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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 24, 201707:30 AM EST

50 Years Ago This Week: Official says grand jury owes apology for ‘load of heifer dust’

History often repeats, and there often are parallels between the news of today and 50 years ago. Here are some of the top news stories of this week in 1967 compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Associate Editor Max Marbut.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Official says grand jury owes apology for ‘load of heifer dust’

School Board member Don Wells called a news conference and accused the Duval County grand jury of “lacking backbone and guts” in its investigation of charges brought by Wells against School Superintendent Ish Brant.

The grand jury reported the charges against Brant were “groundless, unwarranted and irresponsibly made.” The presentment did not identify Wells by name, but referred to him as “the accuser” and “an elected official.”

Charges put forth by Wells were that Brant was incompetent and that he allegedly refused to perform certain duties of his office, including refusing to stop illegal and immoral acts on school grounds and showing favoritism to certain vendors.

 “I feel that the Duval County grand jury is, just as I have stated before, lacking in backbone and guts,” Wells said. “I feel the 23 men that make up this grand jury are honorable citizens of Duval County, but how can they hold their heads up after permitting such a farce?”

He also said he felt the grand jury owed him, “and the citizens of Duval County a public apology for their latest load of heifer dust.”

Three days after Wells’ declarations, the grand jury submitted a report — based on opinion, not evidence, it said — to the effect that the school system was not being run as well as it could be and “lacked leadership.”

23 candidates triumph with $133,000

Jacksonville’s 23 newly-elected city officials spent just a little more than $133,000 winning their posts.

The financial details of what was described as a “long and costly campaign” came out when the prevailing candidates’ expense and contribution reports were submitted to the City Recorder’s Office.

The total spent by all the winners was $133,612.44. It was noted that in some cases, contributions fell short of what was spent on the campaigns. Many of the officials had to cover the remainder of the tab themselves or solicit more contributions.

Mayor Hans Tanzler spent the most, $52,077. The amount was about $7,300 more than he received in contributions.

Total campaign fund amounts ranged from about $200 to $9,125.

Contribution amounts also varied widely, from $1,875 from one couple toward Tanzler’s victory to a 3-cent donation from a supporter described as “a little girl” that helped Civil Service Board member Charles Simmons win.

Most of the money was spent on newspaper, television and radio advertising.

Names on city buildings debated

The City Council Laws and Rules Committee met to hear arguments about removing from city properties the names of five living people.

The namesake dedications in jeopardy were the Haydon Burns Public Library, the George G. Robinson recreation facility, the Dallas Thomas Park and Marina, the Brad Tredinnick Youth Center and the Lemuel Sharp Branch Library. All were established by city ordinance by two previous councils.

Committee members were of mixed opinions on the issue, which was raised because Robinson, Thomas and Sharp had been indicted on various charges of corruption by the Duval County grand jury. No charges were levied against Burns or Tredinnick, who several months earlier had asked that his name be removed from the youth center as a matter of principle.

Action was postponed for two weeks to give members of the public a chance to express their opinions on the issue.

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