David T. Lopez

Duration: 49 mins 2 secs
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Interview with:  David Lopez
Interviewed by:   Louis Marchiafava
Date:  August 5, 1976

OH 106

 

 

LM:     Interview with Mr. David Lopez, August 5, 1976. Mr. Lopez, I would first like to thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to visit here with us for the interview. I suppose I’d like to begin the interview by talking about your activities on the school board.

DL:      That’s fine.

LM:     Now, when you first were elected to the position, you made several statements about the poor education that Mexican Americans and minorities in general were receiving. I wonder if you might go into some detail about the problems that you found at that time.

DL:      Well, I think that the basic problem in any large metropolitan community, so far as the minorities are concerned, is that the allocation of resources usually is in the hands of a group that is nonminority, as has been the case in Houston. Therefore, the priorities naturally tend to be towards meeting the needs of the majority representation of the community or the nonminority representation of the community. In terms of specifically the Mexican Americans, this manifested itself in many respects at that time. We’re talking about 1971. One was the relatively very low percentage of professional employees in the district who are Mexican American. Particularly in the area of teaching personnel, which is of direct impact because of the language problems Mexican Americans may sometimes have. The percentage, as I recall, was under 3 percent, both for teachers and for administrators. Nothing in terms of administrators, probably just extremely low—probably around 1.5 percent. We have found in Houston over recent years—and including that time period—that a lot of Mexican families and other     Latin-American families are immigrating into the community—children coming to our schools with little or no knowledge of English. For that reason, particularly, I thought it was important to have more teachers who were familiar enough with the language to be able to assist children, if not within a formal bilingual program, at least to help bring them along. I was educated myself in a community that was primarily Spanish speaking in Laredo. But my wife, who was originally from Monterrey in Mexico, has told me about her experiences coming into school. I believe it was in Kingsville, Texas at the time. She just could not communicate anything, not even the most elemental question to the teacher. And that made a very serious impression on me. Aside from the fact of percentages and personnel, the facilities, I think, were at that time—and are still today—unevenly allocated. There’s very little comparison between Edison Junior High, with a large Mexican-American enrollment, and Rogers Junior High, for example. One has a football field, the other has not. One has ample parking space both for faculty and for students and the other one hardly has room for faculty cars, let alone anything else, in terms of the relative ages of the buildings and so forth. This, of course, is of a continuing concern. The schools with significant Mexican-American enrollment are older schools, generally, and tend to be in a more dilapidated condition than those in other parts of the community. And one very serious problem at that time was, as a result of the desegregation litigation in the district, Mexican-American schools—or schools with predominant Mexican-American enrollment—had been considered white for desegregation purposes. Mexican—American students had been considered as white. The net result of that was that the desegregation effort in the schools was confined to blacks and Mexican Americans with the black schools being paired with Mexican-American schools with one exception in which two black schools were paired with each other. Students bussed each way; for what reason, I don’t know. But those were some of the main significant problems. In the area of bilingual education, my feeling at that time was—and still is—that you don’t teach anything bilingually when you teach one language as a foreign language, whether that language be English or Spanish. And that we ought to, in this area of the world, be committed to a truly bilingual education, which means teaching all of the subject matter in English and Spanish. Some districts in this state are doing it. There’s a district right outside of Laredo, Texas that is doing it with great success. I think that we ought to attempt to do that, and that was something that I envisioned at that time.

 

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LM:     06:21.6 How receptive were the other members of the school board to these problems that you presented?

DL:      Oh, I think that they were generally sympathetic. I think that, again, in terms of priorities, that the promise of Mexican Americans did receive as great a priority of that of perhaps other groups.

LM:     Such as blacks?

DL:      Blacks in the community, yeah.

LM:     Blacks received more consideration?

