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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 14, 201412:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Voters narrowly defeat airport bond issue

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A small majority of Jacksonville voters in a special referendum defeated a proposed $14 million general obligation bond issue to help finance a new municipal airport.

Returns from 72 precincts inside the city limits showed 4,209 votes against the bond issue and 3,761 in favor.

Proceeds from the bond issue would have been used to defray part of the costs of a $28 million “jet-age airport” planned for construction northwest of Imeson Airport.

Defeat of the bond issue left Jacksonville’s commercial aviation future somewhat in doubt.

The city would seek some alternative means of improving Imeson, perhaps on a pay-as-you-go basis, said Airports Commissioner Louis Ritter.

He said that would be “extremely difficult” because $7 million in federal funds earmarked for the new airport would be lost due to the referendum’s outcome.

• The Jacksonville Community Relations Committee adopted a resolution urging reason and persuasion “as the only means by which the racial problems of Jacksonville can and should be solved.”

The resolution called for official status to be given the committee or any other biracial group that might be formed in its place. The document stated that racial frictions could be solved by “a community determined to eliminate racial discrimination.”

After the resolution was adopted, four members of the CRC Executive Committee, including the chairman, resigned from the executive body but said they were remaining as members of the full


They were Chairman Robert Milius, Robert Feagin, Charles Campbell and Claude Yates.

The day before the resolution was adopted, Rutledge Pearson, president of the Jacksonville and state chapters of the NAACP, announced he and 11 other African-American members of the biracial committee also were withdrawing.

The CRC “failed to come forth with appropriate recommendations or a definite plan for the immediate desegregation of all places of public accommodation in the county of Duval,” Pearson said.

He said the withdrawal of his group did not mean African-Americans were not willing to continue discussions, “But we cannot remain as part of a committee which will not come to grips with the problems of

racial segregation and discrimination.”

William Maness, chairman of the Hearing of Public Expression CRC subcommittee, presented the resolution, which was adopted.

He said he had provided copies of his resolution to members of the executive committee two days before the vote.

The subcommittee rejected the executive board’s recommendations to amend the resolution, he said.

The executive board offered an amendment suggesting that it be authorized “to hire immediately an outstanding, independent, unbiased research organization to make an authoritative study of public opinion throughout the Jacksonville metropolitan area in order to determine the current attitude and opinion concerning the problems which we are trying to resolve.”

“The recommendations of the executive committee would have been another great disappointment to a large segment of our community in its efforts to take a responsible place,” said Maness.

• A record-breaking crowd estimated by police at 80,000 jammed Jacksonville Beach for the annual Welcome Day


Herb Shelley, executive vice president of the Jacksonville Beaches Area Chamber of Commerce, began the parade of hundreds of participants from the police escorts at the head of the processions to the equestrian units that brought up the rear.

It took the parade 75 minutes to pass the reviewing stand where sat Jacksonville Mayor Haydon Burns, Jacksonville Beach Mayor William Wilson, Atlantic Beach Mayor George Olsen and Neptune Beach Mayor John Futch.

Jacksonville Beach Police Chief C.H. Franks estimated the crowd at 80,000 and said it was the largest turnout in history.

Sgt. G.T. Lineberry said there were so many cars jammed on the beach “we had no accidents because they couldn’t move fast enough to cause one.”

• The City Commission authorized purchase of a 13-acre tract fronting on the St. Johns River along Heckscher Drive that would complete acquisition of land for a new municipal electric generating station.

According to Utilities Commissioner J. Dillon Kennedy, the planned purchase, which would cost $115,000, would bring the total plant site area to 363.43 acres at a total cost of $438,000.

The final land purchase would be made from Alexander Brest, the owner.

Funds for the acquisition were made available through the $63 million electric expansion revenue bond issue approved by voters in December 1962.

• An auction of unclaimed merchandise shipped to the Port of Jacksonville from foreign countries was scheduled on May 14 in the basement of the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office Building, said Deputy Directory of Customs Merle McCoy.

Items up for bid would include liquor, perfume, hardware, crockery, nails, machine parts, canned food, clothing toys and stuffed alligators.

Proceeds from the auction would be used to defray federal taxes due on the items, the cost of the sale, storage and cartage costs and custom duties.

McCoy said it would be the first local auction of unclaimed merchandise in more than 10 years. Unclaimed freight had been taken in previous years to Miami and Tampa for auction.

• A population boom similar to the one that increased Arlington from a community of little more than 2,000 people in 1950 to 34,000 by 1964 was predicted for the Mandarin-Loretto area by the Jacksonville-Duval Area Planning Board.

The expected increase in population was contingent, in part, upon construction of a proposed bridge that would span the St. Johns River from south of Jacksonville Naval Air Station to the Mandarin area.

Craig Lindelow, executive director of the board, said the population of Mandarin was 3,972.

J.E. Jones, a planning technician for the board, said the population of Jacksonville and Duval County could reach 656,000 by 1970 and 923,000 by 1980.

• Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives William Stockton Jr. of Jacksonville said President Lyndon Johnson was ignoring 20 years of violence and conquest by the Soviet Union when he said Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was seeking world peace.

Addressing a meeting of Jacksonville Barracks 491, Veterans of World War I, Stockton said he was afraid of America’s future “if the president believes this.”

He said the Russian dictatorship was a greater threat to the United States and world peace than Adolph Hitler ever was.

“We ignore the soldiers dying in Vietnam, the fliers killed in East Germany, the vituperation of Castro and the worldwide subversive activities of the Communists,” Stockton said. “That is a logic that I can never follow.”

Stockton, an attorney, was opposing U.S. Rep. Charles Bennett in the November general election.

• Florida Bar President Delbridge Gibbs was elected to serve on the Institute of Judicial Administration.

The institute was a nonprofit organization that promoted improvements in federal and state courts, conducted studies in the areas of court congestion and modernization and offered educational programs for judges and court administrators.

Gibbs, who lived at 4919 Apache Ave., was a former president of The Jacksonville Bar Association and a University of Florida graduate.

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