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ALACHUA PORTRAIT FORUM #4
"LOCAL GOVERNMENT" September 15, 1983
AB: Allan Burns, Ph. D., Humanities Consultant
RC: Ralph Cellon, Jr., panelist (humorous monologue about local government)
-former city and county commissioner; farmer/rancher/ contractor
TC: Tim Check, Panel Moderator-City of Gainesville. Safety Office
S: Rod Smith, Panelist-local attorney
M: Rodger Mallard, Panelist-former city comm/mayor; EMT
L: Tommy Langord, Panelist city employee and son of former city manager
E: Bill Enneis, Sr., Panelist-ENNEIS MOTOR CO.
NS: Neil Sherouse, Panelist-Pastor, First Baptist Church of Alachua
H: Evelyn Holland, Speaker in audience-Mayor/Commissioner, City of Alachua
P: Marion Pettit, speaker in audience-local CPA, formerly ran for state
W: Ozell Williams, speaker in audience
JB: Judi Baker, speaker in audience
WC: Wallace Cain, speaker in audience-Realtor/City Commissioner
BH: Blanche Hill, Panelist-high school teacher
MH: Mary Hipp, speaker in audience, local businesswoman
I: Buddy Irby, speaker from audience- Supvr. of Eclections, Alachua County
AB: Mr. Ralph Cellon is going to give a humorous monologue about the history
of local government in Alachua.
RC: Thank you very much Sudye called and said she needed some oldtimer in the
community to reflect on some of the things that had happened before and
in some sort of way to semi-roast some of the public officials that we
have been here so long that Sudye Sheppard used to be Sue Allen Cauthen.
Some of you probably did not know that but she got all sophisticated, even
with her name and everything. I am pleased to be associated with you dear
and to be called on. And we are not all that much different in age and I
have held mine a lot better than she has. But I am not that much older.
Bill Enneis is old folks. Incidentally, I talked to Bill today, in trying
to prepare some of the things that I was going to say here. Now; in view
of the time, I am gonna skip from about 1910 up to about 1955. But there
are some things that happened and some of the early history of our com-
munity and, by the early history of our community, I mean, before these
folks started coming here with these Volkswagons and getting these govern-
ment checks and all. (Laughter.) We used to be a real nice community
But back in those days, we had what amounted to sort of a benevolent group
who were the city comminsion of fathers of the community or whatever who
mostly told us what was good for us. They mostly did a pretty good job of
taking care of our needs and some of those names are on these walls and
some of you in this audience are related. Some of those people that were
helpful in the early years included, as I mentioned, Bill Enneis, his
father was among that group. Mr. Hobbs is named in numerous places as the
city manager. Mr. Hobbs had a real positive influence on this community
in the early years. My great-grandfather goes back to that period, W. C.
Hague. There were some references to Mr. J. P. Mobley who some of you
will remember as a kind of person who was the county engineer until the
county engineer had to have credentials. But he had a lot of sense. And
he could run things and you could call on him to get things accomplished.
And he was an acting city manager here for a period of time. Some of the
good things that happened during that period of time was the building of
the ice plant on its present location.
But I would like to move sort of quickly to the semi-modern era of about
1955 on. And some names like George Duke and Dr. Thigpen and Preacher
Copeland and Noel Megahee and there is that W. H. Enneis again. Now there
is three W. H. Enneis and the one I am talking about is this old man here,
with the shiny head, sitting by the younger fellow with the shiny head,
referring to Buddy Irby, Alachua County Supervisor of Elections. He is a
hometown man who served on our commission here for some twenty-five or
thirty years. I am not sure how long. These four men had the unique
qualities of being able to stay in office for a fairly long time. It has
been told to me that the way they stayed in office was because they did a
good job. Now I would like to share with you that is not entirely correct.
The way they did was Bill Enneis, his father, and, later his son, had the
Ford agency here, and back in the early and middle 1950s, everybody bought
a Ford automobile and consequently, most of these folks owed them. That
is conductive to demanding that you do certain things. Among those was
Bill liked the prestige and the big pay and all those things that went
with being the city commissioner. Incidentally, I learned in later years
while serving on the commission, that we had this little thing that not a
lot of folks knew about at the time. The city commissioners had a dif-
ferent electric rate and that was the only compensation they got. Now
the problem with that was, when I got on the commission, I had four child-
ren and they took a lot of baths. By letting me take the ten per cent
discount, I would make more money doing it the way everybody else did than
in getting the rebate that the commission did. Now whoever figured that
out was somebody like Bill Enneis who is stingy and did not use a lot of
electricity. We change that in about the late 1960s when that got exposed.
Probably some investigative reporter found out.
Dr. Thingpen was probably the nicest one of those five gentlemen. George
Duke, I wish he was here tonight and I loved him to death and he knows it,
but George Duke is not got all the finest qualities in the world. Now,
some of you all think he is a fine gentlemen. I am among that group but
he has also got some characteristics, way back yonder, that some of you
all did not know about, like cockfighting and a few things. But he was a
major employer in this community and, consequently, he was able to kind of
dictate what happened in some areas and he kept his job.
Preacher Copeland was, I do not know exactly what they called Preacher
Copeland up there but the church of Christ had its little group and I hope
there are some of you here because, I probably need a disclaimer before I
keep going much further. I have been sued for one million dollars for
calling somebody a pimp. I have learned my lesson about that. Fortunately,
I did not have to pay the million dollars. But my insurance has gone up
since then. So I want to say that all these things I am saying about
these people was told to me by other folks and I hope you will take it in
vein that it is intended here.
Preacher Copeland was the Grand Potentate or whatever. He signed the
checks up there at the Copeland Sausage Company for a long time and he got
up in the pulpit and led them and did the preaching and he told them every-
thing they needed to know and he was a jolly good guy. Now these other
folks, Noel Megahee was one of those same kind and, for those of you who
do not know, Noel Megahee was one of the principals in the Copeland
Sausage Company and a very strong businessman and we were fortunate to
have him in this community for a number of years until he sold out his inte-
rest, moved to Gainesville and later died. Noel was a good businessman
but he also had little selfish motive there. He wanted to be durn sure
that the electric rates did not go up at Copeland Sausage Company. And
the way you do that is keep somebody on the commission and the way you
keep somebody on the commission from Copeland Sausage Company is tell 'em,
"hey! You all want to work, stuff them chitlins and make them sausages and
all that? Well this is who you vote for." So those guys kept their jobs.
Now we kind of screwed that up along about Bob Hitchock came along. He
did not fit that mold anyway and one or two died, so here is a younger,
more progressive kind of guy that gets elected and Bob really wanted to
serve until he found out that he could make some votes up here that would
make the people trade with McDaniel's, instead of him. And, after he dis-
covered that, well he decided that he did not really have to have this job.
Grady Alday is another one that I have checked here that it is probably
appropriate that we say something about. We had a system where the mayor
was the judge. Now, some of you may have been before the judge. The
mayor was the municipal judge and we had this little deal here where we
would get Bob Owens or Bob Wells or somebody to arrest enough of them so
we could have court. That would take in fifteen dollars if they where
drunk and disorderly and ten dollars if they where speeding and if they
had not fed their dog, whatever we could find. We needed to generate
enough funds to pay off and so on, and among the things we had to pay off,
was the Judge. And the Judge got two dollars for each one of those cases.
(Laughter) Now some of you may not have known that but that is really the
only reason that Bob Cato wanted to be on the commission. And, where I
got that from was Grady, because Grady did not want to be tangled up with
them folks. You know, he was to prim and proper and he did not want to
get his hands dirty in the court, so he let Bob do it for him and get
the two dollars. Grady got so important but he was one of those Copeland
Sausage Folks you will see all through here we got one of them everywhere,
you know. We had to go from Preacher Copeland and then Noel and then
Grady and then Jay, and we kept one right on. But, anyway, Grady served
well and with distinction for a long time but he did it sort of removed.
And if there was a big, controversial issue, he would have to be in Miami
Mel Phillips was another one. Some of you probably never heard of that
rascal. But Mel Phillips was in the Oliver dealership down here. Well,
anybody who would sell a Oliver Tractor, they cannot be trusted anyway.
He did not last very long according to our records. He wanted to be on
there to create a little business for himself and he got to be a Baptist
deacon for the same reason. We kicked him out of town there and he moved
on someplace. I am not sure where. But he was on there for awhile for a
real good reason. And he resigned, I am not really sure why he resigned
in the middle of the year. But we had a special election and one Ralph W.
Cellon, Jr., was elected on September twelfth nineteen sixty-three. Boy!
Was that a fine day for this community. A lot of things happened because
of that guy and I want you to remember that.
