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The Plaza Rocking Chair Theatre was showing a Fred MacMurray double feature this week in 1967: "The Shaggy Dog" and "The Absent-minded Professor."
Jax Daily Record Monday, Jun. 5, 201712:00 PM EST

50 years ago this week

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

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.

Tanzler defeats Ritter amid ‘concrete frog’ flap

Mayor Lou Ritter was defeated in his bid for election to a full term as Jacksonville’s chief executive by Hans Tanzler Jr., who retired from the Circuit Court bench to get into the contest.

Tanzler’s victory in the Democratic primary on Tuesday was relatively narrow.

With all 79 precincts in the city reporting, the tally had Tanzler with 21,863 votes to Ritter’s 20,470.

Tanzler would be opposed in the general election on June 20 by the Republican nominee, Dr. William Hembree, a dentist who was chairman of the local GOP Executive Committee.

It had been a contentious campaign, including a dispute over the city’s purchase of certain playground equipment for children.

The “concrete frog” issue was one of the most publicized controversies in the campaign and an offshoot of Tanzler’s charge that under Ritter’s leadership, the city “wasted” about $650,000 each year.

The city already had spent about $80,000 to install concrete animals and climb-through equipment purchased from a vendor in Massachusetts, in several playgrounds.

The day after the election, Ritter authorized an additional $90,000 concrete frog purchase to install them in several more parks. Tanzler, who contended during the campaign the city could save money if the frogs were sourced locally, took legal action.

He sought an injunction in Circuit Court to halt the purchase of the additional concrete frogs. Tanzler brought the suit as an individual against Ritter, the other members of the City Commission, the city treasurer and city recorder.

The suit was filed by attorney Tyrie A. Boyer and was assigned to Circuit Judge Charles Luckie. Immediately after the lawsuit was filed in the clerk’s office, Tanzler went to Luckie and requested a temporary injunction without notice, but the judge denied the request.

Tanzler was asked what he would do if the lawsuit was unsuccessful.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve got to stop it somehow. I intend to leave no stone unturned to prevent this terrible waste of money.”

Federal government to pay Seminoles $40M for Florida

In Washington, D.C., Court of Claims Judge Lyndon Collins upheld a 1964 decision by the Indian Claims Commission establishing the Seminole Tribe’s ownership of 32 million acres of Florida — roughly 90 percent of the state — before the U.S. removed them.

Therefore, the federal government was going to buy Florida from the Seminoles for $40 million.

About 1,300 Seminoles in Florida and 3.500 in Oklahoma were eligible to receive a portion of the settlement, but commission officials said it was unlikely individual tribe members would be given money.

The Tribal Council would decide how the money, which would be allotted by Congress, would be spent, said Joe Dan Osceola, president of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Republicans to be on top in June 20 ballot

The City Commission followed the recommendation of City Attorney William Madison that Republican candidates be listed above Democratic candidates on the ballots in the June 20 general election.

Madison noted that the city used voting machines for its elections and state law was specific about how political parties’ candidates were to be listed on voting machines.

The placement of the names hinged on which party’s candidate was elected governor in the last gubernatorial election. Since Gov. Claude Kirk, who was elected in November, was a Republican, names of GOP candidates had to come first on the voting machines, Madison said.

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