Joe Resweber

Duration: 1hr: 3Mins
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Uncorrected Transcriptcue point

Interview with: Joe Resweber
Interviewed by:
Date: November 12, 1975
Archive Number: OH 148

Interviewer
0:00:13 Mr. Resweber, where were you born?

Joe Resweber
I was born in St. Martinville, Louisiana in the Cajun country—a little town where the Evangeline Oak happens to be located.

Interviewer
When did you first come to Houston?

Joe Resweber
I came to Houston the latter part of 1933.

Interviewer
What brought you to Houston?

Joe Resweber
The Depression—the Great Depression brought me to Houston. I had—my high school and college education that I could obtain--up to that point, I was a school teacher. I had a teacher’s certificate at the time. I had gone to what was then Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana. I didn’t like school-teaching, and I came into Houston looking for employment and was one of the fortunate ones to find employment.

Interviewer
What was your first job in Houston?

 

Joe Resweber
Parking lot attendant. In those days, we called ourselves carhops. It was before the days of the girls who render services at automobiles and called themselves carhops. We parked automobiles in parking lots. In those days, people still got service for their money.

Interviewer
And when did you resolve to go to law school?

Joe Resweber
00:01:29 Oh, I had determined at some previous time to my coming to Houston that I wanted to study law. My formal education had been interrupted because of the Depression and the lack of money. I came to Houston and, as soon as I was able to, I began attending night law school.

Interviewer
And you graduated in 1939?

Joe Resweber
I graduated from the Houston Law School in 1939.

Interviewer
And then, once again, you were interrupted—this time by the Navy?

Joe Resweber
Well, yes. You might say there was an interruption there. Previous to 1939, I had entered politics. I had become interested in politics because of the doors which it would open for an unknown here with a law degree and a law license—a Cajun boy here--not having gone to school with anyone and not having belonged to any of the wealthy families. There were not too many contacts for a clientele. I entered into politics then, interesting myself in other people. As a result of which, in 1939, I became fire marshal of the City of Houston. I served until a year after World War II. There was the interruption of the Navy career. As a result of World War II, I entered the Navy as an unlisted man and came out a Chief Petty Officer. I never did seek or obtain a commission. I returned to position of fire marshal for about a year. Meanwhile, I had opened a law office in the Scanlan Building. Then, because of a political reversal—that is--I and my friends lost an election, I resigned from the position of fire marshal, which was a political appointment at the time, and devoted my full time to the law practice, until I ran for council later on.

Interviewer
What made you run for council?

Joe Resweber
00:03:54 A tragedy in a sense or not really a tragedy—a situation of adversity. The apartment in which I was living at the time with my wife and baby burned down—the apartment burned down--that is--and having lost everything of any material value I had, other than just a few dollars, I turned to the one thing I thought I knew, which was politics. I submitted myself for election as a city councilman. I was very fortunate and was elected.

Interviewer
Did Oscar Holcombe back you strongly?

Joe Resweber
Oscar Holcombe was a great factor and, as a matter of fact, placed me on what was then known as the people’s ticket. We had, after World War II, returned to Houston and found that the mayor in whose hands we had left the political affairs of the city had changed the city charter by submitting an election to the people. We had a city a manager here when we came back from World War II. I, along with others, was instrumental in defeating and removing that system. Perhaps, because of my activity in that regard, Mayor Holcombe, known by many people as the Old Gray Fox, a grand old gentleman, helped me tremendously by permitting me to be on what was then his people’s ticket.

Interviewer
What did you perceive to be the weaknesses of the manager form of government?

Joe Resweber
Oh, the manager form of government had many, many weakness, in spite of everything that is being taught in the universities, colleges, and even, now, elementary schools, because it seems as though our educational system is pervaded with people whose idea of government are that people are too dumb to elect their own officials and that it takes an expert to appoint an expert who has no interest in the city to manage the affairs of the city. Bear in mind that most city managers come into a city. They are not residents. There is no residential requirement, by the way, but if a person offers himself for elected office there is a residential requirement. The system lends itself to a lot of waste and exaggerated programs because city managers are never intending to remain in the city to help pay the bills. They would, for example, submit an exorbitant bond issue. They don’t own any property in the area. They are merely a transient going through this town or any other town, hoping to seek a better employment or a higher salary elsewhere. They never stay to pay the bills they create.

Interviewer
00:07:18 Of course, you ran a couple of other times for council after that first victory, and the
Houston Post in 1956 described you as, “one of the few councilmen, past or present, who has not openly aspired to be mayor,” which was a quotation which struck my eye. Was that true?

