A Telephone Call The following was written by Glen Castlebury and George Kuempel, Capitol reporters for Newspapers, Inc. \(the Austin, Waco, and Port Arthur MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Operator, I want to call the General Land Office in Austin, Texas. MA BELL: I’m sorry sir, the land office is open only two days a month. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Okay, Tootsie, transfer the call to Catfish Corners over in East Texas. MA BELL: Just a minute, let me get the tin can and string. . . . Go ahead, your party is on the line. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Mr. Commissioner, I am an unsavory character with the Gary, Indiana, office of the Mafia. COMMISSIONER: Look, you peckerwood, it’s after midnight and I’ve worked hard all day at the motel because I lost my manager. I don’t want to listen to any loose-mouthed fuddyduddies. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Commissioner, youse better listen. The Mafia has a contract on you. COMMISSIONER: Now, don’t you threaten the school children of Texas with a unilateral contract or I’ll pull your bow tie. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: You wouldn’t do that. Right now we have you in the sights on our two-man submarine. COMMISSIONER: You get that damned submarine out of my Catfish Pond right now or I’ll spit snuff on it. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: We want that treasure. And don’t say anything about us. You give the Mafia a bad name. COMMISSIONER: I don’t . .have it. It’s all gone. The monster of Loch Ness got it. Nothing left down there but big holes. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Commissioner, we are watching you from an airplane, too. We are going to report you to the Bureau of Customs. COMMISSIONER: Who are you really? Are you Millard K. Neptune? MYSTERIOUS VOICE: Try Charlie McCarthy. COMMISSIONER: You’re just a dirty, low-life, thieving pirate and I’m going to chase you around the world and report you to the proper authorities. MYSTERIOUS VOICE: No, Mr. Commissioner. I went bad growing long sideburns, blowing seaweed, and popping gold coins. I’m one of the school children of Texas. public declaration that he would sign it into law, if the Legislature passed it, created the political situation in which Barnes could decide to risk going all-out for it, since Smith had neutralized himself. Together, Barnes and Smith actually jacked up the lobbyists to go work for the tax Smith by having them rounded up to meet in his office, Barnes by making a speech to them right then and there. Barnes got Senator Bridges to flake out on the filibuster; Smith got Senator Christie to do likewise. The scene, which Barnes himself tells about, in which the lieutenant governor drew a line on the carpet in his living room and in effect called on 15 senators to commit political suicide for the food tax, is the sort of thing political novelists dream about, but would never ask anybody actually to believe. Well Remember the Alamo! The contention, by one senator close to Barnes, that Barnes had it cased all along that the House would defeat the food tax and then come to terms with the Senate on other taxes, is pure bunk. The facts do not support the theory. Barnes himself does not advance it in his own defense. Even if it was true, Barnes’ conduct would be irresponsible. Good public servants do not gamble with the groceries of the poor. In the afterlight, obviously Barnes is the biggest loser politically. The senators who passed the food tax have been left high and dry, too. They voted to tax food, only to have their junior politicians in the House vote unanimously not to tax food and then to hear Barnes say he opposes such a tax. It serves them all right. WHY, WILL someone please explain to me, do the Texas liberals and labor find themselves in the apparent position of supporting either Smith or Barnes under this or that circumstance? Why support either one of them when both Observations The Bread Tax Austin I write, I admit, in anger. Dave Hickey says the editor-at-large is in charge of righteous indignation, and while I detest that emotion as much as most people, I cannot deny that this time, he’s got my number. The food tax or, as the Houston Post well labeled it, the bread tax was the most immoral proposition to be passed or nearly passed by the Texas Legislature during the 22 years I have covered it. Emerson Stone, Sr., an eminent attorney in Jacksonville, Texas, was telephoned, that Sunday between the Senate’s vote and the House’s cop-out, and was told, by Sen. Charles Wilson of Lufkin, about the food tax which the Senate had passed the night before. Stone told Wilson, “I haven’t got much money, and I’m old and tired, but I’ll spend every dollar I’ve got to defeat anybody who supports it. This is an indecent act, and anybody who supports it is unworthy to represent decent people.” I agree with Emerson Stone. None of the 15 senators who voted for this tax should be returned to the Legislature. Neither should the five House conferees who signed the conference report in favor of it Ben Atwell of Dallas, W. S. Cory of Victoria, W. S. Heatly of Paducah, John Traeger of Seguin, and Forrest Harding of San Angelo. And Emerson Stone’s statement applies correctly, in my further judgment, to Preston Smith, Ben Barnes, and Gus Mutscher. Lt. Gov. Barnes, as Bo Byers had written the preceding Thursday, had reached his moment of truth in the tax crisis. He had to go with the big money to get campaign contributions for his big statewide race or else stand with the people by favoring a more liberal tax bill. He went with the big money, and with a ferocious vengeance. He fought for and passed a food tax. Nothing can excuse it. GOV. PRESTON Smith voluntarily accepted full political co-responsibility for the food’ tax. His September 12, 1969 15 CLASSIFIED BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, Yellow Springs 8, Ohio. YAMAHA: For the best soundpianosorgansguitars available at Amster Music & Art Center. 17th & Lavaca, Austin. 478-7331. ANNE’S TYPING SERVICE \(Marjorie Anne Binding, Mailing, Public Notary. Twenty years experience. Call 442-7008 or 442-0170, Austin. BAN DDT Bumper Stickers: write Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49001. $5 for 25 stickers. DELICIOUS HOME-MADE SWEETS: Banana Bread and Cakes Apple Sauce, Tunnel of Fudge, Hershey Bar, Iced Rum Delight, and Cherry Nut. $1.00 to $5.00. Also, Collins Street Bakery Fruit Cakes mailed anywhere. Mrs. M. L. Hammett, 1207 Hillside Apt. 2, Austin. Phone 442-7008 until 5; 442-5668 evenings.