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And Now You Know: 1954: Two Elections in Orange, much confusion

Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

In the summer of 1954, there were two elections being discussed in Orange. There were many questions and much confusion about both.

The Orange city council, sometimes referred to as the City Commission had been discussing implementing the city manager form of government. In order to do this, there had to be an election giving the citizens of Orange the opportunity to vote on the proposal.

The Citizens Group for Better Government had been formed to present to the city council a proposed election order. As requested by the city council there had been blank spaces where there should have been designated polling places, election judges, and clerks.

Questions and confusion arose as to why the council had only set up four voting boxes. “There was nothing said or done at the meeting and nothing has been said or done since to indicate that either the council or citizen’s group wanted or intended to deprive any voter or group of voters the right to have their say about the proposed charter amendments,” reported the Leader.

There were concerns about the distance voters in Riverside would have to travel to cast their votes. Voters in Norwood Manor, Clairmont, and Wren Park would have to travel farther and voters in Roselawn even farther.

The Citizens Group asked for a special meeting of the city council to increase the number of polling places so that the voters whether they lived in Riverside or Roselawn would have less difficulty in casting their votes. Attorneys had started searching the statutes to determine if additional voting boxes could be set legally set up. If so, they will be provided.

Another point of confusion was that there were more than the proposed charter amendment dealing with the city manager form of government on the ballot.

Petitions had been presented asking that only the proposal for city manager be on the ballot.

Individual members of the city council felt that changes in the 40-year-old city charter needed to be made and that was why three other propositions had been placed on the ballot.

The other election being discussed was an election to vote on the incorporation of Brownwood and Oaklawn as the City of North Orange.

John H. Johnson, a resident of Brownwood wrote a letter to the Leader about that election.

He wrote, “In reference to a writeup that your paper carried on June 11 concerning a Brownwood citizen’s views of the forthcoming voting on whether or not the citizens of Brownwood and Oaklawn incorporate into a city, I would like to say this….this citizen expressed a wish to hear the con side of the question. If he hasn’t attended the meetings and expressed his views and asked his questions, it is his own fault. From information I have received he has attended only one meeting, the last one. As for his worrying about the $500 fee we are paying Mr. Young (attorney John O. Young) to have the petition and plat drawn up, this expenditure was voted on and unanimously approved at the meetings. The money has already been voluntarily contributed and paid by the generous and interested citizens of this area.

In conclusion let me point out that this isn’t specifically an incorporation vote. This is a move to have the citizens of Brownwood and Oaklawn additions express their view and desires at the polls as to whether or not they wish to incorporate or stay as they are and take a chance on being taken into the city involuntarily. It is up to each citizen to vote as they see fit.”

The elections were held. The city manager form of government passed and was implemented in the City of Orange.

As to the other election, Brownwood and Oaklawn did not incorporate into the City of North Orange. They were annexed and became part of the City of Orange.

“And now you know.”