|History of the Civic League of the Halifax Area|
Local denizens enjoy the atmosphere and opportunities available to individuals, families and businesses. Recreationally, the greater Daytona Beach area highlights the recently expanded Halifax Harbor Marina, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the Main Street Pier and numerous other historical landmarks and recreational facilities. Furthermore, residents partake in a wide array of fairs, arts and crafts shows and other cultural events that occur throughout the year. Daytona also invests in its educational future through primary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning, such as Daytona Beach Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Bethune-Cookman College. Area businesses have experienced both hard times and good times, but thanks to progressive city planning and management, Daytona is entering the 21st century as a leader in tourism and residential living.
Although Daytona Beach transformed itself into a destination with international acclaim, the city did not escape the growing pains and social transformations the rest of the world faced in the last half of the 20th century. The changes evoked by war, political strife, student unrest and racial tensions threatened the stability necessary for a community to grow and prosper. Consequently, Daytona individuals and organizations foresaw the need for cooperation and strong leadership. Influential citizens, such as Mary McLeod Bethune, challenged the social and political norms and helped pave the way for improved race relations. In addition, local businessmen banded together to address the community's concerns and this union became the driving force behind the creation of the Civic League of the Halifax Area
The original name of the organization was the Community Development Council. On April 20, 1965, a revision in the by-laws of the Community Development Council changed the name of the organization to the Civic League of the Halifax Area. Article II of the by-laws stated the purpose of the League:
“This corporation is formed to study, confer and act upon any matter, economic in character, which may be deemed to affect the welfare of, the Halifax Area of the County of Volusia, or the State of Florida and to support any educational or civic enterprise deemed by the League to promote such welfare."
In addition, Article II stated the League's intentions to remain non-partisan and not for profit.
Article III of the by-laws dealt with membership and voting privileges. Section one stated that all members received one vote and that membership be limited in number if deemed necessary by the League. In addition, a valid meeting required at least 50% of the members, plus one. Section two limited membership to those individuals who "occupy an executive position in the management of a business or public service enterprise, or he shall be a member of one of the recognized professions." Section three stated that prospective members be nominated in writing, without the knowledge of the nominee. This written nomination included all qualifications of the candidate to be forwarded to the membership committee, where upon approval, be submitted to the Executive Committee and the entire membership for a vote. If 80% of the membership voted affirmatively the nomination passed. Section four indicated that a new member must sign a statement whereby he agreed with and abided by the objectives and resolutions of the League.
Article III, Section five of the by-laws, stated that the Chairman selects a five person Membership Committee with the identity of these members to remain secret except for that of the Chairman. Section six indicated that voting be exercised by secret written ballot. Section seven stipulated that members must attend at least 75% of all meetings with no more than three consecutive unexcused absences. Finally, section eight maintained that, "membership shall be continuous until terminated by resignation, death or ceasing to possess the qualifications of admission to membership."
Article IV of the by-laws established that the annual meeting be held on the first Thursday of the month of November and regular meetings convene no less than quarterly. At these meetings, officers and Executive Committee members would be elected. Section two stipulated that each member is charged an incidental expense fee of $100.00 per year, and failure to pay such dues could result in loss of vote or dismissal. Article V indicated that it was the responsibility of the Nominating Committee to provide the names of nominees to the Executive Committee. In addition, at any Council meeting where nominations for the Executive Council or any office, members could make nominations from the floor. Article VI declared that a twelve member Executive Committee would act on behalf of the Council between meetings. The term of the Executive Committee members was one year and the Chairman of the Council would also be the Chairman of the Executive Committee. The Chairman reserved the right to convene a meeting when necessary and a majority of the members present would constitute a quorum. In addition, the Chairman could appoint special committees with the "advice and consent of the Executive Committee."
Article VII outlined the offices of the Council. This article specified that a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer serve one-year terms and be members of the Executive Committee. These officers would not receive any compensation for their services. Article VIII declared that no funds or contributions are solicited unless the proceeds were directed through the Council, and proper officers, to be utilized for purposes enunciated in the by-laws. In addition, no funds could be used to benefit other organizations. Article IX stipulated that the by-laws could be amended for purposes of civic improvement by a majority vote. Finally, section two decreed that Roberts Rule should preside when the by-laws did not accommodate "any specific provisions."
On April 21, 1965, one day after the official formation of the Civic League of the Halifax Area, the Daytona Beach News Journal ran an article announcing the League's purpose and plans for the future. The first officers of the League were announced as J. Saxton Lloyd, Chairman; Hayward Brown, Vice Chairman; Walter B. Booth, Secretary; and Harley M. Force, Treasurer. The article continued by quoting Lloyd as saying the purpose of the League "will be to support those activities which will contribute to the progress and development of the area." Furthermore, the article informed the public of projects the League intended to initiate. One of the first projects would focus on tourism and the problems created by tourism. According to Lloyd the League's recommendations on the issue of tourism would "keep the Greater Daytona Beach Area abreast of the rapid pace of tourist development throughout Florida." Another project included a study to determine whether a county administrator would benefit Volusia County. In addition, the League would help devise a plan for road construction to deter "an inadequate and hodgepodge paving program."
The article continued by delving into the political aspirations of the League. When asked if the League would be politically active, Lloyd responded: "It is altogether possible that the League won't be able to avoid political issues." Lloyd continued this noncommittal stance by saying the League had not yet determined if it would support candidates or encourage individuals to run for office. Lloyd stated that it was not the purpose of the League to replace any existing groups; but instead, would support them in their endeavors. Lloyd goes on to say; however, that the League "can be more effective than groups, which change administrations every year, because it will be permanent."
Lloyd continued to say that the League would be comprised of members
who are primarily owners or managers of business in Volusia County. These
businesses share a hefty tax burden; thus, have a large stake in the development
and maintenance of the county. Lloyd explained about membership:
“While we have no intention of excluding anyone from participation in the plans we conceive for community development and the work that most assuredly will be involved, we are keeping the membership in the League on a by invitation basis in order to maintain the organization at a workable size and to help assure a balance of community interests among its members."
