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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 27, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Legislators ponder Police and Fire Pension Fund reform

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A bill that provided additional income for the Jacksonville Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund authored by state Sen. John Mathews of Jacksonville was passed by the Senate. The bill also increased maximum benefits and contributions.

The measure increased contributions by members and the city from 5 percent to 6 percent of their annual salary and provided that 10 percent of the fines and estreated bonds collected by the Municipal Court would be placed in the fund.

Maximum pension in 1965 was 60 percent of the average salary of the last three years of employment for employees who retired after 25 years of service. The bill provided for 65 percent retirement pay after 30 years of service.

• City Council proposed a program designed to save city funds by eliminating unnecessary use of city passenger cars by employees and officials.

No one could say, except in general terms, how much money would be saved. Council President Cecil Lowe said the program would mean “considerable savings to the city.”

Commissioner Claude Smith, whose department included the city garage, said if the administration of the program was delegated to him, he would try to implement it.

However, he said, the garage was not set up to handle a motor pool of about 300 cars involved in the proposal, the number of cars the city owned that were not designated for the exclusive use of the police and fire departments.

One suggestion was to store the vehicles at the city waterfront parking lot near the Main Street Bridge.

Smith said that wasn’t an option because in accordance with the bond indenture on the lot, every car — city cars included — were required to pay the daily or monthly parking rate.

For 300 city cars, the cost would be $3,000 a month.

• City and county officials toured the prison farm for an update on what was termed the “finest municipal prison farm in the South.”

The major attraction of the tour was a new $53,000 food freezer and cold storage building, constructed over a period of several years with inmate labor.

City Commissioner Dallas Thomas, who had administrative responsibility for the prison farm, said he recognized the need for expanded and modern facilities and began developing the site in 1956 on 640 acres of land near the Nassau County border along Lem Turner Road.

More than 450 acres of the prison farm were devoted to agriculture, producing vegetables, beef and pork with prison labor to feed the farm’s daily average of about 400 inmates.

Thomas said development of the agricultural operation at the farm was accomplished with the assistance of Duval County Agent James Watson, who was master of ceremonies at a barbecue lunch served to the visiting officials.

• In Tallahassee, state Rep. Arch Thomas of Bradford County finally got approval of his joint resolution to authorize the Legislature to require county judges to be members of The Florida Bar.

An amendment to the bill sought to exclude 38 counties from the requirement, including Clay and Nassau.

Thomas said any non-lawyer judges in the counties not excluded would be “grandfathered” out of office. The bill was supported by the County Judges Association.

• Don Tredinick disclaimed the title “liquor king of Duval County” and struck back at Miami Mayor Robert King High, who assigned him the moniker.

Tredinick, owner of the Jax Liquors chain and past president of the Florida Liquor Retailers Association, criticized High’s opposition to a whiskey price-fixing bill that was one of the most controversial of the 1965 Legislature.

He also accused High of political posturing over the proposal in anticipation of entering the gubernatorial race in 1968.

The proposed bill would reduce discounts on volume purchased, he said. It would guarantee liquor wholesalers a 15 percent profit on all sales. Retailers would be required to sell at a 30 percent markup.

“My auditors estimate the regulatory measure will cost me personally many, many thousands of dollars a year,” Tredinick said.

Responding to the royal title, Tredinick pointed out he operated only 16 of the 4,000 beverage licenses in the state. There were nearly 200 licenses in Duval County.

Responding to public outcry over the proposal, Gov. Haydon Burns said he would veto the bill if it landed on his desk for signature.

He said the bill was “too drastic” and his threatened veto was “abiding by a mandate from the people.”

Most legislators were relieved when Burns made his declaration. They were being flooded with telegrams and telephone calls protesting the legislation.

“The churches are opposing the bill,” said state Rep. Lynwood Arnold of Jacksonville. “This means it’s in serious trouble.”

Rep. George Stallings said price-fixing was un-American because the average American liked nothing better than buying something at a bargain price.

It wasn’t his only reason for opposition.

“The issue was clear,” Stallings said. “Was it a price-fixing bill or was it a temperance bill? If I could have been shown it was a temperance bill I might have supported it because, God knows, we certainly can use some temperance in Florida.”

• Criminal Court Judge Hans Tanzler Jr. sentenced a man to eight months in the county jail on charges connected with obscene pictures.

The sentence was imposed on William Ray Waters, 31, who pleaded guilty in November to photographing obscene pictures and hiring others to pose for the pictures. A couple involved in posing for the pictures was previously placed on probation for two years.

• The Board of County Commissioners disavowed any support for a campaign reportedly being conducted to solicit advertising in a Duval County Courthouse directory.

Bob Harris, board chairman, said he’d been informed that those connected with the solicitation were representing that the directory was endorsed by the board and the Circuit Court judges.

“We aren’t endorsing any publication,” Harris said.

Lacy Smith, manager of the Better Business Division of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber had a secret committee that passed members solicitations from other members. He said the committee had not approved any solicitations for a courthouse directory.

• Gordon Thompson Jr., general chairman of Landon High School’s 38th reunion, said the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra would be one of three groups to perform at the event in the Coliseum.

Johnny Jelinek’s Orchestra and the Knightshades, two local groups, also would be on the stage.

Landon would graduate its last senior class a few days before the reunion. The junior-senior high school would become a junior high school only beginning with the 1965 fall term.

• The Greater Jacksonville Businessmen Golf Association convened for the first time in the executive dining room at the Gulf Life Insurance Building.

Everett Wilson, rate clerk of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, presided at the meeting. Also on the agenda were C.F. Patterson, controlling owner of The Dunes Country Club, which was under construction near Beacon Hills and Charles Hillyer, a director of the Southern Golf Association.

Twenty-two organizations indicated interest in the association, including all major insurance companies with offices in Jacksonville, Southern Bell Telephone, General Foods-Maxwell House and the Duval County Courthouse Recreation Department.

• Television viewers in Jacksonville had quite a choice this week in 1965.

On the Red Skelton Show, guest Fred Gwynne, who played patriarch Herman on “The Munsters,” joined Skelton for a sketch that put Freddie the Freeloader in a haunted house for the night, where he met Munster, who scared police and vendors into giving Freeloader all the food, cigars and freedom he needed.

George Hamilton, described as an “attractive young motion picture star,” hosted “Hullabaloo.” Guests included the Hollies, Brenda Lee and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.

On the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson’s guests were Myron Cohen and singers Sarah Vaughn and Ed Ames.

It was noted that Hullabaloo and the Tonight Show were broadcast in color.

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