cases of people not prosecuted for deaths by drunken driving.” But Cheque Torres and Nayo Zamora offer a different perspective. “This is an old German town in which the German people have had control of the political, educational, and commercial life of the city for over 100 years,” Torres told the Observer. “With the arrival in the last 15 years of some of the chain stores, there has been some pulling apart of the old power structure. The Chamber of Commerce still has a lot of power in anything that happens in town. If you want something done, you have to get the backing of the Chamber of Commerce. There are no blacks or Mexican Americans on it.” There has never been a Mexican American County Commissioner in Comal County or a Mexican American major elected official in New Braunfels. Nayo Zamora recounted the discrimination battles of recent years. “We want two Mexican Americans on the city council,” Zamora said. “They came to us and offered one Mexican American and one black member. We said, ‘Fine. We’d like two Mexican Americans and one black member on the city council [that would still have six Anglo members].’ But they didn’t like that. So last year we filed a complaint with the Justice Department asking for single-member districts with three atlarge members so that we can have representation. Three weeks ago we filed suit against the school board election system for the same reason. “Everyone will tell you it’s a racial issue, but no one will pursue it as one.” “I am the same Zamora who filed suit in 1968 against discrimination in our schools in Zamora v. New Braunfels Independent School District when my son was not getting the proper education. In 1970, they [a representative of the city establishment] came to tell me they could make me an important person in town if I dropped the suit. I didn’t. We lost the case in San Antonio in 1972, but we won in federal district court in 1975. It took $100,000, but we won. Now everybody likes it [the balanced schools], even the Anglos, though they won’t give me any credit for it. But the kids aren’t like the adults are. They get along better. Everything we’ve won has been through pressure and in the courts.” Zamora and Torres can provide many examples of what they consider to be discriminatory treatment in New Braunfels. There was the 99-year 12 JUNE 3, 1983 sentence given Arnoldo Gomez for attempted murder. Gomez served 41/2 years before the conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court for lack of evidence. After he received the news that he would be released, Gomez was instead transferred back to the Comal County jail because District Attorney Schroeder had decided to prosecute him on a related robbery charge. Then there is the new jail facility originally planned for an Anglo section of town that was suddenly relocated on the southwest Mexican American side. Much more outrageous, however, is the case of the niece of a prominent New Braunfels attorney. She was convicted last year of driving while intoxicated and killing two campers sleeping near the road. She received a $67 fine and a sixmonth probation. “Our people are getting fed up with injustice in town and discrimination,” Torres said, “with using different policies for different people. We just got mad.” River of Beer A history of discriminatory practices and countless indignities has culminated in the case of Savage. Regarding the New Braunfels establishment, Martinez observed, “Those people are so entrenched they have never had to show their power. Now they see this as a longrange threat.” “The same group that runs the Chamber of Commerce runs the ten-day river of beer in town through the Wurstfest Association,” Torres explained. “They’re the old German families, bankers, two city council members, and many attorneys in town. The Lions, Elks, and other groups have booths at the Wurstfest to raise money for their clubs. Millions of dollars are spent there. We have noticed that for the ten days during Wurstfest there’s a rise in crime in New Braunfels, including rapes, killings, and shootings. [There have been DWI-related deaths during Wurstfest the last three years.] At the same time, we have noticed law enforcement is lacking in enforcing the laws. The rest of the year, when you are caught DWI in New Braunfels, you go to jail. But the D.A. often drops charges in Wurstfest. “The Wurstfest Association is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that gives tens of thousands of dollars to the city, the school district, etc.” Torres continued. “We call this ‘tainted money.’ There is a group of Mexican Americans who have a booth at Wurstfest. They are called CIMA \(Comal Independent Men’s give scholarships to kids. We call them `coconuts’ brown outside but white inside. They are mostly professionals, teachers, but they never get involved with the city in any other way or with city government when Mexican Americans have problems. When we had a voter registration drive, we found out half of the CIMA members wouldn’t register.” The members of the Committee for Justice for All are by-and-large churchgoing families with traditional middleclass values who have become incensed by the injustice they see in the Savage case and by the annual lawlessness of the Wurstfest. Many are angry that they have not received support for their campaign from the Anglo community. “The Anglo people turned it into a racial thing,” Torres said. “We invited all groups to join us. We invited Susan Hildebrand of MADD [Mothers Against Drunk Drivers]. She refuses to join us. She came here once, but when she saw most of the people were Mexican American she took off. [Since that incident, Mack Martinez calls the group “Mothers Against Brown and Black Drunk Drivers. “] We have noticed that the biggest Baptist church in town is the most reluctant to enter any kind of program to see what can be done with Wurstfest. A bunch of the members of the First Baptist Church are members of the Chamber of Commerce and members of the Wurstfest Association. On Sunday they go to church and pray and sing, and on Monday they go to Wurstfest.” Mack Martinez said they were able to make progress in New Braunfels by not pursuing the case as a racial issue. “Those people are dealing with 100 years of German rule. They don’t have the power, so they have to put racial undertones undercover. They understood that in New Braunfels if you don’t make it a racial issue you might get some help. Everyone will tell you it’s a racial issue, but no one will pursue it as one.” On May 21, the Committee for Justice for All held a picnic attended by 100 people, 80 of whom registered with the committee and paid the $2 membership fee. They are beginning to organize for the long haul. A voter registration drive last year conducted by some of the leaders of the committee added 1,000 Mexican American voters to the rolls. “The people in the Chamber of Commerce say it’s just a few radicals out here making trouble,” says middle-aged businessman Zamora. “Okay, they can say I’m a radical. But all I am saying is that if we are right, we want a fair chance to show it. We won’t burn anybody on it or kill anybody or loot anybody. We just want the system to work for everybody. That’s all we’re asking. ”
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