Oscar Holcombe

Duration: 1hr: 7Mins
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Uncorrected Transcript
Interview with: Oscar Holcombe
Interviewed by: None (collection of speeches)
Dates: October 28, 1940; October 30, 1940; November 2, 1940

Archive Number: OH 388

Radio Address: Oscar Holcombe


Announcer: Recording 310-4: Mayor Oscar Holcombe speech of October 28, 1940 from Radio Station KPRC.

Announcer: For the next fifteen minutes, the facilities of these stations have been engaged and paid for on a commercial basis. During this period you will hear an address by Mayor Oscar Holcombe who will discuss his candidacy for re-election. Now, Mayor Holcombe.

OH: Making this campaign for re-election as mayor, I have kept in mind the fact that I am mayor of a great city of four hundred thousand people, and I shall always conduct myself in a manner that will cast no reflection upon my city. I will not deal in slander or abuse, or in any manner try to mislead the people of our city. Do you think a man who would deliberately mislead or misrepresent a fact when he had all of the evidence in his possession is being honest? My opponent a few nights ago read selected paragraphs from a report on the Health Department, a report which was made several years ago during an administration of which I was no part. He did not state that the report was several years ago. In his speech he left the inference that the report was made during my administration. Is this honest? Is this fair? Have you noticed that he is trying to be all things to all people? Check, if you will, with any class of people, any division of society, and you will find him promising all of them everything.
Let us speak, for a minute, of ability. You know my record, and although my opponent has, day after day, as have others before him, tried to tear down my reputation and belittle my ability, I am willing and proud to stand on my record.

You do not know his record. Has he told you about it? To this day my opponent has never had one single man in his employ or under his supervision. He has never directed the activity of but two people, and they were a stenographer he had when he was Secretary of the Houston Insurance Exchange and the stenographer he now has as Secretary of the Lumberman’s Association. Only three positions he has ever held, according to his own statement, since he attained manhood are Secretary of the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce where he was secretary, stenographer, clerk, and [?], and then Secretary of the Houston Insurance Exchange with one stenographer and now Secretary of the Lumbermen’s Association with one stenographer. My friends, you are not to elect a secretary! It is a mayor we are talking about! The manager, if you please, of a seven hundred and fifty million dollar institution with tens of millions of dollars of expenditures each year, employing twenty-five hundred to twenty-six hundred men and women who are engaged in many and diversified activities, and in the measure administering to the happiness and welfare of the city’s four hundred thousand people.
I am going to talk with you about two subjects, the first of which concerns major highways and streets. The latter part of my address will be confined to national defense and our municipal government’s part in it.
For just a moment, let us reminisce. Let us look back a few years. I was called a dreamer. Many said my dreams as they termed them would not come true. Remember my promise to build highways and bridges to and around the Turning Basin? Drive out widened Franklin Avenue, through the Franklin Avenue underpass onto magnificent Navigation Boulevard, the widest thoroughfare in Houston, a Holcombe project. Drive out Clinton Drive or Lockwood Street over Lockwood Bridge. Sixty-Ninth Street over the Sixty-Ninth Street Bridge. Travel Seventy-fifth Street. All of these arteries were built by Holcombe Administrations to serve our port. Yes, and they were built through a vast amount of undeveloped territory, and this particularly applies to Navigation Boulevard. Have you been over these streets lately? Drive out and look at each and every one of those I have named. Look at the vast industrial development on either side of these streets and boulevards. The plants that line these highways today bring in taxes to the city that are many times greater than the amount necessary for the interest and sinking fund on the bonds issued to cover their development.

 

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When I first proposed the building of Buffalo Bayou Drive and White Oak Bayou Drive, these proposals were scoffed at. They had been proposed in 1913, but nothing had been done. And, yet, during the Holcombe Administration, these drives were actually built and the public enjoys them today. And let us not forget Waugh Drive, Shepherd Drive and others too numerous to mention.

Bridges built by the Holcombe Administration? Yes. Shepherd Drive Bridge, Waugh Drive Bridge, Sabine Street Bridge, Smith Street Bridge, Hill Street Bridge, Lockwood Street Bridge, Sixty-Ninth Street Bridge. Take them out of Houston and you will take the heart out of Houston so far as streets and bridges are concerned. They called it dreaming. I call it planning and development. When I proposed and planned these things, people shook their heads. They said this could not be done. But, it was done! It has been done! My plans have always been for the Houston of the future as well as the present, and those are my plans today.
Look with me into the immediate future. I plan for Houston a magnificent highway from Park Place and, yes, I hope, from Galveston a broad thoroughfare traversing the old interurban right-of-way with overpasses and underpasses. This highway will be fitted into a system of cross-town major traffic arteries linking Pierce Avenue or Calhoun with Heiner or Sabine Street with a widened or repaved Buffalo Bayou Drive and then with Memorial Drive.
The next step in this great linking-up of major streets will be joining Memorial Drive to connect with the new San Antonio Highway and the highways to Hempstead, Austin, and Dallas. We are now arranging to connect the San Antonio Highway with Washington Avenue at a point a few blocks south of the Eureka Underpass and to improve Washington Avenue into the city. Within a period of four to six months the streetcar tracks on Washington Avenue will be removed or covered, as were the tracks on Main Street providing a fine, surfaced highway. One of the greatest needs of the city is a main thoroughfare to the north side. This shall be provided by the extension of Crawford Street over a huge viaduct spanning McKee Street Bridge, the Bayou, the railroad yards to a connection with a major street to be opened at some point from McKee to Morrow Street and thence connecting with the Humble Road. This will make a direct connection between the Humble Road and the Alameda Road. This administration paved Studewood from 20th Street to Houston, and we are now planning for the extension of this street to Buffalo Bayou Drive with plans calling for the ultimate connection with Studewood and Montrose Boulevards. When completed, this will furnish a new north-south artery, relieving much of the traffic congestion on Main Street. Our plans call further for the extension of 6th Street or White Oak Drive through possibly Kiam Street to a connection at or near Eureka Underpass with Highways 73 and 6. Traffic relief is to be given the University of Houston through a west traffic lane being either the extension of Fairview through Tuam or Elgin Street. Plans have been completed. Bids will be taken, and construction work should be started before the first of next year on the Preston Avenue Overpass which is to replace the present Preston Avenue Underpass. This overpass will be one of the most beautiful structures in our city and will relieve a condition which has been bad for many years. The building of this overpass and the acquiring of the right-of-way is a joint project of the State Highway Department and the City of Houston.

It has occurred to me that you may be interested in knowing what precautions and preparations that Holcombe Administration in conjunction with our national government is taking to aid in the protection of your lives and property should a national crisis develop. There are many things in connection with these preparations which must of necessity not be disclosed, but there are a few things in connection therewith which may be of interest to you.