Joe Resweber
That was very true. I think the word openly is quite attractive and quite accurate there. Of course, everyone in political office wants another job. Being a lawyer, I was looking for some advancement in the area of law that I thought I could fit in and then, too, there’s another philosophy about political life that prevented me from openly seeking the mayor’s office. I’m one of those who believes that anyone in public office—to be in public office—must be able to afford the job.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Joe Resweber
I couldn’t afford to be mayor at that particular time.

Interviewer
Then, why the switch to county attorney?

Joe Resweber
Well, I was a lawyer. I had established myself politically. It was a political job. It’s an elected official. It’s a step up, and I’ve been very happy and gratified that I turned in this direction. It was a continuation of my profession--an opportunity to use the—whatever political acumen I had developed or obtained, and I saw no reason not to try.
Interviewer
It’s interesting that you should say that the job is a step up. It seems that a safe seat on the council—that’s giving up a lot to run for something else.

Joe Resweber
00:09:35 Well, of course, everything that’s worthwhile, in my opinion, has a certain element of risk. If you’re going to try to better yourself, there’s an element of risk. When you go to college—you decide to go to college—you take the chance of not being able to go through it. Of course, if a person is going to be deterred by risk, I would suggest they stay out of politics.

Interviewer
I would like to turn now to the duties of the office of county attorney and discuss those for a little while. Frequently, you are asked for rulings on various legal matters. Looking back over your career, which rulings stand out as being the most important?

Joe Resweber
Oh, I don’t think that it’s possible to pick out one out of the hundreds of opinions that we have written—.

Interviewer
Not just one.

Joe Resweber
They’re all important. I suppose, any question having to do with the government of the county is important, and I view it as such. They may appear to be insignificant at times to some people, but my experience in politics, in public life, and as a citizen, has convinced me that we must continue to see to it that the intent of the various laws that have been promulgated are carried out. I can’t pick out any one thing because I suppose we would average one opinion a week, and it’s a formal opinion, written and kept permanently bound. After a period of time, we bind all of our opinions. Bear in mind, when this office writes an opinion, it is always subject to attack.

Interviewer
Right. So, let me rephrase my original question and ask you which were some of the more controversial opinions you handed down?

Joe Resweber
I am not attempting to hedge on this. I just can’t—I had really not anticipated this type of questioning, and I would have had to do some reviewing on it to come up with the more controversial ones, the more important ones, important to whom, controversial to whom. You must bear in mind that the opinions that we write are born in controversy because if there were no question as to the validity of an action there would be no need for an opinion. So, they’re born in controversy. The extent of the controversy, I suppose, would be determined by the heat of the moment, the heat of passion involved at the moment. I just can’t answer the question in that way at all.

Interviewer
Let me ask a few questions about the status of these opinions. How binding are they? Is there an appeal possible?

Joe Resweber
00:13:20 Well, let me go back and give you a basis for a legal opinion and the policy which this office follows. We follow, generally speaking, the same policy that the attorney general’s office follows with regard to rendering opinions. The county attorney’s office is civil attorney for the county and its officials in the official capacity. All officials of the county, those elected officials and appointed officials who are department heads, in their day-to-day business, and in the course of their business are entitled to ask for opinions of this office. The rules and procedure being that a legal question has to deal with the subject matter of that person’s office. For example, a question would not be answered for the tax assessor and collector dealing with the duties of the sheriff, unless it had some connection with the tax department, if you follow what I’m saying.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Joe Resweber
The questions must be in writing, and we give written opinions out of this office. The person or the department to whom the opinion is given can accept our opinion or not accept it. It’s merely a guideline and it’s also a protection, so long as the individual is acting under the advice of counsel. This would be the county attorney’s office. He is not subject to criminal prosecution and normally would not be considered subject to any accusations of wrongdoing. There may be an error, and we can be in error. On the other hand, it is merely a guide to that official or to those officials seeking the opinion. They can reject it and act directly opposite to the opinion if they care to. It would be well for them to be correct, however, when they do go opposite to the opinions of this office because they might be subject to criminal prosecution. They might be subject to removal. They might be subject to a damage suit, assuming any one or the county suffered damages as a result of their wrongful act.

Interviewer
As a practical matter though, your opinions will usually settle the conflict.

