Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 26, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 29, 1972 Page: 1 of 20
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SERVING STARR COUNTY FOR SO YEARS
TPA AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER
Vol. XXI No. 26 Thursday
June 2<>, 1972
liio (>rande Texas
U.S. judges rule Iiaugers took
sides in Slarr labor strikes
A three-judge federal panel
Monday ruled that Texas Ran-
gers used selective enforce-
ment of state laws to take sides
in the 1966-C7 Starr County
farm workers dispute.
The panel declared uncon-
stitutional five Texas laws used
primarily in labor disputes.
U.S. Dlst. Judges John R.
Brown and Woodrow Seals of
Houston and Reynaldo Garza of
Brownsville made the rulings.
The laws ruled unconstitu-
tional were the antimass picket-
ing statutes, secondary strike
and secondary boycott law,
breach of the peace, abusive
language and unlawful assem-
A challenged statute on ob-
structing public streets was
IS. • •
The Rio Grande City School Board according to one
of the board members discussed in executive session
a suit that was filed in behalf of J,M. Martinez Jr.,
where the defendant is the Rio Grande City Independent
School District and the five board members as indivi-
Martinez is asking for his iwo and a half months
pay that has already been declared due him by the
Texas Education Agency and for approximately
$11,000.00 for one year's pay, because the board failed
to give him a reason for his'dismissal and denied him
a hearing to air out his questions as to his dismissal.
It seems the tide changed when Martinez' attorneys
filed the suit last week against Heberto Barrera, Alex
Gabert, Alicia McLellan, Arnoldo Gonzalez and Dr.
Gilberto (Nene) Garza naming them in a suit as board
members and as individuals. The suit against each
board member personally is for some $60,000.00
Board members have not wanted to discuss the pre-
sent suit publicly because the Travis County Court
Suit may just be a "rubber stamp" action of what the
commissioner of education already ruled . . . that the
money should be paid.
Martinez was dismissed as MCEP Coordinator and
replaced with Nance Munoz when the new board took
The Texas State Teachers Association has been pick-
ing up the tab on Martinez' attorneys'fees and has
employed what is considered one of the best attorneys
in suits against school districts to carry the present
suits to court.
According to the board member that disclosed the
discussion the rest of the board now want a private
meeting with Martinez to see if things can be worked
After contacting Superintendent of Schools S.P. Cowan
we were told that the only one that could release infor-
mation on this matter was the school attorney.
Our views on this matter are that the firing of Joe
Martinez for what ever reasou, although our belief is
that they were political, should have never taken place,
especially since the board gave no reason for their
action. When this thing is settled in the near future^if
our district loses in Austin (since we don't have a
Judge Carrillo up there) it will cost the district some
$12,000.00, but it will cost the board members some
$00,000.00 individually . . . and that my friends on the
board is a lot of money to pay for a political hatchet
* * * *
If you were watching CBS' The Mexican Connection'
Sunday night you saw our own Ramiro Villarieal who
is in charge of this area U.S. Customs. Another agent
from the area also appeared in the brodcast. 'The
Mexican Connection' was an intense study into the drug
(See TELL, Page 20)
held to be constitutional by the
The image of the Rangers
took a mauling during a June,
19G8, hearing on the suit filed
by members of the United Farm
Workers Union against former
Capt. A.Y. Allee, who headed
the Ranger company stationed
in the Valley during the strike;
Rangers S.H. Denson, Jack Van
Cleve, Jerome Preiss and T.
11. Dawson; former Starr Coun-
ty Sheriff Dr. Rene Solis; de-
puties Ray Pena and Roberto
Pena; Ray Rochester, manager
of La Casita Farms, and Jus-
tice of the Peace B.S. Lopez of
Rio Grande City.
The suit alleged the Rangers
and the other officers acted as
strike breakers during the un-
ion's attempt to organize most-
ly Mexican-American field
hands in Starr County.
The union tried unsuccess-
fully between June, 1966, and
June, 1967, to organize the
workers. The organizing at-
tempt resulted in mass arrests
of union organizers and sym-
pathizers, numerous noisy de-
monstrations and occasional
brief flurries of violence.
Reached at the union's na-
tional headquarters at La Paz,
Calif., Chavez said he was
"pleased with the court deci-
sion, It is a victory for the
farmworkers and the poor peo-
ple of Texas. We felt the Tex-
as Rangers acted in matters that
did not pertain to law enforce-
ment and were breaking the
He did not comment specifi-
cally because he said he did
not have full details and wanted
more from attorneys.
He said he felt the union will
be "writing much legislation
tlirough the courts in years to
"A lot of the laws that were
enacted were enacted at the
prodding of the employers with
no response from the other
side. This is the beginning of
reversing a lot of those laws
that were enacted while the
workers were not organized and
not able to represent them-
In ruling that the Rangers
took sides in the labor dispute,
the judges said: "The conclu-
sion is inescapable that these
officials had concluded that the
maintenance of law and order
was inextricably bound to pre-
venting the success of the
"Whether or not they acted
with premeditated intent, the net
result was that law enforce-
ment officials took sides in what
essentially a labor-manage-
ment controversy," said the
opinion written by Brown.
The court also said, "The
unjustified conduct of the de-
fendants had the effect of put-
ting those in sympathy with the
strike in fear of expressing
their protected First Amend-
ment rights with regard to free
speech and lawful assembly.
"This is not intended as a
whitewash of the activities car-
ried on by the union and its
sympathizers during this per-
iod. In a controversy such as
this, it is rare, indeed, if all
the blame can be laid to rest
at one doorstep," the opinion
The judges said the issue to
be determined was "whether
the defendants stepped over the
line of neutral law enforcement
and entered the controversy on
one side or the other. It is
the judgment of this court that
such was the case."
The antimass picketing sta-
tute prohibited picketing by
more than two persons within
50 feet of an entrance and
forbade pickets to use any
means to halt persons from en-
tering. It was declared uncon-
stitutional for "overbreadth."
The secondary strike and
boycott law was declared un-
constitutional because it cov-
ers activities that the state is
not entitled to prohibit, the pan-
The statute on breach of the
peace was ruled unconstitution-
al because, in the judges' op-
inion, it is too broad in nature.
The abusive language and un-
lawful assembly statutes also
were declared unconstitutional
In declaring the laws uncon-
stitutional. the court saidtwoof
the laws are 25 years old and
two are 47 years old. The judg-
es noted the unlawful assembly
law was written 85 years ago.
"Our decision to invalidate
these statutes has involved a
careful and cautious balancing
of the individual's right to speak
with the right of all citizens to
be safe on American streets.
The laws that punish those who
offend either of these precious
rights are continually in need
of maintenance and repair," the
judges said. "Especially in
See RULING, Page 20)
NEW BUSINESS-DAIRY QUEEN — Mr. and Mrs. James R. Lewis, Mr. and Mrs. Hobert
L. Bowen of Falfurrias were on site Saturday as they broke ground for construction of a
$100,000.00 Dairy Queen to be located on a tract of land next to the Shamrock service
station. The new Dairy Queen is the second for the two couples as they own one in Fal-
furrias. The new business will be geared to ice cream, short orders, specializing in
hamburgers and group meals. Pictured above are Mr. end Mrs. James R. Lewis, Mr.
and Mrs. Robert L. Bowen, owners and Ricardo Gutierrez, representing Gutierrez Lumber
and Hardware who will do the building for Uie firm.
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Trejo, Raul. Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 26, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 29, 1972, newspaper, June 29, 1972; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth194362/m1/1/: accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rio Grande City Public Library.