Jax Confederate controversy simmers, City Council President dithers - Florida Politics

Jax Confederate controversy simmers, City Council President dithers

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche requested an inventory of the city’s Confederate monuments from the Parks Department, and it was provided this week.

What it reveals: three monuments, put in place between 1898 and 1926; and eight historic markers.

The monuments include the Confederate Monument in Hemming Park, the ‘Monument to the Women of the Southland’ in Confederate Park in Springfield, and a Confederate Memorial Services grandstand at the Old City Cemetery.

The historical markers are on the Northbank Riverwalk, Walter Jones Park in Mandarin, the Old City Cemetery, the Prime Osborn Convention Center, Lenox Ave. near Cedar Creek (memorializing a “skirmish”), Confederate Park, and Camp Milton Historic Preserve.

While removal or relocation is certainly possible, the question of practicability has been a thornier proposition … one made thornier by a lack of unstinting advocates on Council for that.

A week after ordering the inventory, Brosche amended her position — saying that removal of the monuments was but one of many options.

We asked Brosche her thoughts on the way forward for monuments: her thoughts on where the process should go (more public comment? removal? recontextualization?), as well as her thoughts on a referendum about the future of those monuments.

“My ability to answer your questions has been mortally wounded, AG,” Brosche wrote, alluding to a column that suggested that her Council Presidency had been “mortally wounded” by the Confederate cenotaph conundrum.

While that certainly is a quotable line, it is an inconclusive one in terms of what is ahead: the Jacksonville City Council will enter September gearing up for another pitched debate on the Confederate monument issue, with the Council President having yet to provide direction for a debate she catalyzed.

Debate in August sprawled out over three hours, with pitched emotions on both sides, as well as an unusual amount of commenters from out of town … on the heels of what the Mayor called “chatter” from extremist groups.

Council veteran Bill Gulliford asserts that much of this drama could have been avoided.

Gulliford “knew this would be divisive,” given the way Brosche broached the topic “in the heat of the moment, with Charlottesville” and other events around the country heating up the discourse.

Gulliford asserted that a more proper course of action would have been an email setting up a noticed meeting to discuss the issue, to hear comments, and to move forward in a calm manner.

Gulliford asserts that this may have been avoided by a Council President — such as his preferred candidate, John Crescimbeni — who had “more than two years of experience.”

“This is not like private enterprise,” Gulliford said, noting that even after years in the political arena, he learns about the job and the process every day.

Where should Brosche go from here? Gulliford has a theory regarding a potential course correction — namely, that Brosche going “silent” on the issue may be the best way forward.

“She’s gotten her inventory,” Gulliford notes, and has “certainly backed off legislation.”

And without a push for legislation, what is left?

“I certainly don’t want three hour public hearings,” Gulliford noted, as they “allow extremists on both sides of the issue” to dominate the discourse.

Gulliford wants a “reasonable, objective debate.”

However, what is more likely: a devolution into the kind of fevered discourse that typified Jacksonville’s debate over LGBT rights expansion, one that sprawled over five years and was driven in large part by voices from outside Duval County.

13 Comments

  1. Now that was a well written article, not biased on either side. One way Ms. Brosche can solve this problem which she created if she continues to want the monuments moved from their current location, is to, let the registered voters of Jacksonville , Florida, vote on it, and two, if not that, then put up a monument or monuments to famous African Americans from Jacksonville, in Hemming Park, so that the park will have more diversity.

  2. A PUSH TO REMOVE A MURAL OF A COMMUNIST REVOLUTIONIST IN JACKSONVILLE HAS BEGUN……

    This mural, painted on an abandoned silo in the Jacksonville shipyards, is of a self descibed socialist(communist) revolutionist that is a driving force behind many of the attacks against our local law enforcement officers and one of the leaders of the “Take’em Down Jax” movement, that is campaigning to have our veteran memorials removed from public spaces.

    What is Marxism-Leninism?

    Developed in the 19th century jointly by two lifelong German friends living in London – Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) – it forms the foundation of communism.

    Marxism–Leninism follows the ideas of Marxism and Leninism according to Lenin’s successor Joseph Stalin. It seeks to establish a vanguard party, to lead proletarian uprising, assume state power on behalf of the proletariat, and create a single party socialist state. The socialist state, representing a dictatorship of the proletariat is governed through the process of democratic centralism, which Vladimir Lenin described as “diversity in discussion, unity in action.” It remains the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam, and was the official ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc.

    And the people of Jacksonville are forced to look at this image of a COMMUNIST being glorified in a work of art. This movement to erase images and memorials that offend others can go both ways.

