‘f p eb, When Lubbock’s George Mahon, the 77-year-old dean of Congress, announced July 6 that he would retire at the end of this termhis 22nd in WashingtonWest Texas political winds gusted. The most plausible figures to make races for Mahon’s seat are Republicans Jim Reese and Jim Granberry, and Lubbock’s freshman state senator, Democrat Kent Hance. However, the only formally announced candidate is George Bush Jr., who has a famous father, plenty of oil money and, according to one source, “not a snowball’s chance of winning anything.” Bush, 31, is from Midland and calls himself an “independent Republican.” Reese, a former Odessa mayor, gave Mahon his toughest race in decades, attracting 46 percent of the vote in the 1976 general election. Hance pulled off a minor political miracle in his defeat of veteran Doc Blanchard in the 28th senate district last fall. Granberry, a former Lubbock mayor, carried the Republican standard aganst Gov. Dolph Briscoe in the 1974 gubernatorial race. Rep. Bob Poage, 77, has hinted strongly that he will follow his longtime colleague Mahon into retirement. They are the two oldest members of the House, and the only ones elected before World War II. Poage says, “There are a whole lot of things I want to do back home in Texas, and I haven’t got a lot of time left to do them.” “Back home in Texas,” meanwhile, at least three Democrats are getting ready to run for Poage’s seat. Former state Rep. Lane Denton of Waco has formed a campaign committee, is hiring a staff, and has retained a firm of Austin pollsters to chart the way for him. The other two likely candidates are Marvin Leath, a Marlin banker and former Poage aide, and state Rep. Lyndon Olson of Waco. State Rep. Dan Kubiak of Rockdale had been expected to enter the race, but he now says he will run for re-election to the Texas House. The Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund plan to file suit against six Texas counties which, they claim, have systematically prevented chicanos from serving as county commissioners. The counties in question are Edwards, iOt Comal, Guadalupe, Jackson, Gonzales and Caldwell. The chicano groups charge that, as a result of gerrymandering, no Mexican-American is currently a commissioner in any of the six counties, where the chicano population ranges from 25 to 70 percent. William C. Velasquez, SVREP’s executive director, says his group has under study 22 more counties, all of them in West Texas, for future legal action. He says that of the 88 commissioners in these counties, only one is a MexicanAmerican. “Our research indicates violation of the one-man / one-vote principle, as well as dilution of the Mexican-American vote,” says Velasquez. “It’s outright gerrymandering. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen by accident.” The Salinas trial The noose tightened around the neck of Enrique Salinas, a major figure in the Texas “rent-a-bank” scandal, when his cousin, Blanca Alicia de Aldaco, fingered him as the actual recipient of loans she received from Salinas’ Citizens State Bank at Carrizo Springs. Blanca Alicia de Aldaco, one of thirteen persons indicted in May by a San Antonio federal grand jury for alleged misapplication of bank funds, pleaded guilty July 11 to one count of making a false statement on a loan application. She took out three loans totaling $137,000 from the now defunct bank. But in a June deposition, taken two weeks before her guilty plea was entered, de Aldaco said she “never asked for all that money. It was Mr. Salinas always.” De Aldaco denied that she asked for the loans and said she never saw any of the money, except for $21,000, used to buy her house in Eagle Pass. In addition, she said the signature on the back of one $9,400 check for a loan which bears her name is not her handwriting. De Aldaco said Enrique Salinas and his now-deceased brother, Juan Salinas, asked her to buy Juan’s Mexican ranch to prevent his estranged wife from taking the property in a divorce settlement. “Mr. Enrique Salinas was going to take care of it [repayment of the $88,000 ranch purchase loan],” de Aldaco said. In her November testimony before the federal grand jury, de Aldaco had claimed that she wanted the ranch and had asked Enrique Salinas to arrange the loan to buy it. Asked about the contradictions between her grand jury testimony and her recent deposition, de Aldaco said, “I remember much better now that I have been forty days in jail.” Two days after the deposition was taken, her bond was reduced from $100,000 to $75,000. She put up the money and was released. De Aldaco’s attorney, Oscar Gonzalez, said his client will testify at Salinas’ trial \(expected to begin July 25 will be even more damaging to Salinas than her deposition. Another of Salinas’ codefendants, Bicknell T. Eubanks, also pleaded guilty to a charge of making a false statement on a loan application. Eubanks, an Eagle Pass customs agent, reportedly has agreed to testify against Salinas. A decade of Dolph It may never have happened, but here’s the story making the rounds: passing through a small East Texas town recently, Dolph Briscoe decided to thrill the rubes at the barber shop by popping in to pump a few hands. “Hi,” he beamed to the barber and three or four patrons. “I’m Dolph Briscoe and I’m your governor!” “Yeah,” one of the townsmen beamed back, “we were just laughing about that.” Bless his heart, though, Briscoe is offering Texans more of his leadership. After serving one term of two years and a second of four, he says he would like to serve a third term and sit in the big chair through 1982. If he wins, it would mean a decade of Dolph. The minds of a lot of Texans boggle at the prospect: a couple of recent polls indicate that voters are ready for a change. A Dallas Morning News survey showed that only 23 percent of Dallas-area residents favor another Briscoe term, with 40 percent opposed and the rest not talking. Reasons given by those down on Dolph ranged from “He’s been too Political Intelligence
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