Lloyd concluded by stating that the membership would eventually reach forty.
One of the original projects endorsed by the founders of the Civic League included the widening of Atlantic Avenue. On May 8, 1965, the News Journal published an article discussing the League's resolution to four-lane Atlantic Avenue from Broadway, North to Granada Avenue in Ormond Beach. The Civic League Executive Committee touted this expansion as the most critical road project on the peninsula. "We should like to see the city and the county and the state cooperate in making such an extension a reality as soon as possible." The Executive Committee continued by stating that all the funds should concentrate on this project and implored the City Commission of Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach, as well as the County Commission, to utilize these funds to acquire right of ways. The Executive Committee's resolution came on the heel of a City Commission decision to postpone any action until after a two-week study on the situation. On May 19, 1965, the Civic League suffered another setback when the Ormond Beach City Commission decided that improvements on Granada Avenue superseded the four-laning of State Road A1A.
In 1969 the J.C. Penney Company tried to acquire "City Island" for the purpose of commercial and residential development. This proposal was controversial for the City Commission, local business owners and Civic League members. City Commissioner Lee Cook issued a statement in the News Journal on February 13, 1969. Cook's statement reflected the opinion that although the J.C. Penney Company should be welcomed to Daytona Beach, they should not be able to buy "City Island." Instead, he recommended leasing the land and requiring that a percentage of annual revenues be paid to the city "with the specific condition that the revenue be designated for parks, recreational facilities and cultural pursuits."
The J.C. Penney plan constituted the bulk of discussion at the February 12, 1969 regular membership meeting of the Civic League. Mr. Coleman discussed the plan with downtown businessmen. He concluded that although some businessmen disapproved, the general consensus was favorable for the J.C. Penney plan. The League then discussed the plan and approved it by a verbal vote. On February 13, 1969, the League issued a statement of approval for the Penney plan based on a seventeen-point outline. The League thought that this development should be architecturally stimulating, attracting both tourist and industry. Also, the project would revitalize the downtown area both aesthetically and economically, thus increasing property value on streets intersecting Beach Street. In addition, the Penney plan would increase the city's tax revenue and stabilize the tax structure. The plan would also create an estimated 1200 jobs and portions of the funds obtained from the transaction could be used for recreational facilities. The final point stipulated that the city should exercise some control over aspects of architecture and traffic to ensure safety and efficiency for the public administration of county government, and that carries with it the responsibility to the Council which makes him answerable for the administration of all affairs of the County.
In many instances Civic League members utilized personal experiences or problems to solve larger problems within the community. On November 3, 1970, Floyd J. Treadway sent a letter to Mrs. Bernice Cohen of the Plaza Hotel in Daytona Beach. The letter was in reference to the World Affairs Forum held in the Plaza's convention hall. Although Tredway commended the hotel for their great facilities and complimentary rooms, he found fault with the attitude of the hotel management. He expressed great displeasure with the hotel's decision not to accommodate the convention members during coffee breaks. Tredway used this problem as a springboard for the problems of the area convention resorts as a whole. Tredway stated that the attitude of the plaza and other convention facilities "has caused considerable concern to the entire business community...to the point where the feeling that the convention hotels are more of a liability to this area than an asset." He pointed out that the community had taken great strides in promoting the convention resorts, but due to the overwhelming number of complaints, had lost confidence in the resort's ability to attract and maintain a steady convention clientele. Tredway then assured Mrs. Cohen that the situation was not hopeless or irreversible, and implored her to take his constructive criticism in the spirit for which it was intended.
Civic League members believed that progress evolved out of a community wide effort. Consequently, the League fostered participation from individuals and organizations representing various aspects of Daytona's population. On August 3, 1971, J. Saxton Lloyd invited nineteen young executives for lunch at the Danish Table Restaurant. The focus of this luncheon was to discuss local projects or activities that were not "receiving the necessary priority attention nor was sufficient pressure being exerted to bring about the successful conclusion of these projects." These projects included road construction with special emphasis on the completion of A1A 4-laning and downtown revitalization, opening causeways with bridges, clearing oyster shells to improve circulation and combat river pollution, the need for more police, airport improvements and area beautification. Also on the list but were not discussed were the employment of black people to improve race relations and the improvement of the public transportation system.
In early 1973 the Department of Natural resources proposed to push the bulkhead line back further off Volusia County beaches. On February 7, 1973, Tom Staed wrote a letter to Civic League members discussing the proposal. In the letter, Staed reminded League members about their endorsement of leaving the bulkhead line at its present location, and he implored the members to contact Jack Pierce and William Carlton of the Department of Natural resources to express the League's position on the issue. In response to Staed's letter, J. Saxton Lloyd drafted a letter to William Carlton on February 8, 1973. Lloyd expressed the position of the league as an interested, concerned citizen and not specifically as a League member. He paid particular attention to the setback line for the beaches between Dunlawton Avenue and Granada Avenue. Lloyd stated that to "change the rules at this late date would be patently unfair to those property owners who conformed to existing regulations when their structures were erected." He ended by urging the Bureau of Beaches and Shores to approve the already existing building line.
Like any democratic organization, the Civic League excelled through diversity of opinion and self-criticism. Consequently, on February 14, 1973, Robert C. Elston offered some constructive criticism in a poignant letter to Louis Samuel. Elston expressed concern over his perception of a change in direction by the Civic League. This perception was formed at the previous membership meeting. He thought that League decisions were based on personal interests rather than the good of the community as a whole. In addition, many of the decisions made were based on viewpoints of admittedly unqualified, biased members. Elston listed six comments made by League members who he considered to be unsupported or not considered thoroughly before a course of action was recommended. This list included: opposition to the new bulkhead line, a study of height and density in Daytona, a seaport for importing, and making Daytona a large central distribution area. Elston sums up his complaints in two objections. First, he thought members should not use the League to support their own interest, but instead should be community minded. Second, the League should examine all views before making a decision or taking a vote. Elston stated that the "Civic League has a responsibility and opportunity to educate the members so that their thinking can mature as the community matures." He concluded by saying that his views were meant to be constructive and strengthen the League.