 

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Houston, as you know, is to the gulf seaboard what New York is to the North Atlantic seaboard and what San Francisco and Los Angeles are to the Pacific seaboard. Our ship channel is home to some of the world’s largest oil refineries and other industries. Oil is a chief essential of modern warfare. Here, also, is concentrated the largest stock of cotton in the world. Several industries in Houston are manufacturing essential war supplies. At our very doorstep are located some of the largest sulfur mines in the world. Contracts are being signed with the United States Government with the Humble Oil and Refining Company to manufacture one of the essential ingredients of TNT. Hundreds of ships from Houston carry essential war materials to all parts of the world. Houston is located within the range of bombing bases which could be established on this hemisphere but outside the boundaries of the United States. These facts make Houston a vulnerable military objective of great importance to a national enemy should the United States become involved in our present world conflict. These are not pleasant matters to contemplate. One shudders at the thought of the happening of such a thing here in Houston, but anything can happen in war. War conditions change overnight. For more than a year we have seen where city after city has been bombed. We thought such things were impossible, but we know better now. Our national government knows better now. Hence, the coastal and key cities of America must prepare for an emergency. The Holcombe Administration saw the seriousness of this situation some months ago, and we began a quiet but intensive study of necessary readjustments of our city’s operation to become effective should a national emergency develop. Several conferences have been had with government officials on these matters. Many serious and difficult problems developed as our studies progressed. It is a most difficult matter even for experienced municipal executives to transform the multitude of municipal operations of a large city like Houston from a peace-time basis to a war-time basis. Much valuable information has been gained upon this question from the tragic experiences of European cities and, more especially, of English cities. There are certain municipal services and facilities which are essential to the livability of a city, but the most important of these are water, fuel, sanitation, transportation, police and fire protection, food and clothing distribution, and medical care are only slightly less essential than those above enumerated. Auxiliary duplication and substitute temporary services must be available at least partially, should there occur damage to or destruction of our regular municipal services or facilities from aerial or other enemy attacks. Plans to provide these auxiliary municipal services and facilities are now being studied and prepared by the Holcombe Administration. An enemy’s chief objectives are water works and other essential public facilities. The Holcombe Administration is cooperating with the national government in all of its federal, city, cooperate defense programs. We are working with the War Department in the matter of designating certain streets for exclusive transportation of men and war materials in the event of an emergency. Also our airport facilities are to be available for military emergencies. Also, I have been for several months giving to our government every assistance possible in connection with local, industrial expansion for the production of war materials: airplanes, seaplanes, clothing, and other military essentials. The Holcombe Administration is also preparing plans to government specifications for the establishment of emergency signal stations empowered with the blue signals at key points. As you know, the Holcombe Administration secured the right-of-way for the highway from Park Place to Houston from the Houston Electric Company. But do you know that this will be an important part of the national defense program in this locality; that this road will link Ellington Field with the City and with the important oil refineries and cotton warehouses and so forth? I wish it would be possible for me to discuss more in detail the vast amount of preparatory work that my administration has been doing to meet the war emergencies. But I know that you understand the enforced military secrecy which the national government must maintain in this matter. I can say to you this: that the Holcombe Administration has been diligent in providing everything necessary to care for any emergency which may arise.

In conclusion, may I again say that it takes experience and ability to operate the City. Your choice is the choice between two men: your present mayor with years of experience and proven ability; my opponent who is utterly lacking in administrative ability. You cannot afford to experiment with inexperience, so on November fifth, please cast your vote for Oscar Holcombe.

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Announcer: You’ve just heard an address by Mayor Oscar Holcombe of Houston discussing his candidacy for re-election for . . . . . . .
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Announcer: Recording R-311-1: Mayor Oscar Holcombe running for mayor speech of October 30, 1940.

OH: Ladies and gentlemen, during this campaign my opponent has made untrue and misleading statements. I probably would have ignored his statements had he not on Monday of this week deliberately attempted to mislead the people of this city. On Monday of this week, less than forty-eight hours ago, my opponent for the first time brought into this campaign the question of who is financing his campaign. Now please bear in mind that my opponent himself was the very first person in a radio speech to bring this matter into the campaign, and he delayed doing it until forty-eight hours ago. Since he brought this issue into the campaign at this late date he cannot truthfully say that I am making any last-minute charges against him. He started the discussion in the last hours of the campaign, and I am merely letting the people of Houston know the truth of the matter.
My opponent on Monday evening of this week introduced into this campaign over the radio for the first time the question of his enormous campaign funds. I quote his words in a radio speech delivered only forty-eight hours ago, and I quote: “My campaign is being financed by you, my friends, by small donations coming from citizens in every section of Houston. You are financing my race for mayor voluntarily.” (End of quote.) These were his exact words, spoken for the first time less than forty-eight hours ago. He intended that the people of Houston should believe his words to be true. My opponent, of all men, knew when he spoke those words that they were not true. He expected you to believe his words, and he hoped to deceive you by those words. My opponent has many times during this campaign in his speeches solemnly pledged himself to never mislead the people of Houston or to try to deceive them. Many times he has boasted of his honesty and his truthfulness.
Well, let’s see about that! My opponent’s campaign is being largely financed by one man. Did you know that? This one man has donated to my opponent’s campaign in the desperate effort to defeat me not one thousand dollars, nor two thousand dollars, nor four thousand dollars, but many, many thousands of dollars. Why should one man at this particular time be so interested in electing my opponent as mayor of Houston? Why should this one man be willing at this particular time to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to elect my opponent mayor for the next two years? What is pending now which so vitally affects the interests of this one man that he will spend enormous sums of money to try and elect my opponent mayor? These, I am sure, are some of the questions uppermost in your minds at this time. The man largely financing my opponent’s campaign is Mr. Emerson F. Woodward. And now, who is Mr. Woodward? Mr. Woodward is a multi-millionaire who lives in Houston. He has large oil interests. He is the owner of one of the finest and prettiest strings of race horses in this country which he is now racing in the east. He and his immediate family are the third largest individual stockholders of telephone company stock in the entire world. The information as to Mr. Woodward’s ownership of telephone company stock is gotten from the latest records filed by the telephone company with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington.