DL:      Well, I think the higher priority for one thing, just as a practical, political matter, in terms of Liberal conservative politics in the community. You don’t run as a Liberal and get elected in Houston in ’71 or ’76 without obtaining, I would say, at least 80 percent of the black vote as a block. That was of great consideration then. I think my percentage in the black precincts was about 87 percent at the time. Had I not had that kind of percentage, certainly I would not have been on the board. All of us, I think, were cognizant for that reason that this was a community that we had to respond to in a positive fashion. I think it was probably colored at the time, because I came in right after the desegregation question—right after the Mexican-American community’s reaction to the pairing situation which resulted in a boycott and alternative schools being set up for Mexican Americans. I think that the aftermath of that was a feeling among some members of the school board, even though nominally liberal, that they felt that they were being pushed harder, in those terms, than they really wanted to go. The preoccupation in terms of the pairing situation, the preoccupation in terms of the classifying of Mexican Americans as a separate minority—being if we did that, does that mean bussing? In terms of bilingual education, the idea of whether it was worth the allocation of resources from the local level rather than from the state level. Of course, that was resolved in time by the state allocating substantially more money for it and making possible additional local monies to be used for that purpose. But I think that generally the school board, during my first two years—supposedly a liberal board—and the school board in the last two years—supposedly a conservative board—in each of those instances, I think the board acted in not too dissimilar a fashion towards Mexican Americans. I believe that the problems of that community are much more complex than those of blacks. For one thing, you don’t have the consensus among the community itself. I remember one community meeting very graphically. It was out in a Mexican American area. I was asked by somebody, “Why don’t you articulate the Mexican-American position more on the board?” And I said, “Well, if you would tell me what it is—I’ll give you a list of subjects and you tell me what the line is. Then I think I could be agreeable to articulating it to the best of my ability.” But there was not agreement at the time—still isn’t. I think this has gone pretty consistently through the history of the Mexican-American community, going back as far as you care to go, back when this part of the country was Mexican territory. The problems were much different. The problems that a Mexican American faces if he has money and a position are much different than those that he faces if he doesn’t. This creates all kinds of problems when you try to think in terms of one monolithic community—that you’re going to respond to. I think that contributed partly to my ability to get a response. But I thought that in areas that I considered critical—hiring—at one point the use of Title 1 monies to furnish clothing and shoes for students that would otherwise not be able to attend school regularly for lack of those items. Many times, in terms of specific programs and specific personnel, I was able, finally, to get across a motion that established Mexican Americans as a separate ethnic group. Eventually we were able to get away from the pairing situation. I think that the cost and pressure and the fact that there was some Mexican Americans in the ward during that time did make a difference. I believe that it is important, where one cultural group or ethnic group—whatever one considers it—constitutes a significant part of the community—that there be that representation. How one does it, I’m not sure. We may talk about the single-member district thing a bit. I’ve got very mixed feelings on that. It has some pluses and minuses. Main one being, to me, that I figure for so many years we have had token blacks on the board. Now when we’re getting a black and brown majority in the community, we’re going to be real fair and split it all equally. I have the feeling at times that perhaps we ought to go through 20 years of having a token white on the board so that there will be a greater sensitivity and then we can go ahead and do it fairly and everybody will have a better feeling for what it’s like.

 

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DL:      13:25.7 But I was satisfied, I guess, by and large, to the reaction of the board. In terms of results, I think that many times it wasn’t because of a commitment or philosophy or equity or fairness, it was just simply politicking. That’s the name of the game. That’s what you’ve got to do. I feel that we got the results, and I don’t care if it came out of conscious or expediency—you know—it’s there.

LM:     Was there any difference in the reception you received in the turnover from CGS members to the CARE members—CARE members?

DL:      Well, yes, substantial, obviously—you know—Democrat to Republican—you know—it’s a different political party; it’s a different political faction. I think that eventually, in dealing with the CARE group, that I was able to at least obtain enough respect out of them—if nothing else, to attest to my ability to attract attention in the media—which they did not want to attract at the time—to be able to do some things. But it was really a difference of dynamics. I don’t think it’s any particular secret or does any violence to anybody’s consideration, but my main functioning in the two years—you know—you have a situation where you have four whites, two blacks, and one Mexican American. It didn’t take me long—I’d been an observer of the political scene for a long time—to figure out the formula. My formula, if I wanted something done—you know—Title One clothing—I started out with my vote, maybe one other possible vote, and very substantial opposition from several of the board members. My tactic was to go after one of the two blacks and convince him. Once I did that, then I could go to the other black and say, “Hey, look, here’s this guy and here I am. What do you think? It just doesn’t do for us to split up too much.” Generally, I could get agreement. There you have two blacks and one Mexican American on one side of the issue and four supposedly liberal folks on the other side, each of whom, I would suspect, did not relish the idea at all of a four-white vote coming down on the majority against two blacks and a Mexican American. So—you know—I had very good leverage to swing one vote. If I had my majority, then it was just a question of whether they wanted to make it unanimous or not. And it worked very well. In terms of the switch over, of course, it was a much different dynamic. The relationship with Reverend Everett, who by that time had switched from one side to the other, was not very clear. Although, I think that I maintained a good relationship with him throughout, and I had respect for him and his abilities. But it wasn’t that clear cut, and I think the conservative board—to use just shorthand labels—I don’t think conservative or liberal really applied to either one. The conservative board, I think, was a lot more careful of me for obvious reasons. I was a thorn in their side. But they did things—for example, we started out with Jeannie Kamrath, who was the other CTS holdover, seated next to me. That happened the first meeting. She seconded my motions right away. Well, the next time they had Edwin Heinen sitting in between Mrs. Kamrath and me, I felt, really, for the obvious purpose of making sure we didn’t have that direct communication. The strategy was to isolate. And, of course, the strategy then came from basically a private strategy of buttonholing members of the board to a public one of running it up on the media and running up the issue, trying to elicit public support and settle for a reasonable compromise. The board didn’t want to go as far as I wanted to go, but they felt that they had to do something. Usually we got some things done. At the very least, during those two years, there was a good—oh, call it a gorilla tactic if nothing else—just making sure that they didn’t do more in terms of some of the things that I think they were thinking of doing.