The League also tackled issues revolving around local utilities. On March 11, 1976, the News Journal article detailed the League's recommendation to the city for an engineering firm to survey the franchise renewal question for Florida Power and Light. Mr. Dan Ashlin, Assistant City Manager, reported that a maximum $120,000 study budget covering the three phases of engineering, economic analysis and legal would determine the benefits to the community and provide more leverage for bargaining with Florida Power and Light. Mr. Marion Harrington, District Manager of Florida Power and Light highlighted the company's long track record in Daytona Beach and the tremendous cost the city would make by switching over to a municipal distribution system. After debating the issue, League members requested that a nationally recognized engineering firm conduct a survey. League President, Donald Holton, stated that the survey should "include economic, service level and legal aspects of whether or not the City of Daytona Beach should renew the franchise of the Florida Power and Light Co. or should provide municipal electrical distribution service."
With the popularity of Daytona's beaches and other tourist attractions, it was only natural that community development progressed by constructing a convention center. On March 3, 1979, a News Journal article discussed the possibility of building an elaborate convention center in Daytona Beach. At a Civic League luncheon, City Manager Howard Tipton and Community Development Director Jimmy Huger announced their plans for this massive undertaking. The meeting with the Civic League was designed to open discussion and promote support before Tipton and Huger went before the City Commission. Their plan called for the construction of a convention center directly on the Ocean with elevated walkways connecting two new parking garages on Auditorium Boulevard and the newly renovated Peabody Auditorium. The convention center would consist of three floors. The first floor would be for a 135 car-parking garage, 34,200 sq. ft. of retail shops and a 3,025 sq. ft. outdoor café. The second floor would hold the main exhibit area, storage space, retail shops, administrative offices and meeting rooms, and public accommodations. The third floor would be devoted to a luxury restaurant. In addition, the plan called for the renovation of the Peabody auditorium, which included added storage space, a new lobby and parking for 50 cars on the South side.
City Manager Tipton claimed that a convention center on the ocean would be a major draw to the Daytona area. Tipton and Huger predicted their plan to be economically feasible because Federal Urban Development Action Grants could be utilized for the two parking garages, thus releasing money for other phases of the convention center. In addition, Huger insisted that the local economy would experience a boom and several blocks surrounding the center would be upgraded. Huger and Tipton did admit; however, that there were still many questions to be addressed and a more detailed plan was in the works for their meeting with the City Commission.
On September 10, 1979, Thomas T. Cobb sent a memo to all Civic League members in which he enclosed a resolution to the County Council urging their acceptance of the Tourist Development Council's site recommendation for the proposed Civic Center. In his memo, he told League members of the Civic League board of directors' decision to approve the resolution. In addition, Cobb stated that he was going to present this resolution before the County Council as being unanimously supported by the League membership. The resolution itself commended the efforts of the Tourist Development Council and implored the County Council to recognize their diligence and approve the site selection.
In the early 1980's League members stumbled upon a dilemma facing many communities around the nation. That problem centered on development at the expense of our environmental resources. On June 6, 1980, the Civic League Executive Committee met to discuss their position on the proposed marina in New Smyrna Beach. The Ponce de Leon Inlet and Port Authority were trying to build the controversial marina but their efforts were being blocked by the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation due to the potential threat of environmental damage to the mangrove wetland site. After a meeting with Port Authority Commissioner Dick Brown, the Civic League openly supported the construction of the marina. League Chairman Thomas T. Cobb said that the public benefit of the marina far outweighed any environmental damage, which may occur. The cities of New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater also adopted similar resolutions. On April 20, 1987, the Civic League once again renewed support for the marina project. League Chairman Richard Brown sent a letter to County Council Chairman, Frank Bruno, in which Brown stated the League's approval of the site. Opponents still noted the potential environmental loss that the construction would cause. In addition, many area businessmen feared loss of business to the new facility.
In October of 1980, the Civic League met with County Manager Thomas
Kelly and Environmental Officer Barry Appleby to discuss the water situation
in Volusia County. After the meeting, the League decided that water would
be the top priority of the organization until a viable solution could be
achieved. League Chairman Thomas T. Cobb wrote:
“Realizing, as we all do, the absolute necessity for a stable source of potable water, and recognizing the problems which several of our communities, including the City of Daytona Beach, are having, we have determined that this should be our number one project for as long as it takes to complete the review, to publish our findings and recommendations and to bring about a long range solution to this problem."
Thomas Kelly felt that success in solving the County's water problems would come from community leadership such as the leadership found within the Civic League membership. Kelly thought a political solution would be cheap and short range. Likewise, Kelly emphasized cooperation among communities as salt-water intrusion and drought already hard hit many regions of Volusia County.
On August 2, 1988, the Civic League announced their approval of a downtown site for the construction of an 80,000 sq. ft. courthouse facility. League Chairman Richard Brown mailed the results of the League's decision to the County Council, prior to their meeting to discuss the site. The controversy over the site of the courthouse arose over prediction of how the city was going to expand. Some felt that the city's Westward expansion favored the Indian Lake Road site while others wanted the courthouse downtown. The League members, however, endorsed the downtown site over the previous selected site on Indian Lake Road.
In November of 1988, Amendment four on the general election ballot received the Civic League's endorsement. The amendment called for the use of gasoline tax funds to support bonds for the purchase of rights of way highway and bridge projects. Richard Brown said, "We believe that this amendment will speed up construction, help business and consumers, reduce backlog of highway needs and improve air quality." Bridge and road priorities had been a special area of concern for the Civic League for the prior two years.