 

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These latest records of the Federal Communications Commission show that the Woodwards own eighteen thousand shares of telephone company stock. Now get that number! It’s eighteen thousand shares of telephone company stock! This telephone company stock belonging to the Woodard has a value in excess of — now hold your breath, please — in excess of three million dollars! Think of it! Three million dollars! I hold in my hand a telegram from Mr. Paul Walker, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission in Washington, confirming the ownership by Mr. Woodward and his immediate family of Houston of this enormous amount of telephone company stock according to the latest records of the Federal Communications Commission. Now, my friends, these are the records of the United States Government. Think of it! The Woodward family of Houston Texas, being the third largest individual owners of telephone company stock in the entire world! It must be wonderful, indeed, for the Woodwards to own so much stock in the telephone company. The dividend paid on that stock last year was $162,000. Think of that: about $500 per day for every working day in the year. That’s the amount of dividends that was paid on eighteen thousand shares of telephone company stock last year. Don’t you think that’s a lot of money? But I’m not criticizing Mr. Woodward for donating these enormous sums of money to my opponent’s campaign. That’s Mr. Woodward’s privilege. A person with telephone company stock that paid in dividends last year $162,000 would not miss twenty or thirty thousand dollars as much as you or I would miss a hundred dollars. What I am criticizing is my opponent’s efforts through false and misleading statements to make you believe that his campaign is being financed by small donations. I hardly believe that my opponent would consider the thousands of dollars which Mr. Woodward is contributing to his campaign as being small donations coming from citizens in every section of Houston. Would you? I wouldn’t!
It has been very noticeable that my opponent has not one single time mentioned in any of his radio talks the telephone rate investigation which the Holcombe Administration has underway at this very moment to determine fair telephone rates for the people of Houston except to severely criticize me for hiring engineers and accountants to determine the facts necessary for the City Council to fix fair telephone rates for you people of Houston. Without the evidence of these experts no fair telephone rates which the courts will uphold can be fixed by the City Council for you people here in Houston. But my opponent says I should not have hired these experts. Up to this good minute my opponent has not told you whether or not he intends to continue the telephone rate investigation to fix fair telephone rates in Houston if he is elected your mayor.
I see by today’s paper, however, that my opponent appeared before some of the civic clubs in Houston and paid them some very high compliments. He knows the very keen interest which these civic clubs have been showing in the telephone rate investigation in Houston. Or, if he wanted to be fair with these civic clubs, why didn’t he tell them that the third largest individual owner of telephone company stock is largely financing his campaign for mayor? These civic club members are more interested in that than they are in empty compliments paid them by my opponent.
My friends, on November the fifth you will decide whether you want as your mayor my opponent whose campaign is being largely financed by Mr. Woodward, the third largest individual stockholder of the telephone company, or whether you want as your mayor Oscar Holcombe, the man this large telephone company stockholder is so anxious to defeat. Bear in mind, my friends, when you vote on November the fifth that the Mayor of Houston will be the key man in fixing a fair telephone rate in Houston. You must choose between Oscar Holcombe and his opponent, and I sincerely believe that your choice will be for Oscar Holcombe. I thank you.
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Announcer: Recording R311-2. Mayor Oscar Holcombe running-for-mayor speech of November 2, 1940.

Announcer: During the following fifteen minutes which have been reserved and paid for under our usual commercial regulations you will hear an address by the Honorable Oscar Holcombe concerning his candidacy for re-election to the office of Mayor of Houston. Mayor Holcombe.

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OH: Ladies and Gentlemen, before I start my speech I am going ask the studio here to play one piece of music for about a minute and ask you to step to the telephone and call one of your friends and ask them to listen to this speech. We’ll now play a record, and you go to the phone, will you please?
[Musical interlude]
My friends, I have a little cold this evening so if I interrupt this speech once or twice with a hacking cough I hope you will excuse me. Something we can’t help, you know.

I deeply regret that I have been unable to personally visit more frequently with voters as has been my policy in the past. I like to shake hands with my friends and talk with them face-to-face. No man ever had more loyal friends. During the past six months more important and vital problems have been confronting your city government than have confronted it at anytime in many years. Under ordinary circumstances the managing of a city of four hundred thousand population with a value of three-quarters of a billion dollars is a very large task, but with world conditions as they are today and cities directly involved as they are, being mayor of Houston is a more difficult task. In addition to our regular work, we have been busy in the City Hall working out problems of defense in connection with federal government officials. As an illustration of what I mean, I received in the mail today marked “Confidential” a letter concerning information and data on our airport, information which I must personally supervise and prepare. It will take me, personally, many hours to prepare this information for the national government. This must be done immediately and correctly. Which is more important to the City of Houston, to you, my friends? Should I attend to this national defense work, or should I spend Saturday, Sunday and Monday meeting friends, shaking hands and soliciting votes? I wish I could do this visiting. I love it! But I intend to do the job for which you employed me. First, because you employed me to attend to the business of this city, and second, this is a question of national importance as has been a vast amount of my work lately. I know you good people who are loyal to our government will approve of my attitude in this matter.
And now we will discuss questions concerning this morality campaign. Let me pause here to thank the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post for their endorsement of my candidacy for Mayor of Houston. These two great Houston-owned daily newspapers have not always agreed with me. When they think I am the best qualified man in the race, they support me. When they think otherwise
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Announcer: who you will vote for on next Tuesday, November fifth.

OH: Before either of these newspapers endorsed me, they satisfied themselves as to what I had accomplished in the last twenty-one months and what my plans were for the next two years. But they didn’t stop there. These two newspapers determined whether, in their opinion, and they are most critical, that my plan for the development and the progress of Houston for the next two years was sound, factual and feasible. Let me quote a few excerpts from editorials in the Houston Chronicle, date October 31, 1940, and I quote, “Mayor Holcombe has demonstrated time and again his sincere interest in improving the lot of the families of the workers. Through his direction the city government has extended its medical attention and hospital care to the dependents, sick and infirm. The city has contributed as generously as it could to the support of those in need. Under Holcombe’s direction recreation facilities have been improved and provided for the underprivileged: tennis courts, softball diamonds, baseball diamonds ,and playgrounds equipment has been installed under Mayor Holcombe’s direction in our parks. The Houston Zoo, the municipal golf courses, were established by Mayor Holcombe.” (End of quote.) The editorial goes on and on detailing the accomplishments of the Holcombe Administration. I now quote a small part the editorial in today’s Houston Post, and I quote: “The Post, like any individual, is interested in the continued progress of this city. Our welfare, like that of every Houstonian, depends to a great extent upon whether or not the community continues to march forward, and we, like any citizen, are interested in keeping at the helm the kind of leadership that promotes progress and advancement. This is why the Post two years ago advocated the election of Oscar Holcombe as mayor. We felt his experience, administrative ability, energy, and vision as a city builder, were needed to assure the continuation of Houston’s sound growth and progress. That is why the Post believes he should be re-elected at this time.” (End quote.) And this editorial goes on and on. My radio time will not permit me to read more of these editorials, but I ask you people of Houston to please read each of these editorials. I feel sure that you will conclude that I merit your vote on next Tuesday, November the fifth.