Joe Resweber
00:16:17 No, not necessarily. They don’t settle the conflict, and in regard to your question a while ago, there have been some opinions--I don’t recall any one in particular--that have been ignored by various people, but if a person is not satisfied, for example, with an opinion out of this office, we will gladly get an attorney general’s opinion, which is no more binding on the individual. It merely gives you another viewpoint and, of course, a higher office. The attorney general is considered an office of greater dignity than the county attorney’s office.

Interviewer
Have there been occasions when you have been overruled by the attorney general? The person goes to you and gets one opinion and then goes to the attorney general and gets a conflicting opinion?

Joe Resweber
Yes. I can recall one in particular having to do with whether or not a given piece of property was exempt from taxation. I have disagreed with various attorney generals in that regard, for example. There have not been any major disagreements. This in particular, I recall because, again, I repeat it isn’t too often that it happens. When it does happen, you sort of remember it.

Interviewer
Earlier you said when you were giving out the opinions that “we” will give out an opinion. I take it to mean that others than yourself are involved in the writing of these opinions?

Joe Resweber
The policy of this office is that the research is done by 1 or 2 or 3 people in this office, maybe independently, in order to obtain independent briefing, without all—say 3 people beginning with the same idea in mind—the same question in mind—the same objective in mind. We give it to them independently and, then, we know we have 3 different starting points. The result of the briefing is put together and after conference by the briefing party and one of my senior assistants. It is then written into form to satisfy the briefing parties, my senior assistant, and then it comes to me for final review and approval. We all sign it. It is an official document of this office, and that’s why I use the term “we” because no opinion of this office is the work product of any 1 or 2 people.

Interviewer
When you first assumed office, did you have as large a staff to do this kind of thing as you have now?

Joe Resweber
00:19:35 Oh, no. No. We had possibly about 10 people then. We have now about 23.

Interviewer
Will you always render an opinion if you’re asked?

Joe Resweber
If I am asked by the proper party with regard to a subject matter which involves his official capacity and it is not a theoretical question. It must be an actual set of facts that he or she is confronted with. We don’t answer theoretical questions because we would be doing nothing but satisfying someone’s curiosity then.

Interviewer
You want a case?

Joe Resweber
I want a case involved, and we want all the records involved. We—this office—attempts to never determine the facts involved. The facts are furnished to us. We attempt to apply the law to a given set of facts.

Interviewer
Do you ever feel caught in an essentially political fight between 2 factions who are in effect asking you to play Samson?
Joe Resweber
00:20:47 Oh, yes, yes. This goes on all the time. This is a political position and whatever we do here in this office or that I do anywhere has a tinge of politics involved. This, of course, is one of the things I particularly like about it. I think that regardless of who we are in public office, we ought to be sensitive to the general public and the people we, at least, profess to be serving. I don’t think we ought to shut ourselves off and not be political. Whether or not a person is political I don’t think has to affect his good judgment or his legal ability. It’s particularly difficult at this present time. We have 2 republicans and 2 democrats on the commissioner’s court, which is our governing body as our Board of Directors. The third one, we don’t know—I don’t know—whether he is going to vote with the republicans or with the democrats. I don’t represent, so far as the county is concerned, each one of the commissioners. I’ll try to correct that and to clarify that because it seems ambiguous. The county can act only through the commissioner’s court as one. It takes the 5 to make a 1 and when they are supposed to be acting in a concerted manner, the 5, I can’t choose which division I’m going to be with, if you follow what I’m saying. I have a divided client. I have a client that is part republican, part democrat, part conservative, and part liberal. In their individual capacities as road and bridge superintendents, I would represent each one. With affairs of the county itself, the commissioner’s court must act through their minutes and not as individuals. A commissioner cannot commit the county. It takes the commissioner’s court to commit the county.

Interviewer
So, when the commissioner’s court asks you for an opinion, you’ve got this tremendous problem.

Joe Resweber
Yes. Well, of course, as long as I get a request from the court to answer an opinion. For example, in the justice of the peace and constable’s redistricting, which has been very controversial—that may very well be the most highly controversial opinion that this office has written because, as a result of an opinion which we wrote, there was a redistricting. Now, it is still in the courts. We have been to the Supreme Court of the United States one time. We have been up to the Supreme Court of the State of Texas twice. We are back in district court right now. That also, by the way, is an instance in which the attorney general’s office and my office has a difference of opinion with regard to the law. Someday it may be straightened out, but that was highly controversial. There were some people hurt. There were some people who were helped. These things just can’t be helped. We attempt to do whatever we have to do without hurting people sometimes, but the action of the court based on our opinions, no doubt, hurts certain individuals.
Interviewer
Is there any one area of county government from which you get most requests for opinions?