In 1989, the State of Florida authorized local governments to adopt a sales tax of one cent to be voted on in a countywide referenda. This tax would raise $28,000,000 annually for the county with $3.7 million going to Daytona Beach. These funds would be used for roads, jails and environmental improvement. At a December 7, 1989 Executive Committee meeting, Jay Adams asked for the League's support on the sales tax and Howard Tipton and Tom Kelly both believed that the tax should be local and not on a statewide basis. At a March 16, 1990 meeting, Howard Tipton gave a speech outlining the importance of this tax. He stated the successful counties had support of the newspapers and a great need for roads. The newspapers in Volusia County did not support the taxes but there was a great need for roads. Because of lack of newspaper support the City made a great effort to address as many organizations as possible to gain support.
After a three-year committee study of county government, the Civic League decided to support the employment of a county administrator in Volusia County. This information became public in a News Journal Article on December 24, 1967. A letter written by Committee Chairman L.W. Grabe Jr. was sent to each of the City Commissioners. In this letter the Civic League announced that after a three-year study of county administrations across the nation, they enthusiastically endorsed a plan for a county administrator or county manager. They advocated the plan because they learned "that without exception the economies which will accrue through this much improved integration of management problems will offset the salary of a highly qualified administrator many times over." The Civic League implored the Commission to implement the plan with dispatch.
On February 5, 1969 the Civic League convened a joint meeting with the County Government Study Committee to discuss the proposed Volusia County Charter. Civic League Chairman, Lou Fuchs, expressed to the study committee the League's dissatisfaction with the Charter's proposal to appoint an administrative assistant, with limited authority, instead of a County Administrator with full authority. The League felt that the appointment of an Administrative Assistant fell short of expectations because it "held little in the way of improvement over the existing situation... providing little in the way of effective and competent direction of county affairs." The members of the Executive Committee were given two options. First, they could accept the Charter and recommend a County Government Study Commission, or second, they could reject the Charter and recommend a County Government Study Commission. Bert Gowan moved and Hyatt Brown seconded the latter option that was unanimously approved by the Executive Committee. Fred Wills then moved to have Lou Fuchs call the Chairman of the County Commission, Mr. Fellows, to directly express the views of the Civic League with respect to the Charter. Mr. Fellows was contacted and he expressed to the League that the proposed Charter was the most voters would accept at that time. Furthermore, Mr. Fellows did not see any benefit for future meetings between League members and the Commission on the Charter proposal.
On February 15, 1969 the League's stance on the proposed Charter was reiterated in a News Journal article. Their opposition aligned the League with a citizen group known as the Volusia Citizen's Committee for a Charter Study Commission or VCCCSC. The County, the League and the VCCCSC all had their own ideas for a study committee. The county wanted a committee of 15 people, while the VCCCSC wanted 30 and League thought 21 would suffice. J. Saxton Lloyd told the News Journal that the League would submit three names from its membership for the Committee. The VCCCSC estimated the cost of the study at $30,000 with $25,000 coming from County funds and $5,000 from private contributions. The County Commission's bill did not state a dollar amount but did identify the County as the source of funds.
On June 30, 1970, the electorate of Volusia County, as proposed by the Volusia County Charter Study, adopted the Volusia County Charter. The painstaking efforts of the Civic League and other area organizations were finally realized with the Charter's approval. The Civic League could be especially proud over their fight for an effective County Manager. The Charter stated that the County Manager "has full authority for the revenues being paid to the city with the specific condition that the revenue be designated for parks, recreational facilities and cultural pursuits."
Dr. Charles Millican, President of Florida Technological University of Orlando appeared before the Civic League to discuss the causes and cures of student, social unrest. His presentation was outlined in a News Journal article on November 20, 1969. Dr. Millican divided students into four distinct types that often clashed with one another. These groups included liberal students, new left radicals, black militants and conservative whites. Dr. Millican continued to state the causes of unrest other than the obvious political and racial differences between these groups. These causes focused on the Vietnam conflict, military conscription, the civil rights movement and the failure of local and federal government to find fast solutions to social problems. Dr. Millican suggested that student unrest could be deterred by opening and maintaining a dialogue between students and the administration, and by ceasing hostilities in Vietnam.
The Civic League played a pivotal role in the development of the institutions of higher learning in the Daytona Beach area. Before relocating to Daytona, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University operated in Miami. League members went to great lengths to lure Jack Hunt and the University to the area. Consequently, the Junior Chamber of Commerce members drove thirty-six trucks to accommodate the move and the school has been a fixture of Daytona's community. Jim Huger stated the Bethune-Cookman College succeeded because of people like J. Saxton Lloyd who believed in the idea of the college and supported it by all means possible. Huger states that although the school has problems "Bethune-Cookman is going to be a viable force in education for a long, long time."
An editorial published in the News Journal on November 20, 1971 illustrated the improvement of race relations in the Daytona community. The editorial was primarily about Dr. Richard Moore, President of Bethune-Cookman College. At the annual dinner of the Civic League, the League presented its fifth distinguished service award to Dr. Moore for his efforts to make Daytona Beach a better community. Dr. Moore came to the community in 1947 when Bethune-Cookman College was a small, poorly funded institution. He transformed the college into an institution able to produce graduates capable of succeeding in a white dominated society. In 1970, when problems arose in the black community, Dr. Moore was always present, counseling black youth and removing them from trouble areas. J. Saxton Lloyd said of Dr. Moore, "While being a stalwart representative of the black community, Dr. Moore always had been able to interpret their affairs and problems so that the white community could understand them." The action of the Civic League was an important step in uniting the black and white community because it showed the community that not only could a black person succeed in a white world, but also, a black person could be recognized for their accomplishments by everyone.