I am hurring'here because I am watching that clock and I am really taking
to much time but I sure want to get to Wallace Cain and James Lewis and
some of those rascals that you got here now. I talked James Lewis into
running for the commission. I have left the city commission and got
elected to the county commission. I thought we ought to have a Raplh
Cellon Type. James Lewis was as near that as I could find. Now, I was
not really the kingmaker but I thought I was. If I had known all those
things were true that Carol Turner said about him here the other night, I
would of never- helped him get elected, I will tell you that. But I should
of been a little bit suspect, because a guy that starts off selling ferti-
lizer and then pretty soon owns the company, you ought to watch out about
that a little bit. And I had some other experiences with him and I would
have to sell a section of land every year to pay my bills. And he usually
wound up buying the section of land. I never figured all that out until
Carol Turner brought that to my attention the other night. Wallace Cain
is a good example of, if you cannot whip them the first time, try, try
try again. And what happened was, he just had poor opposition (Rodge
Mallard) the last time. (laughter). He is an intelligent fellow with a
big ego and would sure like to be back on there some time, I am sure. I
would like to say one or two things about what you really asked me to say
and that is that over the years I think we have been quite fortunate for
a community this size to have the leadership that we have had.
One little tiny example was brought to my attention today as a matter of
fact, about some of the kinds of creative financing that was done earlier.
Some of the things that was done on your behalf to make this a better com-
munity than it was previously. No I am not one of those kind of folks
that say that everything we did in the good days was better and so on. We
have some competent, capable people today and I am pleased that we got a
knee-jerk liberal that come from Dade County (REFERS TO THEN MAYOR EVELYN
HOLLAND) in her little Volkswagon to be the mayor and help the people.
(laughter) I am proud of that. We got some of those kind of folks helping
us today to do some of the kinds of things that Preacher Copeland and the
Bill Enneises and Bob Hitchcocks have done before and I think we are for-
tunate in that regard. I think we got a great community. I do not want
to see you all screw it up. I am gonna stay around here and try to help
you keep it straight.
AB: Trying to draw some conclusions out of all that it seems that preachers
and Copeland Sausage and the Ford Dealership have been important. I think
one thing we can see is some diversity in what the city is made up of and
I think that is a strength of any town to have a diverse group of people
who are on the commission who are running local government, who are inte-
rested in local government. At this time, I would like to turn the forum
over to Tim Check who will introudce our panel and city commissioners who
are here and some other people in the audience.
TC: I would like to recognize some special people who are in the audience
tonight: Mrs. Evelyn Holland: mayor/city commissioner/writer; Wallace
Cain: businessman/city commissioner; Mr. Bill Enneis: businessman/former
long-term city commissioner; and Mr. Buddy Irby, who is the Alachua County
Elections Supervisor. Later on in the program, we are going to have Buddy
talk a little bit, if we can, about his old-time precinct book. Special
guest tonight is "Miss Alachua," Miss Hipp. We do not have to introduce
Ralph any more since he is well known and is a very articulate speaker and
told very interesting true stories about Alachua. Far right, Mr. Rod
Smith: attorney/rancher, and anything else. If you have any problems....
see Rod. Rodger'Mallard: former mayor/commissioner of the City of Alachua,
fireman, EMT, and good friend of the community. Tommy Langford, long-term
city employee in the utilities department. Being that he is such a young
guy, I have a hard time trying to understand how he could know all these
fantastic little tales out of the past. Reverend Neil Sherouse, minister
from the First Baptist Church, and Mrs. Blanche Hill, long-time teacher
in the City of Alachua.
Each one of the panelists has a slightly different topic that we are going
to address. We will spend a few minute talking about each one and that
way, we are going to get a chance to find out all different aspects of
city government, how it has affected your life, how you affect the make-up
of the city commission. After that point in time, we would like to get a
little bit of interchange of ideas, questions and answers from the audience
to the panelists in particular or any of the panelists. Leading right off,
Rod is going to speak about some of the strange, kooky kinky little ordin-
ances on the books in the city.
RS: Thank you. I think it is appropriate that I was selected for this panel.
On the way in, I asked Blanche Hill if she knew much about local govern-
ment, because I do not. She said, "Well, I always rely on you." I thought
that we ought to be able to put a lot into this program. I was asked to
look into the legal basis for the city. I assumed that the city was legal
and proceeded from that assumption.
For those of you who do not know, this city operates under a code of or-
dinances and a charter. I throw that out to the group collectively and
for Wallace specifically, to be used as the need may see fit. The charter
basically is the document which operates the city and, and our charter has
been largely unchanged and is very much like all other municipal charters
of small towns thourghout the United States and in particular, in Florida.
It basically adopts all of those kinds of general and enabling, empowering
words and phrases.
What it basically does is say we will operate the city under a city man-
agement from of government. This is not a primer on that, but I think it
is important that a city management form of government is one by which
the day-to-day operation of the management of the city is by a hired,
selected city manager. That is, the form of government which we have had
for, I presume, twenty-five or thirty years and have never recognized in
that entire period of time. As most small towns operate, the city manager,
of course, is the last person contacted and the first person contacted is
whoever you happened to have voted for in the last election and even if you
did not vote for them, the person that you tell you voted for him in the
last election. You call them and of course they take care of everything
from the potholes to dogs running in the street. And that kind of thing
is actually supposed to be reserved for the management of the city but,
frankly, it is reserved to the city commission in large part in smaller
communities, particularly since last I heard we are still without a city
manager, I think that the document that we work on from a day-to-day basis,
other than our budgetary documents which change on an annual basis, is our
code of city ordinances.
I did take an opportunity to look at the code of ordinances very briefly
and I am not going to bore-you in great detail but I really think it
interesting when one realizes that in a town our size, these are just pub-
lished ordinances and I think we can disregard the zoning ones, Wallace
does, (ROD SMITH IS WALLACE CAIN'S BROTHER-IN-LAW) and proceed from the
remaining code of ordinances, I think it is interesting to note that the
first real area outside of the administration of the city is alcoholic
beverages can be sold. We later have an ordinance on the books which
limits your conduct while under the influence of alcohol, making it un-
lawful in this city to moonshine or to buy moonshine, but you also may
not operate in your house a distillery. I think a lot of these are throw-
backs. We still have an ordinance which makes it against the law to cuss
in public or spit on the sidewalk. We also have what I consider a sexually
discriminatory provision which makes it unlawful for a female dog'to'be
running loose in the streets of Alachua. I would tell you that I was
the first taken to this because actually the title of Section 530 of the
Alachua Code does not say dog. Naturally, my attention was drawn to that
right away. In reading more carefully, it applies solely to the female
dog not to the sur-name you understand, there were some people-who thought
they had found an enforcable provision against their neighbors.
It is unlawful to kill squirrels in the city and it is unlawful to wound
squirrels in the city. Those I understood. It is also unlawful to molest
squirrels in the city. I have been practicing criminal law for eight years
and I will tell you, I have never run across a squirrel molesting case
yet, but should one arise in this jurisdiction, I want you to know you are
well protected. It is unlawful to kill, wound or molest birds in the city.
Now that the city has expanded to the properties that we now- have in our
city limits, the bird shoot that was planned for three weeks from now
should be a real stand off, with eleven armed city policemen, and half the
city set to go dove shooting. Hopefully it will not be the largest battle
since Olustee because they are, in fact, in violation of shooting a wild
bird in the city limits.
AB: Rod, can we count on you to bring that to their attention then?
RS: No, I am going to be shooting birds that day. I want you to know that our
beaches are protected. Chapter Seven of the Alachua Code deals with our
beaches and parks and those of you who have been building bonfires at
Alachua Beach are actually in violation of the statues.
I would tell you that we do have provisions and these may be sexually
discriminatory but with the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment I think
we are still safe that the dressing facilities on the beaches will provide
both mens' and women' facilities. I would point out to you though, and
be very careful for your next summer's vacation, that Chapter, Section 7.3,
of the Alachua Code provides that "It shall be unlawful to bring dogs,
cats, and animals, or other pets on the beaches or parks owned by the city.
"So those of you who have been walking your cat on Alachua Beach need to be
We have a section, of course, on bicycles and automobiles, mufflers, and
garbage disposal. All these cars that are mounted without tires around
town and sitting in yards, all that is in fact, unlawful and we do have
provisions to cover it. We have a civil defense section in our law which
gives the mayor great powers in case of civil problems. In fact, we can
even have a curfew ordered in Alachua. I think that the gambling pro-
vision, though in the past several years been overlooked. That is Chapter
Fourteen for those of you who are taking careful notes.
The city code deals with the gambling provision. I want to now say on
record that the recent money that I lost to Ralph Cellon was an unenforceable
debt and I want the money back right now. We have a section for those of
you who are so disposed to read that sort of things, and I think our offenses
and miscellaneous provisions, and these are the last ones I want to leave
you with. It is unlawful in the City of Alachua to do a number of things
and some of them are common but, I think, several of them are unique.