Joe Resweber
00:24:53 I suppose the greatest number of requests have come about as a result of an indecision as to the propriety for expanding county funds--whether or not funds can be spent for a particular purpose. A lot of people don’t realize that even the commissioner’s court can’t spend money in a manner other than that which the law says they can. They can’t just spend money willy-nilly. This was one of the big controversies with regard to the new constitution. Again, the “experts, professors” so forth, especially the professors in the universities who want to have a short constitution, apparently, were not aware of the highly restrictive sections of our present constitution which prohibits the legislature, the commissioner’s court, from giving public money away, from lending it for private use. The various restrictions which we have in our constitution is really what they wanted to remove. I am sure that there were valid differences of opinion. There is always room for valid difference of opinion. However, I belong to the political school that believes that anyone in public office must always be examined, must always be restricted, for the reason that human nature is what it is. Regardless of all the well-intentioned beings, we must be made to do the right thing. If it were not so, we would not have the millions of laws which we have on the book, and we could go by the Ten Commandments. If everyone did the right thing, we could just have the Ten Commandments.

Interviewer
Apparently, the majority of people in the state agreed with you.

Joe Resweber
Well, I’m glad that we were able to convince them, but the tragedy is, as I see it in my, perhaps, twilight of my career, and I am 62 years old. I am not looking for anything to grasp. There’s nothing selfish about it. The only—I think the only selfish motive that I would have would be to preserve our country in the manner that it is, certainly, in a good way for my grandchildren. That’s about the only selfish instinct that I have involved in this thing. I hate to see people destroy those things that have proven themselves good.

 

Interviewer
Although it is a bit of a hypothetical question now, had the new constitution gone into effect, what in particular in the Harris County government would have been threatened—what agencies?

Joe Resweber
00:28:20 Oh, I don’t know that any particular agency would have been threatened.
That’s one of the accusations that’s always made by the proponents of the managerial form of government. Bear in mind that these are the same group—you can identify them. I’ve been fighting this battle since 1945, as soon as I returned. The people who are the proponents of the managerial type of government--the ones who are the proponents of loose government—short form ballot, appointed officials, no restrictions. For example, the new constitution provided for an expenditure—the expenditure of public monies for a public purpose. Now, what the hell is a public purpose?

Interviewer
Right. I take your point.

Joe Resweber
Now, these are the things that I object to. Of course, I objected to many things. I don’t know that there would have been any particular change with regard to the county government. It is true that the proposed constitution would have provided for the ability to change, but that would have been another fight. That’s just like zoning and—like the city manager fight. It was not automatic upon the adoption of the new constitution.

Interviewer
What I had in mind was a quotation that appeared in the January 31, 1974 Houston Post in which you said that the existence of special units of government like the Board of Houston Authority would be in doubt.

Joe Resweber
Yes, because the new constitution made no provision for it. You see, the Board of Houston and the other special purpose districts which we have here in Harris County were created in conformity with legislature which was passed after the amendment to the constitution was provided for, so the new constitution—the new proposed constitution made no provisions for special purpose districts. It would have been questionable. You see, there was no reference to it. You can look at the proposed new—it has no reference to special purpose districts. The hospital district is in the same category. Flood control district in the same category. We don’t know. I honestly don’t know what the situation would have been 2 years from now had the new constitution been adopted.

Interviewer
Surely, these agencies have a kind of inertia—they wouldn’t just fold up.

Joe Resweber
00:31:27 Well, they may and they may not. If you have no authority for existence, how can you continue to exist? You see, these are the unanswered questions. Some people say this is an undue fear. Perhaps, it is undue, but why not have it understood before the change? Why not know what’s going to happen? I don’t think that we should take chances with our government. I don’t think that there’s need for the gambling with what is going to continue to exist and what’s not going to continue to exist.

Interviewer
Let me ask you another question. This time, concerning federal funds in Houston, and this is something a lot of people have commented on. Now, you have expressed to me a distrust of the managerial form of government, and I suppose that would include a substantial part of the federal bureaucracy. Now, what is your feeling about the influx of federal monies to Houston? Do you think the city will become dependent upon them?

