Denton defended I am troubled by one aspect of John Ferguson’s otherwise well-done article on the Artesia Hall scandal \(Obs., Ferguson rightly devoted some space to the several criticisms that have been leveled against Rep. Lane Denton, who chairs the House committee investigating the mess. But those criticisms were then left lying on the page without comment or reply. They deserve consideration. Rep. G. J. Sutton charged Denton with ignoring racism in the DPW and instead trying to smear Speaker Price Daniel, Jr. I can certainly understand Sutton’s concern over DPW bias, but that subject has minimal relevance to the committee’s inquiry into Artesia Hall licensing. Quite the contrary is true of Daniel’s role in helping to forestall litigation that could have closed the facility in question. His involvement may have been ethical and innocent. But its relevance to the inquiry is obvious and immediate. Daniel himself has accused Denton of headline-seeking. He forgets that the Dirty Thirtythe reform group to which Daniel belatedly avowed allegiancerepeatedly proved that newspaper headlines are the best means to arouse public interest and bring about worthy change in government. Would it have been more to Denton’s credit had he kept his committee hearings secret and hidden the shabby dealings he uncovered from the journalists and the voters? Then, there is the vague reference to Denton’s tentative plans to run for Congress. Underlying this oblique criticism 16 The Texas Observer IDialogue is that old idiotic belief that it is indecent for a reformer to aspire to higher office. Have we become so cynical that we cannot accept the compatibility of honesty and ambition in politics? It seems to me that we should be encouraging people like Lane Denton to run for higher office, rather than hinting it would be better if they forever relegated themselves to the lower rungs of government. Daniel has also criticized Denton for extending the inquiry beyond Artesia Hall. It is ludicrous to expect Denton’s committee to arrive at meaningful conclusions as to DPW’s licensing of one facility without conducting a thorough investigation of DPW licensing and regulation in general. Was Artesia Hall an aberration or just business-as-usual for DPW? Is the major problem improper political influence, inadequate licensing procedures or negligent regulation? These and the many other questions already raised by Denton’s investigation cannot be answered without looking further into DPW and its facilities. Finally, we come to Rep. Dan Kubiak’s Nixonesque charge that Denton is involved in nothing more than a witch-hunt. Kubiak obviously does not appreciate the significance of Denton’s investigation. By every indication, government’s mistreatment of the very old and very young will become our next major scandal, not only in Texas but across the entire nation. We will find, I fear, that juveniles and elderly people have been handled like commodities by profiteering welfare facilities, that the facilities are being run by incompetents and neurotics, and that corrupt officeholders have made a bundle through aiding and investing in welfare-for-profit. Through the work of Denton and others, Texas has a head start on other states in uncovering and cleaning up this heinous business. It is a pleasant change. Harvey Katz, 103 G St. N.W., Washington D.C. 20001. Commission rebuked In view of the daily revelations resulting from the Watergate hearings and the obvious need for a redefinition of the relationship between the government, at all levels, and the people which it ostensibly serves, it is sad indeed to see that the Texas Constitutional Revision Commission has apparently abandoned any consideration of revising the Texas Bill of Rights. The growth of the dossier society and electronic innovation, such as governmental data banks and electronic eavesdropping and surveillence devices, were unheard of in 1876. Only too well do we know about them now. Yet, the Commission is apparently content in this modern age with an 1876 Bill of Rights while it turns its attention elsewhere. Proper concern for protecting and defining the rights of the citizens of Texas vis-a-vis the power of the State dictates that the Commission not concern itself solely such matters as realigning the relationships between the Governor and the Legislature, but that it also determine and define such things as a badly needed right to privacy for all Texans. A great opportunity appears to be slipping away unnoticed. Frank Rutherford. Losers Tsk Tsk, tsk. Your July 27 front-page ‘feature on the Vandergriff boondoggles asserts that the so called Texas Rangers are “the biggest losers in professional baseball.” Naturally, such things vary from day to day, and it makes some difference how you reach your definitions. According to an occasionally reliable source, The Dallas Morning News, at the date of this writing the Rangers had lost 61 games, San Diego 63. It really isn’t important, of course. The San Diego team will be moving to Washing, D.C., next season \(whence came the doesn’t matter how you play the game as long as you don’t get caught. I don’t suppose Vandergriff learned that from his Rangers, since they’re relative newcomers to his domain. He may have found that mystique peculiarly congenial, though. No wonder he has larger political ambitions. R. R. Arp, Dept. of English, SMU, Dallas, Tex. 75222. Strange fruit A diet of tripe, of sorts: The former governor, a former Hogg, requested of his funeral pecan and walnut trees to bear fruits and obviously they did, as Texas has been famous for its nuts ever since. Ross Milloy, 3309 Cherrywood, Austin, Tex. 78705.
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