• Circuit Judge Charles R. Scott turned down a request from the Jacksonville Port Authority to validate $1.54 million in revenue bonds as payment to the City of Jacksonville for transferring ownership of the Municipal Docks and Terminals to the authority.
Scott ruled the validation procedure set forth in the 1963 Legislature's act creating the authority would violate the U.S. and Florida constitutions.
Scott said he based his decision on provisions of the federal and state constitutions prohibiting a legislature from enacting a law that would impair any contract entered into between parties, whether governmental, corporations or individuals.
Scott cited testimony that the city still owed $1.3 million to holders of 1941 bonds, which refunded a previous bond issue for improvements in the municipal docks. Testimony showed that part of the security for the bonds was the net revenue of the docks and terminals.
The ruling held that with ownership of the docks and terminals transferred from the city to the authority, the security – and thus the contract of the bondholders under the constitutional definition – would tend to be impaired.
Arguing for the validation, Francis Conroy, the authority's attorney, said the bondholders' contract with the city would not be impaired because the authority would have control of the net revenues of the docks and terminals.
He said the city's entire taxing power also was pledged as security for the 1941 bonds. If there should be a default on the bonds, he said, then the bondholders could go into Circuit Court with a mandamus suit and force the city to levy real estate taxes to pay off the bonds.
In the alternative, Conroy said, the bondholders still would have a lien on the docks and terminals even after their transfer to the port authority. He said the bondholders, in the case of a default, could go into court with a foreclosure action and take possession of the facilities.
The ruling posed a serious question, which would be decided by the Florida Supreme Court, on whether the newly organized port authority could take over the Municipal Docks and Terminals by 1965.
Immediately after Scott announced his decision, Conroy said he would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Conroy said if the court upheld Scott's decision, the authority would have to wait until the 1965 session of the Legislature to remedy any faults in the 1963 act that created the authority and set up the procedure for transfer of the municipal facility.
• City Council President Clyde Cannon issued a warning that Jacksonville would not tolerate infiltration of "gangster money" into legitimate retail liquor business in the city.
The warning came in the form of a resolution approved by the council and then referred to the License & Taxation Committee.
Cannon directed the committee to confer with city License Inspector J. Ray Parmenter on any future need for tightening the city's licensing law to prevent racketeers from getting into the legitimate liquor business.
"There have been many articles in our newspapers and magazines dealing with the system of gangster or racketeer families entering into legitimate business and that they have their eyes on the operation of chain liquor stores in this area." Cannon said.
In his action, Cannon praised the efforts of the County Commission Sept. 16 on the motion of Commissioner Bob Harris to have applicants for liquor license transfers screened by the County Commission.
At the time, County Attorney J. Henry Blount said the state Beverage Department had authority in screening liquor license transfers. Harris said he felt it also was a responsibility of the County Commission as far as liquor licenses in the county were concerned.
Cannon praised what he called the "alert action taken by the Board of County Commissioners against the infiltration of unscrupulous characters purchasing liquor licenses."
• City Airports Commissioner Louis H. Ritter said he would call on the Citizens Airport Advisory Committee to study proposed alternative financing programs for a new airport.
The committee was chaired by Luke Sadler and had completed a study of an airport site selection. The committee concluded that Imeson Airport should be replaced by a new airport to be constructed about 8 miles northeast of the Imeson site.
Ritter said he would ask the committee to review possible means of financing that the city could take in building the proposed $26 million airport.
The federal government would pay half the cost of construction of strictly airfield facilities. A terminal building, hangars and other airport elements would have to be paid for by the city from whatever revenue source was available. Those sources would include landing fees and rentals of space at the airport to the airlines and other private companies, Ritter said.
• Jacksonville University opened its first Saturday class – an advanced mathematics course intended primarily to help math teachers keep up with advances in the subject.
The class would meet every Saturday for 15 weeks and carried three hours of credit. Instructors were Jacob Golightly and Edward Miles.
Golightly said the class also was open to people who were not teachers.
• The 1963 Greater Jacksonville Agricultural and Industrial Fair would have a change in venue. It was announced the exhibitors, other than livestock, would be moving out of the Gator Bowl stadium into the Coliseum.
Fair officials said the largest attraction at the 11-day event would be a full-size replica of the X15 experimental aircraft complete with a complement of U.S. Air Force technicians who would be at the fair to explain how the rocket plane worked. A model of the NASA Project Mercury space capsule also would be on display.
The change of location was made to "provide tired visitors with a place to rest" while viewing the commercial exhibits, said fair officials.
• Seventy-one-year-old Zara Roberts said he was tired of stopping at stop signs when no other vehicles were in sight. So, he started through an intersection in the belief no other car was coming, but there was.
Duval County Patrolman R.E. Deck said Roberts was driving south on Nile Drive when his car collided with one being driven east on Potomac Avenue. The driver of the other car and her passenger received minor injuries and damage was estimated at $325, Deck said.
"You just get tired of stopping at stop signs when there are no other cars there," Roberts told Deck.
Roberts was issued a citation for running through a stop sign.
• A thief stole 6 gallons of money from the Atlantic Bag & Paper Co. at 610 E. 10th St. City patrolman B. R. Ridenour said Sidney Ralph, president of the company, told him someone broke into the office and took six 1-gallon syrup jugs containing $200-$300 in assorted change that he had been saving.
Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.