 

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LM:     18:56.1 Such as?

DL:      Oh, the High School for the Performing and the Visual Arts. This had been a big item of pride for the liberal board, if for no other reason than it was viewed as something that perhaps should go by the conservatives in terms of how the district was reorganized, how monies were spent, in terms of hiring, in terms of doing away with the paired schools, all of these kinds of things. I think that the basic line that the conservatives would have wanted to follow was probably different than where they ended up. I think for the reason that they were able to focus enough public attention. They did get some reaction, both from their side and from the communities as a whole, to hold back the districting—the setting aside of districts. I think that had it not been for a number of people—state representatives, for example—Craig Washington, Ben Reyes, Mickey Leland—being present at the school board meeting we were districting, and had it not been for a consistent pressure, nothing, at that point—in that particular meeting, Reverend Everett and I were able to work closely together. We came out with a much better program than they would. I think that the plan they really wanted was a disaster. It would have locked in five whites, one black, and one swing district, which for this community would have been a disaster. It probably wouldn’t have been approved by the Justice Department in the first place. It would have been a grave mistake. We switched some things around and made it possible, at least, for Mexican Americans to think enough of the district to run in one district. This same pattern, I think, was repeated. I don’t know if I could think right off the bat of some other examples. Oh, I guess, right at the very first issue—the hiring of the superintendent. I think that they had a person that they wanted to appoint as a superintendent who was currently on the staff and probably would have right off the bat. They had their mindset.

LM:     Who was that?

DL:      21:43.5 (Torres??) Elrod. I know no specifics other than watching his face when we’d made a decision as to who was going to be the interim superintendant. But I think that that was their mindset. I think that that was the way that they were headed at the meeting. This was the first time that I detected that there was a great need in the conservative group to attempt to avoid controversy and to try maintain a consensus. There, I think, we did some switching around in terms of whether or not there would be a vote to buy off George Garver’s contract. I think we had a unanimous vote to appoint Linus Wright as interim superintendant. The effort, I think, was continued when we were looking at a permanent superintendant, except there I think that there was an extremely critical decision for the conservative board. I think that that was made early in the game and there was not much chance of getting them away from Billy Reagan. I was disappointed in that. That was a great disappointment.

 