It is unlawful, in the City of Alachua, to use obscene, abusive or profane
language. Those of you who have violated that today can turn yourselves
in. It is unlawful to be noisy and disorderly in the City of Alachua or
to drive fast in the streets of this city. It is unlawful to have an air
gun. It is unlawful to shoot a slingshot. And it is unlawful, and I find
this one particularly rewarding, to throw glass or tacks on the streets of
It is unlawful in Alachua, as I mentioned earlier, to make moonshine and
to have a still, but I want to be sure that we covered all the bases. It is
unlawful in Alachua to repair a distillery. So if it breaks, it can not
be fixed. We do have several pages dealing with houses of ill repute in
Alachua, which I found interesting reading because, for those of you who
do not know what assignation means, that alone was enough to make me
read two or three days.
RC: Spell that thing for me.
S: It is, of course, unlawful as I mentioned earlier, to write on or deface
a public building and it is unlawful and shall be unlawful to spit on any
of the sidewalks of the city. Once again there are some restrictions
still on the books about how a bell should be rung when a train is
approaching. I found those to be helpful in the way that we handle the
I think this will probably be the best point to leave off. If you fall
into any of these definitions you are a vagrant subject to prosecution.
The last one is if you are without visible means of support. On any given
day we have had commissioners fall into that and I think the next time
a heated meeting starts off, there may be a prosecution.
I want to join Ralph in the disclaimer and also to say I have got tremendous
insurance covering all this but I think that if any of you have not taken
the time to read the city ordinances, they are provided to you by the city
at reasonable cost. They also allow you to read them and we also want to
keep one in our city library.
There are on these laws, by the way, some outdated ordinances which I think
you will find hilarious, dealing with such pronounced subjects such as the
way that you tie and tether your horse. It is very important that if you
ride your male horse to town, he is not to be tied next to a female horse
in this town. And I know that is one of the laws there. And that is, in
fact, a violation of law so I think that those kinds of things are pretty
typical of what makes small towns historically work. Probably ninty pre-
cent passed in small towns are not relied on. They are usually passed for
a single event, somebody gets mad, in an uproar that results in a law.
Then it is passed on there after and we are stuck with lots and lots of
ordinances but, most of them have been superceded by common sense. I just
find it kind of interesting. If you have any questions I do not know
anything about it and I defer to Blanche Hill.
AB: Rod, why don't you tell us, if you could, how it would be possible to take
some of these off if we wanted to?
S: There is a concept in the law of estoppel for when things have not been
enforced for a long period of time or have really atrophied in terms of
their utility. I think that would really be something that the commission
does not need to do. I think that really there are times when, if you
have just the wrong situation, it is probably nice to have something you
can hold somebody on. But it certainly helps me out from a financial
TC: Thanks very much, Rod. It certainly takes all the fun out of living in
the City of Alachua. The next person on our list tonight is Rodger
Mallard. He is going to talk about some of the strengths and weaknesses
in local city government.
M: I do not know why he chose me for that but I like to stand up, too. The
Methodists are not going to let the Baptists get the best of them. He
asked me to speak on some weaknesses and strengths of the current city
government and before I put out a disclaimer, I am not running for public
office in April, so everyone can breathe easy.
Starting off I will give you some of, the negative aspects, if you can call
it negative. It is some observations I made, I think as a citizen, also
as an elected official. One Rod talked about earlier was the city manager
type of government. We did have what they call strong-type government,
with the manager responsible by our charter for the day-to-day operation
of the commission and of the city and the commission really is obligated
to legislate laws and make rules and regulations concerning the city. I
think in recent years maybe the city manager has not been as strong as
they should have been. I think the way to correct this is probably occurring
at this moment. It is requiring the city manager to have better prerequie-
sites and qualifications for that job.
I think the best things I can say along the lines of city manager type
government, is we need a type of city manager and a type of city commission
that will work on day-to-day problems together and communicate. Second,
I think of the weakness of the commission in the past. I think it is pro-
bably a hold-over from long-term commissioners, because, not too many years
ago, it was not taking a lot of your time to be an elected official in a
community this size. You would meet periodically when you had to, and you
would get your job done.
But todav. given the living that we have, the type of government we have
in the city, it takes more than just a-commissipner-to come to a meeting
night. It takes a commissioner who will involve himself in all aspects
of the government and will work throughout the week. Really if you do it
right, it is a full-time job and it is really just bad for people who have
to make a living elsewhere because there is more or less no salary being
an elected official in the city. It takes a lot out of your personal life.
So being an elected official, really, in any city today, especially a city
of smaller size where the public is really demanding more of you, is
really a disadvantage as far as making a living because if you do it right
you can take forty or fifty hours a week doing things.
I think Evelyn, the current mayor found out this year that being mayor is
more than just a title you were on your sleeve. Well, today's mayor in any
city of any size is the official representative of the city in all its
functions. You chair the'meetings, you make the committee appointments,
and, you represent the commission as a whole at meetings and you become
a spokesman for the community. That is very important. I think in years
past, as you may know, the smaller you were, the least you were thought
of. But now as the population has grown, as citizen involvement has grown,
the smaller cities are making news of the their own. Some of it is good
and some of it is bad, but small cities are being represented better and
the reason they are being represented better is because of the citizens
demanding better representation from their elected officials.
I was reading a book today, trying to find background about how Alachua
is like other cities and it talked about ten small cities in the United
States. In every town that they talked about, they talked about the
business people of the communities. That is the business people who own
land or who had employees working their crops or whatever business they
were in. They are also the elected officials. And they served a purpose
and that was good, and it is good for our community as it is good for any
of the rest of them. But today's type of government, you not only have
these active business people, but you have other concerned, active
citizens who are willing to make the sacrifice of being an elected
official and serve the public. I think anybody that has'been up there can
say it is a sacrifice. There is not as much glory as some people think
I think I told Governor Graham last time I saw him at a restaurant in
Gainesville, I said I think the best aspect that Alachua County and the
City of Alachua have, is its citizens. I think something that all of us
are going to have to remember about elected officials is that we collect-
ively, together, make the city. We are the ones who are responsible for
what goes on. The citizens are the people who put people in office.
The more involved we are, the better the representative will be when it
comes to electing officials, I think Buddy Irby will tell you the same
of the City of Alachua's voter turn-out record. For a city of this size,
it has a pretty good percentage turn-out for all elections and I am very
proud of that. I am also proud of the type of representation we are
having on our commission.
For a long time everybody up here was home grown, so to speak, and was
here and their grandfathers was here and so forth. Now that Alachua's
growing, it has an influence of the people, it has more of a cross-section,
you get more ideas. You get people from outside of Alachua coming in who
are still instilled with the Alachua tradition because the community will
not let it die, which I think is good. But they also have opinions of
their own which I think have helped the city. Evelyn is an example of it.
We have people coming here that were not raised here but add a lot to the
city. Community involvement is very important. There is a couple of
things I want to tell you about as far as the voting process goes. Other
than a presidential election in the United States, generally, only six
percent of registered voters vote. Where, compared in Australia, they
usually run ninty-three to ninty-five'precent registered voters in an
election. Less than one out of thirty people in the United States,
who are registered to vote ever have anything to do with the political
system. I think Alachua's quite different. Now I will leave you with
this quote I read in this book today: "The politician is a person whose
politics you do not agree with. If you agree with them, then they call
them statesman." Thank you.
AB: I would like to ask you a couple of questions and maybe some other people
in the audience would too. It seems to me that one thing you were saying
was there is almost a kind of professionalization taking place. A city
manager will have to be somebody with credentials, with training in order
to handle the complexity of dealing with the state and dealing with the
other units of government. How do you see the local government here
changing in the future? Look into a crystal ball. What sort of
people would you imagine would be attracted to local government? What
sorts of changes can you see occurring? Should we get rid of the city
commission system, because it is so hard for individuals to do?
M: I do not think we should get rid of a lot. No, we have a choice of going
to a strong mayor type of government, like Newberry or Waldo has for
example, or keeping the existing type government. I think that if the
community and the commission itself works with the city manager, whoever
he or she may be at the time on a daily basis, and they have good com-
munication, there is no reason why the city manager type government would
not work in the City of Alachua for many years. It is trying to run the
city like a small business. You have such a wide variety of respons-
ibilities in operating city government, from electrical distribution to
911 ~ city charters, day to day operations and disclosure laws, everything in
the world, and personally, if anything ever goes wrong with the city, it
is going to fall on the neck of the city managers, not necessarily the
politician or the elected official.
The person who sits in the city managers position is, first of all, going
to have to be educated in the public affairs section, and is going to be
on their toes about a variety of things. You have to know something about
electrical distribution, about everything from fire rescue to the police,
law enforcement, any type of essential service. We have the streets, the
water, federal revenue sharing, the state. You have to know when dead-
lines occur for having reports in things of that nature and your going
to have to pay for what you get. I think when you make prerequisites for
any position of this size, you are going to have to pay the person for
what you get. Now when you are going to pay someone $15,000- you get
$15,000 worth of work knowledge out of them. If you pay someone $30,000-
$35,000 dollars then, and have your prerequistes real high, they have had
to have three or four years of public experience in operating government
as an assistant city manager or county manager somewhere, then that is
what your going to get. It all goes back to you pay for what you get.
