Joiner, Ernest 1989-12-29

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Ernest Joiner discusses newspaper business, small-town life, and politics in west Texas, California, and New Mexico.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Ernest Joiner

Additional Parties Recorded: Carol Joiner (Daughter)

Date: December 29, 1989

Location: Carrizozo, New Mexico

Interviewer: Janet Neugebauer

Length: 2 hours, 50 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Joiner Ernest, Born Seymour, Texas August 20 1911, Grade school at Boise City Oklahoma, Grammar and high school at Dalhart Texas, College, University of New Mexico for 2 years, Transfer to Texas Tech University and degree, Lived with brother in Idalou Texas, Years at Texas Tech, Elected editor of student paper Toreador, Studied political science and journalism, Louise Allen wife of a Dean, University of New Mexico (again), Entered 5years after high school, Freshman hazings his opposition, Five volcanos prank, His brothers fireworks, One of buddies now district judge in Portales, Texas Tech (again), Journalism, Cecil Horne and Louise Allen, Dean James D. Allen, He fired as editor of Toreador, President of university was Clifford B. Jones, Re-installed as editor with pressure from students, Student body president was Stanley, In more trouble due to “worst teacher survey”, Dean Adams of Engineering Department, He fired again as editor by administration, Student body president refused to sign checks, Football coach was Pete Cauthon, “Outlaw” (independent) football team, He wrote term papers for players, $10 each, Re-installed again as editor, Administration questioned his UNM credits, Cleared him on graduation night, President Jones awarded him diploma, “Happiest day of my life Joiner”, Overheard in line by Waggoner Carr, Waggoner Carr, Later Attorney General of Texas, Carr got “bum deal” in politics, Watergate and John Mitchell, Carr attacked by Republicans, Sharpstown Scandal and Preston Smith, After graduation from Texas Tech, Personnel manager of Corp of Engineers at Galveston, War broke out and enlisted in Air Corp after Pearl Harbor, Married and expecting Carol, In infantry and basic at Fort Smith Arkansas, Paratroopers then Air Corp again.

Tape 1, Side 2: Joiner Ernest (again), He bought Ralls Banner newspaper in 1945, Relatives in area included Flem T. Gillespie, He stayed 14 years with Ralls Banner, Published initally in Crosbyton due to repairs, Small-town newpaper man experiences, Beer election controversy about 1947, He caught the sheriff boot-legging, Barber in Lorenzo told him of death threat, He was shot while sitting in home by person in sheriffs car, Walker Watkins, “witty wag” of Ralls, Petition to replace sheriff with such poor shooting skill, He complained to District Attorney in Lubbock but no charges, Concealed gun request to Attorney Lloyd (Mike) Wicker Jr., Wicker offered .25 caliber gun from desk, Pistol off Italian officer in World War II, Joiner kept the pistol until recently then gave to Stan, Stan has died but Stan’s daughter has the gun, Fake Mexican ambassador incident, He was at Sam Spacek’s house for late bridge party, Prank calls to Ralls store-owners for repairs of car etc, Stores open at 11 PM, Roy Able of car dealership mad at Joiner, Smuggling Christmas beer to Ralls from Amarillo, First fellows apprehended in Plainview, He flew his plane to Amarillo for second effort, He bragged to taxi driver in Amarillo, He loaded booze in plane and filed flight plan to Ralls, Law enforcement at Ralls landing strip, He landed at Lovington New Mexico, Returned to Ralls the next day, Ralls Banner newspaper (again), Circulation grew from 500 to 8,000, To all states and 8 foreign countries, He was elected president of South Plains Press Association, Officer in Texas Press Association, He was written up in a 1956 Time Magazine and newspapers, He moved to California for 20 years, Manager of Modern Veterinary Practice in Santa Barbara, After two years he bought Sebastopol Times, Comparisons with Ralls paper and readers.

Tape 2, Side 1: Joiner Ernest (again), He continued his blunt style in California, Local style in Ralls, Alan Shivers, He was in California from 1962 to 1982, Strong position against “hippie” causes, Effect of social changes on minorities and women, U. S. Constitution gives all people equality, He returned to New Mexico, Lincoln County Times newspaper bought, He sold California paper and Taos paper already sold, He spent 2 years in Oregon, Highlights of current paper, Child abuse in local schools, Local police records, Printing “dump of the week” picture, Economic future in Carrizozo is bleak, Holloman Air Force Base was rejected, Local rancher Albert B. Fall in Teapot Dome scandal, Local establishment boss is Johnson Stearns, Fired by Southern Pacific for stealing peaches, Stearns opposed to growth, Peytons? Pharmacy steps, Comparison of role of rural weekly vs. urban daily editor, California nuclear power at Bodega Bay stopped, Fifty year class reunion at Texas Tech, People had not fundamentally changed, Preston Smith sat at his table, Claimed Joiner helped elect him governor, Joiner never

voted for Smith,

(ends after 25 minutes).

