in Crystal City means, one suspects that Shockley, for all his research and perspicacity, kind of missed the boat by not knowing very much about South Texas political machines. \(He seems to think that Laredo is relatively well-governed by an anglo-chicano understand that a good deal of what is coming down in Crystal City these days is your basic gander sauce, a.k.a., reverse racism. Hell, yes, teachers \(and, for that aren’t 100 percent \(90 percent won’t do La Raza Unida have been canned precisely because of that reason. But anyone who doesn’t think that when the anglos controlled the system \(pre-1963 they didn’t fire folks for ideological reasons, probably also thinks Laredo is relatively well-governed by an anglo-chicano coalition. The anglos of Cristal doubtlessly never meant to teach the chicanos how to run the place, but it turns out that they learned anyway, all too well, how to operate a political machine that would do Geroge Parr proud. Teaching by example Noe Gonzalez would understand it well. Cristal, however, retains an appealing down-here-on-the-ground quality. Political scientists may get exercised over its similarities to South Africa and political reformers may be distressed by its similarity to Duval County, but the basic flap in Cristal itself these days is over the half-time shows at the high school football games. Eagle Pass and Uvalde have threatened not to play Crystal High again unless the band cleans up its act. Gonzalez got voted down 13-1 in the regional high school administrators’ conference on the question of whether half-time shows had to be submitted for prior approval by the conference. In addition to performing such unsettling tackiness as spelling out “RAZA” on the field, the band has acquired the habit of marching out for performances with clenched fists raised. Depending on whom you talk to, these fists mean “right on,” “power to the people” or international communist victory. BARKER, who is admittedly prejudiced against La Raza, still has’ a nice eye for its hypocrisies. Just minor stuff during the school boycott of ’69 and the hard-fought school elections of ’70, La Raza objected most strenuously to the fact that the then anglo-run school system never purchased any gas from chicano-owned stations. Barker insists that he’s been watching the gas situation closely ever since Unida took over, and there isn’t an anglo-owned station in Crystal City that’s pumped a single gallon of gas for the school district since La Raza’s ’70 victory. Gander sauce, just a little gander sauce. But there’s no gander sauce involved in passing, as La Raza did two years ago, a $2.77 million school bond issue for construction purposes. That’s more than any anglo school administration in Cristal had done since 1945, when the feds dumped a lot of “temporary” buildings on the district, on account of they had no further need to continue incarcerating Japanese-Americans in them. A nglo lawsuits tied up the bond money for two years, but the courts finally unleashed it and by the fall of 1975, Gonzalez expects to have all Crystal City kids going to school in buildings designed for learning instead of for concentration camps. And it may be partly or even chiefly as a result of Gonzalez’ hustling scholarships, but he’s still had more than 80 percent of his graduating high school seniors going on to college for the past two years. Over 80 percent from a chicano high school in a poor district well, just credit where credit is due. While the progress in Cristal’s schools is countable, in spite of all the justified and unjustified quibblings, in terms of dollars, bricks and graduates, La Raza’s record in municipal administration leaves a sight to be desired. The most notable area of failure could yet prove to be terminal because it is economic. During its four years in power, La Raza Unida has been unable to attract The municipal building displays this statue of Popeye in tribute to Del Monte’s spinach packing plant, Crystal City’s primary industry. one single new industry to Crystal City. The blame for that failure almost surely goes ‘beyond La Raza, but simply because the party has the power, it must bear the major portion of the blame. To be sure, La Raza has had notable success in attracting federal and foundation money, but, the economy of a city cannot run on federal and foundation dough for specific, one-shot. purposes \(barring the feds putting some kind of permanent installation into Cristal, which as far as anybody knows, they are not planning to foundation of Crystal City, an anglo run C of C-related outfit, had plans for an industrial park in 1970 when La Raza took over. According to Kingsbury, the group had even had a couple of nibbles from industries wanting to re-locate. But now, Kingsbury, like almost every other anglo businessman in town, says flatly, “I’d have to say, if a businessman was to ask me about locating in Crystal City, that I just couldn’t advise it. The political situation is too unstable.” In fact, the political situation is not in the least unstable. For the foreseeable future, La Raza Unida will be running Crystal City and, as of this fall, when Angel Gutierrez comes up for election as county judge, it is more than probable that the party will have control of Zavala County. It is a politically well-entrenched organization. But a fat lot of good that’s going to do it, if the economic situation doesn’t improve. Since La Raza took over Crystal City, exactly one new commercial building has gone up, according to Kingsbury. The city lost and the county lost a negligible chunk of population between the 1960 and the 1970 census, but Kingsbury, that zealous counter, estimates that 500 anglos have left the city since La Raza took over. There’s an extent to which one can conclude that the town’s anglos are cutting off their collective nose in order to spite their collective face. There is a distinctly petty, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh element to the anglo business community’s having stopped all work on attracting new industry to the town. On the other hand, the responsibility for that kind of effort should lie with the established power. Gutierrez’ few pronouncements on the subject have been oracular references to “industry being welcome here only on our terms.” Veteran Gutierrez watchers assume he means that any business that wants to come in will have to pay very equal taxes. The catch-22 in that kind of political rhetoric is that, as matter of practicality, South Texas towns have to offer some special concessions in order to attract industry X number of years of total tax exemption or free municipal utilities or whatever. Crystal City is something of puzzlement as an industrial site. True, i doesn’t have much to offer but cheap labor, and since it is run by a politica party dedicated to not letting capitalis economic forces take advantage of tha cheap labor pool, even that advantage ma be moot. Its chief geophysical handicap 1, that it doesn’t have much water. Politically, it has been undercut by feds’ border development program, w permits American industrialists to on the Mexican side of the Rio to pay far less than minimum
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