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'Townies Go Home': Sticker causing controversy in Jax Beach

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Updated: 7/05/2013 9:30 am
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A new campaign to kick visitors out of Jacksonville Beach is getting some heat on July 4.

An Action News viewer sent us a picture of a local stop sign with a sticker stating “Townies Go Home.” It's one of many plastered across Jacksonville Beach.

“It's a couple of people with really a half-baked idea that just really disservices our community," said Mayor Charlie Latham.

Police say they arrested Jason Swanson and Matthew Sugden-Kirsch for allegedly placing dozens of stickers around town prior to Thursday's July Fourth festivities. The two were arrested for criminal mischief.

Mayor Charlie Latham says it sends the wrong message to visitors and can ultimately hurt the bottom line of local beach businesses.

“It sends a really nasty message that doesn't reflect the feelings of the people who live and work here and the business owners as we very much appreciate everyone coming to Jacksonville Beach," said Latham.

JK Brown and his wife agree this could hurt business, but say quote "townies" can bring trouble. “Dumping all their ashtrays before they leave. Their empty bottles, cans, broken glass, people's private property, that's why locals get infuriated," said Brown.

Meantime Mayor Latham says his coastal community reaches far beyond 22,000 people and visitors are always welcome.

“Whoever's doing it, I would really appreciate it if you'd stop,” said Latham.

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