 

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And now I want to talk with you of the great improvement and development program which I as your mayor have planned for the next two years. This program is sound, practical and feasible: the program which two great daily newspapers, the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post, approve of. During the last twenty-one months, by proper management of Houston’s municipal affairs, the Holcombe Administration has placed the City’s finances in the best condition they have been in for twelve years. This means that by proper handling during the next two years Houston can finance my plan of improvements. Finances are essential to public improvement. No politician, no matter how much he has promised, can build public improvements without money. That is why public improvements stagnate and bog down when a new, untried, and inexperienced mayor is elected. Anyone knows this is true. Houston is now financially in a position to make these improvements called for in my plan of development for the next two years. If an inexperienced, untried mayor is put in charge of Houston’s affairs at this time, the inevitable result will be another period of two years’ stagnation and stopping of municipal improvements. Ask the president of any bank or business institution in Houston if this is not true. The Houston Post and the Houston Chronicle, our Houston-owned daily newspapers, are telling you every day in their editorials that this is true. Therefore, as your mayor for the next two years, I make you the following specific promises which I can and will perform. The principal part of my program for the next two years embraces: street lighting, park improvements, street improvements, sewage and water improvements, a full and complete inquiry into telephone rates, fixing a fair and just telephone rate after a full and legal and thorough investigation.

During the next two years as your mayor, we will pave or top more streets than have ever been so improved in any two years of Houston’s history. This is a big promise. You will remember, though, I didn’t promise you that two years ago because I knew that such a program could not be financed. But Houston’s financial condition now, if it is not interrupted by an inexperienced and untried mayor, can sustain such a program.
Not only that, but my plan calls for more street lights than have been installed during any two year period of Houston’s history. The majority of these street lights will be placed in the residential sections. I did not promise this before because it could not have been done. I can and will do this during the next two years. I am determined, within the next two years, to make Houston the best lighted and best paved and drained city in the entire South.

Houston has needed badly a complete marking of our streets. I am happy to announce that the Washington government has finally approved my plan for installing within the next few weeks five thousand concrete markers for our streets. These marks will be placed on the block corners. They are built of concrete, four feet high and are durable. They will have stamped on them in large letters, easily visible for at least three hundred feet, the names of the streets and the block numbers. I have spent much time and effort getting the United States Government to approve of this program, but it has now been approved and work will begin thereon promptly if I continue to serve you as your mayor. We have plans prepared for a water-drainage program and also a park program. These plans call for the providing of benefits and conveniences for every section of the city. My radio time this evening will not permit me to discuss these plans with you, but I will discuss them over the radio between now and November fifth.
And now I want to say a word about my sanitary, sewer, and disposal programs. One of the most difficult engineering and construction programs is a sanitary, sewer, and disposal plant development. Houston has grown so rapidly within the last two years that the capacity of our sewage system has been exceeded enormously. The population of our city has increased so rapidly and so greatly in certain sections, notably the Brays Bayou and the east-end section, that it has been physically impossible to add additional sewer disposal facilities fast enough to keep up with the increase in population. For several months the City Engineering Department has been diligently working upon a large sewage and disposal extension program. This program is one of the most complete of any city in America. It will serve all the needs of Houston, but this class of construction is the slowest of all classes. It is highly technical, and slight defects in construction can result in defective systems. Where there has been such rapid increase in population, in popular sections like Brays Bayou and East End, temporary relief, although expensive, must be furnished. When I came into office just twenty-one months ago I found Brays Bayou sewage plant past its sewage capacity. I promptly have prepared plans to care for this situation. We have already spent $68,000 on improvements to this plant. Our plans call for the expenditure of approximately $175,000 more. These funds will be available in December, and the work will progress as fast as it is humanly possible. When this work has been completed, the south side plant will be placed in condition to function properly and without offense to the residents of the Brays Bayou district until the large sewer construction plans which we have developed are carried out. My opponent’s promise is to relieve this situation by the building of a large east-side disposal plant for which the Holcombe Administration has been preparing plans for some time. It will require at least two years to build a large east-side disposal plant. What I am doing is to give you people in the east-end relief, not in two years, as my opponent promises, but in about four months.

 

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This campaign is rapidly coming to a close. I have been abused and criticized by my opponent who has at no point in this campaign offered a constructive program. His whole plea has been based upon tearing down, not on building up. I believe you want to build. I hope and believe that on November fifth, next Tuesday, you will return Oscar Holcombe to office.
I thank you very much.

Announcer: You have been listening to the Honorable Oscar Holcombe speaking to you in the interests of his re-election for the office of Mayor of Houston. Time for his address was reserved and paid for under our usual commercial regulations.
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Recording R-311-3: Mayor Oscar Holcombe’s running-for-mayor speech of July 21, 1940; Part two of a thirty-minute talk:

OH: Bids have been taken and contracts will be let Wednesday for two beautiful clubhouses costing more than $25,000 each: one is Moody Park on the north side and one in Stude Park. We have constructed eleven clubhouses and shelter houses and are now embarking on a $190,000 city-wide park improvement program in connection with the federal government. Bids have been taken and contracts will be awarded Wednesday for the construction of two concrete tennis courts in Hermann Park with work underway on a battery of twelve tennis courts which will soon be completed at West Capitol and Sabine Street. Completion of in excess of $1,750,000 in our water department improvements include building of additional storage capacity, increase in water supply, extension of mains and installation of 655 fire plugs. Yes, we have been fairly busy. We added fifty new policemen to our police force last fall after they had been given three months of intensive study and training, the first time in Houston’s history that police officers were trained before being placed on duty. We established a training school and all officers are required to attend it. Sixty-four additional men were placed in the Fire Department to bring that department in line with the City’s protection needs. These men were given a thorough schooling before assuming their duties. This Administration established a new traffic court, a full-time city planning department under a most excellent board; created a traffic bureau with a full-time graduate engineer in charge; established a public service department equipped to check the services of utilities for accuracy of utility meters, the heating content of natural gas, the accuracy of taxicab meters and so forth. This department has served well as a contact between the public and utilities. A research department, the first Houston has ever had, was created to act as a fact-finding agency for the mayor and city council. This department, among its other duties, is issuing for the first time in the City’s history quarterly reports on municipal affairs to the citizens. And, lest you forget, all of this has been done while giving Houston its lowest tax rate since the Holcombe Administration of 1935. And we ended the year of 1939 with a cash surplus of $121,000. Search the records of your city and you will not find any administration, the volume and quantity of whose municipal improvements even pretend to compare with those of Holcombe administrations. And with all of these improvements going on we have operated your city government on about the lowest cost-per-person of any major city in this country.
Here are some of the comparisons. During the year of nineteen hundred and thirty-nine Houston’s operating cost-per-person was $15.21 as compared with Milwaukee’s cost of $21.08; Denver’s cost of $24.42, Atlanta’s cost of $24.45 and our capital city of Washington’s cost of $50.61. Now, don’t forget the Houston figure which was $15.21. These are just other outstanding examples of the benefits that have accrued to you as a direct result of my years of experience as your mayor. Consider for a moment, the enormous added taxes you would now be paying if the cost of operating Houston’s municipal affairs was as great per person as the cost of any one of the cities above enumerated. Or even in Dallas where the cost-per-person is $16.55, or New Orleans with a cost of $20.30, or any other city in the United States comparable in population with Houston. This is no time to experiment with inexperience. Houston needs intelligent action and not idle words. My radio time will not permit me to discuss more of the major improvements of my administration made during the past twenty-one months nor my plans for the future, but I will be back on the air Friday, October 25th, at 7:30 p.m. over station KPRC, and I invite you to tune in.
Let Houston’s progress continue. I thank you.

