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CONSUMERS PAY 50% MORE FOR FOOD TODAY THAN IN 1972 BUT FAMILY FARMERS SEE A LOSS UNEQUALED SINCE 1933 Inflation keeps up . Farm prices keep going down. THE COST PRICE WE’D LIKE TO CHANGE THAT TO KEEP EVERYBODY. EATING Texas CTS Farmers L.ri gi i Union M. From Washington I thought your June 17 legislative issue was terrific. I’ve shared portions of it with the staff. Keep it up. David Cohen, president, Common Cause, 2030 M St., N.W., Washington, D.C. “Branch banking” I was extremely interested in the July 29 issue of the Observer, which contained a special report on Texas bankholding companies, and especially the well-written and thoughtful article by Tim Mahoney. My interest in this subject was increased because of some work I did on the branch banking article in the Texas constitution as a member of the Constitutional Revision Commission in connection with the ill-fated project to get constitutional revision in Texas. I came to the conclusion that so long as “branch banking” is regarded as not including the acquisition of controlling or near controlling interest in another bank, it was nonsense to have a branch banking provision in the constitution. In fact, branch banking within the confines of the same county, especially in rural areas, seems highly desirable from an economic standpoint. At any rate, the subject of banking is a difficult and important one that cannot be handled in the constitution. It is a subject that needs the attention of the Legislature, preceded by a careful study of the whole problem. You are to be commended for directing attention to this important economic question. Page Keeton, School of Law, University of Texas, Austin. Not up to par Your usual excellent, investigative reporting was not quite up to par on Texas bankholding companies. Your special report was merely the tip of the iceberg. Acquisitions by bankholding companies are approved the same way bank charters are approvedthrough political leverage, oftentimes irrespective of the merits. Too often, bank charters and approval of bank acquisitions are a Democrat’s political reward. To date, no investigative journalists or executive officers charged with enforcing the law have /11111111111111111.11M sought to investigate this aromatic condition which borders on, if indeed it is not, outright bribery. It has been common knowledge for many years, and everyone knows that banks have access to that which politicians require: money. Granted, some of this type of information is hard to get, but in most cases it can be had for the askinghopefully you will follow up. Alan McNeill, P.O. Box 3945, Beaumont. Good show How very much we Texans need and appreciate the type of reporting you gave us in the July 29 article on Texas Bankholding companies. It’s unnerving to read about these companies, yet reassuring that we have the Observer to help us understand what we are facing. Too, thank you for presenting the material in a manner that avoids the self-righteous, all-knowing tone that sometimes dilutes the effectiveness of the important things the progressive community of Texas has to say. Finally, I thought you and Bernard Rapoport were fair in pointing out that the creators of the bankholding companies are not necessarily villainous people. And I certainly agree with Beverly Allen’s and Jim Hightower’s observations that the executives and directors of the huge corporations are isolated and often terribly bland. They also possess an impenetrable self-assurance .. . as to the correctness of their way of life and what they do. Mary Charlotte Decker, 1700 Hermann Dr., Apt. 510, Houston. Stuart Long Thanks for Ben Sargent’s story on my husband Stuart \(Obs., Many people remarked to me that they thought it was a great tribute. Since Ben is sort of a cousin of Stuart’s, I sent a copy of his story off on a “Family Round Robin” to about thirty of the relatives. By Xmas all of them will have seen it. So it will be read in California, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii and of course Texas. We have subscribed and contributed to the Observer since its inception. Thanks for carrying on. Hope your new ideas will go over big. Emma Long, 1306 Bradwood Road, Austin. OBSERVER Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th, Austin. Tex. 78701 DIALOGUE IF YOU ARE an occasional reader and would like to receive the Texas Observer regularlyor if you are a. subscriber and would like to have a free sample copy or a one year gift subscription sent to a friendhere’s the order form: SEND THE OBSERVER TO name street city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscription; send card in my name sample copy only; you may use my name $12 enclosed for a one year sub bill me for $12 MY NAME & ADDRESS \(if not shown THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701