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from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the city’s influential newspaper. In the four runoffs for council seats, the Unify slate will meet the Seven slate head-to-head. Elections in Corpus Christi are atlarge and usually pit the rich, largely anglo Southside against the poorer, mostly Mexican-American Westside, and the April 2 affair was true to form. Southsiders turned out in sizable numbers. Should they vote heavily in the runoff, look for an establishment, boosterish city council. Fear of a black takeover at Port Arthur city hall provided an extra margin of victory for incumbents Mayor Bemis Sadler, councilmen Maurice Conerly and Joe James, and council newcomer Ray Bernard. All are white. The contest took a decidedly racial turn when a slate of four black candidates ran in unison. Their victory, combined with a black already on the council, would have made for a black majority. During the strained campaign, the entire six-man city council and the mayor took out full-page ads in the Port Arthur News to denounce the black ticket. The ads came down hard on its ties to the Rev. Bill Land of the United Church of Christ, a political and social activist new to town from South Carolina. Indeed, the vote split along racial lines in a city which is about equally divided between blacks and whites. In an at-large election, the margin of difference lay with the heavy voter turnout in white neighborhoods. H. R. Stroube Jr. defeated fellow commissioner R. A. Armistead by 144 votes to become Corsicana’s new mayor. Oilman Stroube succeeds his archenemy of the last six years, retiring progressive Sue Youngblood. The new mayor has a history of supporting utility companies and was opposed by voters in the city’s three poorer precincts. Also elected to the city commission were conservatives Wayne Norris, an incumbent, and Ralston Gober, a wealthy dentist taking his first term. A footnote: nearly a fourth of Navarro County’s population is black, but no blacks will be serving on elected boards. Panhandle Jerry Hodge, at 34, is Amarillo’s new mayor. A two-term city com missioner, he surprised the incumbent, 71-year-old John Drummond. Look for Hodge, who operates three drugstores and a medical supply outlet, to be a social and fiscal conservative. He helped outlaw beerdrinking in the city’s civic center and maneuvered behind the scenes to take Playboy magazine off city library bookshelves. The mayor-elect was able to label Drummond a taxer and charged that the incumbent unnecessarily hiked taxes while the city was registering a surplus of more than $2 million. West Texas Voters looked at incumbent Mayor Bob McClellan’s record and found it wanting. Challenger Tom Parrett, a city commissioner, won all but five of San Angelo’s twenty precincts to coast into office. McClellan, who got himself elected in 1975 as a “people’s candidate,” has made severe political errors, voting for Lone Star Gas Co.’s $256,000 rate hike and against a $92,000 federal nutrition grant for senior citizens. Few liberals in town have any illusions about their mayor-elect. A retired Proctor and Gamble salesman, Parrett has been a devoted friend of land developers, utility companies, and the wealthy. His leadership promises to be solidly establishment and conservative. Only 25 percent of the El Paso electorate made it to the polls, but those who did registered dissatisfaction with the status quo. Voters threw mayor pro tem E. H. Baeza out of office and threw the races for mayor and three alderman slots into runoffs. Baeza lost to Dan Ponder, a local builder, despite the organizational and financial advantages of running on Mayor Don Henderson’s slate. Ponder won with only $1,800 and a lot of shoe leather. Henderson spent more than $76,000 on his campaign but faces a runoff against Ray Salazar April 19. Of those on Henderson’s well-financed slate, only two have won seats so far. El Pasoans are angry with Henderson and the incumbent aldermen over high utility rates. Henderson’s recent suppression of a report by a special commission on crime has not set well with people either. Midland voters hewed hard to their conservatism by rejecting four proposed park-bond issues and four city charter amendments, including one that would have swapped the present atlarge election system for one that would have combined single member districting and at-large representation. In the only school board race, incumbent president Joe Dominey withstood a challenge from King Hughes, who was backed by several wealthy oilmen dissatisfied with the board’s settlement of a desegregation fight with the Justice Department, declining achievement scores, and a “values clarification” curriculum being tested in Midland schools. The defeat of the bond issues repre sents the first time in several years that Midlanders have said no to community improvements. City officials say voter dissatifaction with higher taxes is to blame. Going down were bonds for general parks improvements, a new recreation center, golf course expansion, and $3.25 million for a new zoo. The makeup of Abilene’s new city council will be markedly conservative. Though Kathy Webster is the first woman to win election to the council in the town’s 96-year electoral history, her politics cannot be described as progressive. Webster was elected along with oilman Emil Ogden. Both took seats vacated by incumbents and both were backed by Citizens for Better Government, a nonpartisan, middle-class group. East Texas Three city council seats were contested in Paris and voters opted for two newcomers. The most interesting member of the new council appears to be 26-year-old Michael E. Malone, the youngest ever to win councilmanic election in Paris. A carpenter with a government degree from East Texas State, Malone campaigned door-to-door against a watersewer rate hike by the city and 34 percent utility increase by Texas Power and Light. It was also the first city council election held since the imposition of federal Judge William Wayne Justice’s courtordered single-member district plan. He ruled in 1976 that the city’s at-large system discriminated against minorities. Add Malone to the two blacks now on the council and to David Philley, a feisty, retired baseball player who was the only incumbent returned to office, and it looks like the most outspoken council in memory for the East Texas town. The future of Greenville’s mod ified died at-large council election system could come under fire following elections in which a black candidate won his home district but lost citywide. By a vote of 753 to 211, Willie C. Champion lost out to Joe Ramsey in a bid for a council seat though Champion won his home district 110 to 76. \(Greenville council candidates run from the district in which they live but are Champion has not said if he will take the city’s at-large plan to court. Greenville’s seven council members will now choose a mayor from among their number. Watch for a moderate-toconservative rule with aggressive efforts to lure outside businesses and federal money into the East Texas town. April 22, 1977 9