Oil Spills Roy Payne, director of field operations for the Texas Railroad Cmsn., testifies that more than 25,000 barrels of oil has been released into Texas bays since 1964. He admitted that some companies violate the law by refusing to report oil leaks as required and that the commission has never filed $1,000-a-day lawsuits against the law violators, as it could. Hugh Yantis, chairman of the Water Quality Board, said, “Up to this date, there is no genuine protection against a major spill occurring in the wrong place,” and the date he said it was Feb. 16, 1970. Our beaches are being polluted by oil spills and nobody in state government is doing a damn thing about it. What can be done? Two state assemblymen in California have announced plans to create, by legislation, a California Coastline Conservation and Development Commission. It would have the power to prohibit any project from half a mile inland to three miles offshore which would cause irreversible darnage to the shoreline and to draw up comprehensive plans for the proper use of the shoreline. Local and regional governmental agencies would be consulted in the new commission’s regulating and planning work. This good idea fits our needs in Texas as well as it does the needs of the Californians. We should not wait for a Santa Barbara before creating such a commission in Texas. 16 The Texas Observer Perhaps the new Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority, although now limited to three counties, is a start in the right direction. Gatesville That vaunted “study” of the state reform schools, with which Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes turned aside the demand for an investigation of brutality at Gatesville, has collapsed. Barnes has told Sen. Criss Cole that House Speaker Gus Mutscher won’t approve the study, so it won’t be conducted. Cole says that kills it, since the respected national organization that was going to do it gave the state a March 1 deadline. The big question is not why Barnes is playing this game that’s no mystery, he’s allied with Texas Youth Council Director James Turman, who runs the reform schools. The big question is the one that Cole, chairman of the Senate Youth Affairs Committee, asked: “why Dr. Turman has been so opposed to a professional group examining the policies, procedures, and programs of his agency.” So where do we go from here? Nowhere? Back into the field when the allegations of beatings at Gatesville start reaching us again? God, the fakery that passes for government in this state. Our Heirs We’ve had the doctrine with us for almost two thousand years that the poor shall inherit the earth, but look, man, what are you, some kind of nut? Our own Will Wilson of Austin and Dallas, now head of the criminal division in the Justice Department in Washington, sets the doctrine straight for modern America. He says in the Feb. 13 Life magazine, “I’ll tell you something, the kids who want to be Sears Roebuck store managers . . . those kids are goin’ to inherit this country.” R.D. The Observer From a working capital deficit of $3,700 a year ago, the Observer has worked its way to a smaller deficit of $1,700 now, the result of a $2,000 gain in the net income, last year. Our subscribers have held fast in the range above 10,000, despite the $1 increase in the subscription rate required last year by our steadily increasing costs. Because of our steady growth we are anticipating further improvement in our working capital situation, and on that basis we are increasing the salaries of the full-time Observer staff people somewhat to help them keep up with the rising cost of living. These are the first increases Greg Olds, Kaye Northcott, and Cliff Olofson have had since taking the jobs they are doing. Irene Wilkinson joins the permanent staff as office manager. In sum, then, the Observer goes on as a stable financial enterprise, the only such venture in the United States that we know of that is paying its bills out of earned income. It is good to be part of a liberal enterprise that is making its own way. We thank everyone who stands with us in what is in effect a cooperative for the improvement of the life in this region. R.D. Dialogue The Status of Women You erred when you stated [Obs., Feb. 20] that no significant progress has been made in legislation affecting women since the Hobby administration. In 1967, the most significant legislation ever passed in Texas concerning property rights of married women was embodied in the marital property bills, drafted by the State Bar of Texas. These provisions are carried forward in the new family code as sections 4.01-5.86. These laws give married women the same rights and responsibilities as married men. In probably what was the height of idiocy, the legislative committee of the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women opposed the bill in 1967. Title I of the family code, enacted by the Legislature in 1969 and also drafted by the State Bar of Texas, uses the words “person” and “spouses” instead of “man” or “woman” and “husband” or “wife.” The grounds for declaring a marriage void, voidable, or for divorce are the same for men as for women. Our intention \(I am on men and women as equal as possible under the law. A lot of work needs to be done on labor laws discriminating against women. I hope that concerned groups can draft these laws and successfully lobby them through the Legislature in 1971. Louise B. Raggio, 610 United Fidelity Bldg., Dallas, Tex. 75202. Mrs. Raggio is the secretary of the recently organized Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Ed. In Reply A good friend of mine wrote in the last issue of the Observer [Dialogue, Feb. 20], George Preston. He was a very good friend of my father, Bill Thomas. Dad taught a class at Selwyn School, and George was one of his pupils. George was not only a good friend of my father, but is a friend of mine. Dad was probably the best dad in the world. Like George, Dad was an absolute Coors beer lover! Dylan Paul Thomas, 1213 W. 12th St., Austin, Tex. 78703.