The proposal to give a decision on historical monuments to voters passes 1st reading to the city council
JACKSONVILLE, Florida. —A proposal that would give Jacksonville voters the final say on whether to take down historic landmarks, including one in particular tied to the Confederacy, was presented to the city council at its Tuesday night meeting.
Confederate monuments have been a topic of debate in the city for years. Councilman Al Ferraro is sponsoring the bill.
Historical landmarks, the bill would apply to include The Southern Confederacy Women’s Tribute, which depicts a woman reading to two children, was funded and erected by the Florida Division of the United Confederate Veterans. It sits in what used to be called Confederate Park until it was recently renamed Springfield Park.
A mayoral bill to remove the statue was voted down by city council last year, in part because of the cost. If approved, the new bill would ask voters to decide what to do and find their way to the November ballot.
Public comment time was shortened at Tuesday’s council meeting because so many people wanted to talk about issues primarily involving Confederate monuments.
“I don’t want any money going to these groups to tell us we don’t need the monuments,” Fred Singletary said. “Save the history, keep the monuments, hold on and do what we have to do. Let the people vote on it.
“People have to vote on everything despite what it is,” said Caroline Ferrera.
“It’s time for the city to keep its word and take down these objectionable statues,” said Terry Neal.
“Now is the time to do what is right and take them all down,” Hope McMath told the council.
The Northside Coalition and other activist groups have advocated for the removal of Confederate monuments in Jacksonville.
“I think Ferraro’s proposal is both cowardly and dangerous,” said Ben Frazier, the group’s chairman. “This government has dithered and kicked the streets for the past two years.”
Others argued for the new bill to let people vote on whether to remove them or leave them.
“Let the people make the decision,” Saber Newsome said. “It’s been going on too long. The city council has more issues to focus on.
Last month, city councilor Matt Carlucci, introduced a bill which asks the mayor, council and city administrators to develop a plan and timetable for removing the monuments. On Tuesday evening, Carlucci announced that he was postponing the bill for the time being.
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