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I thought that we went from a situation where we had PhDs both as president of the community college and as superintendent of schools to a situation where in neither case do we have a Ph.D. And I’m not that enamored of academic degrees in and of themselves, but I think that they do show—particularly in an academic setting and in the school district—a certain discipline and a certain willingness to have the perseverance and the contacts to do some of the things that need to be done. I felt there was a great deal of provincialism and what we ended up doing, taking a look at somebody that was right here in the neighborhood rather than doing what I still think ought to be done and that is looking throughout the country for a man that’s a strong administrator and can run the district rather than somebody who is basically a public-relations type and can keep the political waters from being too turbulent here in the community. I think the main problem presently with the board at this time is that it’s basically switched positions with the superintendent. You have a board that’s trying to be an administrator of the district and a superintendent who is making all the policy because there’s an absolute policy vacuum. The board doesn’t spend the time—probably doesn’t have the full understanding of its policy-making role at this time to really be able to make policy. And this was a weakness also in the liberal board. I felt that too many times we got wrapped up in the nuts and bolts of the district and too little time was spent just sitting time and trying to figure out what was education all about to begin with. And if we could establish some general consensus of that, what does it mean to this community? Then make some of the hard choices that have to be done. Some of them, for example, do you develop one philosophy for the Houston Independent School District or do you recognize that there are six or seven or eight communities and that each of them has different educational needs? It seems reasonable to suppose that each of them requires a different educational philosophy. What role do athletics play in this society now so as to constitute dedication of a major portion of resources? How do you respond to the needs of particular communities for greater culture and identification development? All of these kinds of things—you go to a school board meeting and people are talking about how many pounds of salami are going to be bought and who’s going to get the ice cream contract. Who’s going to dig a sewer line? Are you going to sell this property or not? Do you approve of this federal contract for this particular research project to study a problem that has been studied and restudied three or four times already? This kind of thing. The board doesn’t sit down and talk about the things that I’m sure other parents in this community are wondering about the same as I am. Do we have a truly different, new generation of people? I am amazed, talking to my 7-year-old. She’s probably around where I was at age 13. She’s just coming along like shot out of a gun. And I’m sure she’s probably a little bit faster than others, but I’m sure that this is not a unique phenomenon. I think this is happening throughout. There’s a massive influx of information coming at youngsters today, a lot of it from television, and they’re developing a lot faster. What do we do? We’re talking about should we go back to the 3 Rs? Should we go back to teaching the way we used to teach way back when, because students are not learning to read anymore? Well, one thing doesn’t follow the other. I try to tell some of my fellow board members, the fact that Ford cars may be a little bit weak here and there, may get banged up, doesn’t mean that Bill Russell the Ford dealer is going to call the Ford Motor Company and say, “Hey, we’ve got to go back to making them the way we were making them in the 30s because those darn things were sturdy.” I mean, it’s obvious that one thing doesn’t follow the other. Students are not learning today, a few because they’re learning in different ways. They’re not learning the same things; they’re learning in different ways. If they got access to a calculator, it’s questionable whether you should be spending a lot of time drilling them on multiplication tables anymore. Maybe you do need to do that. I don’t know. But the questions are there. They’re not asked. They’re not discussed. It even appears oftentimes almost obscene to sit on the board and you ask a question about somebody that’s proposing a program to you and he turns back and says, “You know what? Why do you ask that? What has that got to do with the budget? What has that got to do with the people we’ve got to hire? You’re asking about the purpose of the thing, and that’s for us to decide on. We’re the educators. You’re the school board. You make it possible for us. You get us the money.” Again, I think the roles are totally topsy-turvy. I don’t what you do on that. It may be too late, really, to do much except complain and complain and hope that the pendulum swings the other way, but it’s not getting any better.

 

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LM:     29:55.4 What was your view of Dr. George Garver? What kind of superintendent was he?

DL:      I think generally it did have to come down to the positive side on George. He was a strong administrator. He was able to define administrative duties. He was able to, I think, by and large, to delegate. He had fantastically tremendous ego, which is not in and of itself all that bad. It did get in the way of his judgment at times. But that’s probably something that every individual in a position of substantial power has. It’s not particularly a problem that just isolated on Dr. Garver. I think Garver had the intellectual capacity. He had the administrative skills. He certainly was very articulate. Probably, he should have spent more time trying to get a better feeling for the community and letting the community get a better feeling for him. He became isolated early in the game. He came into a situation and quickly found that in this district, like in any other district, the administrators run the place. They’ve been around a long time and they know the ins and outs and they can usually get their way by doing nothing else but sitting on their hands every time a good program comes along that they don’t like. Garver’s reaction to that was to be very careful about who he could trust and to begin bringing people from the outside—you know—his own team. He probably did more of that than he ought to, and he probably ought to have found some accommodation with the old guard or absolutely cleaned house—one or the other. I think he did try to do a little bit of both. It came close to working, but it didn’t quite. And they got him. They got him. I think it wasn’t his entire fault. The liberal board lost the election the same as the conservative board lost the election prior to that. The elections for school boards here are won and lost on the same basis as national elections are. There are one or two clearly and easily identifiable issues that arise in people’s minds. Usually issues that can arouse emotions and then you just run them for what they’re worth.

LM:     Was there a specific issue that sealed his doom?

