An Award Dallas The Observer last week was honored by the Texas Institute of Letters by presentation of the 1969 Stanley Walker Award for the best work of journalism in the state. The award, for $250, was for the paper’s stories on the doctoral dissertation of James H. McCrocklin, the former president of Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos. The presentation was made here during the institute’s 34th annual meeting. branded that. Free Radio Houston Pacifica, the listener-supported radio that tries to apply the ideal of free speech to ad-less broadcasting, has launched out on the airwaves of Houston and is going strong.It is a new thing, much talked about, gives promise of breaking open the barnacled Houston culture, and has been having good initial success getting paid subscribers to its program guide. Larry Lee and Don Gardner are the chief honchos. If it works in Houston perhaps Pacifica can spread to Fort Worth-Dallas and San Antonio-Austin. Apart from Houston, Pacifica is working now in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Nicholas Johnson, an FCC commissioner and, along with Ramsey Clark, just about Lyndon Johnson’s best appointment, has put together a collection of casual papers, How to Talk Back to Your Television he encourages citizens to monitor the commercial stations for public service and bias and to fight to get the licenses of stations that abuse their privilege of using our common airways. He explains that all license renewals expire on the same lay within a given state every three years. Stations have to file for license renewal with the FCC 90 days before the expiration date. Petitions to deny a station’s renewal must be filed between 90 and 30 days before the expiration date. For Texas, the forthcoming expiration dates, he tells us, are August 1, 1971, 1974, 1977, and 1980. disobedience which has often :led to,beenspQ4ring town halls around the criminal violence.” Trying to tie / country 1′ at least two have been held in Yarborough into bombings in New York’ Texas, in Beaumont and Houston. The City is dirty politics and ought to be National Urban Coalition is running a broadcast-oriented project in 22 cities, including San Antonio and Dallas, in which citizens are urged to call stations with any complaint with the city government. These calls are relayed from office to office as long as it takes to get action or an answer. This deal is named “Call for Action.” The New York Times reports that the zippy new Texas billionaire, Ross Perot, is starting a foundation \(run by astronaut nonpartisan broadcasts on commercial TV giving both sides of an issue and then having a kind of plebiscite with computerized polling techniques. I thought Perot’s Christmas-presents-for-the-boys-inVietnam venture was stagy, but this one sounds like it could be good. If anyone has time, he or she could usefully promote into existence, in his or her town, a regular weekly or monthly citizens’ town hall. The best model I know for this is the Oxford Union. Speakers give’ ten-minute talks alternately on the pro and con of the subject for the evening; then speakers are recognized from the audience, again alternately pro and con, but just for three minutes each; and finally the audience physically divides on the question and tellers count to see which side wins. This is democracy and any town or neighborhood can have it that wants it. Beautiful This spring Saturday afternoon my wife Jean, our daughter Celia, her little friend Sarah, and I walked three or four miles on the Shoal Creek trail in AuStin. I was heavy of some sadness of the times, but it was an easy and beautiful walk. The woody flower-bearing trees are budding out in white and pink blossoms. Hundreds and hundreds of people were walking, lying in the sun, wading, jogging, reading in the shade, riding their bicycles, and at Pease Park playing football and kickball and frisbee, swinging, lovers lying side by side warming each other in front of God and Everybody, and everybody dressed so easily there is a great new freedom in the people that has burst out of them in these very times. People are so beautiful the traditional conceptions of physical beauty are an obscene offense against humanity they are so beautiful, so wonderful to look at! Yarborough’s support coming from organized labor, blacks, Mexican-Americans, farmers, and liberals, plus some of the business community that has fought him before. On this latter fact, Byers said, reasons most frequently given in explanation are that he no longer is considered an ultra-liberal [times have changed! , he has helped communities get or keep federal projects, and there is reluctance torisk a second Republican senator who might get elected if liberals cut out from Bentsen as they did from Bill B la k ley in 1961. Most interesting are the facts, reported by Byers, that a number of Connally campaign managers have refused to handle Bentsen’s race in their counties, at least one is handling Yarborough’s, and “a number” are quietly supporting Yarborough or staying out. Connally was seen, after all, when he went with the Houston law firm that represents the major out-of-state corporations operating in Texas. Now Bentsen is seen in the facts Kaye Northcott reports in this issue about his business connections. He is a member of the military-industrial establishment. Bentsen ought to be snapped by that national outfit on fair campaign practices for the vicious turn his campaign is taking. In a Bentsen press release March 13, it is stated that the “wave of protest bombings in New York City” is evidence that, Bentsen says, people like Eugene McCarthy, McGovern, William 0. Douglas, and Yarborough, with their endorsements of the Vietnam moratorium and peace de rnonstrations, “have encouraged 16 The Texas Observer Town Halls In effect, Pacifica lets radio be used for a continuous town hall. I take heart, myself, in the revival of the town hall tradition in other forms, too. The Coalition on National Priorities and Military Policy has Poor Us All right, Mrs. Bryson the meek shall inherit the earth, not the poor \(all the poor right, Mrs. Curry, for us, not for we who etc. and so on. I shall be more careful, and meeker. Er, more meek. Meekier? R.D.
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.