Tape 2, Side 2: Joiner Ernest (again), Bodega Bay Power Plant project (again), He favored nuclear but opposed site due to pristine area, Open records laws, Lawsuit of Joiner vs. Sebastopol, California, City Attorney Mr. McDermott, Joiner won the suit, Ralls Reunion in August 1986, “Nothing interesting happened since Joiner left”, Ralls Board of Education and Ralls Banner, He was bared from open meeting, Published false story about $5 million bond issue, The most important role of a newspaper, Get readers to think for themselves, (ends after 12 minutes).

Tape 3, Side 1: Joiner, Ernest (again), University of New Mexico (again), His brother with State Corporation Commission in Santa Fe, Request to Governor Clyde Tingley for UNM student job, Governor called President Zimmerman at UNM, He was met at bus station by Tom Popejoy--later UNM president, Joiner was 1st UNM Postmaster at $75/month, Election fraud in Albuquerque, He was president of Young Democrats, U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez, Orange crate full of money, Mexicans in truck to 8 polling places, Dance at El Fidel Hotel, Sheriff seized ballots and burned them, Ralls Banner (again), Burned in early 1950’s, Donations by townspeople, Drugstore owner--not Troy Payne, Bill Anderson or Dismukes, Belcher financed rebuilding, Salvaged only old press, Bank gave unlimited credit, J. M. McGlaughlin, President of Rotary International, Segregation in Ralls-“The Black Honor Roll”, [?Daughter Carol speaking], Describes Time Magazine article, Drinking fountains, [Ernest Joiner speaking again], Ernest Joiners father had a restaurant, Blacks ate in kitchen, “Seperate but not Equal”, Affirmative Action wrong way to address, Oakland California bankers, UNM with hispanics, “I want equality, not special privileges for anyone”, Minority solution is education and training, Song “Goodnight Irene”, Ralls cafe loudspeakers, He busted record on floor, Charlie Guy (Charles A. Guy), Friend and reporter, Successor was Kenneth ?Maine, He died about a year ago, Considered doing forward to Joiner’s book, The Establishment, More entrenched in small towns, Ralls (again), Claude Adams was mayor and wrote Sebasatopol Chamber of Commerce, “Thanks for taking Joiner away”, Joiner left Ralls “3 jumps ahead of a posse”, Five years later welcomed back, Craig McDonald, rancher between Ralls and Lubbock, Offered to set up Joiner again in Ralls, Small town politics, [?Daughter speaking again], She was in law school in 1974, Letter from attorney in Sonoma County, Asked her to have Joiner “back off” attorneys, His dislike of lawyers, “I would prefer my daughter be a prositute than lawyer”.

Tape 3, Side 2:

Tape 4, Side 1: Joiner Ernest (again), Ralls Banner (again), Judge Victor H. Lindsey story, TV repair man was dishonest, Good set and charged Joiner $75, Joiner published article and was sued for libel, Young attorney helped at pre-trial conference, Judge Lindsey was “Scrooge right out of Dickens”, Agreed with Joiner about dishonest man, Years later, Joiner at U. S. Senator’s office in Washington DC, Senator now practices law in Austin, Judge Lindsey story in Harvard Law Review, Lincoln County politics now, Political Science professor from UNM article, Lincoln County in 3rd world, with Patrone system, No local letters to editor are signed, Patrone system (again), Also in other areas of state such as Espanola, Open records law (again), Mayor opposition, Johnson Stern (again), Ben Hall State Representative, Joe Skeene Congressman more impartial, Fort Stanton development, Not affected by Patrone system, Developer R. L. Anderson not in local system, Investigative reporter needed, Joiner has relation with ABC TV affiliate in Roswell, Local city council meeting, Young people leaving the area, Jack ?Bukey now head of library at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Tape 4, Side 2: Joiner Ernest (again), Property values and land ownership in Lincoln County, Hide-away from urban areas, Sam Donaldson and George Schultz, President of a Chicago bank, (ends after 5 minutes).

Range Dates: 1911-1989

Bulk Dates: 1935-1989

Access Information

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