DL:      Yeah, I think—and it was very little of Garver’s doing. I don’t know. He may have had some influence in it. I think basically the election of 1973 was lost when the board, in January of that year, prior to the November election, decided that Reverend Everett was not going to get the opportunity, which was his turn in rotation, to be the board president. It was a very simple thing. But here’s a man who admittedly had been an independent rather than a team man, but who had tremendous influence and has tremendous influence in the black community. And even beyond that, I think here’s where members of the board at that time, just like at this time, failed to have sensitivity for the minority community. They should have known that even people who detested Leon Everett in the black community were going to consider that as a slap at the community and not at Everett. And it was a very difficult thing. I told them early in the game. I said, “I’m going to nominate his. You do what you want. You go whatever way you want, but this is one that I think we’re going to do the wrong thing on.” So I nominated Everett. Dr. Barnett, who was a black physician, seconded the nomination. And it was simply because four whites refused to break and any of them vote for Everett that Everett was not elected. Rather than just absolutely run the issue to disaster, I think I withdrew the nomination and went ahead and elected the other black, Dr. Barnett.

 

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LM:     35:11.5 Why wouldn’t they go for Everett and yet they went for Barnett?

DL:      Well, it wasn’t a racial thing. It was basically Everett. They felt that Everett had double-crossed them in switching on the vote originally to fire Garver—the first firing of Garver—and at other times he had exemplified a very independent and headstrong and, some of them thought, morally deficient position on the board. And, again, it was a failure to realize that a board member’s got to react to his own constituency and his own needs and also live up to the basic agreement. It’s an understanding when the four CGS people first got elected that each one of them was going to have his turn. The three others had and it was Everett’s turn and they just decided they weren’t going to do it.

LM:     What do you mean by morally deficient?

DL:      Oh, I think that some of the white board members thought that Reverend Everett operated not out of genuine commitment or philosophy, but just out of expediency in terms of his friends and that this was not in keeping with what they felt the standards for board members should be. I think, again, that’s—I think I could exemplify by recollection of one time, when Eleanor Tinsley, at the time that she was board president, was having a very heated discussion with me because I was opposing the creation of a Department of Mexican-American Affairs, or words to that effect, which I felt, at that time—we ended up killing it. I felt at the time it was just going to become the elephant’s burial ground of every Mexican-American problem. That’s where Mexican-American problems go home to die. I was very opposed for that reason. She came up with some kind of—well, the administration came up with some kind of compromise. I said, “Hey, Eleanor, I don’t know. It looks workable, but let me call the Mexican-American Educational Council.” And she said, “Well, I just don’t understand why you have to consult with pressure groups.” And I said, “Well, Eleanor, when I talk to some people, they’re pressure groups. When you talk to some people, they’re constituents.” (laughs) That’s the same thing. I think it was just a difference in understanding that what makes one board member vote a particular way is not the same as what makes another member vote a particular way. To put certain moral standards or ethical standards into the equation—dishonest acts—you know—is really of no great relevance. You have to act out of the way that you interpret your own role and your own commitment. I think that they never could figure out, obviously there must be something wrong. If there was something wrong, he was a crook. You know, it was that kind of logic. It was unfortunate.

LM:     What led Reverend Everett to switch his vote against Garver? Was there something particular?

DL:      I don’t know. I wasn’t on the board at the time.

LM:     I thought maybe you might have some insight.

DL:      I know what he’s told me, that he wanted a particular report and George Garver told him he could not have it. He just wanted to demonstrate to Dr. Garver that he was a board member and he was an employee. I think if that was his purpose, he did it very effectively. There was, of course, the other versions floating around that he had gotten paid off, had gotten a new car, or a trip to Timbuktu; the kind of thing that everybody that serves in public office is subjected to. I have no reason of suspecting that. I think Reverent Everett—I found this about Reverend Everett, he doesn’t forget. He just does not forget. You do something that he considers slight and three years later you’ll be talking to him and out of a pile of clippings and other stuff on his desk he’ll reach in and pull out a clipping and say, “Remember what you said?” He’ll even hold it out to you. Perhaps that’s why he’s still a board member and some of the people that thought he wasn’t a very good board member are not. He does have a fine memory and a good feel for politics. That’s my own feel for the situation. I think that he was offended by Dr. Garver. It was a personal thing. It just happened to fit into a very particular political situation and set him up aside. And also, he may have done it very deliberately just to become the swing man—you know—3-3 and one in the middle is a very nice position to be in. When you’re the guy in the middle, you’re the guy with all the marbles.

 

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LM:     41:16.0 It would give an appearance of importance.

DL:      Well, sure, it would have and, in fact, it did. It gave him the one vote that counted for seven, so long as the other three held on each side.

