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Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. N86110V they both left. Roy On and his wife helped pay Fred’s way through North Texas State College at Denton. Roy Orr went to Abilene and got a job as an insurance salesman. Orr returned to his hometown in 1960 and his brother Fred followed a year later. They formed the DeSoto Insurance Agency and in 1962 organized the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce with offices in the insurance agency. In 1963, they helped obtain the charter for the DeSoto State Bank and Roy was on the first board of directors. Roy was elected to the school board and Fred to the city council. In 1964, the brothers helped organize Greater Dallas South, a regional chamber of commerce. The brothers then went into real estate as well as insurance. In 1965, the Orrs bought the DeSoto Star, the only paper in town. By that time, they comprised a two-man establishment. Follows a history of incredibly bitter political fights. Many small towns develop remarkably vicious political infighting, but DeSoto is something else again. To begin with, it’s an amazingly political little town. To give only one indication, 91.9 per cent of the eligible voters in DeSoto are registered. The place abounds with former mayors, councilmen and school board members, all of whom maintain vociferously that the guys on the other side are rat finks. The only trouble is figuring out what the sides are. Homeowners v. homebuilders, suggested one ex-mayor. Church of Christ v. everybody else, suggested a precinct chairman. Orrs v. anti-Orrs, said a businessman. Ray Zauber, who runs the Oak Cliff Tribune, offered the most rational explanation. “It happens in every little town that gets hit by growth the way DeSoto did,” he The Hon. Chairman-commissioner On said. “There are the old settlers, the original townspeople, who were born and raised there. And then the new people start coming in. And for a long time they’re in the minority but they finally win out. There doesn’t really have to be any specific ideological issue for the groups to split on: they split because they’re different groups.” In some ways, the Orr brothers straddled the split. To begin with, they are native sons. They are also Church of Christ members and, according to non-Church of Christ members, that is an extraordinarily clannish religion: to belong is to have a built-in power base. But, the old-timers note, the Orrs left DeSoto. They did not return until the early 60’s, which was the point at which the great influx of outsiders began. Far from being indentified with the old guard, they have been largely identified with the phenomenon of boosterism and growth in DeSoto. ONE HEARS WIDELY divergent accounts of Orr’s role in the growth of DeSoto. “I’ll say this for him,” said a non-fan, “he’s been good for DeSoto. He pushes this place all the time. He sells DeSoto all the time. But remember that he gets a cut of everything that comes in here.” To back up this contention the man cited the town’s dealings with the On insurance agency. The DeSoto Insurance Agency, owned by the On brothers, carried the coverage of DeSoto’s buildings and equipment. On Nov. 15, 1965, after Fred On had been elected to the city council, the minutes show that a ruling was obtained showing the practice to be in conflict with the state statute that says that no city official shall do business, directly or indirectly, with the city. No further business was placed through the On agency while Fred was on the council, however the agency was again handling the city’s business in 1967. In that year, the city policies totalled $151,532. The city also paid the DeSoto Star during that time, apparently for handling official city notices. Robert Martin, a conservative businessman and former school board member, described On in action. “When I first moved out here, oh, about six and a EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Moll Ivins EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger Contributing Editors: Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Lee Clark, Sue Horn Estes, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. Sullivan, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. We will serve po group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with her. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that she agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1972 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices Vol. LXIV, No. 2 Feb. 4, 1972 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. GENERAL MANAGER C. R. Olofson OFFICE MANAGER Irene Gaasch The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $7.00; two years, $13.00; three years. $18.00; plus, for Texas addresses, 5% sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Change of Address: Please give old and new address, including zip codes, and allow two weeks. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701.