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heavily-populated shack whose exterior was covered with fake-brick siding. “There used to be six of these. I lived in one that burned down. The man who owns these lived at the time down on the corner. One day a city health inspector came out and tacked a condemned notice on my door and went on down to inform the landlord. The “owner stepped off his porch upstairs and shot the inspector’s head off with a shotgun. He received a 10-year sentence, served out the mandatory time 3 or 4 years, whatever-and came back home. “I was in the third grade then. My little sister and I lived here and seldom had a stepfather around and very seldom saw my mother. We lived here most of the time by ourselves. “But all of this around here was pretty much middle class. And over here, where we went to school, Harvard Elementary School, was upper-middle class, and then, right in the middle of that area was this pocket of poverty. The neighbors wouldn’t talk to us, they were afraid of us, and would bring their children inside like they might catch something from us. “I drive back by there once in awhile and, God, I want to go into that house and if I can’t do anything else just say, ‘Look, goddamnit, here’s some money. Let me get you out of this place.’ “What I really resent is people who know my background saying ‘You made it, so everybody can make it.’ That’s not true. I had a lot of help. Fate had a lot to do with it. The reason I was acceptable to my grandparents [who subsequently took him and his younger sister in, at Edna] is I was white. If I’d been black, those people wouldn’t have taken me. The church that I went to right down there wouldn’t have allowed me to have attended their church. I got a little help from the church. They recognized I didn’t have a father. “At the time my sister and I were accepted by my grandparents down at Edna we were cute and at an age when people would like us as kids. “So I didn’t make it on my own and nobody else does. Well, that’s how I got into all this politics. But I recognize now that the political system and the majority, the silent majority and it really is a silent majority are barriers to the sort of changes we need. I’ve found that I can’t personally make the change in those people that it would take, and the structure won’t allow that change. So I just can’t try to do it that way any more.” He feels he failed in his effort to make people aware of the problems of the disadvantaged because of many persons’ intention, unconscious or otherwise, to ignore the problems of the society. “My contention is that the people who live in Pasadena or the suburbs of Houston know about these things. They come from Nacogdoches or somewhere like that, and are the first generation of their family in Houston. They really haven’t adjusted to life in the city yet and the way they handle it is that they try to forget their past. They don’t want to admit that they left anybody behind. If they do then they might have to reach back and give them a hand. So they surround themselves with a lot of color television sets and split-level houses and all this sort of thing so they can forget. But it’s not working for them, of course. That’s why so many of them are so miserable and uneasy, though in many cases these people don’t realize the causes of their discontent. “There’s just no way to get these people to pay attention to the problems. It’s just like trying to take religion away from a dying man. That’s the wrong time to do it. So we’re just going to have to wait ’til the people who control things now die or we’re going to have to revolt and you can’t revolt. It isn’t going to be successful. I don’t think revolution would be successful. But you can help people who are open to change and accept it and still can have influence. A lot of good things have been happening lately. I can pick and choose now where I want to work, what areas I want to work in.” WHEN VANCE went to the Legislature in 1967 he says he pretty much knew what to expect but was optimistic he might do some good, nonetheless. “I was prepared as much as I think anybody could be. I had read about the Legislature enough. My step-grandfather’s father had been a state representative, and I read journals and things like that. Also, I had known enough politicans that I knew how they were. “One thing that did surprise me, though, was that it was so damn cheap. I mean the sellout price. I know that every man has some price. I know I worried about that myself. You know, what if a lobbyist walked up to me and offered me $20,000 to vote for his bill. But, man, it’s like five ‘bucks will do it up there. Of course, I didn’t have to worry about being tempted much. I never got into the mainstream, I was never accepted from the very beginning by the inner crowd. “One time I was offered five suits of clothes for something that I had already Arthur Vance in 1966 and 1970 done. I had gotten a bill passed settling up a local water district. This lobbyist for the water district people said, it’s just a present and we appreciate what you did and know it took time and everything. I said no. I think they were surprised that I didn’t kriow the rules of the game or that I didn’t understand that I was supposed to figure out my own way of getting on their payroll. I mean, when a legislator who is an attorney, for instance, handles a water district bill he usually collects a fee of like $25 a month for each district for being the district’s attorney. And they don’t do anything in the way of legal service, of course. It’s a legimitate’ payoff. “Another time an inexperienced lobbyist told three leading members of the committee that handles that kind of legislation that he’d like to help them out some way. He appreciated all their hard work. So what could he do? Well, he was told, a trip to the Astrodome would be nice. So the cat later walked in with a sack of money, $400. He had figured it out in his head what it would take to fly all three of them to Houston and to get them into the Astrodome. They said, no, that’s not the way you do that. You get tickets plane tickets and Astrodome tickets.” Another time Vance was teasing a lobbyist for some optometric interests, saying the lobbyist should do something for him. The lobbyist responded by writing, on the back of a blank check, addressed to an optometric, outlet, that Vance should be given pairs of prescription sunglasses, contact lenses, and regular glasses. Vance accepted this. That sort of thing bothered Vance considerably, as it does many legislators. But it wasn’t the worst feature to him. “I tried to use the system when I was pushing bills in the Legislature. I would go around and get commitments of support from other legislators. People would say, `GOddam, I wish I’d thought of that, that’s really a good bill.’ But then after the vote was over they’d come tell me, ‘Listen, they April 17, 1970 3