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- 2014 - May - 26th -

50 years ago: Mayor Haydon Burns wins gubernatorial primary

From Staff

Jacksonville Mayor Haydon Burns rode the civil rights issue to a decisive victory in Florida’s Democratic Party gubernatorial runoff election and then offered the hand of friendship to his opponent, Miami Mayor Robert King High.

Burns carried all but three counties — Broward and Dade in South Florida and Pinellas on the Gulf Coast.

During the campaign, Burns pledged to “take every conceivable legal action” to stop the federal government from imposing further civil rights demands on the state.

High had promised to enforce any law enacted by Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson. To do otherwise “would bring federal marshals into the state, invite mob violence and make Florida a racial cauldron,” he said.

Burns was set to face Republican state Rep. Charles Holley in November in the general election.

• Duval County voters were not allowed to voice their opinion on the question of whether local hotels, motels and restaurants should be open to all people.

An order barring the ballot was signed Monday afternoon before the polls opened the next day by Circuit Judge Roger Waybright after Ralph Mason Dreger, who filed suit to enjoin the ballot, posted a $25,000 bond.

The bond would be forfeited to the cost of holding a future straw ballot in the event an appeal was made and Waybright’s decision was overruled.

Dreger was a psychology professor at Jacksonville University and chairman of the Human Relations Council of Greater Jacksonville. The group said its aims were to promote democracy, justice and equality of opportunity for all members of the community.

The ballot was authorized by the Board of County Commissioners at the request of the pro-segregation Duval County Federation for Constitutional Government. It would have posed the question: “Should privately owned restaurants, hotels and motels be forced to racially integrate their customers?”

Putting the question to voters was inspired by the ongoing deliberations regarding the public accommodations section of the civil rights bill being considered by the U.S. Congress.

• A Jacksonville headquarters for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, including a courtroom, library and judges’ chambers, was formally dedicated in the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office Building.

Chief Judge Elbert Tuttle presided at the ceremony, joined by Judge Warren Jones of Jacksonville and Judge John Brown from Houston.

Chesterfield Smith of Lakeland, president of The Florida Bar, said the new facility would bring the appellate court to North Florida more often than in the past and address complaints that lawsuits took too long and were too costly.

“This new courtroom should mitigate, to some extent, the cost of appeals,” he said.

Smith noted that the Fifth Circuit had the heaviest workload of any circuit in the U.S. and with Florida growing faster than any other state, the workload likely would soon double.

• City Council members avoided a controversy over the Treaty Oak that started when the City Commission bound itself to purchase property around the old tree with money it did not have.

The commissioners approved a letter sent to M.S. Niehaus, president of Gulf Life Insurance Co., to the effect that if Gulf Life bought several lots around the tree on the Southbank for up to $68,500, the city would take an option on the land from Gulf Life and buy the land within three years for the same price paid by Gulf Life.

The purchase would be made through certificates of indebtedness, according to Finance and Parks Commissioner Dallas Thomas. The intention was to acquire by purchase or donation the entire block bounded by Miami Road, South Main Street, Alvarez Street and Flagler Avenue for a public park, he said.

Council members rejected the proposal when it was suggested that an identical letter be drafted and sent to Niehaus.

• Teen representatives of Pru-Lite, the Junior Achievement corporation sponsored by the Prudential Insurance Co. of America, took home four honors at the Future Unlimited banquet at the Mayflower Hotel.

Selected as the top company of the 1963-64 year in Jacksonville, Pru-Lite also produced the best salesman and best treasurer of the year. The group also won the contest for best annual report to the stockholders.

Powell Mock of Lee High School, Pru-Lite vice president of sales, sold $833 worth of trouble lights. He also represented the Sales and Marketing Executives Club of Jacksonville in a regional competition in Dallas.

The best-treasurer trophy was presented to Pru-Lite’s Wayne Quigg, who attended Forrest High School.

The trophy for best president was presented to Bill Letizia of Terry Parker High School. He headed Fabco Co., manufacturers of a hamburger press and a grease and odor absorbent.

Pru-Lite, as the top company, had net sales of $2,130.25. The net profit before taxes was $567.07 with an income tax of $276.54. The company declared the maximum 10 percent dividend and also a 40 percent liquidating dividend.

The 15 Junior Achievement projects employed more than 300 high school students, who conducted miniature businesses by meeting one night each week for nine months.

They produced a product or offered a service, sold stock in their business ventures, paid wages, salaries, commissions and rent, then ended their ventures by showing a profit or loss to shareholders.

Sponsoring firms, including Barnett Bank and Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., provided each company with three adult counselors in the fields of production, administration and sales. The advisers merely explained business concepts, however, and made no decisions for the teen business operators.

• Almost 400 dogs, their owners and several hundred spectators went to the Municipal Coliseum for the 36th annual all-breeds dog show and obedience trials sponsored by the Jacksonville Dog Fanciers Association.

The show, conducted under the rules of the American Kennel Club, had judging in 73 categories, including Best Dog in Show and Best Local Dog in Show.

Dogs were entered into the competition from throughout Florida and Ohio, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Missouri.

The Best in Show Award went to a cocoa brown 3-year-old toy poodle, CH Lorimar’s I’m A Dandy, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Levy of Miami. The 8-pound pooch with an English saddle clip already had won six Best of Show awards in 1964 and 21 in his short lifetime.

Best Local Dog in Show was presented to an Axcob cocker spaniel, Eppler’s Mixmaster, owned by Mrs. Herman Eppler of 9741 Geiger Road.

• City Airports Commissioner Louis Ritter said another study of proposed financing for a new airport without resorting to ad valorem taxation was being considered.

His announcement of the plan to re-study the proposed $28 million project to replace Imeson Airport came at a meeting of the County Commission.

On April 14, voters rejected a plan to finance a new airport with $14 million in property tax bonds. Under the original plan, the other $14 million for the project would have come from $7 million in airport revenue certificates and $7 million in matching funds from the Federal Aviation Agency’s Airport Assistance program.

• An attempted armed robbery in Sherwood Plaza Shopping Center was foiled as the alleged bandit escaped unharmed in a hail of gunfire by police.

The intended victim, an insurance salesman, said he was told by the gunman, “You’re a dead man.”

County detectives had placed the suspect under surveillance while he was inside a drug store in the shopping center and opened fire as the bandit made his getaway. They shot out a rear tire and the rear window of the fleeing vehicle, but the driver was not hit.

The suspect was captured in a house at 9312 Norfolk Blvd. after neighbors told police they saw a man leap out of his car and enter the residence.

“I could have killed him with the first shot,” said Detective Sgt. C.L. Cody. “But I thought I would shoot the tire first and give him a chance. He kept riding and I just blasted away.”

Cody’s partner, Sgt. Donald Coleman, was unable to join the shooting when he approached the car because “a lady and her children were in a car that was right in my line of fire,” he said.

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