During a Jacksonville press gaggle Tuesday, Mayor Lenny Curry warned of “chatter” heard by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in the wake of Council President Anna Brosche‘s proposal to remove Confederate monuments.
Curry comments came during questions to Gov. Rick Scott and him regarding the proposed removal of these monuments — a proposal fraught with controversy locally, with that controversy even extending to the Council.
“I do think it’s important when we talk about public safety to recognize that how this is pursued in our community is important,” Curry said.
“I get briefed by the Sheriff regularly. I can tell you right now from discussions with him, based on Council’s wanting to outright say they want to remove these — there’s chatter from these outside groups. People in Charlottesville are already talking about coming to Jacksonville. We want to keep those groups out of our city, and we want to work together as a community to have a civil discourse.”
“I’m not proposing we remove these monuments,” Curry said. “Certainly, if the public wants to have that conversation — now the Council President has said this is her priority to remove them.”
“I urge the Council to have that discussion, that debate, Whatever they decide, I’ll evaluate it when it lands on my desk at that time,” Curry said, refraining from a commitment to sign or veto the bill when asked.
Council President Brosche addressed Curry’s comments later Tuesday afternoon, saying that she’s “kicked off a process for defining an orderly and respectful solution for consideration by the Council and Mayor. I hope the community can allow that process to work.”
Gov. Scott said that Florida’s “representative governments” should “discuss and review” these monuments.
“At the local level,” Scott said, “they can make a decision.”
The same holds true for the state and federal level.
“We need to go through a process where everybody comes together, makes a decision, then we go forward. My goal is that we are unifiers … that hatred, bigotry, racism should not be part of our society. In regard to monuments,” Scott said, “that decision should be made through a local process.”
“Our state comes together … we have to be the best melting pot in the world … we get together in our state. We solve problems in our state,” Scott said, urging trust in the “process,” one which includes the Mayor.