And if you demand more of it that is what you get.
AB: One thing that I have noticed in these forums just in talking with people
is that people in Alachua seem to take great pride in being able to call
up the mayor or one of the commissioners or someone in city hall and they
know that person. They have seen them in Gramma's Restaurant or the Rebel
House. They have.seen them around town and they have that personal access
and that personal bond with them. Is there a way to develop these leader-
ship qualities for the city manager position within the people who live
here or will we be going outside to get a city manager?
M: I do not think you will ever take the place of elected officials being
called at two o'clock in the morning about a dog barking, or things of
that nature. But it is going to take a different type of person. I think
any type of progressive city, of which I think Alachua is, is changing.
A city manager is also going to have to be a politician as such because
if you do not politic and rub elbows with the public at large and if you
do not answer to them, then you sure are not going to have the job very
long. You got to be polite. You got to be cordial. And most of all, you
got to keep the people informed. If you have something come in, you got
to let them know that you are going to work on it, and keep them updated
Also, the'most important thing I think in whoever we get for a city manager
here is to demand as citizens, I can say that now as a regular old citizen
again, that the elected officials work hard to have day to day contact
with the government and the city manager. And if someone called an
elected official up, by charter the city commissioner should go to the city
manager and say, "John Smith called up and he said he has got water coming
into his yard from the street and he has a hole out in front of it, look
into it and give me a report back." Where, in years past, elected officials
would go out on their own and get a hold of the utility director or get a
hold of the street supervisor, say "Go swing my John Smith house and fix
it," and the city manager did not know about it until after it was over.
Well, that has changed and I think it has changed for the good and I am
not knocking anything that has happened in the past. Like I said, the
best thing we got going for us is the people out here in this audience,
people who elect the officials. That is our best resource and above all,
the commission should never forget that because that is where all of it
comes from: the people.
TC: Rodger, thank you very much. You have given us some real serious comments
dealing with your depth and perception of city government and I think it
is something to really think about. At this time, I would like to intro-
duce again, Tommy Langford. Before we got started today, I was just talk-
ing to Tommy in this room, and asked him some little anecdotes about the
old-time history in the City of Alachua. Like I said to some of you folks
who were here for the second and third program, I had been a history
teacher at one time and I really enjoyed specializing in local history,
all the little stories about who ran this place, and where was the best
place to go fishing in town, and all the things like that and Tommy is the
type of guy that you really want to get aside some time and really talk
to, because, just in the fifteen-twenty minutes that I talked to him I
learned more about some of the old-time history in the City of Alachua than
I have read in the last two years.
L: Well, there is a lot of you out there who probably remembers thing better
than me like, when the ice plant used to be on the other side of town, on
South Main Street and was located across from Enneis Motor Comapny by the
railroad tracks. I can barely remember, when I was a small kid, they used
to load ice on boxcars there. The city smoked meat and the old smokehouse
is still located down here behind the new ice plant. -Which was not built
until about 1954. The city generates their own power, they had two gene-
rators located inside the plant. City hall was also located there and I
remember one of the generators. It was powered by diesel and one of the
engines had one piston and the other one had two. This was probably the
early 1950s one of them was broke and somehow they could not get the parts
to fix one so that is why they started buying their power from Florida
I do not remember this but I know a lot of you do. Lige Jenkins used to
pick up the garbage with a mule and wagon. He told me many times about
how he did not have to tell the mule where to stop because the mule knew
to stop at every house in the same place. He did not tell me this but
somebody did. They used to keep the mule in a lot in this predominant
citizen's residence and she had a milk cow there. The cow got in the way
one morning when Lige was trying to hook up the mule to go around town to
get the garbage. He got mad or something and picked up this board and
knocked the hell out of the cow. You would have to know Lige to appreciate
this. He is a very strong individual but he was not very big. But he was
an extremely religious person. So the cow went down with its eyes closed
Lige did not say nothing for two or three years but he-told it later, how
he prayed that cow back to life.
Well, I did not start to work in the city until 1969. I was working down
at this ice plant and I got to working with the police officer. I was
dispatching, and about that time, they started sending police officers
to school to teach you how to be a police officer. So there was a letter
come from the University of Florida, they had a police academy over there
and Mr. Duke asked me if I wanted to go. I told him yes. So school started
some time in January or February and most of the students there were from
the University Police Department, City of Gainesville or the Alachua County
Sheriff's Office and they had a roll there. He went to calling roll, so
he had them stand up and tell what department they were from so he got on
down there to me and he said, "Who in the hell are you?" And I had to
stand up and tell him I was from the City of Alachua.
But I found out when I got to policing over here that it is not exactly
police over here like we were taught to police in Gainesville. They had
not heard of the Miranda Warning nor the habeus corpus bill of rights.
Chief told me, he says. "Whenever you write one of them tickets, you
either turn in $7.50 or have somebody but in jail." Now that was the
truth. And a lot of times, this never actually happened when I was there,
but I heard them talk about it years before, that if they had a person
they had a lot of trouble with lot of times like he might get sixty days
or something like that, they would leave the jail door unlocked at night
and he would escape, so they would never come back because he knew he might
go back to jail. He thinks he escaped.
TC: What kinds of changes, Tommy, have you seen in municipal services now that
are provided by the City of Alachua that might have been different than
fifteen or twenty years ago?
L: Well, as Ralph was talking I remember when he was the judge down there,
it was generally $7.50 or fourteen days. Well, talking about the court
system, I know we lost our court system here. I can certainly realize
that maybe, in the eyes-of the'supreme court or something, maybe the
court systems of small towns take care of your little problems is better.
I do not know it has been ten years or better since the court system
was lost in the small towns.
AB: 1968. Well, let me ask you just from your experience, what you have
heard around, what do you see has changed the court system? What
happens in the small towns.
L: Well, I think that you could keep your local population under control a
little better and it might not always have been right in the eyes of the
circuit courts, but you had the right to appeal, but I think you had a
little better control over the streets.
TC: If people in the local town could see the court system in their own town
working, actually in a nice situation, you get a much more effective
discipline and example set for your population. What has happened right
there, instead of fifteen or twenty miles away in Gainesville.
L: It really seemed that way but I do not know how times change. I guess
you have a whole profession of judges who are more knowledgable about
the law. Of course in some cases, I do not know if that is better or
S: I was just commenting to Ralph that the problem with the municipal judge
system was never if you were from the town. It was if you were not from
the town. You know, they make some special adjustments for you then.
AB: What do you see city services doing in the Future?
L: It does not seem like the city is providing as many services as they
used to. Of course they smoked meat, not only the people from this
area bring their meat, but word gets around you got the best smokehouse
in that part of the country, so it varies from year to year some people's
meat's salty one year, next year they change the cure. And of course we
have a better ambulance service and fire service than we did years ago.
I do not think we had the first fire truck here until 1948, that right
E: The first decent fire truck.
L: I do not know what they had prior to 1948, but I remember seeing old
carts down there when they used to have fires. That was like most all
small towns. It was not until about 1948 when we had a real fire truck.
I guess they belonged to the fire department.
TC: Tommy, thank you very much. I could sit and talk with you all night about
some of the old local history. We appreciate your comments and your in-
sights. Reverend Neil Sherouse is going to address the issue of values
in the local government in a city the size of Alachua.
NS: I am going to stand as well. There are several folks from my congrega-
tion here who would not agree with this but I do talk faster when I stand.
Rod, the person responsible for assignation of topics tonight gave you
all the fun stuff but I do have a sense of humor. Anyone who has Ralph
Cellon as a deacon has to have a sense of humor. The topic assigned me
tonight is one that is difficult to address without getting theoretical
for a little bit at least. We all of us up here and all of you that
have been up here and will be up here and all of you out there bring
certain presuppositions into these rooms with-you when youccome. And into
these forums when you come.
One that I bring with me tonight concerning value judgments made by any
kind of government, in particular a government the size of our city
government is that those value judgments are based on how we define good
government. We do not all define good government in the same way. There
are probably as many different definitions of a good government is this
room tonight as there are individuals but all of us base our judgments
and those who are responsible, who sit up here, making decisions for us
as a city, I base their value judgements on how they individually and
collectively define good government.
I think the definitions that that we give to that term "Good government"
fall into essentially two categories. One of these categories are those
types of definitions that point us to some goal in the distant future.
They are Utopian in their direction or in their scope. They are the kinds
of definitions of good government that cause us to look forward toward
some particular goal or the completion of some goal. Adolf Hitler and
his attempt to set up a pure Aryan Race in Germany is a good example of
what I am talking about. It was Utopian. Maybe you would not define it
that way but it was Utopian in that it was futuristic. He was looking
for a specific goal. Now the problem with those kinds of definitions of
good government is that the end is justified by the means. In other
words, there is no problem doing what ever you need to do to get to where
you want to go, to reach that goal. Hitler had no trouble whatsoever an-
nihilating six or seven million Jews. In Japan, the term civilization
was defined as "everyone acknowledging and staying in his or her slot,
recognizing the caste into which they were born and staying there, not
rocking the boat, not attempting to climb up or down on the social ladder."
