in local affairs Keep It Beautiful If America hired people for the job, it would take the largest sort of army to keep our country free of litter. But there’s no need to hire anyone. It’s a job we can do for ourselves. All of us. Every family that spreads a picnic lunch. Every boatman who cruises the lakes and waterways. Every motorist who uses our roads and highways. It is the pleasure of the U. S. Brewers Association each year to give its fullest support to the Keep America Beautiful Campaign. Remember: Every Litter Bit Hurts. This is our land. Let’s treat it right. UNITED STATES BREWERS ASSOCIATION, INC. 905 International Life Bldg., Austin, Texas 78701 Mathis Since the Revolution throughout the region, as now Anglos are far more likely to include some Mexicanin the councils of local government. More important, however, the ballots cast at Crystal City five years ago have served as “shots heard throughout South Texas” and have encouraged widening participation of latinos in local politics and a growing self-awareness among MexicanAmericans of their status in Texas society in the mid-twentieth century. Since the restoration of something approximating the former status quo at Crystal City, Mathis has come to hold the promise of being the showcase of South Texas democracy, rule by the maThe promise exists mainly because, unlike in Crystal City, the grassroots movement that won power at city hall was run by relatively knowledgeable men in Mathis. However, the promise that was born here three years ago may not be fulfilled, even after three years of brown power. The operation of the Mathis government by the latinos’ Action party has almost totally alienated local Anglos and there is dissension among party leaders. ONE OF THE first basic changes Mathis’ Action party made on assuming power in 1965 was to replace the city secretary, Clifton Berry, who had indicated his unwillingness to work with the new regime. Berry’s replacement was Fred Pfeifer, an outlander who was known not to sympathize with all the traditional social ways of South Texas, particularly treatment of Mexican-Americans. Berry had strong ties with the businessmen and farmers who have long run things in Mathis. There was resentment that the new administration had replaced him without consulting certain important citizens who had always helped make such decisions. The appointment of Pfeifer was the first clear indication that the new government would depart from the old ways of doing things at city hall. The new city secretary, working with the full backing of the city council, hired Mexican-Americans to clerical jobs that opened up. The council began reorganizing the police department, requiring that officers be able to speak both Spanish and English. A new police chief was appointed and the old chief resigned after being demoted to patrolman. An Anglo who had served for a number of years as corporation court judge was replaced by a Mexican-American woman; the new judge’s husband, who worked for an Anglo, was promptly fired from his job. These new developments, like Pfeifer’s appointment, served further to alienate the Anglo community from support of the new regime. One of the Action party’s platform planks before coming to power had been to gain state approval for the local water