The Civic League helped alleviate the rift between genders by acknowledging the extraordinary contributions that women made in the community. Ellen Black became the first women to win the Halifax Area Civic League Distinguished Service Award on November 18, 1976. Mrs. Black moved to Daytona Beach in 1930. She taught at Mainland High School for 16 years before she dedicated her life to volunteer work. In 1950 she visited her hometown of Moultrie, Georgia where she attended a speech clinic and formulated a plan for helping the handicap in the Daytona area. Since then she has traveled the nation serving on the Women's Committee of the National Society of the President's Commission of the Handicapped, the President's Committee of Employment of the Handicapped and the People to People for the Handicapped. Mrs. Black collected many awards for her volunteer work including Woman of the Year from the Palmetto Club Juniors in 1960, a volunteer award from the Georgia State College for women and an international goodwill award in 1967 from the Committee for the Handicapped of the People to People program. The reception of her award was announced in the News Journal on November 19, 1976. The article cited her achievements and listed the previous winners of the League's Distinguished Service Award.
At the February 11, 1989 Civic League Annual Banquet at the Indigo Lakes Conference Center, incoming Chairman and Community Development Director, Jim Huger, announced many of the upcoming projects of the organization. One of the most startling revelations came with the announcement about breaking the sex barrier. In an interview years after his chairmanship, Jim Huger stated that he had "suffered discrimination all along and I did not feel I wanted to be a part of anything discriminatory ...I think we need to open this League to all qualified women." Consequently, Huger asked "the membership committee to look at the acceptance of outstanding women into our organization." This would break the twenty-four year tradition of male only membership. Huger also stated that the League would devote attention to rapid population growth, transportation, water supply and sewage disposal, and jobs. In addition, the League would tackle redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown area and address decent housing and jobs for moderate to low income citizens.
On November 15, 1991, Jim Huger's vision of a non-discriminatory League came to fruition when the Civic League finally amended one of its longest standing traditions by inviting five women to be members. Chairman Jon Kaney stated, "We are very pleased to take this step in attracting to the Civic League an exciting group of community leaders. They will help the Civic League immensely in its work. We are pleased to have them join us." The five new women were Gloria Cook, Josephine Davidson, Dr. Sarah Pappas, Mary Jo Stansfield and Beebe White. All five women were highly qualified, community leaders, who willingly offered their vast knowledge and experience to the Civic League.
On March 8, 1972, the News Journal announced the Civic League's position on the School bond issue and the construction levy. At a dinner at the Danish Table Restaurant, the Civic League unanimously voted to endorse the proposed $10 million dollar bond issue and two million-dollar tax levy for Volusia County school construction. These proposals were items six and nine on the ballot for the next weeks election.
In response to the increasing crime rates of Daytona's youth, the Civic League sought solutions to alleviate this alarming trend. Consequently, at an early membership meeting in late 1973, the Civic League extended an invitation to the Boys Club of the Halifax Area, Inc. to acquaint League members with the goals and visions of their organization. Studies demonstrated that crimes perpetuated by youthful offenders often occurred due to lack of supervision and boredom. The Boys Club provided a safe, fun environment for youth that might have otherwise utilized their time on criminal mischief. On October 9, 1973, Richard Harkness, President of the Boys Club of the Halifax Area, sent a letter to J. Saxton Lloyd to discuss the financial future of the Boys Club and to solicit aid from League members. He stated that the figures presented before the League for their upcoming budget were substantially deficient and he implored Lloyd to ask the League to support the Boys Club whether it be collectively or individually.
On May 6, 1978, the Civic League received a poignant letter addressed to all members from a Volusia County citizen and educator. The author of the letter expressed concern over the School Board's actions against Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Thornblad. He suggested that they were being forced from their positions because they represented "a threat to the continuation of old practices caused by years of inbreeding." In particular, Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Thornblad threatened the power that the Volusia Educators Association held over the Volusia County School Board. The letter continued to warn League members of the inherent danger for all Volusia County educators if the Volusia Educators Association was permitted to monopolize the power over the School Board. The author of the letter implored the Civic League to denounce the action of the Volusia Educators Association; however, no specific course of action was recommended.
On February 6, 1980, Thomas T. Cobb wrote a letter to the Civic League Executive Committee in respect to the criminal justice complex. In the letter, Cobb asked the Committee for a special meeting to discuss the project or forgo the meeting if the League decided not to take a position on the matter. On February 11, 1980, Cobb received a letter from Community Development Director, James E. Huger. Mr. Huger apologized for not being able to attend the special meeting scheduled for February 14, but he did express his desire to have the Courthouse Annex built in the downtown area because of its easy accessibility and enhancement of the downtown improvement program. In addition, Huger supported approval of the bond issue because paying for the jail over a three-year period would be too great a tax burden on the citizens.
The bond issue that Huger referred to was the Criminal Justice Center Bond Referendum. This referendum included provisions to build a new constitutional jail, judicial facility and public safety operations center. The cost of the project would be $35 million. It was decided that a General Obligation Bond would be used at a 7% interest rate over a twenty-year period. In addition, the Indian Lake Road site was chosen because of its centralized location and the County already owned the land. The proposed advantages of the new Criminal Justice Center included a cost effective, Constitutionally and structurally safe jail. In addition, judicial expansion was necessary because the judicial circuit's caseload was up over 40% since 1977. In general, the complex would allow for greater efficiency in cost, communication and time management.
On November 20, 1980, James E. Huger sent a letter to Chairman Thomas T. Cobb. This letter focused on released prisoners and the assistance in the community available to facilitate their resettlement into society. Huger stated that he checked with the Correctional Officer in Volusia County, the head of HRS and many other organizations only to find that the Salvation Army was the only organization designed to help released prisoners in Volusia County, and that, was only for one night. Huger respectfully asked the Civic League to draft a request to the Legislative Delegation for review of the problem and possible solutions. On January 23,1981 the News Journal published an article on the Civic League's position on prison reform. The League urged the Volusia legislature to take prison reform seriously because rehabilitation did not exist within the present system. The League suggested that one solution would be the creation of "halfway houses to ease a criminal's return to society."