Good government in feudal Japan was defined as anything which helped the
government to maintain civilization which helps everybody stay in their
nich, you see. That is what I am talking about. Good government then,
that Utopian vision, is defined as anything that is necessary or needful
to help you achieve.that goal.
Now our American democracy is, I think, another scope. I believe we are
another scope. I believe we are what we might call a form of process
government. That is the end is not justified by the means because the
means is as important as the end. Getting there is as important as
being there. Democratizing our nation and the citizens of our nation is
as important an object as some goal for an ideal or utopian society far
out in the future. And I think we define good government, as Americans,
in a somewhat different way and from a different perspective than a lot
of other people in the world. I think there are a lot of influences that
have been brought to bear on how we define government but, at least from
my own personal prejudice, I believe the Christian faith is a very dynamic
influence because the Christian faith is concerned, not only with getting
there but it is concerned with the quality of the journey, with what it
takes to get you from here to there. And with what you learn and how
you grow and are strengthened in the process. You know, we are not, as
some have criticized us for being, we are not a "pie in the sky" religion.
The great emphasis in Christianity these days is the pilgrimage. Mark
Link, who is a Jesuit priest, has defined it in terms of a "journey, and
not a destination." Now, I believe that Christian Philosophy, or that
theological concept has really shaped the way we as Americans view our
form of government that we are in the process of being democratized.
So, for us, good government is defined as granting personal freedoms to
the individual of that nation or community without violating personal
freedoms that have ready been granted to others in that nation or that
community. Obviously, there are areas of conflict. There are gray areas.
There are areas where precisely what I mean by that is very difficult to
define. Desegregation is a good example of one of those difficult areas
to define because personal freedoms of some had to be sacrificed in order
to guarantee personal freedoms of others. Someone had to make the value
judgement that those freedoms were worth sacrificing to grant others but
in our form of government and in our, philosophy of government, the end
is unjuct if the means are unjust. If you must kill six million people
to achieve some ultimate goal, then the goal is no longer just, you see.
And we define government from a completely different perspective than
do those who are in charge of or who are leaders of totalitarian forms
But at least five types of value judgments that our city council must
make. One of the type of value judgments is simply determining how
much government is necessary. We hear a lot of talk these days about
the size of our federal bureaucracy or the size of our government and
how combersome and inflexible it is becoming because it is getting so
large. A government such as our must determine how much government is in
the best interests of its people and how much then becomes too much.
How much is necessary to guarantee those personal freedoms and then how
much is too much, to the extent that those personal freedoms are being
violated by the preponderance of government.
A second area of value judgments that a government such as ours must make,
is how can a government such as ours help to preserve those institutions,
those ideals, those concepts that we, the people, hold to be sacred, and
inviolate. That we hold to be essential to our existence. Family
structure and the family unit, freedom of religion and of speech, those
other constitutional freedoms. A government such as ours and even a
local government must make decisions that determine how those freedoms
and how those ideals and concepts will be preserved and will be maintained.
A third area in which government such as ours must make value judgments is
in the area of personal conduct by those who govern. I was living in
Japan during the Lockheed Scandal. You may remember that several years
ago, back in the mid-1970s and the Japanese were absolutely flabbergasted
about why we Americans were so up in arms about our officials taking
bribes from Lockheed. To them, you know, that is just part of the job.
You get elected to public office so you can take bribes. That was their
perspective. But to us, every decision that is made by a person in public
life becomes a part of the process. You cannot divorce your personal life
as a public servant from those process of government. And I am sure any-
body who has ever served back here knows exactly what I am talking about.
You are forced to surrender a big segment of your personal life and any-
thing you ever do is brought into the sunshine and you know what I mean
by that term.
A fourth area in which a government such as ours must make value judgments
is in that very difficult area of what freedoms must be sacrificed in
order to grant or guarantee or secure other freedoms. Someone has to
make that judgment, don't they? Someone has to determine that you must
give up your piece of property in order that this new superhighway can go
through. That your personal freedom must be sacrificed in order that the
freedom of the people may better be served. Someone has to make those
very difficult decisions. Someone has to determine that democracy and
that our system of government is important enough to preserve, to deny
individuals in our country their personal freedom to decide whether or not
they want to go to war and institute a draft. You see, someone has to make
those very difficult decisions. Sometimes they decide for the right.
Sometimes they do not do such a hot job. Now, a final area in which
government such as ours must make value judgments is in that area which
relates to the use and abuse of power. Power in our form of government is
a trust. It is given to those who rule by we who are governed. From
studying history, there have been times and there still remain in places in
the world, places where the divine right of kings was unquestioned. A
person ruled because he or she claimed the had divine right to do so. Those
who govern us do so because we have given them the right to do so. That
make critical decisions in that area of how they use their power or how
they may perhaps choose to abuse it. And that decision really is con-
ditional, at least from our perspective, upon whether those decisions are
made to safeguard our freedom or to violate our freedom. I will stop
at that point without getting more specific.
AB: Neil, let me ask you to get a little specific. We have heard these general
ideas about controlling conducts and freedoms and sacrifices and so forth.
You have lived and grown up in, a town near here as I recall. How would
you characterize the uniquenes of Alachua's values interms of government,
compared to some other towns around? Let's stop for a minute and think
what might be unique about Alachua's values. We like a lot of government
NS: I am not trying to evade the question, but I would be more interested in
hearing how some of these folks might answer your question.
AB: One thing we are trying to get at is what makes Alachua, "Alachua?"
What makes it different than other small towns, what makes it different
than New York City and Japan and Gainesville. I, for one, would like to
hear some ideas from people in the audience about how they see the govern-
ment here as different maybe than another place they have lived or worked
or where they work now. Nobody answers, I am going to call on Mr. Cain
back there because he has not had a chance to answer.
NS: Would someone else on the panel?
P: Well, I will tell you we have got much more government now in the City
of Alachua than we have ever had before.
AB: But it seems to me, as Tommy was saying before we had the ice plant and
the smoking meat and all kinds of things.
P: Oh, yes'! Services were rendered but you did not have as much administra-
tion and government. You could run the city on a couple of hundred dol-
lars a month back in those days.
AB: You are talking about the size of the people working for the government?
P: Yes. The working force because personally, I am very critical of our
government and the payrolls it has. Not only in the City of Alachua but
nation-wide. I do not know that much about the City of Alachua's payroll
because I am probably negligent in not paying attention to it, but I have
not. But, as a whole, we are over-governed in my opinion.
AB: Now I heard other people say that the nice thing about a local government
is that it does things which individuals cannot do by themselves. And we
really need those services?
P: Well, we used to do a lot of that. I do not know whether we could do that
much now or not.
AB: Mr. Williams?
W: We talk about the local government. Any local government can or will do-
as much as the citizenry dictates. Now, you want the government to do
a little bit then the government does a little bit. But let is say, with
Alachua, as large as it is, presently, acreage-wise, you see, we have
expanded, all right you need broader services: streets, lights, water,
sewerage, etc. You see, you cannot talk about what was Alachua ten or
fifteen years ago. You got to look at Alachua today. It is hard enough
to take or plan where Alachua will be ten, fifteen, or twenty years from
now. So if this is the case, then the citizenry will want more services
and better services. And it takes money. It takes employees, people who
know what they are doing, this sort of things.
AB: So the increase in the size of the town, this creates the need for more
professional people who can provide those services?
H: What Marion is speaking to is that in years past when the town was small
and they were able to render services with fewer people and on a less
costly basis, and today we have Big Brother watching us, we have a lot
of services, human services, human rights, and God knows the people need
to be looked after, we have more people in the world but, by the same
token, fewer and fewer people are paying the freight in order for govern-
meant to operate. I think that is what you are speaking to, isn't it
H: As an auditor from the state, I am sure that he knew how few people even
back then, paid taxes as opposed to those who used the services. And,
as an example, the $25,000 homestead exemption totally wiped out a broad
base right here in Alachua which then imposed a burden on the balance of
the taxpayers. So, even fewer people are paying taxes. On top of that,
they impose higher gas, liquor, every tax on tax and we are paying taxes
on taxes now.
P: Well, for example, the first real estate taxes were levied in Alachua were
forced on the commission. If they wanted to participate in the federal
aid and state aid, they had to levy taxes and up until then, they had
never levied any taxes. The utility system and other sources of revenue
supported the city. But now, another things about we the people-we can
look around here tonight. It is on local government and anywhere you go,
when the subject matter of government is taken up, people do not go.
They are just not interested in it. And until we get interested in it,
we are not going to solve our government's problems.
WC: We are going to see Marion at our next commission meeting, right? If
you think this is a small crowd, you should see our commission meeting.