 

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Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard Oscar F. Holcombe, Mayor of the City of Houston, speaking to you of his campaign for re-election. This program has been a paid political presentation.
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Recording R-310-1: Mayor Oscar Holcombe’s running-for-Congress speech of August 18, 1936 from radio station KXYZ at 6:15 p.m.

Announcer: The next fifteen minutes over this station have been paid for at the regular commercial rates in order that you might hear an address by the Honorable Oscar Holcombe, Mayor of Houston, speaking in the interest of his candidacy for Congress as a candidate for the eighth congressional district, Mayor Holcombe.

OH: Ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience, Mr. Albert Thomas has criticized me for the speeches I have made during this campaign. He states that they have been poorly written and poorly read by me. Tonight I am going to make a speech that he wrote, wrote into the records of Montgomery and Harris Counties about a little, defenseless child, a little orphan girl, which would make the most hardened, heartless person bow his head in shame. My friends, I am going to tell you about the Louise Wessner[?] Case. Into Montgomery County, several years prior to 1928, moved Charles R. Wessner and his wife. They acquired through privation and toil a small homestead comprising fifteen acres of Montgomery County land. To this couple was born in 1925 a little daughter. Shortly thereafter the child’s mother died, and the father moved from Montgomery County to Begat, Arkansas. Wessner and his baby girl resided in this rural community until July 9, 1928 when the father, Charles R. Wessner, died, leaving his baby girl an orphan. No funds were available to care for this child, so the child was placed in an orphanage. And then the picture shifts back to Montgomery County. Oil was discovered: liquid gold. The blackjack land which had been practically worthless before it became immensely valuable overnight. Whereas it could not have been sold for fifteen dollars an acre prior to the discovery of oil, in the few short days from the time the black gold came spouting from Mother Earth, this land became immensely valuable. Many estimate the value of this fifteen acres of ground at $250,000. No one in Montgomery Country knew to what section of the country Charles R. Wessner had moved, and a diligent search was made by many oil-lease scouts and others to find this man. It seemed that he could not be located; that he had disappeared from the face of the earth. However, on July 23, 1932 a deed was executed purportedly by Charles R. Wessner, and, mark you, this was four years after the real Charles R. Wessner had died.

All right. Let us see what happened after this fraudulent deed was placed on record in Montgomery County. This deed was intended to keep this little orphan baby girl. Right-thinking citizens kept up their search, and a few months later seven-year-old Louise Wessner was located in an orphans’ home in Arkansas. Proceedings were then instituted in the probate court of Montgomery County to appoint a guardian for the child, and Albert Thomas came into the light, appearing on the scene in an effort to prevent the appointment of this guardian, trying to take from this defenseless child the only heritage left to her by her dead parents. In the Court of Montgomery County in Case Number 1807 recorded in Volume XXV, page 87 and 88 you will find it stored in records: Albert Thomas, trying to prevent this child from obtaining her birthright, attempted to intervene in the guardianship proceedings. The court, in this case, used this language in rendering its decision. Now I want you to get the court’s language. “Due and proper notice of this hearing has heretofore been given to ‘blank’ attorney, and Albert Thomas of Houston, Texas, as attorneys for said, purported Charles R. Wessner, and that said attorneys have further been notified by telegram and registered letter, and that no just and reasonable excuse exists why said hearing should be delayed.” The court, thereupon, proceeded to hear said motion.

I call your particular attention, my friends, to the words of the court with reference to Albert Thomas representing the purported Charles R. Wessner. The Court in Montgomery County, in this case, threw Mr. Thomas completely out of court with this language, which I quote from the record. This is the court’s language: “Whereas the court here now finds that the real Charles R. Wessner is dead and left surviving him as his soul heir at law the minor, Louise Wessner, and it is further appearing to the court that Charles R. Wessner, purported to be represented by said attorneys is a fraud, a sham and an imposter who has no character or interest in this guardianship proceedings.” (That is the end of the quote.) This is very severe language, but not any more severe than it should be when a fraud is attempted. This is the most scathing indictment ever written by any court that I have ever read or heard of. After this judicial determination of the abominable scheme to cheat this little girl, did Albert Thomas withdraw from the case? Oh, no! He still continues to be a party to this matter even after the County Judge of Montgomery County had branded the entire matter as a fraud and a sham, and even after the County Court of Montgomery County, Texas, had judiciously branded the entire matter as fraudulent attempt by an imposter to cheat this orphan child out of her land. Remember, my friends, this is the same Albert Thomas who asks you to elect him your congressman.
Mr. Thomas has never appeared in Montgomery County Court to explain his action in this case. I have requested him from day to day since August 14, to explain his actions, and the only explanation he has given is that the case has been transferred to the federal courts to be settled there.
Now Mr. Thomas knows that this is not the truth. The case was settled as far as Montgomery County Courts were concerned when the judgment was entered on February 15, 1933. But Mr. Thomas continues further his endeavors to grasp this child’s land by suit in the federal court after he had been shown conclusively that his purported claim was fraudulent.
I think, at this point, that it would be well to show that there could be no doubt in Mr. Thomas’ mind as to the fraudulent claim he was making, for in the early part of this case he was associated with Mr. Malcolm McCorquodale, a reputable attorney of Houston. Weeks before the judgment in the federal court was entered, Mr. McCorquodale withdrew from the case for the simple reason that he would not be a party to a fraudulent suit. Why didn’t Mr. Thomas do likewise? Mr. McCorquodale, an outstanding attorney, washed his hands of the entire scheme and went into the federal court and had an order issued on the record taking him out of the case. But not so with Albert Thomas! Thomas still fought to take from this defenseless child that to which the child was entitled. Now he says the case was settled in the federal court. Yes, it was settled, and Federal Judge T. M. Kennerly entered an aggrieved judgment, and I here quote from the judgment which was signed by Albert Thomas and attorneys representing others.