The Civic League's fight for prison reform continued into April of 1981. On April 10, 1981, the Civic League passed a resolution asking state and county officials to "cease counterproductive programs, policies and attitudes which have contributed to a breakdown in our criminal justice system and, as soon as possible, begin programs which contribute to genuine rehabilitation of criminals." Civic League Chairman George Boone said more should be done to aid ex-convicts in our society. Boone also said the resolution was for businessmen in hope of soliciting their aid in the hiring of ex-convicts. The League members wanted state officials to appropriate funds for better rehabilitation programs that would be recovered by a lower recidivism rate. On April 12, 1981, the News Journal ran an editorial on the Civic League's resolution. The editorial fully supported the Civic League's attempt to relieve the crime problem in Volusia County and the State of Florida as well.
The Civic League has always expressed great concern over the safety of Daytona's beaches. The Volusia Interlocal Beach Commission (VIBC) was established on December 20, 1983 to monitor beach safety and issues related to Volusia County beaches. On July 1, 1985, the VIBC, under the Chairmanship of Kurt Massfeller, convened a special meeting to discuss recommendations for uniform beach safety. The proposed recommendations included a controversial proposal to prohibit vehicular traffic on Volusia County beaches within three to five years. In the meantime, the VIBC wanted to institute a traffic management plan which would permit single lane beach parking to the West of two North-South traffic lanes. Areas to the East of the traffic lanes and soft sand areas were for non-vehicular, recreational use only. In addition, the VIBC called for traffic free zones to deter beach cruising and the placement of caution signs to warn pedestrians of the lack of complete, supervised traffic control. The VIBC also proposed to ban nighttime driving, and enforce all beach regulations sternly.
At the Civic League regular membership meeting on July 19, 1985, the League devoted most of their attention to the issues discussed in the report by the VIBC. Frank Gummey and Jonathan Kaney were the two speakers. Gummey, Daytona Beach City Attorney, spoke of the legal aspects concerning beach safety and liability. He stated that he himself favored driving on the beach; however, the city was liable for accidents caused by uninsured motorist. Jonathan Kaney, of the Beach Commission, talked about the image and economics of the beach. He noted that the image of Daytona Beach was "sleazy" and this image forced beachfront motel rates down. The meeting then continued with a synopsis of the VIBC's report followed by an economic appraisal of the feasibility of their recommendations. This appraisal was not optimistic with costs running into the millions, and the Commission's lack of budgetary power. In addition, many smaller communities, such as Ponce Inlet and Daytona Beach Shores, did not approve of the report. The meeting ended with a question and answer period that raised many interesting points. These points included Police concern over A1A overcrowding if beach access was denied to cars and the cost of insurance and litigation if a city decided to self-insure.
On October 1, 1985, J. Saxton Lloyd sent a letter to League Chairman Peter B. Heebner. In the letter, Lloyd expressed his appreciation for the efficiency of Highway Patrolman Robert L. Vogel in his efforts to interdict the trafficking of illegal narcotics. In addition, Lloyd suggested that Patrolman Vogel be presented an award at the next membership meeting. At the next Executive Committee meeting on October 23, 1985, Lloyd reiterated his view on Vogel and asked the members to recognize his achievements. On a motion by Jim Huger, the members voted to present a plaque and a check for one hundred dollars to Patrolman Vogel. On November 22, 1985, at the regular membership meeting, Chairman Heebner presented the award to Highway Patrolman Vogel.
On March 21, 1986, the Civic League Executive Committee met to discuss the School Bond Construction issues. Dr. Surratt, Superintendent of Volusia County Schools, spoke on the importance of supporting the $115 million project. The plan called for the construction of six new primary schools, two new middle schools and two new high schools. The new construction would total $56,361,853. The rest of the funds would be utilized for remodeling, computer equipment, maintenance and replacement buses. Dr. Epley then gave a detailed explanation of the financing and expected results of such a massive undertaking. This plan called for financing by selling bonds, which would be repaid from taxes called “voted mileage”, and other money would come from the capital improvement tax. In the bond report, the School Board assured that the bond issue would not raise taxes. The Civic League meeting concluded with a motion to support the bond issue. This motion was passed unanimously and Chairman Heebner said that he would ask the Executive Committee to support the issue with funds at the next meeting. On April 15, 1986, Chairman Heebner publicly announced the League's support of the bond issue and on April 18; the News Journal published this announcement.
Mrs. Herbert Kerman, President of the League of Women Voters of Volusia County, sent a letter to J. Saxton Lloyd on November 12, 1970. In the letter, Mrs. Kerman informed Lloyd that the League of Women Voters was an organization "based on the premise that our form of government requires an informed citizenry." She continued by listing the activities of the Voters League for the year of 1970. These activities included the support of the County Charter, informing voters on candidate platforms and providing explanations on proposed State Constitution amendments. In addition, she added that the latest election proved the need for a more informed voting public. She justified her argument with the fact that only 28,900 of the 78,500 registered voters, voted for the at-large candidates for the new County Council. She ended by thanking Lloyd and the Civic League for their tireless effort on the Charter campaign.
On October 20, 1976, Thomas T. Cobb wrote a letter to Donald Holton in reference to Holton's question concerning resident requirements for City Commissioners. Cobb stated that the law was quite clear on the matter. He said laws requiring City Commissioners to be residents "are universally held to be constitutional and valid."