Joe Resweber
Well, it’s difficult to say what the city will do. I will say this in direct answer to your question. I am opposed to federal funding of any type the way it’s being done. In answer to your question as to whether I think the city will be endangered, it depends on whether or not the mayor and the city council are prepared to raise the funds to continue the operations of those things created by federal funds when federal funds are not available. Now, this is what’s going on in New York today. Federal programs are begun and, of course, next—2 months from now—the commissioner’s court is going to be confronted with either the furnishing of funds or the abolition of a number of programs that have been begun with federal funds, which are not now available. I think it is a dangerous thing because, very simply, I view the federal funds as a narcotic to public officials whose responsibility it is to raise funds to provide for the government necessary. It lulls a person and the public officials or it tends to do so. It isn’t necessarily so. I am sure there are some people who could sufficiently understand the program or be strong enough to not let themselves be lulled into a false sense of security. The danger comes when federal funds are used for operating expenses because there is no assurance for the length of time that these funds will be available. There is no guarantee. You begin a program. People become accustomed to it. You have a hundred employees on the payroll who have acquired a year’s experience. They have a year of tenure. They have fringe benefits and, then, Lo and Behold, the federal funds leave. Some bureaucrat in Washington or Congress decides, “Well, we’re going to do away with this program,” and most of the programs are in that situation. They go away. Somebody has got to pick them up. If the governing bodies don’t anticipate the ending of the federal program and the picking up of that expense with local funds, they are in big trouble.

Interviewer
I must say that I have asked this question of a number of people involved in government in various levels, and they all pretty much expressed the same anxiety.

Joe Resweber
00:36:17 It’s fine to have this money coming in. If I were in a policy-making position, if I were on the commissioner’s court or on the city council, I would accept federal funds, but only for capital improvement—a one-time Johnny. I would always vote against using federal funds for recurring expenses.

Interviewer
The only catch I can see in that is if you used it for a capital expenditure, say a freeway, then you will always incur some additional expense in maintenance on that freeway.

Joe Resweber
That’s true. That’s true, but the additional expense is nominal—

Interviewer
As compared to the—

Joe Resweber
As compared to when—the biggest danger I see to local government, or to any government, but particularly local government—I can speak with more knowledge about local government—is the danger of instituting programs and having personnel whose salaries are dependent on federal funds because this comes around every year.

Interviewer
One other area I would like to discuss is that of pollution and the role of your office in pollutions suits. Now, when Dr. Quebedeaux gets mad at somebody down on the channel, does he come to you to file suit?

Joe Resweber
00:37:58 Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t. He has a choice. With regard to pollution, the existing pollution laws were initially drawn by this office for then Senator Chris Cole and they were introduced. There has been some amendment to them but, basically, the initial bills involving the control of pollution were drawn in this office for the State of Texas. We have been very successful in this office with regard to handling pollution matters in a civil nature. You asked a question about whether Dr. Quebedeaux comes to this office or not. He does come to this office with those that he wants to treat of a civil nature and that is the injunction route and higher penalty. Well, I can’t make his decision for him. Some of which he goes to the district attorney’s office and files misdemeanor cases against, which are small fines and no injunction. They are handled more quickly than the civil cases here in this office because there are more courts who will handle them. They go try it in county court at law and they usually get a $500 or $1,000 fine. Sometimes, its correct. Sometimes it’s not, but he can continue filing against them. In the event there are—or the big—what we think are the big polluters, he presents to this office so that we can help him work out the necessary information, evidence, to be successful in a lawsuit and, then, he must go through the commissioner’s court, who then files a suit in the name of Harris County—who authorizes me to file the suit in the name of Harris County. We go in and attempt to get injunctions. We have been very successful in that. We, in this office, were the first to do any appellate work with regard to pollution matters.

Interviewer
Which case was that? Do you recall?

Joe Resweber
I think the first one was Rohm and Haas, if I’m not mistaken, but we have had many of the large companies that we have obtained injunctions against. Aramco may be the biggest which we got in excess of a quarter of a million dollars in penalties. The injunctive route, civil penalty and injunctive route, has been very successful in the large companies--what Dr. Quebedeaux says were the major polluters. It is a little slower because they always have competent attorneys and file all the appeals—file all the appeals which are available to them. That takes time, but we have been very successful in it.

Interviewer
Do you think Dr. Quebedeaux’s strategy of both criminal and civil prosecution is a good one?

Joe Resweber
00:41:37 Oh, I don’t know why it wouldn’t be. Of course, I am not going to comment on his decisions. It’s his decision to make and pretty difficult to second-guess someone.

Interviewer
Do you often work with the state water and air control agencies?

