Austin’s Tammany Hall The Miami Herald commented as follows on the Austin fish hatchery situation in this editorial entitled “The Great Texas Land Rush.” Those Texas friends of Lyndon Johnson say they didn’t get any special treatment in the final days of the LBJ administration when they were given 26 acres of choice land in downtown Austin and were lined up for $8 million in FHA loans for a nursing home and apartments for the elderly. . . . It was Senator Williams who uncovered the dirty dealing by Bobby Baker, another of Lyndon Johnson’s dear buddies . . . We were always disappointed by the pious denial of any wrongdoing by those who wind up with public goodies. In the case of the Texans we would prefer something like “Sure, ol’ Lyndon told them boys in Washington to give us. the land right before that Nixon showed up and sure he got us that $8 million. What are you going to do about it?” That would be believable and much better than the comment that Austin Geriatrics Center, Inc., is a non-profit corporation “structured in such a manner that nobody can benefit financially.” If there was no profit to be made, then why the last-minute scramble and arm-twisting as Lyndon Johnson was preparing to leave the White House? .. . It was all in the tradition of Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, and the Pendergast gang of Kansas City. not one dime of [the AGC directors’] own money was committed. All their plans are centered around the fact that for the next 30 years they are to act as the conduit for the expenditure of millions of dollars furnished by the. American taxpayers. During this 30-year period contracts for the construction of buildings being financed 100% with government money and operational contracts for the buildings Dallas Since my return from Cuba friends in Dallas have asked me how I was able to go. They say “We thought that our State Department banned all travel there.” This seems true as far as “ordinary tourist” travel goes. My 1966-7 passport says “not valid for travel to or in communist-controlled portions of China, Korea, Vietnam or to or in Albania, Cuba Carl Brannin a person who travels to or in the listed countries or areas may be liable for prosecution under Section 1185,” etc., etc. I knew, however, that journalists and college teachers went to Cuba and came back and wrote about it, so I thought I would try. Along with my request for a visa, I sent a copy of credentials from The Texas Observer to write some pieces and a letter from Decherd Turner, Jr., of Bridwell Library, SMU, asking me to look the National Library in Havana. The Texas Observer after construction, again being financed with government subsidies and grants, could all be awarded or spent as they see fit.” It has become clear that the Nixon administration intends to abort the .deal and demand the land back, going to court, if necessary. Erwin has said he is determined that the project go through. G.O. After considerable delay, I was advised that since I was not a full-time, salaried employee of a journal or a college my request was denied. \(They held my passport so long I feared I would have to leave for Mexico without it, so I phoned my sister in Alexandria, Va., to pry it out meantime I learned that the Friends was sponsoring a study group on Cuba, and I sent in my application. The group had cleared with the Cuban delegate to the United Nations and had received an invitation to come as guests of the government with all expenses while in Cuba paid by that country. Our party of 17 from California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Texas gathered in Mexico City on July 10th \(most of us had never met Airways in a Russian-leased plane an easy 31/2-hour flight for Havana \(only one The Mexican government took pictures of us in groups of four and stamped our passports “Mexico D.F. CUBA.” A member of the Women’s Strike for Peace group, taking the same plane, protested vigorously to no avail. Since we had no US visa stamp on our passports to visit Cuba we had been advised that Mexico would not let us return through that country. Our tickets read “New York, Mexico City, Havana, Madrid, New York, which meant an extra expense of about $500 for me, since the plane fare from Dallas to Havana via Mexico City and return is only $247. So I have a personal reason for advocating US recognition; I’d like to return to Cuba some time by a direct route and save the difference. We understood that U.S. customs were very strict about letting things from Cuba come in, whether bought or printed matter, therefore I sent a six-pound box of paperback books and reports and papers by Ocean Express from Madrid to the Bridwell Library on Aug. 7. It was received there on November 5th \(three months after At the same time I mailed a sizable package of posters and newspapers by regular postage to Bridwell. It came through by boat in about six weeks in good condition without inspection. When we arrived in New York, Customs asked three questions: Where did you emplane? Ans. Madrid. Have you more than $10 in bought items?Ans. No. Do you have any liquor? Ans. No. There was no request that luggage be opened. An official at another gate had checked our passport against his list and passed us on. He must have seen the Cuba stamp. Since my return, I have heard that some U.S. citizens returning home from Cuba through Canada were given rigorous checks by our customs, and printed matter was confiscated. If customs had gone through my two small pieces of luggage they would have found two packs of Cuban cigarettes and about twenty “El Surco” pure leaf been given to me as well as other men in our party. I quit smoking long before the cancer warning, but I was going to give some friends in Dallas a real treat. I bought nothing in Cuba, for they are not making things like souvenirs or postal cards to mail home “wish you were here.” \(Veradero, a famous resort with its clean, sandy beach and modern hotel would be a good IN HAVANA we were given a red carpet welcome by tourist department people with expensive daquiri toasts in friendship. We had rooms in the Habana Libre hotel, formerly the deluxe Hilton. Mine with a dentist from Passaic, N.J., \(a sweeping view of the bay and harbor with Mono Castle in the background. I remembered in history the sinking of the battleship Maine in 1898 in the bay and the short Spanish-American war which followed. It was never decided whether the Maine was sunk by an internal or external Brannin in Cuba
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