Yes, again in Dallas DALLAS History of a kind repeated itself in Dallas last month. For the second time in eight years, crime of transcendental proportion was visited upon the city only to be compounded like the rebreaking of a bone by official ineptitude. As was the case with the assassination of President Kennedy, the Guzman-Rodriguez affair brings into question whether Dallas law enforcement can reasonably be trusted to work within a constitutional framework. One can only speculate over the consequences had a fourth deputy sheriff or one of the Rodriguez children been killed in the apparently unnecessary exchange of gunfire on the near East side February 19. The fact that Guzman and, Lopez were indeed captured and without gunfire was overshadowed by what happened to the Rodriguez family and the subsequent duplicity which issued forth from official quarters. Thus the same cloud at this writing hangs over the present case as will forever characterize events in Dallas of Nov. 22, 23, and 24, 1963. Is there something inherent in the very bloodstream of the city which might account for these repeated bumblings? If so, can anything be done about it? There isn’t space here to really get into the meat of these questions. But some observations can be made. Dallas is a top-heavy place. The trappings of democracy are, present but most of the important decisions are still made behind closed doors by a politically incestuous power elite. Too many questions of public policy are handled privately, in effect. New blood is seldom infused where it is badly needed. The late Bill Decker, for example, retired last September after two decades as sheriff. That’s a long time but Decker, in all fairness, was exceptionally able. He was known for standing by his word and his strong suit was common sense. There was no guarantee that his Establishment-annointed successor, Clarence Jones, possessed qualities commensurate with running a sheriff’s department in a county of a million and a quarter population. In any event, Deputy Jones was tapped, his name was placed on the Democratic side of the ballot and his election was assured last November. The race was essentially closed, not open. The inbreeding continued. It’s impossible to know how Decker or a new sheriff recruited away from, say, Denver might have handled the Guzman-Rodriguez case. It is known how Jones handled it. Perhaps the Dallas power structure is girded cretin-like to oppose change come what may. Maybe indictments stemming from American flag and marijuana cases keep officials too busy to apologize to Mrs. Rodriguez. Will the same bone, then, be broken yet a third time? The day after this article was written, a story appeared in the Dallas papers concerning the shooting of 16-year-old Prince Stovall by an off-duty policeman. The boy was hospitalized in critical condition. The police report states that they boy was shot accidentally. The accounts of witnesses, other boys who were at a party with Stovall, do not tally with the police report. Ed. Lobbyist Withdraws Searcy Bracewell, a utilities lobbyist who exerts strong influence in Houston conservative politics, asked Gov. Preston Smith to withdraw his nomination as chairman of the Texas Water Development Board. Sen. James P. Wallace of Houston led opposition to Bracewell’s confirmation by the state’s upper house. Bracewell, who lobbies for Houston Lighting & Power Co., Houston Natural Gas Corp. and Gulf States Utilities Corp., supported Wallace’s opponent, Donald Shipley. Wallace also has introduced a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the appointment or employment of lobbyists to any agency of state government. The measure also would prohibit the appointment or employment of anyone in partnership or having a “substantially close business or professional relationship” with such a lobbyist. The stipulations would disqualify a number of appointees, including U.T. regents chairman Frank Erwin, who is in the same law firm with Howard V. Rose, a lobbyist for the Lumbermen’s Association, the Texas Automobile Dealers Association and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce; U.T. regent Joe Kilgore, who is in the same 8 The Texas Observer Political intelligence firm as Wade Spillman, lobbyist for the Texas Association of Insurance Agents, Humble Oil and other interests; and U.T. regent Frank Ikard, who is a lobbyist for three organizations. Wallace’s amendment is co-sponsored by Sens. Jordan, Brooks, Grover, Schwartz, Bernal, Bridges, Harris, McKool and Mauzy, but it has a doubtful future in the Legislature. Sen. Mike McKool of Dallas this season got absolutely nowhere with a simple resolution that would have put the Senate on record against confirmation of nominees with a substantial conflict of interest to state regulatory boards. Sen. Ralph Hall’s ethics bill is having a rough time in the Texas Senate. The part requiring legislators to file copies of their income tax reports and statements revealing their income sources was hotly contended in State Affairs Committee. “How are you going to get hurt by filing your income tax if you’ve made your money honestly?” Hall asked. Sens. Charles Herring of Austin and H. J. Blanchard of Lubbock said their opponents would “demagogue” about the amount of money lawmakers make. “There’s no point in defeating every member of the House and Senate,” Blanchard said. Although 19 of the state’s 31 senators co-signed Hall’s bill, it may never reach the Senate floor. A subcommittee of Herring, Blanchard, Ike Harris of Dallas and Hall the subcommittee substitute for his bill is weaker than the pathetic ethics code now on the books. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen has introduced a bill requiring full disclosure of campaign contributions and limiting the expenditures for all campaign advertising. In his 1970 campaign expenditure report to the Texas secretary of state, Bentsen listed $215,663.54 in campaign donations from dummy committees such as NAPACT, CITGO and the Young Businessmen for Bentsen \(Obs., Dec. 11, The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for the state to prosecute Stoney Burns, former publisher of Dallas Notes, under Texas’ old obscenity law. Contrary to the Associated Press’ interpretation of the decision, the court did not revive the state’s old obscenity law, nor did it reinforce the state’s new law. The law under which Burns was prosecuted was declared unconstitutional by a three-judge federal court in 1969. The Legislature passed a new law and that law
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.