We cannot even get a quorum.
S: I think there is a point kind of interestingly brought out by the attend-
ance in this room. That is demographically, or speaking about voter be-
havior, participation, the participation and the interest in the govern-
ment is much higher among the people fifty-five years and older, if you
will, the World War Two crowd. Secondly, among the group that is im-
mediately behind them, and as you work down, the level of participation
and interest in government, and in reverse, the level of disinterest and
lack of participation in government, it gets much higher. There is a lot
of reasons that the experts throw back to that. In the 1960s and the
early 1970s, but I think one of the most frightening things about part-
icipation in government, and whether or not government is, in fact
responsive to or reflective of the majority will, is not only that you
have such a small group of people participating but also, frightening
fact that a number of those persons who have traditionally been con-
sidered to be the "work base of the country' are the lowest participants,
or among the lowest participants in government. That, really is more of
a national problem, I guess, than it is a local problem. But it certainly
is a local problem too. If you look at this room, I would not want to ask
how many of these people are this side of thirty, but there would not be
a big crowd so, that is a real problem. We have a national consciousness
that, for some reason, young people are not interested in or attracted to
government. I must have appealed to that class of people in my race.
(REFERS TO ROD SMITH'S UNSUCCESSFUL BID FOR A COUNTY COMMISSION SEAT THE
JB: I have lived in Alachua for eight years and only about four years ago
that the commission started having evening meeting at seven-thirty where
the public could come. And I know I for one, started coming to those
meetings because I was one person pushing for evening meetings and I
thought we had a good crowd but I think a lot of people quit coming, and
this was not always a fact and I do not mean to be negative, but the
public would try to have imput and voice our opinions and feel like we
might have support from a commissioner and then they would turn around
and vote totally against what the majority of the people here would want.
I know I have sat though meetings where I have felt real positive about
a lot of those things and I finally decided to quit coming. I mean, I
had four children and I had other things I could do with my time if they
were not going to listen to what we had to say.
NS: Judy, I think what you have done is pointed to the symptom, but I believe
there must be something underlying your perceptions. What do you feel
were the reasons in the minds of, the commission five years ago. What
do you feel, though, were the reasons perhaps, the values on which the
commission say, at that time was voting in opposition to what you per-
ceived to be public opinion. In other words what were the values that
were influencing their vote?
JB: I really hate to get into that.
NS: Let me put it in theoretical terms.
JB: And it is something that is in the past now, you know, but that, I think
a lot of people quit coming. I mean during these public hearings on
annexation and on different issues, and then the commission would turn
around and totally vote against the majority of the people. I have seen
this room crowded.
S: That is a difficult point, though, to say that I have seen this room
crowded and the majority expressed in this room would constitute the
majority. I mean, when you are an elected official I think you have got
to be very mindful that you can come up with sixty-five people and have
them voice themselves one after another on any given issue and it is
going to seem like a landslide of opinion favors that issue when, in fact,
it may be the only sixty-five people on earth who hold that viewpoint.
I hate to say this, but I hope there is no commissioner who would ever
be, believe that the voices they hear reflected in public meetings are
necessarily the will of the people because, the will of the people may
be, in fact, completely opposite from that voice. I mean, you can
probably pack any given building on any given issue. I do not mean to
say that we should not participate but I think that is a dangerous bell-
weather of what public opinion, is. If we happen to have ten people who
stand up and say "I think we ought to have Alachua Beach."
M: Same thing is probably true at the Rebel House or the Wayfarer or any-
where else. You got to realize the elected officials, people who go
to restaurants and it is called restaurant politics, may not show the
same view as the people who come to the public forums. So, elected
official's kind of have to balance this thing out and what really irks
me as an elected official is that I, in order to know how the public felt,
had to call on the public to actually find out what in the heck they wanted,
or how they felt about things. Unless they were hot under the collar about
any particular issue, you never heard from them. But something really
important came up, you had to almost solicit their information to get
some feedback from them.
TC: I would like to get our last panelist's point of view. Mrs. Blanche Hill
has very graciously agreed to give us her perception of what vision she
has for the City of Alachua in the next few years. I really hate to stifle
good discussion which just gets going but, she may have, in her presentation
something that is very relevant to the issues we are discussing. After she
gets done with her presentation, I would very much like to get back in to
the discussion that we had and Mr. Williams will be the next one to ask a
question when we get back Okay?
BH: First of all, I was hoping you would omit this part and just continue. I
have started to say, well gee! I am sort of at a standstill. I used to
be in the minority in one group. I found that I was in the minority twice,
I thought about taking off. Well, ERA says that we can go ahead and try.
I think we are very proud of the progress and growth I have been able to
see which is being happened here in Alachua and the things that I encourage
did happen here as I have been attending the panels and listening tonight.
Of course, I know with any city, growth is expected and we in Alachua
expect more growth, too. Somebody said when we were talking about the
growth we are also talking about who is going to pay for it and a real
burden ourselves with other things but in as much as we are going to be
paying for things we certainly, I think, would like to be paying for some
of the things that the majority of the people would like to have.
Starting off, being a member of the library board, I guess this is my
top priority, we are trying very hard to get a library started here in
the City of Alachua. I think you know the history of that is we were
donated the trailer by Hipp Construction Company and actually, we have
done wonders with it, but there is a lot more that needs to be done. We
need a;bigger building, we need a location, we need more participation and
there is just so much more that we can do with the library, there is so
much needed here in the City of Alachua. I think some time maybe for
those of us who have transportation tend to forget about those persons
who do not have transportation and they cannot always run to Gainesville
or somewhere else and get the things that they would like to have, even
as much as a book. So I think our library should really be pushed as
much as we possibly can and try to have a real library, as far as a build-
ing's concerned here in Alachua.
The city limits boundaries I think is the thing we talked about and pro-
bably discussed in all a number of ways but, if it is possible to do it,
and I am sure it is, I think the government ought to look at the boun-
daries of our city limits. They sort of go around corners and back in
curves and everywhere and it is hard to really say just where the city
limits are. And it is really disgusting when you are on one side of
the street and you expected to pay for city services and your neighbor
lives across the street from you and your front door, and they say "I
don't have to do that because I am not in the city limits." It makes
you feel like something is wrong here. We have this right here, right in
town. There is one side of the street in the city and the other side of
the street is not in the city. I think that is one thing that we would
like to see if we can do something about those things.
We spent money I guess-about four or five years ago and trying to get,
drainage and what have you, got the sewage pipes in and everything ant
I think some of the money, I would say, has been basically just laying
there. Some of the drainage system that were put in are not serving the
purposes for which I thought they were designed to do. We have the drainage
system but we still have water circling around the drainage system and
going in the street as it was doing before we got the drainage system. I
think that is one thing that the government needs to look into. You know,
we got them there, so why waste the money? Let's fix them so they can
serve as they should be. This is just a little pet peeve of mine:
I am glad when I was asked to use my personal opinions. I do not know
anything about what I am talking about, so this is my personal opinion.
I think we have really grown having two drugstores here in town. For
many years we only had one, a very good one but we only had one. We
have now a laundry which I never thought we would be able to get, a
washerette and those kinds of things that you have. I think we have the
finest grocery stores. But it is rather disgusting when you got to go
to Gainesville almost for a pair of stockings. I would like to see, and
I think maybe speaking for one or two others, some type of department
store. A store or stores here in the City of Alachua. We again, forget
about the people without transportation and I am sure that, it would be
a pleasure to be able to go down and buy some very simple things that
you sometimes have to go into Gainesville or High Springs to get, and
you could do it right here.
And have the money of course, too, to circulate in our city which would
help some with expense. We started out, some years ago, naming the
streets of Alachua and putting the numbers on houses. That project sort
of took off real fast and stopped just as quickly. Some place along
the line like those houses next to you got a number and one of them did
not get numbers. I have called and came down a couple of times and I
was told that the numbers had all been issued and they were in the process
of ordering some more. That was what I was told and I can go and buy a
number from the ten-cent store but I do not know what my number should
be. I think we would certainly like to have this worked on.
Another thing, I know in the planning I do not know how it came about
and was not a part of that and perhaps it was discussed at public
sunshine opening. In the plan of constructing our newest post office
the location has always been somewhat kind of amazing because it is like
you really do not want to go to the post office after sunset. If you do
not go between nine in the morning and like five in the afternoon, you have
got to think about not going to the post office. To me it is sort of
an isolated place and the light is just not very good at night. It is just
not inviting to want to go to the post office in the afternoon. Now, I
*0 thought perhaps when it was planned that there would be some other things
that would be put in that vicinity. That, of course, would make our post
office an outstanding place, everybody could walk in when they felt the
need. As it is now, I do not know if there are some plans being made to
do something about that but it has been this way since we have had it.