The danger of power politics reared its head in early May 1978 in respect to the City Commission's decision to fire Police Chief, Phillip Ash. On May 5, 1978, the Civic League sent a letter to Mayor Lawrence Kelley and the City Commission, expressing the League's concern and outrage over the firing. The League thought that Phillip's dismissal was a return to the oppressive power politics prominent in the 1950's and 1960's. "We believe that the affairs of Daytona Beach should be administered by the finest professional people available. Only in this way will we leave behind us our legacy of government by crony and the consequent high-handed disregard of the public interest." This letter was published in the News Journal on May 6, 1978, along with an article discussing Ash and the community's protest to his dismissal. The article stated that several organizations and individuals were circulating petitions to be sent to the City Commission. In addition, the article highlighted Ash's accomplishment as an effective, efficient Police Chief who narrowed the racial gap in Daytona Beach.
On February 25, 1983, the Civic League passed a resolution to ask the Volusia Legislative Delegation to "appoint a study commission for consolidation of the local government problems existing in the Halifax area." League President Jay Adams suggested that the resolution also called for a report by the study commission by January 1, 1984. This same resolution was adopted earlier by the Daytona Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Daytona Beach Mayor Larry Kelly and City Manager Howard Tipton. Opposition to political unification came from elected officials in Daytona Beach Shores, Holly Hill, Ponce Inlet and South Daytona. Adams asked that the commission be fair and responsible to all parties involved and called for public hearings in which all constituencies would be represented. Democratic State Senator Ed Dunn of Ormond Beach stated that such a commission could be useful but he warned that the participants should be "independent and not enter its research tasks with preconceived opinions." Dunn said he would take action if the commission satisfied three criteria. The findings would have to show that consolidation would save taxes, improve government services and demonstrate "grass root" support for consolidation.
At a Civic League Membership meeting on March 22, 1984, the League once again tackled the issue of city unification. After hearing speeches by David Monaco, chair of the Charter Drafting Committee, and Bob Martin, Chair of the Halifax Unity Group, League members voted on a motion by Tom Cobb to have League President Pete Heebner notify the Volusia Legislative Delegation of the League's decision to support the recently drafted charter. Martin stated that it was time for consolidation supporters to commit to their cause and contribute to the fundraising drive. Unfortunately, the efforts of the League and other organizations supporting consolidation were not realized as it failed to win approval. J. Saxton Lloyd wrote to Mr. W. Lockwood Burt, Chairman of the Charter Study Committee. He thanked Burt for his tireless efforts and begged him not to be discouraged by the outcome. Lloyd concluded by saying that other community problems awaited and he hoped Burt could enthusiastically attack them.
After hearing a speech by Dr. T. Wayne Bailey, a Stetson University professor and Chairman of the County Charter Committee, the Civic League decided to endorse all five Charter amendments. These five amendments include: unify beach management under control of the County, creation of a growth management commission, strengthening county powers over the environment and changes to ease the marketing of bond issues. Bailey was optimistic for the amendments' chances because of the support in DeLand and Daytona Beach. Bailey concluded by stating that the November ballot was full of state and local proposals for amending the state constitution, therefore, the Charter amendments could easily fall through the cracks. It was important for an organization like the Civic League to support such changes so that the Charter issue received the proper attention.
Since 1965, City Commissioners were voted on a citywide basis. In early July 1991, Mayor Larry Kelly told the Commission that he placed the citywide vs. single district voting on the agenda for the July 10, 1991 meeting. Mayor Kelly said he was supporting the referendum because of the complaint by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the citywide voting weakened minority political power. Kelly suggested; however, that the referendum be placed on the November 3, 1992 ballot because the national election would insure greater participation. Willie Wright, Chair of the NAACP committee to study the issue, commended the Mayor's views, but he did not think the time frame was acceptable. Wright suggested that the vote be taken as soon as possible. Mayor Kelly solicited the aid of the Civic League to help enlist support. League Chairman, Jon Kaney, stated that the League would serve as a neutral moderator at public forums to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of single district voting. On July 10, 1991, the Commission passed the first reading of the plan. A public hearing and final reading of the plan was scheduled for July 24, 1991. Mayor Kelly once again reiterated his call for a massive public education on the plan with the aid of the Civic League. A July 16, 1991 News Journal article expressed the NAACP's challenge of the 1992 vote. They called for a 1991 vote and rejected Mayor Kelly's use of the Civic League as a moderator because of the League's limited membership.
In March of 1977, Democratic Senator Ed Dunn from Ormond Beach authored a bill that proposed a statewide "local option" resort tax which would allow for a raise of up to 2 percent for transient rentals in any Florida county wishing to do so. At a dinner at the Pump House Restaurant, Dunn addressed Civic League members about his bill. He assured the members that the revenues from the tax could be utilized for tourist activities, area advertising and for payments on a convention-civic center. As to the chances for the Bill's approval, Dunn said, "There's a distinct possibility that a tax of this sort may be considered favorably." Dunn also stated that the chance of success for the bill would be increased if the Area Hotel Association would take a neutral position. League members indicated that the Association had recently favored the bill and put forth $500 for the bill's promotion. In addition, the League unanimously voted to support the bill and contribute $500 to publicize the bill.
In December, 1979, the Daytona Beach area faced a potentially devastating economic blow as Bill France threatened to move the Daytona 500 and the Firecracker 400 auto races to different tracks because of a tax dispute. On December 10, 1979, Bill France, Governor Bob Graham and Civic League representatives met to discuss the restoration of the speedway's tax exempt leasehold status. Although no specifics were announced about the meeting, Governor Graham said he was interested in keeping the speedway in Florida. The Daytona Beach Area Chamber of Commerce also came out in support of France by voting to maintain the speedway's tax exempt status. Chamber President Bill Crotty said: "We cannot sit idly by and have our biggest asset disappear." Tom Staed, motel owner and chamber governor, stated that the motel industry was vital to Daytona's economy and likewise the speedway is critical to area motel's success. Staed and another chamber member estimated that the speedway brought $40 to $50 million to the local economy. France commented that the tax structure for recreational facilities throughout the state were unfair and when asked if he would enter into an agreement with the state he said, "I'd have to say a contract with an agency in the state of Florida isn't worth the paper it's written on."
