By wide margin, voters OK consolidated government
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.
Yes: 52,585; No: 28,872
With all 187 precincts reporting, the tally was 52,585 for consolidation to 28,872 against.
About 3,000 absentee ballots had not been counted.
It was observed that the campaign for consolidation was one of the “longest and most highly-publicized and vigorously contested elections in the state’s history.”
The vote set up the current strong mayor and 19-member City Council format for local government.
The Beaches cities and Baldwin exercised their option to remain outside the consolidation.
On another ballot question, the Duval County School Board was denied the fiscal independence it sought, with 41,055 against allowing the board to control its finances and 39,863 in favor of the proposal.
Voters in Duval County, particularly those who lived within the city limits, had been to the polls eight times and county voters four times as of August 1967. They would be called on to vote three more times before the end of the year to fill offices created by the new consolidation charter.
That would make 11 elections for the year – an average of almost one each month. Assistant Supervisor of Elections Jerry Harris said he knew of no other series of elections anywhere to equal the local record.
The cost of the 11 elections would be nearly $500,000. Already, the city had paid for four and the county had covered the cost of four, depleting the elections funds appropriated for the year by both.
The city would have to borrow money for the three upcoming ballots, which was allowed under the new charter, Harris said.
Mayor calls for more jobs for black residents
Less than 24 hours after Mayor Hans Tanzler issued a call to business and industry leaders to create immediate job opportunities for black residents, more than 65 openings had been reported.
Tanzler and W. Ashley Verlander, president of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, had met with more than 80 local business leaders to issue the plea for more jobs. They called the lack of jobs “the No. 1 cause of racial unrest” and received from the business owners, many of them the area’s largest private employers, pledges of 100 percent cooperation.
The first wave of jobs included openings for switchboard operators, warehouse workers, welders, clerk-typists and insurance salesmen.
“We’ve just begun,” Verlander said.
San Jose Country Club protests tax assessment
San Jose Country Club was asking the county to lower the 1967 assessed valuation on its property for tax purposes from $872,200 to $400,000.
The club’s attorney, Clark Toole Jr., told the County Equalization Board that the assessor’s office wrongfully set the higher figure because the land had been assessed for its highest and best use for residential subdivision purposes at $3,000 an acre. However, he said, the law required assessment of land at “the highest and best use to which the property can be expected to be put in the immediate future.”
Toole said the San Jose property had been used exclusively for country club and golf course purposes for the past 19 years and no change was considered or contemplated that the property would be used for any other purpose.
He further pointed out that the Hyde Grove Golf Club and Brentwood Golf Club, both formerly owned by the city, were being assessed at $500 rather than $3,000 an acre, even though they were being used for the same purpose.
“San Jose Country Club wishes to assume its rightful share of the tax burden, but not the tax burden of others,” said Toole.