It would be nice to have a designated Greyhound Bus Stop some place in
the city. It is an embarrassment to get on the bus and ask the driver to
put you off someplace,oon highway 441. I have been'riding the bus, last
summer especially going through big cities that they have Seven-Elevens
as bus stops. Seems like many of the bus stations have been done away
with but they do have a bus stop and they have a Greyhound Bus sign up
there and you know, the driver knows where he is going to go and you know
where to go to take the bus. I think we could do this without so.much
expense here in Alachua, have a designated bus stop for those of us who
might be riding the bus.
A bi-racial committee to advisory boards I think might be helpful. As
you said, we do not always get the thinking from the community from those
persons who are present because the persons who are present are there for
whatever interest they might be at that particular meeting. I think
sometimes we feel we need somebody to go out and sort of feel out those
persons who are not going to ever get to attend a meeting. But if you
had someone to go out and bring in the thoughts and the wishes of those
persons who are not going to attend but still, they do make up your
community and you have to consider them too. I think a bi-racial commit-
tee as an advisory board might help in this issue.
I think we need more supervised recreation centers for young people in our
city. I know we got a park which is very good for the small kids and we
got ball diamonds which cater more to, I would think, perhaps adults and
the older kids. But the ones who are coming in the middle, teenagers, our
kids that we are concerned with. I think we need some place that we can
feel safe and satisfied that once they enter this place, that they have
the protection that teenagers ought to have and that they are not going
to be harassed by some person who should not be there. Neither are they
going to be exposed to some things they should not be going'on there. I
do not think we have any kind of designated area for our young people.
Therefore, I think we are putting them in more danger of traveling out of
town and going different places because they are going to look for re -
creation. The are going to find it someplace and I think we should try
to provide some of their wholesome recreation and a place for it in our
city. We need more paved streets. In fact, if they are paved, we cer-
tainly need them to be streets. I believe we still got some of those
wagon trails that are still being used. In fact, they go right up to
people's houses and it is kinda hard to get there. Try it once it rains
and you will say "I will not go today." So I think we need to think about
those streets that are certainly within the city limits that are not,
desirable to even try traveling on now. You certainly would try walking.
And along with that, we need more lighting in the community. In the
residential part of the city, some more lighting in that area. And down-
town, we need to either think of demolition of those empty buildings that
we have there or fix them up. We have, I think, some nice places downtown
now. But when you get there and you start to get out, and you take a look
over your shoulder to where those buildings are empty and there are kind
of like open and it is just not a very good feeling to have to get out
there in all this empty, unprotected kind of dreary-looking places.
Another thing, our Christmas decorations goes all the way down past the
traffic light and I believe it is past the other post office, the
earlier one and the decoration is beautiful but when we bring in the
TV cameras and we look back on television and we see the City of Alachua
and we see all our pretty Christmas decorations and there is nothing there
just a closed building. This kind of took away from really, the beauty
of our city. So I think we really could do something about those empty
buildings that we have in the downtown area. And last, I just added this
after I heard Rod talking about this book which I wish I could have read
but it seems like we need a committee to update the city code ordinances
which concerns the beaches.
TC: Mrs. Hill, thank you very much. I would be curious as to where the
AB: She is suggesting that we need a city commission that will bring the
beach to Alachua. I want to thank Mrs. Hill for a tremendous list of
ideas for the city council. I think we have enough ideas there to last
well into the twenty-first century. I am very interested in all those.
Why do not we open it back up to the floor again, with some of these
issues of lighting, issues of transportation, issues of places for young
people to go, and how we can best deal with these things.
JB: I know two years ago, the county did send a bus out here for a period of
two or three months on trial run for people who lived in High Spring to
come and I think it was arranged with the city where they parked their
cars now where the city park is and ride the bus to work in Gainesville.
They were doing it and I was wondering when I rode it home one day and
I did not know where I was. So there have been some efforts and I do
not think the City of Alachua, per se, has the money in our coffers
pockets to come up with the transportation system. Hopefully, maybe the
City of Gainesville can. But I know it is a problem. To get a mini-bus,
something like that. It has been tried in the past.
U: I think what Ms. Hill was suggesting was just a plain, old bus-stop.
JB: There are people who you know do not have transportation to Shands or
clinics or things like that. I work for a social service agency. We
are really having to depend on people in the communities to bring these
people in and the people who are bring these people in are.charging them
RS: But the difficulty is that almost no place in the United States, certainly
no place in the State of Florida, including Miami and Tampa which are
having disasters, could afford transit. I think that if Miami cannot
afford transit, Evelyn would be hard-pressed to justify it in Alachua.
JB: Well, that is a point.
TC: I think there is one possible solution there and that there is always
the possibility of the city commission or a committee getting together
with RTS, and asking them to see if there is not a possibility of working
out some type of a compromise and providing a mini-bus and leaving here
at seven o'clock, ten o'clock, two o'clock, or whatever.
JB: There is a mini bus system but, they only have about ten customers and
they are totally new, I think coming out from High Springs, Alachua, to
AB: I think Judy has a good point and, my wife works for a social service
agency also and the price people charge to pick up people in a rural
area to bring them to Shands or wherever really is exorbitant and that
is taxpayers' money that is really being spent not very wisely.
S: Seems like there is a lot of those kinds of functions that we now releg-
ate to government that used to be relegated to neighbors and churches.
H: I would like to respond on behalf of government. The wheels of govern-
ment surely turn slowly but we have answered some of the problems. Re-
cently, and hopefully we will answer more in the next few years but we
do have a bi-racial committee. It was just expanded-to put Mr. Ozell
Williams on it as an ad hoc committee member. The chairman is Cleather
Hatcock's wife, Joyce. These were all volunteers. They volunteered to
be on the board and they govern themselves but they are advisors to the
One thing that we are hopeful of doing that I plan to propose to the
commission at the request of the community action committee is that
when we decided to give up our secretary, commission secretary who
worked part-time in order to have a full-time recreation director, that
left us with a small but adequate vacant office that commissioners used
to use. Now they have another, little bit larger, inside the gate but
this is outside and we are petitioning that the county and the state
staff this for us with services from Community Action, Child Abuse,
Food Stamps, and Welfare. They offer these services to the people of
Alachua but they have to go to Gainesville and over on Waldo Road for
most places and so we have asked them to help us. We will supply the
building or the office space if they will man it. That will give any one
the social agencies five days to work out a compromise of when they are
going to use it and the thirty days in the month. So I think that this
will answer a lot of problems of the people that live right here in Alachua
and could possible serve the outling areas, too, with no cost, really,
to the citizens.
And, as far as downtown is concerend, if you have been downtown today,
you will see we have a nice, beautiful lot right across the street from
the police department where the city has started cleaning up Main St.
we have applied for a million dollar grant to the Redevelopment Commis-
sion and Mr. Smith is chairman of that committee and they are all, not
appointed by the commission but appointed by the Chamber of Commerce
and are comprised of people that are in business here and are putting
their money into Alachua. There has been a lot of subtle changes in
Alachua that, if you are not really invovled in doing business or in
transportation or social services then you possibly might not know that
they are going on but they are here and they are available and, hopefully,
we will get a little more publicity on it so the people will know that
the commission really is working.
And, before I shut up, there is one thing I would like to do. I would
like to introduce this young man that is with me. Would you stand up,
Kevin Hall, and he is here because he is working on his badge in citizen-
ship in the community for Scouts. So that is why he is visiting with us
tonight. And, also, I want you to look at our first Miss Alachua. She
is so beautiful. Stand up and let them see how gorgeous you are. And
she has added so many titles since she became our first Miss Alachua and
she is closing out her year and October the 8th we will be having our
Second Annual Miss Alachua Pageant We invite you all to come and she
will be crowning the second queen but she will always be our first.
/APPLAUSE FOR MISS ALACHUA Amanda Hipp WHO IS STANDING/ Thank you.
RC: May I make one other point that has been made here by Rod and Rodger but
I think might be worth re-emphasizing a little, having sit up here and
served as a public officer in different capacities, one of the problems
is that we lose sight of, as Judy was alluding to a little bit, is that
we, and I do not want this to sound like a civic lesson, but we have a
republic form of government which means, in effect, that we elect people
to represent us. Now we ought to elect good people to represent us that
will make wise decisions based on hearing all the facts but that will be
done under those kind of conditions and circumstances, and not with some
packed house that, that thirty-eight folks are ranting and raving in one
direction and two, maybe on this side. But right might be on the side
of the two, and you need to keep that in mind. Now you ought to be one
of those thirty-eight people or one of those two people who make your
wishes known to your elected representatives. But you do not elect people
to take a poll on issues. You elect people to make good, sound judgments
on issues. Our best job, our biggest job, our most important job, is
electing and working for the election of competent folks.
TC: That is a good civic lesson, by the way. Truthfully.
MH: Let me add something to that. Once we have elected our officials and
they are in office, we can work with them and assist them instead of
trying to do battle with them each week. And we serve ourselves better
that way, once they are elected they are representing us and, you might
not like the mayor or one commissioner but he is your mayor and he is, or
she is, your commissioner. For a year or two years and we are only hurting
TC: Thank you. At this point in time, we would like to introduce again Budy
Irby, and ask him to share with us his lesson from history.