LM:     You mentioned before about the contracts consuming much of the time on the board—things like budget contracts, hiring, and so forth—was there much pressure, or was there any pressure, for the issuance of contracts to companies, businesses?

DL:      No. No, I think, by and large, at that time that I served, that was very straight. There may be some kind of favoritism possible in terms of some of the things where it’s a non-bid situation—architects, accountants, and those kinds of things. But that’s not largely significant. Probably the biggest single item that amounts to a lot of money that is pretty much in the area of pressure and politics is the attorney’s contract. That’s extremely lucrative. I don’t know in terms of profits. I don’t have any idea. But certainly in terms of total dollars you’re talking about a $200,000.00 a year arrangement. That’s about the only place where I think there would be a lot of pressure. Most of the other stuff is straight out bid. There are some problems, and I kept making a fight, that appeared inconsequential to some, but did have some importance to me. For example, in writing bids for typewriters, where the bid requirement would be that they would not have a movable carriage. Well, at the time the only company that made that kind of typewriter was IBM. This was for all purposes a bid written in such a way that the only possible purchase would be an IBM electric. And I tried many times to get that changed. Sometimes there was a change, sometimes they were rebid, and a lot of the times they just said, “Well, we need the elbow room. We can put more typewriters in the space.” That may have been a valid thing. But that is the area for concern in terms of contracts. That was my sole concern in that area—was one that the bids were fairly written and well-publicized and that contracts were awarded to the low bidder unless it was some very definite reason why not. There were times that, because of emergencies or other reasons, contracts were let on a non-bid basis were kept at a minimum. I think that once you make those kinds of determinations the rest of it is accountable; it’s administrative. It should not take very much time. You could have somebody just go through that. I think the board eventually moved a little bit towards that to where somebody would report, “Okay, here are the ones that were not low bids. Here are the ones that we did not advertise.” Then you could zero in on those and test for validity and forget the rest. I think some movement was made the last couple of years that I was a board member on that. But it’s still a very significant amount of time. Just recently, after I got off the board, there was the announcement that the board would not have evening meetings anymore—would begin meeting at 9:00 and would quit at 5:00 whether it was through or not. That’s absurd. It is really—there’s no reason why at a monthly meeting the board should meet more than 3 hours and spend, at the same time, at least 1½ of those hours talking policy, rather than just messing around with what they’re going to let the administration do or prohibit the administration from doing.

 

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LM:     45:36.2 Well, I’d like to move on to your activities on the labor scene.

DL:      Okay.

LM:     How did you first become involved in organized labor?

DL:      Well, I was—

LM:     And when?

DL:      Oh, I guess it was probably about 1957 or ’58, maybe even earlier than that. I graduated from high school in ’56 and pretty soon after that began working for a weekly newspaper called The South Texas Citizen in Laredo. After that, I went to work for the weekly called The Laredo Times. I think it was during the time that I was working with The South Texas Citizen that I first became very interested. And the phenomenon of what’s called “green carders” or “commuters,” these are people that live on the Mexican side, but have valid permanent resident visas for the United States, or green cards. I guess they are bluer nowadays. The fact is, though, they swear that they will live here in this country and reside permanently, but they actually reside in Mexico. At least in those times—probably not so much nowadays—they had a much cheaper standard of living and they could afford to work for lower wages and still come out ahead. Of course, this created very serious problems. In Laredo the unemployment was—and I think still remains—triple the national average. Wages were very depressed. I remember my first job that I had, it was kind of a porter-type, washing windows and so forth, at a department store was somewhere around 30 cents an hour. It was really—I think back on those days and really it’s very hard to believe. But that was the going rate. And I thought I was lucky. There was a lot of other kids that weren’t working at all. I had that concern and, as a result, I became very much aware of the Texas AFLCIO, which at the time was spearheading a drive to try to put a stop to the system—was suing in court and eventually went to the United States Supreme Court. I think at the time that I was working at The Laredo Times, I began attempting to do some writing on that subject and, amazingly enough, got some of it published. Eventually, I think some of that ended up in attachments to the briefs in the Supreme Court and submitted as evidence and so forth. And from then on I became acquainted with some of the people that were active in the labor movement, Roy Evans, at the time Secretary Treasurer of the AFLCIO, in particular. I maintained that relationship when I went to work for the Corpus Christie Caller Times in Corpus. I attempted there to be assigned a labor beat. They didn’t want to give labor that much importance, so they didn’t have that. But I did additional writing at that time and continued an interest and later went to work in Austin.

(End of dictation 49:02.7)