Joe Resweber
Well, as a matter of fact, when we file a civil suit, we must make the state agency, whether it be air control board or the water quality control board a party to the suit. That’s a part of the statutory requirement.

Interviewer
Are there any tangible benefits from doing that? Do you get support--?

Joe Resweber
Oh, yes. You get assistance from the attorney general’s office. You also get more and bigger experts from a state level under—in the air it’s under Barden and in the water it’s Yantis—yes. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t cooperate. We do cooperate extensively.

Interviewer
Let me ask you a question now, just as a long time Houstonian—not as the county attorney. Are things getting better? Have you seen pollution go down or are things pretty much the same or are they being cleaned up?

 

Joe Resweber
00:43:06 The only way I can answer that is by saying to you that those who claim to know say that the waters are less polluted than they were 5, 8 years ago. I must admit that I have to accept their opinions on it because I have no way of knowing. I do know that we still have air pollution to a certain extent. What’s good, what’s bad—I have no idea. Sometime it stinks, but again experts say the odors are not necessarily polluting—the ambient air, as they choose to term it. I have chided the experts in the sense that I think that scientists go a long way around the stump to find the root. It’s my contention and has always been my contention that the way to attack pollution is at the source. I think that if a smoke stack is emitting carbons or hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid that a sample can be taken right at the top of the smoke stack or at any section of the smoke stack. Some of them have little gates in them. A sample of whatever is being emitted can be tested. If it is in excess of what the law says, it ought to be a violation. The same thing with the effluent in a sanitary sewer or any drain from a plant or whatever the establishment might be. If the effluent out of a 12-inch pipe contains certain contamination—he’s in violation. It would be that simple to me.

Interviewer
Has your office ever initiated any suits against polluters on your own, without the advice of Dr.—?

Joe Resweber
Oh, no. We don’t have the capability of doing that because number one, we don’t have anyone who could determine that there is pollution. We’re not qualified for that.

Interviewer
So, any complaints you get you—

Joe Resweber
Comes from the pollution department.

Interviewer
Yeah. Has the county often been criticized by citizens who feel that not enough is being done about--?

Joe Resweber
00:45:51 Oh, sure. The county is always criticized—so far as at any given time you can find people who will say the county is not enforcing criminal law, the criminal is not prosecuting criminal laws, the county is not doing anything about pollution, the county is not doing enough about pollution. Yes, you find that constantly.

Interviewer
There’s one last question I wanted to ask about pollution. It involves, at least the possibility, that your legal action would close down a plant. It is conceivable that you fine someone enough—

Joe Resweber
That has happened.

Interviewer
Stuck an injunction on him—

Joe Resweber
That has happened.

Interviewer
He would close down. Is that in one sense a political liability because you’re throwing people out of work?

Joe Resweber
Oh, any time you act contrary to the way people think you should, it is a political liability, but if a man is going to do a job he can’t just decide to do those things that are popular. Whenever you tell a man that he has to spend money to either eliminate or lessen the amount of pollution, they resent it. For example, I keep using Aramco because it’s the biggest—they would have spent some 12 million dollars in an attempt to comply with regulations, emission regulations. I’m sure they are unhappy about that. Yes, we have had a fertilizer plant close. We were told that if we proceeded against them they would close and so many people would be unemployed. Well, it’s unfortunate. We don’t like to do that, but if we have to make a choice, why, we have no other choice but to proceed with the lawsuit. It invariably comes up. It’s always the first thing that is said in defense of polluting.

Interviewer
Yeah. There’s an old saying about the odors in Pasadena—that they were the smell of—

Joe Resweber
--of dollars on the payroll.

Interviewer
Yeah.

Joe Resweber
00:48:02 That’s right.

Interviewer
Well, I have gone through my questions, but I always wonder if there is anything I’ve missed or if there is some concern of yours that you would like to express for posterity.

Joe Resweber
No. I don’t have any particular suggestions to make. I am happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability. I learned a long time ago not to volunteer advice.

Interviewer
You get asked for it enough.

Joe Resweber
Yes, but when I am asked for it. That’s one thing. When you volunteer advice, it’s never taken and always resented.

Interviewer
That is kind of a form of advice, I guess. Well, I’ve certainly learned a lot in the course of this interview myself, and I am sure that this will be a very valuable contribution to the oral history collection. On behalf of the Houston Metropolitan Archives and Research Center, I would like to thank you very much.


Joe Resweber
Thank you for coming. I hope I’ve helped some.

00:49:02 (end of audio)