 

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The decree entered on March 15, 1933, is in Equity Case Number 536, Federal Court, recorded in Volume 161, Page 372, Deed Records of Montgomery County, Texas, and reads in part: “It is further ordered that Charles R. Wessner take nothing, it being agreed that said Louise Wessner is the sole heir at law of Charles R. Wessner, deceased.” In other words, Judge Kennerly held as did the Montgomery County Probate Court that Louise Wessner the orphan was heir of the deceased Charles R. Wessner, and that the Charles R. Wessner whom Thomas purported to represent was a fraud, a sham and an imposter. Do you want to trust your affairs in Washington to a man who was a party to such a fraudulent scheme? Are you willing to entrust your affairs to man who would try to cheat a baby girl, a helpless orphan, by being a party to any such plot? Remember, my friends, Albert Thomas continued as a party to this scheme after honorable attorneys, sickened by the stench of fraud and dishonesty, had withdrawn from the case. Albert Thomas continued for at least a month a party to this scheme after the county court of Montgomery County had entered its judgment, declaring this scheme to be dishonest and a fraud and a sham. Albert Thomas continued his efforts to cheat this orphan baby until March 15, 1933, when United States District Court finally wrote “Finished” to this contemptible scheme. It is bad enough to cheat and rob a grown person, but to seek to take advantage of and to cheat a helpless and defenseless orphan baby girl is the lowest limit to which a human can descend. And yet, the court records of Montgomery County and of Harris County show conclusively that Albert Thomas was a party to just such a fraudulent scheme. Is it any wonder that Albert Thomas refuses to discuss his conduct in this matter?
Friends of Harris County, you have been told very little by Albert Thomas or his sponsors of the record he has made. I have quoted above from the sordid record that he made in the case of the defenseless child. I have discussed from time to time his record as County Attorney of Nacogdoches County, and the fact that he has not explained the ranking audit company’s report of his account in 1930, the report being for his activities of 1929 and filed a few days prior to his resignation from office in Nacogdoches. He hasn’t explained that as yet. I have asked him to tell you why it was that only two years ago, in order to get a home-owner’s loan that he made a statement to the Federal Government, that his home was in Nacogdoches; that he intended to move back there; that he was only in Houston temporarily. He has never answered that question. I must apologize for one statement that I have made, however. I said that he was now paying taxes in Nacogdoches. He says that I criticized him for not owning – for not paying taxes in Houston. I criticized him for owning a home and claiming a home in Nacogdoches and still saying that Houston was his home, and I said he paid taxes there, but I looked up the records, and lo and behold, after he got his home owner’s loan, corporation loan on his home in Nacogdoches, he hasn’t paid his taxes since then. His taxes are delinquent for 1934 and ’35. Nevertheless, he is making his large salary as Assistant United States District Attorney and he has a private law practice besides! Now he has given you nothing of his records. You know the record that I have made. I am a citizen of Houston. I am a life-long Democrat. You know that I am familiar with the problems of Harris County. I think you know I have the ability and the energy to get things done. I know that you do not want a congressman representing Harris County whose citizenship is in Nacogdoches County, who came to Houston as a Republican appointee, if you please, who is backed by certain Galveston financial interests. And last, the greatest indictment of all, a man who has attempted to take from a defenseless orphan child her only heritage.

The records have spoken. I sincerely hope you will read the advertisements in the Houston Post and the Houston Press of today, and that you will give me your energetic support and vote for Oscar Holcombe, a Harris County Democrat, for Congress on August the twenty-second. I thank you very much.

Announcer: You have just listened to an address by the Honorable Oscar Holcombe, Mayor of Houston, speaking in the interest of his candidacy for Congress from the Eighth Congressional District. The time used for this broadcast was paid for at the regular commercial rates.

CD Number 2:
Recording R-310-2: Mayor Oscar Holcombe running-for-mayor speech of October 24, 1940.

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Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the following half hour brings to you in a paid political presentation Oscar F. Holcombe, Mayor of Houston, speaking in furtherance of his campaign for re-election. Mayor Holcombe:

OH: Ladies and gentlemen, two years ago you elected me mayor by a substantial majority over the combined votes of my three opponents, giving me a 7,389 vote majority over my nearest opponent. This opponent whom I defeated by 7,389 votes in the last election is again a candidate. I was then, and am now, extremely grateful for that overwhelming expression of confidence in me. On the day I entered the office of Mayor I promised that I would give you the very best administration I was capable of giving, and I have. I promised you a business administration free from politics, and it has been. I promised that no city employee would be discharged for political reasons, and none have been discharged; that every appointment was to have been made with only one thought in mind and that was to get the best qualified man to fill the particular position, and this has been done in every instance.
I, at that time, also stated to you that I would administer the municipal affairs of this city for the best interests of the city and its citizenship as a whole, and that no individual or group could induce me to do otherwise. It is regrettable to me that strict adherence to this policy has caused me to lose the friendship of some of my former political friends. But I am confident that the voters will, on November 5th, approve of my strict adherence to these promises.
You have been exceedingly nice to me in electing me your mayor for seven terms – in employing me, so to speak, to manage your vast business for fourteen years. When one as mayor assumes the management of Houston, he assumes the management of one of the largest businesses in the State of Texas: your business. In simple language, it is the business of a corporation with better than three-quarters of a billion dollars in assets. You know that it takes a youngster four years to complete a college course in Business Administration. It is apparent and reasonable to believe that it takes four years to complete a course as mayor in the management of a city. So, let me say to you that you sent me to school for four years and since then you have benefited from that training for the past ten years. And now I want you to benefit from it for another two years.
And during all of these years I have added much to my store of knowledge; learned to operate the City more efficiently and economically. The knowledge necessary to the efficient operation of the City can only be acquired through years of practical study and experience.
I think it was Lincoln who said that no man who has not actually put his hand to a plow can plow a straight row. Experience and an honest desire to do a good job are by all odds the most important qualifications that a mayor should possess. This is especially true in these perilous times. I feel sure that if you reflect a moment you will agree with me. A study of the history of American cities reveals that a loophole here, a leak there, a mistake yonder can and does result in staggering financial losses to the city.

So, what of Houston? Efficiency and economy in the operation of its municipal affairs has enabled this Holcombe Administration to give you the lowest tax rate in five years, that is, since the Holcombe Administration of 1935. Did you know that? And you know that lower taxes directly or indirectly benefit every citizen of Houston. May I call your attention to the fact that if our present policy of economy and efficiency is continued additional tax reductions are possible. With the enormous amount that our national government must spend for national defense thereby placing an extremely heavy tax burden on all the people, it behooves the city government to economize in every way to hold the local taxes to a minimum. A change of mayors, the placing of one at the head of the City who has no administrative experience, municipal or otherwise, means a change of policy and the resulting loss to the taxpayer.
While I’m on the subject of savings made to the taxpayer by Holcombe Administrations, I think here’s a good place to call your attention to the fact that this administration negotiated reductions in the light and gas rates which have resulted in a total annual saving of $750,000 to the citizens of Houston, and we are now investigating the telephone rates in Houston. The problems of a mayor are multitudinous and varied. The matter of preparing the city budget which the Charter requires the mayor to do is a great and grave responsibility. It is the providing for the allocation and expenditure of some ten millions of dollars. No small job! My years of budget-making have taught me how to eliminate from the budget items of expenditure which are not essential. No man lacking years of experience as your mayor can slash and reduce a budget without seriously interfering with the efficiency of the operation of your city government.
We balanced the budget in 1939 and 1940; improved the efficiency of the city’s operations and reduced your tax rate to the lowest figure it has been in five years. How seriously can one who has never made a budget be expected know anything about this most complicated task? Now let us see how municipal Houston has progressed in the past twenty-one months with the lowest tax rate since 1935. This Holcombe Administration has constructed more permanent, municipal improvements out of general revenue funds than have been so constructed in any two years since 1928, which, incidentally, was during a Holcombe Administration!
You know we have two classes of funds for expenditure: one, bond funds which are derived from the sale of bonds, and the other, general revenue funds which are derived from taxation and miscellaneous sources. These general revenue funds are used to pay city bonds and bond interest and other fixed obligations and then to pay salaries and other operating expenses of the City. After these items are paid, the balance of the revenue, if any, can be used for construction of permanent improvements and other purposes. My familiarity with the City’s operations has enabled me to prepare a balanced budget sufficient to efficiently operate the City, and by rigid economies, avoiding mistakes and stopping of leaks, we have saved a very substantial sum to put into improvements, new equipment and so forth.

