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Some explanations Austin Our last issue contained John Muir’s story on the Texas Research League out that there were discrepancies between Gov. \(and RL statement required by the state’s new ethics law and the tax records in two counties. When five state reps asked Common Cause to look into this possible violation of the new law, the organization refused. “We’re not a vigilante group,” Common Cause lobbyist Buck Wood was quoted as saying in Darrell Hancock’s Houston Post story about the incident. The explanation of the discrepancies, according to Briscoe’s press aide Bob Hardesty, goes something like this: Although the 1973 tax rolls in LaSalle County list 1,487 acres of land in the name of a Briscoe-family corporation, all but 61 acres of it was sold in 1967 to his close friend Red Nunley. Hardesty said the governor’s tax man, Melvin Crouch, has been trying to get the county officials to straighten out their records ever since, but they just haven’t gotten around to it. Nunley pays the taxes on the land, Hardesty presumes. The other question centers around 2,288 acres of land in Zavala County Briscoe listed in his financial statement. Actually, Hardesty says, the governor’s close friend Ross Watkins owns that land. It’s part of a’ piece purchased by Watson on March 27, 1973. Since the guv agreed to buy 2,288 acres of it from Watkins, he felt he ought to put it in his financial statement. The Observer offers Briscoe the Catarina Mesquite Honorarium \(With disclosure of 2,288 acres above and beyond the call of duty and suggests that he ask Janey to straighten out the little 1,478-acre tax roll foul up in LaSalle County. has turned the corner \(they have hopes of people say the same. In fact, liberals are sounding a little more peppy about the Farenthold race these days. One south Texas cynic, who had declared her race hopeless but had come out to hear her anyway, listened and said, “Well, maybe I can get it up for another fight after all.” After hearing Farenthold, folks muttered about McGovern and not wanting to lose again and then said, “Well, hell, I’d rather put up a fight and lose than not struggle at all.” This is not the kind of upbeat attitude that candidates like to hear, but it is an improvement over the almost complete negativism that marked the early weeks of the campaign. Perhaps the best analysis of what’s “wrong” with Farenthold campaign is that there’s nothing wrong with it at least no more than the usual disorganization, underfinancing and a few other little problems along those lines. The difference between those Farenthold supporters who are prepared to fight and those who are ready to give up is that the fighters have listened to Farenthold this year while the giver-uppers have been listening to each other say the effort is hopeless, Farenthold is too negative and so forth. “She really is a turn-on,” said a student at Laredo Junior College after listening to her. “How incredibly fine: she’s the first politician I’ve ever heard who actually answers the questions she’s asked.” But Briscoe is also reportedly doing better as a public performer this year. He had room to improve. Because Farenthold and Hank Grover almost skunked him in ’72, he abandoned the low-profile campaign designed for him two years ago by the alleged Arkansas whiz kid Deloss Walker. He’s doing more meeting and greeting and actually making himself available to the press. His speeches are still the bland-o “Janey and Aieh . . . ” routines. Reporters get annoyed with him because he keeps failing to read the tough punch lines in the advance copies of his speeches on which they have based their stories. There has been an unfortunate resurgence of all the unfunny jokes about “our governor and her husband” simply because Janey Briscoe has so many more kilowatts of charm and personality than her husband that no one can fail to notide it. BRISCOE has two big applause lines. The first is, “During the past year, I have also placed a very strong emphasis on my belief that it was time to stop the never ending, ever expanding cycle of new and increased taxes. I made a strong commitment to that goal during my campaign, and I kept that commitment in the governor’s office. “For only the second time in 20 years, we successfully funded all the essential services of state government for the biennium with no new taxes and no increase in present taxes.” [ Sound of happy audience.] Briscoe fails to explain that during the last biennium, for the first time in 20 years or ever, federal revenue sharing funds were available to the state. The never ending, ever expanding increase in the cost of state government went merrily on. His other deathless line is about how he brought back the death penalty: we trust you have all noticed how dramatically the state murder rate has fallen since then \(though in fairness it should be noted that the only cops who’ve been shot recently his law’n’order rap, Briscoe no longer enthuses about the joys of wiretapping, which he used to praise almost as much as the death penalty. Meanwhile, Briscoe has further contributed to keeping the criminals off our streets by letting the parole rate drop to 48.2 percent of those eligible. They’re stacking up like cordwood in the state clinks. Mostly Briscoe’s speeches are dreadful pap, interlarded with the most amazing string of cliches heard since last Millard Neptune ran for office. But while Briscoe may not be a stimulating speaker, nor particularly frank about the problems the state faces, he does not, except for his death penalty line, appeal to the dark side of the Texian character. He does not, although he probably could, with Farenthold for an opponent, go about stirring up feeling against permissive bleeding hearts. In fact, it is difficult to actively dislike Dolph Briscoe. But Billie Carr is working on it. Carr, the Houston liberal organizer, is in the process of getting a serious mad-on at the governor. The current object of her indefatigable ire is the Governor’s Convention Committee, the slick, computerized operation being run by Gordon Wynne of the SDEC. Wynne and seven paid organizers are beating the bushes to get Briscoe supporters out to the precinct conventions on May 4. They are working in conjunction with Lloyd Bentsen’s staff and the George Wallace folks. Carr, never one to need a blueprint, sees this as an evil coalition to squeeze liberals out at the precinct level. “Briscoe has a right to work to get his people out, so does Bentsen and so the Wallace people,” she said. “I’m workin’ my butt off to get our people out.” But she is angry that Wynne’s committee is using the governor’s official stationery, which makes the partisan get-the-vote-out effort appear to be more in the nature of an official invitation or even command performance. She is further infuriated by plans to pass off these partisan efforts as part of the SDEC’s affirmative action program to get out minorities, women and youth. Bentsen’s people told the affiramtive action committee they would contribute $8,000 worth of mailings to the program that turned out to be letters urging Bentsen supporters to go to their conventions thusly, “Don’t let happen this time what happened last time,” a reference, Carr takes it, to McGovern strength at the conventions two years ago. Carr says that if the SDEC tries to pass this kind of thing off as affirmative action to reach blacks and chicanos, she’ll personally file a complaint with the compliance review board of the Democratic Party. M.I. April 26, 1974 5