On August 27, 1980, J. Saxton Lloyd sent a letter to Thomas A. Murphy, Chairman of the General Motors Corporation. The letter consisted of a description of the Civic League membership and community status, along with an invitation for Murphy to make the principal address at the League's Annual Dinner Meeting. On September 22, 1980, Mr. Murphy replied to Lloyd that he was looking forward to attending the meeting on December 4, 1980. The League's Annual Dinner Meeting was held at Club Indigo with Mr. Murphy and retiring State Representative J. Hyatt Brown in attendance. Mr. Murphy's speech consisted of a call for the "rebirth of American individualism and self reliance." He pointed to the recent elections as demonstrative of the move toward less government. In addition, he spoke of the trend of protectionism in the automotive industry and discouraged this practice because it did not promote free enterprise or individualism around the world. After Mr. Murphy's speech, outgoing League Chairman Thomas T. Cobb presented a plaque to J. Hyatt Brown for his eight years of service to Volusia County and Florida as House leader and legislator.
J. Saxton Lloyd was honored at the Civic League Annual Dinner Meeting on January 8, 1982 at the Indigo Country Club. Lloyd, caught by surprise, received a plaque in honor of his dedication and achievements in the Civic League. In addition to the plaque, Lloyd was named chairman emeritus of the Civic League. Prior to Lloyd's surprise award, Lloyd presented a distinguished community service award to Walter B. Booth. Booth, a general electric executive, was one of the original 35 members and secretary of the Civic League. Lloyd described Booth as "a man who always has accepted responsibilities far beyond those expected of him." The guest speaker at the dinner was the new President of the University of Florida, Dr. Robert Q. Marston. Dr. Marston focused on the educational accomplishments and future of the University. He stated that the University was experiencing an explosion in the knowledge of science. In addition, he talked about the quality of both the faculty and student population at the University of Florida.
J. Saxton Lloyd served as Chairman of the Florida Advertising Commission in the 1940's. As Chairman he noticed that the majority of the tourist noted the beaches as their primary interest. This attitude prevailed all the way up to the early 1980's. On March 1, 1982, Lloyd sent a letter to Mr. Jack L. Mullin that discussed the recent trend of the name "Daytona" instead of the proper name "Daytona Beach." Lloyd suggested that this improper use of the City's name was damaging to the community. He verified this inconsistency by citing a Halifax Magazine article by Pat Little that used the name "Daytona" forty-three times. Lloyd concluded the letter by stating that the community's image would be improved if the proper name was utilized.
On January 17, 1987, Tom Cobb was shocked as J. Saxton Lloyd presented him with the Civic League's Distinguished Service Award. He modestly accepted the award as Lloyd spoke of Cobb's character:
There are those citizens who live among us who serve simply by being there. They are the ones who because of their innate decency and integrity are the natural allies of all that is good and constructive... They are those whose position on and public matter can be predetermined by whether that matter will serve the public good or, conversely, serve the principal gains of an individual or group.
The article went on about Cobb's life and achievements including his service in the Florida Legislature, membership in the Florida Bar of Examiners, and directorship of The News-Journal Corporation and First Atlantic Bank.
The Daytona International Speedway has strongly impacted the economy of the Greater Daytona Beach area for decades. On May 22, 1987, John Riddle, General Manager of the Daytona International Speedway Corporation, appeared before the Civic League to discuss the impact of the Speedway on the economy. Riddle emphasized the popularity of auto racing across the United States and the world. In 1986, auto racing drew the attendance of over 70,000,000 fans. The Daytona 500 alone drew 130,000 race fans. Riddle estimated that all the Speedway racing events in 1987 would attract 500,000 fans. In addition to speedway fans, auto racing on television, radio and in newspapers attracts a huge following. In 1984, 130,000,000 viewers watched the Daytona 500. The League members were impressed with the statistics and the importance of the Speedway was all the more realized.
On January 20, 1990, the Civic League of the Halifax Area celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary at the Indigo Conference Center. The program consisted of a short biographical essay on the life and accomplishments of J. Saxton Lloyd. Also, the founder of the Daytona International Speedway, William Henry Getty France, received a lengthy monogram on his entrance into the auto racing business and his ability to make auto racing a success in Daytona Beach. The program concluded with a brief well-written essay on the History of the Civic League of the Halifax Area. The tribute to Lloyd and France continued on January 21,1990 in a News Journal article which once again highlighted their career and community achievements. The article also spoke of the foundation of the League and the important community functions the League has performed.
In April of 1992, the Civic League gave its endorsement of a proposal by the Checkered Flag Committee to rename U.S. 92, International Speedway Boulevard within the city limits. League Chairman Jon Kaney stated the benefits of such a change, "After a convenient transition period, more than 500 businesses along this thoroughfare will benefit from the recognition as neighbors who live on the same street as the Speedway." The proposal was set to go before the Board of the Chamber, whereby if receiving a favorable vote, Mayor Kelly would place it before the Planning Board and the City Commission.
On January 23, 1993, Mary Jo Stansfield was presented the League's highest honor as she received the prestigious J. Saxton Lloyd Distinguished Community Service Award. She received the award "in recognition and appreciation for a full life of dedicated community service." Mrs. Stansfield served: as Chairman of the Halifax Medical Center Board of Commissioners, on the Board of Directors of WCEU Channel 15, on the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce, on the State Democratic Executive Committee, the Volusia County Women's Network and the Daytona Beach Community College Advisory Committee on Vocational/Technical Education. She stated that she wanted healthcare and health insurance more accessible to the people. In addition, Mrs. Stansfield wanted to reduce medical cost by avoiding duplication of services.