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Barnes is at it again Late last year there was minor flap when it was discovered by capitol reporters that Ben Barnes was using Senate staff employees to transfer his green card file, which is a campaign aid, onto automatic typewriter tapes \(Obs. Dec. 3, been stopped after the unpleasant publicity. It was subsequently learned that Preston Smith’s people were doing approximately the same thing having his card file copied at state expense. The Observer has learned that approximately two weeks ago, Senate staff employees were once again put to work on Barnes’ card file. The new file of cards bears the title “Ben Barnes Personal File.” The new cards are apparently fresh additions to the basic file: the women had been told that the earlier file had a deadline because it was a Christmas card list. Many of the new cards bear the notation, “Ben Barnes requests your assistance and support.” Some of the women working on the new cards were so upset at being asked to do the illegal work again that they discussed reporting the matter even though they feared losing their jobs. Two Barnes’ staffers appeared a short time later on March 6 and removed the new card files and told the women they would not have to work on them any more. Must show at ETSU for administration of East Texas State University, in Commerce, sent out a letter to all his department heads inviting them to a reception being held for Ralph Hall, one of the candidates for lieutenant governor. “As you all know,” the letter read, “Senator Hall has been very interested in this institution, and his election is of vital concern to the University. We are asking you to be responsible for having the members of your staff and their families at the reception.” The letter was on official ETSU stationary. Such a letter is, at best, of dubious legality. According to a section of the current appropriations bill passed by the Legislature, it is illegal to use any state funds, equipment or time for any political purpose whatsoever. \(See story in this issue that the letters were not paid for at state expense. But a state employee using his official office and stationary to persuade other state employees, his subordinates, to support a political candidate is somewhat suspect. By the way, McDowell says the Political Intelligence reception was a roaring success. A couple of hundred people showed up. Efrain Fernandez, a chicano activist from Pharr, was acquitted in late February of charges of malicious destruction of property brought in connection with the bloody riot in Pharr early last year. In that riot, which grew out of a demonstration against police brutality \(Obs., Flores a 20-year-old construction worker was shot to death by a policeman. According to witnesses, Flores was just standing around with his hands in his pockets when he was killed. Misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide have been filed against a deputy policeman, but no trial has been held. Fernandez was accused of breaking the windshield of a fire department vehicle. His case became something of a symbolic focus in fixing blame for the riot and for Flores’ death. Fernandez, who is state vice-chairman of the La Raza Unida party, had been active in organizing the original, peaceful demonstration. The only argument that Fernandez had anything to do with the ensuing riot came from Police Chief A. H. Ramirez, who claimed that Fernandez gave a signal and dropped to the ground when the demonstrators started throwing rocks. Oscar McInnis, the prosecutor, said that a verdict of innocence Gunter to speak on Thicket Dr. Pete Gunter, a frequent contributor to the Observer, will appear in Austin’s Highland Mall, March 24 at 7 p.m. to advertise the publication of his recently completed book on the Big Thicket. Gunter, president of the Big Thicket Association, will show slides of the beleaguered timber country and will sing “The Last Big Thicket Blues” and other tunes he has composed. The Big Thicket: A Challenge for Conservation is published by Jenkins Publishing Company of Austin with Chatham Press of Connecticut. It will be distributed by Viking Press. would “give a green light to this sort of thing.” The jury, which included five chicanos, needed only about an hour and a half to reject the arguments of the prosecution. When the verdict was announced by Judge Tillman Smith, there was bedlam in the courtroom. The spectators, in sympathy with Fernandez, gave Judge Smith a standing ovation as he left the courtroom. Fernandez was mobbed and embraced by his supporters. McInnis refused comment on the verdict. Bill Moyers, former LBJ press secretary and former publisher of Newsday, was recently elected a director of Hartke-Hanks Newspapers, Inc. Hartke-Hanks, a San Antonio-based company, owns a string of newspapers in five states. Dowdy appeals Crime Doesn’t Pay, Even When It’s Bribery Dept.: Congressman John Dowdy, who was convicted by a Baltimore court on charges of bribery and perjury late last year, was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine. Before the sentencing, Judge Roszel Thomsen rejected defense motions for a new trial. He turned down defense contentions that evidence was illegally seized and that the trial violated the constitutional grant to congressmen of immunity from prosecution. The government prosecutor, Steven Sachs, asked for a heavy sentence, saying “an awful lot of persons are in prison and jails today that have done a lot less and did not have the advantages of Mr. Dowdy.” The defense plans to file an immediate appeal. Judge Thomsen has said that he will consider the poor state of Dowdy’s health if the prison sentence is upheld on appeal. The defense claims that a prison term for Dowdy would “kill him.” NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is setting up a Texas office in Austin. The organization is partially funded by the Playboy Foundation, but staff members are hoping to find someone to donate office space near the UT-Austin campus. They also need $200 for a telephone deposit. The group plans to lobby to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession in Texas. This state’s two-years-to-life statute is the most stringent in the United States. NORML’s address is 2021 Guadalupe, Box 340, Austin, Tex. 78705. March 17, 1972 11