Political Intelligence The attorney general’s office shay never get out of South Texas. First John Hill sent a task force to work in Duval County, a fertile field for investigation, if ever there was one. After retiring a couple of grand juries that wouldn’t say shoo to a goose, the task force managed to blast loose an avalanche of indictments. Then they moved over into Jim Wells County to clean up a few odds and ends. Early in September, all five members of the Jim Wells County Commissioners Court and the county auditor were indicted for alleged misapplication of public funds and for knowingly approving bills for work done on private property. Now the attorney general is sending two veterans of the Duval County probe into Starr County on the Mexican border to help local officials investigate narcotics trafficking and “possible official corruption.” Starr has lately come to resemble a free trade area for arms, narcotics, and hired killers. In the latest bloody episode, three Rio Grande City men were murdered gangland style and their bound bodies were found locked in automobile trunks in a neighboring county. Meanwhile, an a.g.’s task force con tinues to work in Zavala County. In June, a Zavala grand jury returned 11 theft and official misconduct indictments against two former school superintendents and a local contractor. And in late September, four individuals \(still unnamed at press to commit theft in regard to federal housing development funds. An outgoing grand jury which handed down the indictments concluded in a report, “From our investigations so far we feel the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in San Antonio and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Dallas have been negligent in overseeing the spending of funds disbursed by them in Zavala County. In some cases, we believe, they have been specifically advised that certain forms and reports submitted to obtain funds from them were not true. Apparently they did nothing except to disburse the funds.” 8 The Texas Observer The report continued, “It is apparent to this jury that these federal departments should have made inquiry into the allegations of widespread fraud in the spending of large amounts of federal money in Zavala County.” Child care The State of Louisiana will soon be removing its wards from three private child-care institutions in Texas. In July, a U.S. district judge in New Orleans ordered Louisiana to withdraw all its children approximately 700warehoused in Texas institutions. Under an agreement reached Sept. 22, the first removals will be from Dyer Vocational Training Center in Leona, Gertrude Thomas Home in Houston, and Balcones Children’s Psychiatric Hospital outside of Austin. The Dyer Vocational Training Center was criticized by Federal Judge Alvin Rubin for excessive use of psychotropic drugs to control children. The Gertrude Thomas Home was described by one of the expert witnesses in the Louisiana case as “a place [where] children are sent to die.” The home houses profoundly retarded children, many of whom are admitted from hospital nurseries only a few days after birth. Bob Wieland The Balcones Children’s Psychiatric Hospital has been plagued with administrative and labor problems since it opened two years ago. Some members of the childcaring staff at Balcones took the unprecedented step last year of forming a union and then filing a grievance action concerning child treatment conditions with the National Labor Relations Board. In a precedentsetting decision, the NLRB ruled that conditions-of treatment of the institution’s patients were legitimate union grievances. What remains to be seen is whether Louisiana institutions can do better by their children. Judge Rubin has ordered the Louisiana Health and Human Resources Administration to pay for an individual evaluation of each child returned from the three Texas institutions and then to provide appropriate care within the state. Dan R. Eddy Jr. of Dallas, who has been a member of the Texas Good Neighbor Commission for eight years, suffered a well-nigh terminal case of foot-inmouth disease recently when he was questioned about the propriety of a trip he made to Tampico last May. State Rep. Bill Hollowell of Grand Saline wondered if it was more of a “family trip” than an agency trip. “A family trip? To that dirty place?” responded Eddy. “If I would never get to Mexico again, it wouldn’t bother me. I don’t like the food or the climate.” The commission is a state agency dedicated to promoting better understanding between Texas and Mexico. Business as usual By a vote of 41 to 35, the U.S. Senate has upheld President Ford’s veto of a $100 million project to develop an automobile engine that would get good gasoline mileage and not pollute the air. In vetoing the bill, Ford stated that he thought the private auto industry was best equipped to develop a clean, efficient engine. The Houk of Representatives had voted to override Ford’s veto, with all of the Texas delegation except de la Garza, Hall, Paul, Collins, Archer, and Steelman \(who But the vote in the Senate was ten short of
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