THE WHITE-HOT IMMIGRATION DEBATE may well become one of the most combustible issues in this year’s midterm elections, but here in Texas, it’s really, really old news. Thought you could invigorate the economy by letting in all those foreigners, and now you’re concerned that the newcomers aren’t obeying the laws or assimilating into your culture? Fearful that a porous border threatens your national security?
texasmonthly.com: How did you get turned on to this story?
Shortly after the publication of senior editor Mimi Swartz’s article on the effect of tort reform in Texas (“Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!” November 2005), TEXAS MONTHLY received a letter from Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) alleging that the article contained numerous mistakes of fact and law.
IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON of May 14, 1982, a man carrying a gun, wearing a hooded gray sweatshirt, and holding a cloth in front of his face walked into a North Dallas apartment complex, confronted a woman in a bathing suit, and ordered her to take it off. She refused, and the man fled to a nearby complex. There, he found another sunbather and took her back to her apartment, where he exposed himself to her.
Like a lot of old-fashioned Texans, Alvin Berry is the kind of man who bears the pain and indignities of life with good grace. At 73, Alvin has never been a rich man, but in his youth he managed to maneuver himself from the rolling plains of Central Texas to the industrialized eastern corner of the state, where he worked his way up to maintenance superintendent at a chemical plant in Texas City.
texasmonthly.com: How did you get tuned-in to the problems with and stories behind Proposition 12?
Mimi Swartz: It seemed that suddenly everywhere I went attorneys I knew were complaining about the kinds of cases they could no longer take, and it was really bothering them that they had to turn down decent, hardworking people with legitimate claims.
Can mere mashed potatoes be bodacious? If so, the ones at Tony’s Southern Comfort qualify. Whipped to a fare-thee-well, they are anointed with a thinnish, mild cream gravy. The menu calls them “au gratin potatoes,” but the great cheesy, creamy, well-peppered spuds at Arkie’s Grill are more mashed than sliced; they’re available unpredictably, maybe once a month, so call first to avoid disappointment.
THEY WERE NOT RUN-OF-THE-MILL WHORES. Anybody in Odessa would tell you that. Clients and investigators agree that you could have been in church and not have realized that you were sitting next to one of the Healing Touch massage parlor girls—they looked that wholesome.
In this month’s feature “‘She Had Brains, a Body, and the Ability to Make Men Love Her,’” associate editor Katy Vine delves into the events in Odessa that led to one of the most notorious prostitution-ring busts in Texas history. Here, she discusses getting prostitutes, madams, and police investigators to open up to her.
texasmonthly.com: When and how did you first learn of the events in Odessa?
I've spent almost my entire career being one of the only women in my profession. First it was being in the Army Reserves after I finished college in the seventies, then it was being the third woman overall, and the first African American, to become a Texas Ranger. It got to the point where at work I just realized that I would never be completely accepted as one of the guys but that I wasn’t really one of the girls either. Sometimes I was somewhere in between.