 

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Remember now, with the reduced tax rate, the lowest in many years, here are a few of the things that we have done: saved enough money to make a complete and thorough investigation of the fairness or unfairness of the telephone rates in Houston. This money has been set aside for this specific purpose, and, should I be re-elected your mayor, this money will be used for no other purpose. The lack of money for many years has prevented the city from undertaking such a task.
When I entered the Mayor’s office on January 2nd of 1939, the Police Department’s automobiles were old and dilapidated, many of the cars having been driven in excess of 175,000 miles. No wonder criminals in better cars were escaping! But what is the situation today? We have replaced practically all of these old cars with new, well-equipped automobiles, and the same can be said of most of the other departmental cars. Two additional crash-squad cars, or accident-investigation cars, fully-equipped as ambulances and six additional patrol cars have been added to the police fleet. When the Holcombe Administration took office the City did not own a single two-way radio. Today we have thirty-eight police automobiles and five Fire Department automobiles equipped with two-way radios. Remember, all of this out of general revenue funds and under the lowest tax rate in five years. And don’t forget, five years ago was another Holcombe Administration. New equipment has been installed in our identification bureau, making it one of the best equipped bureaus in this nation.

The Street and Bridge Department budget was increased this year by $111,000, and most of this increase has been used to repair street pavements which has been sadly neglected for many years. Three new street-sweepers, three maintainers, two rollers, a large flusher, and other equipment costing $68,900 has been purchased for the Street and Bridge Department, the first purchase of major street equipment in many years. A mayor inexperienced in municipal finance unknowingly and unintentionally wastes enormous sums of money. And you pay for the mayor’s inexperience with higher taxes and less public improvement.
Let us go on and talk about some of the other things that have happened in the past twenty-one months. Do you realize that we are just now completing a $2,185,000 program, $1,253,000 in permanent paving including the re-paving of South Main Street from the Sunken Garden to Braeswood? Wasn’t that street in deplorable condition prior to my election? You know I promised you two years ago that if you elected me I would have that street paved, and it has been done. There isn’t a prettier street in this country! If you have not seen it, go out and look at it. Ride over it. Enjoy it. Do you realize that since January 1, 1940, the Holcombe Administration has permanently paved portions of thirty-four of our principal streets and that we have permanent pavement under contract for nine additional streets? The 1939-40 program of blacktop or semi-permanent street paving embraces the paving of portions of 211 streets. All of this paving work done at the lowest cost to the City in years. There is an item amounting to $208,647 in new storm sewers which we have constructed, and we have built several miles of sanitary sewers costing $99,261. And yet some will tell you that Holcombe has done nothing in the past twenty-one months! I must not forget to mention the enlargement of the north and south side treatment plants at a cost of $186,800.
What about the airports, work on which has just been completed at a cost of $259,600? This gives us one of the most complete airports in the nation. Less than two years after I took office as your mayor, Houston has one of the most modern airports in America. It has new and modern buildings and hangars, and the latest and best-equipped radio and electrical department. It has a radio control tower which is operating twenty-four hours per day which directly or indirectly benefits every citizen of Houston. Our airport runways will now accommodate the largest airplanes now in service. Air transportation is rapidly assuming a rank of importance comparable to water and rail transportation. Have you been out there to see this airport? If you haven’t, you have a treat in store. You should by all means go out and see the beehive of activity there.
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Recording R-310-3: Mayor Oscar Holcombe’s running-for-mayor speech Of October 25, 1940, from Radio Station KPRC

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Announcer: For the next fifteen minutes the facilities of this station have been engaged and paid for on a commercial basis. During this period you will hear an address by Mayor Oscar Holcombe in the interest of his candidacy for re-election.

OH: Ladies and gentlemen, on Monday evening of this I week I opened my campaign for mayor with a radio talk outlining some of the major accomplishments of the present Holcombe Administration. During the same evening, 428 voluntary workers met with me at my headquarters on the second floor of the Sterling Building. I want to express my sincere appreciation not only to these 428 voluntary workers but also to those hundreds of other voluntary workers who are so loyally supporting me in this campaign. I am very much gratified to find that practically all of my old friends are actively working for my re-election. In addition thereto, there are hundreds of new friends actively supporting me for the first time. It is the loyalty and confidence of my thousands of friends that inspires me to give at all times the best that is in me in the service of Houston. I know that the political arena is no place for sentimental emotion, but on Monday evening at my headquarters, as I looked into the faces of several hundred people who for exactly twenty years have believed in me and have supported each and every time I have been a candidate for public office, and practically none of them have ever asked me for the slightest favor, the thought of their unselfish friendship and their unwavering belief in me – well, who could have kept sentiment out of his heart under such a situation? From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your wonderful friendship. In my prior talks during this campaign I have spoken only of constructive things: accomplishments of the present Holcombe Administration that have benefited Houston and the people of Houston. Since my radio talk on last Monday evening, hundreds of the best people in Houston have telephoned me or written me saying that they appreciated the kind of campaign I am conducting, and especially the fact that I listed and pointed to real, existing accomplishments of my administrations that are beneficial and add to the progress of Houston and keep Municipal Houston the best of Industrial and Cultural Houston. My campaign shall continue to be one of construction, not of destruction. I have heretofore briefly outlined some of the major the accomplishments of my present and past administrations. All of you are familiar to some of extent with the fact that Houston’s greatest municipal development in its entire history has taken place under my leadership as your mayor. You already know that more streets have been paved and improved, more sewers built, more drainage provided for, greater development and expansion in your water department, more municipal buildings and improvements of every kind, and more advancement in the scientific operation of your city has occurred while I have served as your mayor than occurred during all other administrations and during all of the entire history of Houston. You also know that your tax rate is lower than it has been in five years. You also know that Houston’s debt [?], due to economical and efficient management during my administrations and especially under my present administration is in excellent financial condition, the best that it has been in for a number of years. Even my worst political candidate must admit this is true. May I call your attention to the fact that on Tuesday of this week we let a contract for a beautiful clubhouse for Moody Park on the north side, this building costing approximately $27,000. At the same time we let a contract for a like building for Stude Park, a different design but costing the same amount of money. We are purchasing for the residential district of Heights Annex and that immediate section a beautiful wooded tract back of the W. T. Love School between 12th and 13th Streets for park purposes. We are buying eight-acre tracts just west of Monte Beach Park to be added to and there to enlarge that park. We are acquiring a fine park site on Lyons Avenue between Kress and Woolworth Streets, to serve Harbor Addition and adjacent territory. These tracts will be developed in such a manner as to provide fine playgrounds for these sections. It is my desire to acquire more small parks and playgrounds and to intensify the development of all of them by improving them with more ball diamonds, playground equipment, tennis courts and so forth. Do you realize that during the several Holcombe Administrations we increased the park acreage of Houston by over 500%?

