FROM HON J R MIZELL—THE JUDGE KNOWS AND HE TELLS WHAT HE KNOWS.
March 4, 1893
Meeting Hon. J. R. Mizell on the street a day or so since our Reporter asked him a few questions and received answers as follows:
Judge, what do you think of the attempt at present bring made to have the legislature re-incorporate Winter Park?
“I can see no ground for stirring up this question, nor can I see how the petitioners can hope for a minutes consideration before the Legisture. In the first place the claim that they wish to have the lines straightened is not an issue, for the present. Town officials and their associates originally projected the lines perfectly straight and square and only adopted the present crooked lines as the best that could be done at the time. They have ever since stood ready and are today anxious to straighten the lines on a square honest basis but not on the outrageous gerrymander which this petition sets up. If the gentlemen on the petition will agree to an honest squaring of the boundaries they will encounter no opposition from a single member of the present Town government or their associates.”
–You know, Judge, that the petitioners claim that they have a majority of the white vote, that they represent a majority of the taxable property in the Town and that in fact, they constitute “the people—?”
“Well that is all stuff, of the 41 on the petition, but 14 have ever voted here and I can see but very few more that probably ever will. The total taxes collected by the Town this year amount to about $2500 of which the petitioners pay less than $250, or counting all taxes paid by the petitioners and their wives only amounts to about $340, or only a trifle over one tenth of the total. The present Town government always have had and still have the support of a majority of the shite voters as well as a vast majority of the monied interests of the Town.”
It is claimed by some of the petitioners that they can certainly appeal to a Democratic Legislature from a Democratic standpoint and win — what do you think of that?
“I do not think it can be made a matter of polities at all for, of the above mentioned voters, 3 are Prohibitionist, 4 are Republicans and 6 are Democrats, while on the other side are some of the staunchest Democrats in the county as well as representatives of the other parties. No, honors – politically – are still in favor of the present government and that regardless of which political party you refer to.”
What do you think of the charge that they present government has misappropriated the funds?
“It is only necessary to refer to the gentlemen controlling the present government to refute so vile a slander. Henry S. Chubb, the Mayor, is a widely known as any man in our community and wherever known he is trusted and honored for his integrity. J.S. Capen, President of the Council, has represented interests here for the past ten years larger than the combined interests here of all the petitioners and a man writes himsels down a fool or a knave who would try to cast the slightest suspicion on his honesty or integrity: A. McCullum, for the past year chairman of the Finance Committee, needs no defense at my hands, his character is spotless. Dr. Eager, C.H. Ward, S. S. Capen, do you pretend to tell me that anybody here seriously attempts to attack their character or impugn their motives? It’s too ridiculous for a moments notice. Then the man that has charge of the Town funds, Mr. Henry Huntington, a man who has handled the cash box of large corporations and institutions all his life, who is at present the efficient and trusted Treasurer of Rollins College, stands on a perfectly impregnable rock of integrity and honor from which the efforts of his detractors to dislodge. —-Are silly and stupid. Marshall Butler, too, is kuown for his strict honesty and so of the whole official board it can be said that there is neither shadow of suspicion nor tinge of dishonesty in the whole party.”
What do you think will be the effect of this petition on Winter Park and its prosperity?
“To say the least I think it childish, spleenish and ill-advised. It will result in large expenditures of money by both sides, it will increase our taxes, deter people from settling or investing here, decrease values, embitter neighbors and result in no good but plenty of bad effects.”
As the Judge stepped into Mr. Maxson’s to purchase a Times Union he said, “I sincerely hope that our Legislature will not allow this matter to become a law and thus use theis influence to commit a grevious wrong and to favor a very unpemocratic measure.”