M: Must of been when he had hair.
I: There is a story I told last night. I did not want to bore him. But being
in elected office I happen to be full-time, is a little bit different but
still, I can tell you it's not the easiest way to make a living. I cer-
tainly respect any person who is willing to give of their time and their
energy and their talents to serve in office. Let me give you two quick
examples about the type things that happen, because when I first started to
run in 1976 people that I valued their judgment and their wisdom, would say
"Buddy, why do you want to get in that mess?" And I would, going on what
Mr. Cellon said, "Because if good people do not run, you know, then good
people will not be elected and our government's going to go down the tubes."
So I felt it important to make sure that what I felt like, myself being a
good person, I should offer myself for public office.
Well, if you go along and do the best you can and then you are riding
down the road one day and you go past a cemetery and you see a tombstone
out there that says "Here lies a politician and an honest man." And, you
know, I was thinking about that and the guy riding with me, and I said,
"You know, after my time's over, I would like to end that way." And I
asked the guy "Did you see that tombstone?" He said: "Two people buried
in one grave."
A couple years ago my son was born and I went to the mayor of Gainesville,
was talking to him, says "Buddy, that child looks exactly like you and that
is the best looking young man I have ever seen. However, that is not to
say that you are good looking, it is just that pink and bald looks good
on babies. I certainly want to tell you that I am glad to be here tonight.
I do not know if any of our county commissioners have attended but, on
behalf of the county government, I salute the city for having this program.
I think that looking back and looking forward is just so important to our
future and we have some problems. We have some big problems locally;
county, state, national, world wide and, the way to solve that is keep
electing good people and to not step aside.
Some of you here, I know have worked with me on voter registration drives
know that I believe that we should go out where people work and shop and
all and register voters and, at the same time, everyday, seems like some-
body calls me and says, "We should do more to make people register to vote."
At some point it has got to stop because if you have to force a person to
register, they are not going to take the time to study the candidates,
attend the forum, attend the commission meeting, become informed voters,
then go to that election on election day and cast an informed ballot. And
that is really what makes the government work: An informed ballot on
election day. And they say "Well, you have got to make it easier." I turn
around and I say let's look at it this way. In Alachua County every day
of the week, except Sunday, you can register to vote. And you can register
at any city hall in this county, you can register at the Oaks Mall, you can
register at the courthouse. You have got a number of places to register
and yet people say it is hard to get registered. Then I turn around and
say, "How many places are there to get a marriage license? Only one.
How many places are there to get a driver's license? There is only two.
And people seem to make it there. Then I say, how many Florida Fields are
there? I guarantee you Saturday, 70,000 people make it to Florida Field.
They are going to find a place to park, they are going to be glad to be
there. They will sit in the rain. It is commitment, it is priority, right
now it seems that too many people think that football, and I love football,
do not get me wrong. But I vote every time, too. It is more important
than maybe participating in their government. Now, I kind of disagree
with that and I hope that this can be an new beginning, here in Alachua,
of getting the voter registration even up higher. You happen to be one
of my biggest precincts now. And continue to have good turn-outs here
in both local, county and our state elections. Next year is going to be
an exciting election. I can make a little speech on that but I will not
but I do want to bring you one quick thing and that is, I went to our
archives there in the elections office and I got the oldest book I could
find which, Mrs. Cauthen, I do not believe you even taught folks how to
write like this. When they sign up the voters on election day this is
from 1878 to 1884; it is a hunred years old. I want to be careful with
it. /SHOWS ORIGINAL LIST OF VOTERS/
S: It is in preety good shape, was in good shape.
I: Anyway, it really is interesting to read inside. I sat down today, for
a few minutes and went through and typed-up a list of the voters who were
registered in precinct three which is Alachua and it was then and I am
going to give this to you. I cannot leave the books so I just got the
names of the people that were here then. I think it is interesting and
some of you would recognize more than, I know I recognize the Stephens
and the Catos and some of the others that have meant a lot to this com-
munity, that, they are all here and they have been here for a hundred
years or more. I would like to say to you, Ms. Hill, that on this part-
icular list there is no women so we did not get around in the United
States to registering women to vote until 1920. Florida did not ratify
the nineteenth Amendment until fifty years after the rest of the nation
ratified it but I want you to know that I care about you because.... I
look at the rolls today, I know there is more women registered to vote
in Alachua County than there are men. And so, you are important to me.
But I want to leave this with you as a document to add to the library.
Maybe some day, some time, someone will find it interesting.
But I know a lot of you here work with us in elections for registering
poll workers. I have not attended all of these but my right arm,
Richard Bryan and his parents here tonight, attended the first one I know
and I have read about the others. I would like to just say that one thing
from last week, since I was not here and I read the paper on discipline
in the schools. In my family, we did not have that problem because the
principal was my father and, if you know my fathers, you know he did not
need a note nor a witness when I went to his office. There was not much
talking and a lot of action. But anyway, that is what made my hair fall
out, but I have enjoyed being here.... I want to leave this with you
/LIST OF OLD VOTERS COMPILED BY HIM/ as I said and salute you for this
program. You have got a great community. I know I am proud of the heritage
that I have here from grandparents and were plumber fulltime and into
which Mr. Simmons is running down and other grandparents that are part of
this community a long time and have grown up here and so it means a lot
to me to know you are still keeping that spirit. So I have enjoyed being
with you and I look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you
AB: Let me take a couple minutes to summarize a few things and maybe invite
some more comments with my summary as well. I have noticed several themes
running through our discussion. I think they are important to our local
government in many ways, something to think about. I think the first
theme we have seen, and been blessed with, is a sense of humor. I think
that has probably been something that has been with local government here
in Alachua for a long time and I have to ask Mr. Cellon who is my senior
to comment on the sense of humor in the old days but I am sure it was
here and I think that is important and I was thinking up here while people
were talking what does make Alachua unique. And maybe the fights and the
anger and the disagreement, but that always tempered with a good sense of
humor is something that.makes Alachua, Alachua.. I think that is a very
good part of the city itself.
Another thing Rod brought up, and several other people brought up as well
is the young people, the leadership. We are seeing the city change to a
very professional oriented city, a city where the city manager will have
to have credentials, will have to be a professional person. We are seeing
people taking over different parts of the city who have great training
and great background and yet we are faced with the fact that a lot of our
young people within Alachua do not participate. They do not seem to find
ways to interact with the city. They find it hard to come to a commission
meeting. If they interact with the city, it is through the police depart-
ment maybe or something that is not always the most positive way and Ms. Hill
also mentioned the park facilities. I think that is something about
Alachua we need to face in the future is how do we use our own young people
and develop leadership qualities in them? Not just for the elected positions
but for the other positions in the city as well because I think as young
people do participate in different areas, at many different levels, they
*If) ~ will take more interest in the government and in the continuity of the
I think there is something going on in Alachua here that could be seen in
almost any small town. There is a pull toward the super-highways, toward
the airport, toward the Oaks Mall shopping centers, towards Atlanta,
towards big cities and its pulling a lot of the heart out of the local
government in the local town because it is pulling people away at night,
its pulling people away from jobs here to jobs there, it is changing the
city and yet that, those same changes are also the source of growth because
we are also seeing Alachua being a very pleasant place for people to move
and live to but will they take part in Alachua or will they continue to go
to Oaks Mall, continue to go to Atlanta, continue to go to Miami, for their
entertainment, for their livelihood. So I think we are faced in the
government of Alachua with somehow incorporating more of these people into
the town but being sure that they become part of the town, that they have a
sense of community, that they have a sense of what the town is all about,
otherwise, we are faced in the future in Alachua with professional govern-
ment governing people who use the town as a bedroom community and who do
not put themselves into it. I think when I hear things about local govern-
ment in Alachua here, I am also listening to different segments of the
This is obviously a community with lots of different kinds of people.
There are young people, there are new people, and there are blacks, there
are whites, there are differences within-each of those groups too numer-
ous to mention. And there are people of many different occupations and
I think Alachua has a challenge that somehow out of that diversity gain
strength and not let that diversity tear it apart but, rather, use that
diversity to better the governed, to better the town. But it is certainly
a challenge I see in the future. I do not think the diversity, I do not
think the differences people have are going to decrease. I think in the
future, that the government will see just as much controversy, probably
more, because there are more different kinds if people moving in here,
people having different ideas about what government should be. Well, let
me stop there and ask if there is any other comments or questions from
the audience that we did not get around to.
JB: I just want to mention that the children, young adults in this community,
we have not heard them but I believe it was the children from MeBane who
came to the commission and got the first library. I also think there
were students from Santa Fe that came to get permission to use the park
during lunch. I think the students do come before the commission.
AB: Well, and we have been faced here. I mean, obviously the room is not
crowded with young people but there have been.