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pending at TRLA which is “typical of the kinds of cases we get involving packing companies that bring people np for the onion and pickle harvests,” says TRLA attorney Beardall. Onion clippers were brought up by a Griffin & Brand contractor to work Griffin & Brand fields. “There were promises of good housing, at least six weeks of work at 40 hours a week at the minimum wage,” says Beardall. “Instead, they got two and a half weeks of work at 20 hours a week and pay below the minimum wage. We have depositions from the building inspector of the city of Hereford. The house had raw sewage all over the place, holes in the floor large enough for children to fall into, missing windows, fire and electrical hazards, and structural deficiencies in the building.” In Dimmit, the labor camp stands witness to the housing. problem. As Moya walks through the camp, people complain of plumbing which leaks through the walls and plugged-up sewage systems. Behind a woman standing at the doorway, two children play around the puddles on the floor. “I have to mop up the floor every hour,” she says. “They said they’d fix it all by this year,” Moya says angrily, referring to the FHA. “Much of the housing is not suitable for use and sewage and water lines the floor in large areas of housing. “This is the only labor camp where barbed wire fences are pointed inward,” adds Moya. “We’re trying to get them torn down. It is a terrible place to live.” At the edge of Hereford, in the San Jose labor camp, laborers are faced with old, deteriorated housing a World War I vintage POW camp. In the afternoons, people stay outside as long as possible, using the shacks only for sleep. Only the children have energy to move after the fields, and at night, they roam exploring their surroundings and looking into empty, burned buildings. To them, it is a joke. Just before , the Fourth, “Put a firework here,” said one. “I think we can knock down this building.” And the celebration of American Independence continued. Man in a Coma Like a man in a coma who finally opens his eyes, the Texas farmworker has made some progress. In Hereford, a health clinic is housed right in the labor camp, and at least the accessibility to health facilities has somewhat improved. On certain days, mothers and children go to the clinics to see -visiting doctors. But other camps remain without such facilities, and not all farmworkers live in camps, renting out houses from local 12 JULY 24, 1981 growers instead. Right beside the clinic in Hereford is Head Start, the federal program designed for pre-school children. Within the building, which is actually the annex to San Jose Church, small children sleep on cots in cool indoor comfort. Director Arnold Lopez, a neat man who wears starched blue jeans and attractive ties, occasionally will work outside, “when it’s cooler,” planting grass in the playground. “I planted that section right there,” he says proudly. “This year it looks like the grass may survive.” There are other programs that help out, like MET, based in Plainview, but including Deaf Smith and 14 other counties. Regional Coordinator Irene Bocanegra explains the function of MET: “We check the local economies to see what jobs are needed and make contracts with companies that need particular types of workers. Then we train farmworkers for those jobs. The businesses that hire them get tax breaks.” “The purpose,” says Alvaro Castillo, the job developer for MET, “is to improve the quality of life of the farmworker.” MET provides some opportunity to get out of the migrant stream. Unlike the awakening comatized man, the Texas farmworker has yet to have his day of real economic health. “You know what’s going to have to happen here,” says the man in the restaurant, as he sips another cup of coffee. “People are going to get frustrated, get so pissed off that they’ll start shooting, winicliumiliiiimilimilliclimiliclim An Observer Discussion imiclinillintlinicliccemilininilll Sitting in his office in the annex of Hereford’s marble courthouse, as quiet and confident as the building itself, Sheriff Travis McPherson comes across as a generally quiet man, comfortable with his views. At times, he sits back on his seat, pressing the pads of his fingers and thumbs together and contemplating the question before he answers; his listening seems as intent as his speech. A local song, narrated on the record by one of his deputies, describes him as a “mountain of a man” who stands for “truth, justice, and the American way” for everyone, including “Anglos, blacks, and the Mexicans too.” Occasionally, he almost quotes from it. “The Sheriff,” local kill a few police or ranchers. Then the federal government will have to come in and investigate to see why people are so frustrated here only then will there be changes. “Look what happened in Chicago in the sixties, and in California, the federal government had to go in only then did people know what was going on there. But someone had to die. You know that without dead people no one listens to what’s going on.” It is the most negative note, and I remember the woman kneeling in the field, and the boy complaining of not being able to buy anything, and think of a man kneeling before the manager of a labor camp, saying he couldn’t pay the rent, and being kicked for it, and the fears a lot of people had of economic retaliation if they helped. TRLA’s Bill Beardall is uncertain of what will happen. “There is a possibility that our clients, having envisioned the possibility of justice, might be sufficiently angered to nevertheless demand justice outside the judicial system which has been closed off to them,” he says, more eloquently. “It could take the form of strikes, peaceful and orderly, self-organization, extra-legal efforts and attempts to seize a measure of justice in spite of the system. “Once you’ve held out to people the promise of equal justice under the law” with programs like Legal Services’ TRLA, he says, “and then take it away you’ve committed a greater offense than never to have offered it at all.” people had told me, “will be honest with you. He can afford to say whatever he wants. He has the support of all the money here.” He has been County Sheriff some twelve years, is happy with his job, and plans to keep it. I was over here working in the fields for a couple of weeks, trying to find out different things; one of the main things that I wanted to find out was how many people actually knew about the Union at all. Was there very many? Well, I found out that a lot of people that were here were actually from the Talking to the Sheriff