As an indication of my opponent’s lack of knowledge of municipal problems he has talked of relieving the unsanitary conditions in the Brays
Bayou District through the building of the new sewer plant on the new land which we have acquired just off the Ship Channel. This large sanitary sewage project costs between two-and-a-half and three million dollars. And, after the voters have approved of this project, they will take a minimum of two years for the construction of the large sewer lines and sewer plant. My opponent offers nothing in the way of immediate relief. We have spent so far this year some $68,000 on improvements to this sanitary sewage disposal plant which is located on Brays Bayou in an effort to cure the unsanitary condition that has developed there in the past few years from the overloading of this plant with sewage. We have plans for expenditure of a sum between $150,000 and $200,000 for the further improvement of this plant. When these improvements are completed the unsanitary conditions on Brays Bayou will have been entirely eliminated. The money for the completion of this work on this plant will be available and our plans call for the starting of the construction work early in January. All of this work would have been done this year had the funds been available. They will not be available until December. When this work has been completed the south side plant will then be placed in conditions to function properly and without offense to the residents of Brays Bayou District until the larger sewer construction plans which we have developed are carried out. It is my purpose to submit this matter to the voters, but in the meantime and for the next two years immediate relief must be given. This I propose to do and will do immediately after the first of next year. It is true the south side plant will be abandoned when the new plant is constructed. And some may say that we are spending too much money for temporary relief, but the health of the people must not be jeopardized, and no sum is too large to pay for this protection. On November the fifth, you will decide on whom you will entrust for the next two years the executive and administrative duties and responsibilities of operating Municipal Houston. This is a most important decision. It is probably as important a decision as you will be called upon to make during the next two years. Whether Municipal Houston progresses and is properly and efficiently operated depends to a very great extent upon the qualifications and abilities of the man you select as your mayor on November the fifth.

 

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Let me discuss now, in a very general manner, some of the duties of your mayor as executive and administrative head of your city government; some of the knowledge, experience and qualifications which your mayor must possess in order to operate your city’s affairs. Your mayor must be qualified to immediately handle the intricate operations of the greatest metropolis of the South. These operations consist of a multitude of various duties and responsibilities. The mayor must understand the details of the operation of the many departments into which the city government is divided. He must understand how to look ahead and to plan and to lay out municipal improvements for the needs, not only of today, but for the future of this rapidly expanding and growing city. This knowledge and information comes from years of experience in municipal affairs. There is no substitute for municipal experience. It’s a life study. Let me repeat that I have at no time said or intimated and I will never be so foolish as to say or intimate that there are not other men in Houston can efficiently operate the business affairs of this city. Of course, there are many such men in Houston eminently qualified to serve as your mayor. They are men who have executive and administrative experience in handling big businesses comparable, in a sense, with the business of operating the affairs of the great City of Houston, but these men are not candidates! You must choose between two men only: Oscar Holcombe and his opponent. You already know that each of my fourteen years of experience has better qualified me to more efficiently and economically operate your city’s affairs, and to make fewer and fewer mistakes in the performance of the multitude of intricate duties that the mayor is called upon to perform. Therefore, I will not at this time further discuss my own accomplishments and qualifications as your mayor. I will discuss in a spirit of kindness the qualifications and experience, or should I say lack of qualifications and experience of the only opponent of Oscar Holcombe for mayor of Houston in this campaign.

I do not censure him for being ambitious, but can you afford to stand the enormous losses which his inexperience and lack of qualifications will cast upon you in his efforts to handle the largest executive position in the South? The only answer to this question is “No!”
What has been my opponent’s business experience? He has been and is now engaged in secretarial work. I know many fine men and women who are engaged in secretarial work. Secretarial work has its place, and it is an honorable and essential place in the general scheme of business activities. I would be a failure as a secretary as my opponent would be a failure as a mayor. He is entirely untrained, inexperienced, and unqualified a mayor, and I am entirely untrained, inexperienced, and unqualified as a secretary. But, on Number the fifth, you are electing a mayor and not a secretary! The training and duties of secretarial work are as far removed from municipal, executive, and administrative training and duties as is the training of an engineer of a railroad locomotive and an aviator. The fact that a man is a good railroad engineer does not qualify him as a pilot of an airplane. Would you like to take a railroad engineer to the airport, put him in one of these big passenger liners and tell him to take you to New York? He wouldn’t get off the ground, and neither would you! And that is about the position of my opponent in this race. He would never get started. Think of the highly specialized executive and administrative duties required of your mayor as the head of your city government with its enormous investments, and its numerous properties, with a population of 400,000 people and 2,600 City employees, many of whom are daily engaged in highly specialized and technical work. Think of the duties of your mayor a few of which I have heretofore outlined. After you have done this, then think of the training and the experience of my opponent as a secretary.
Let us analyze the growth of my opponent as a secretary. Let us trace his life’s work. The first position he had in the late twenties was as Secretary of the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce. This is a nice little city located in East Texas with a population of some 4,500 or 5,000. My opponent was a combined secretary, clerk, and stenographer, all in one. When he relinquished this position he came to Houston as Secretary of the Houston Insurance Exchange. In that capacity he had one employee under his supervision, a stenographer. He remained in that position for a number of years, and a few years ago he was appointed Secretary of the Lumbermen’s Association, a position he now occupies. In this position he has received quite a promotion but no more administrative experience for he now only has one employee under him. I have given you here the sum total of my opponent’s business experience since he reached manhood. He has not had one single day of executive experience or administrative experience in his entire life.

Now, my friends, in all seriousness, in your interest, in the interest of Houston can you vote to turn the executive administrative management, the control of our great city and its operation, over to this inexperienced and wholly unqualified opponent of mine? There is only one answer. That answer is: No, you would not, I am sure. The answer at the polls on November 5th is “No,” and Oscar Holcombe will be Mayor of Houston again. I thank you.

Announcer: For the past period you have heard an address by Mayor Oscar Holcombe in the interest of his candidacy for re-election. That you might hear this broadcast that facilities of this station were engaged and paid for on a commercial basis.