    I have contacted the land owner of these silos and will be petitioning to have this image removed from public view.

    WE THE PEOPLE…. should not be subjected to the images of communism in our city.

    #NoMarism #NoCommunism

    1. I stand behind President Brosche, 100%.

      This discussion was not a knee-jerk reaction to Charlottesville. We’ve been talking about it for quite a while. In fact, I personally discussed it in public comment before Charlottesville even happened.

      President Brosche’s decision to begin the inventory, and propose subsequent legislation, was absolutely the right thing to do. As she said, it is time for Jacksonville to have this discussion.

      I commend her for leading Jacksonville forward, towards a brighter future. A future that not just some of us, but all of us, can take pride in.

      As for Gulliford’s remark regarding “extremists” on both sides, I’m not sure which debate he was listening to. The people in favor of removing the monuments are seeking a legal process to relocate them to a museum. No one has advocated for vandalism or destruction of any monuments in Jacksonville.

      We are not extremists. We are merely asking the members of the council to stand up for what’s right, and to listen to the voices of the marginalized folks in this city.

    2. Gary, don’t you have more pressing matters to concern yourself with, like your upcoming court date after your arrest for affray aka inciting a riot? Your arrest that happened in Tampa where you now live? Leave Jacksonville alone and find a productive hobby, you big weirdo!

    3. Take it down! No room in this city, or this country, for communists/socialists that want to destroy us.

  3. Love it when dear sweet white supremacist Gary presumes to teach anyone anything…

    The confederate monuments are patently racist (mostly put up during Jim Crow and in reaction to the Civil Rights movement). They gotta come down, and they will.

  4. President Brosche stepped out of her comfort zone to suggest the confederate memorials and markers be inventoried. She is an intelligent woman. She knew there would be blow back. I admire her for taking that step. I think it was a moral decision, not a political one. I hope that, as the council reviews particularly how these came to be, they will discover that their presence slanders the history of many people that call Jacksonville their home. They also tell visitors that come to our beautiful city what we do, and do not, choose to revere.

  5. Thank you President Broche. The confederate names plastered all over our public properties are insulting and degrading to our African American citizens and their heritage. Andrew Jackson is insulting to our Native Americans and African Americans. History will shine on you and your family when you look back on this time.

  6. LET THE REGISTERED VOTERS OF JACKSONVILLE, ALL 580,000 OF THEM DECIDED THE FATE OF THE CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY. WHOM WOULD DISAGREE WITH THAT FAIR PROCESS, OH, UNLESS YOUR THE MINORITY WHO SAYS A MEMORIAL TO DEAD SOLDIERS OFFENDS YOU, OOPS.

  7. The implication that only out of towners have a skin in the game is false. Ever since the election results we’ve seen a grass roots local movement around this issue and many others growing.

    We applaud Anna Brosche for having the guts to tackle a divisive issue head on instead of punting because it’s less politically risky.

    We elect representatives to actually work through the difficult issues. If Gulliford doesn’t like it he can return to private enterprise where he can fire people he doesn’t like.

    The council was elected to work for us and we will hold them accountable to do so.

  8. The idea that the HRO was pushed by outside forces of absurd. Yes, there were people from outside Duval County that helped but expansion of the HRO was a grassroots Jacksonville movement. Jacksonville has one of the largest LGBT communities in the nation and it is about time we followed other major cities into the 21st Century by protecting all of our residents.

    As for the Confederate monuments, they do not belong on city property. Put them in a museum where they belong!

  9. It would be nice if Jacksonville showed some backbone and leadership and rejected the hateful efforts to demonize Southern history. There is not one monument that extolls the virtues of slavery, or of racism. In fact, many blacks fought for the Confederacy, as did Mexicans, Asians, and Indians. When you disparage the history of the South, you disparage all of these cultures. The Confederacy is still honored in other, more enlightened countries, such as Brazil, a former slave country that still finds room to honor all cultures and histories. It is ironic that the nation which extolls virtue, freedom, liberty, knowledge, enlightenment is one which adopts the methods of ISIS, Hitler and Stalin and attempts to sterilize and change its history to be “acceptable”. Leave the monuments alone, and let people learn for themselves what they mean. That’s what history is about.

  10. Nat Glover was elected as the first African American Sheriff in 1995 and reelected in 1999, in Jacksonville. Alvin Brown was elected as the first African American Mayor in Jacksonville in 2011. Barack Obama was elected as the first African American President in 2008, all the while, the Confederate Memorial was standing in Hemming Park. All of these men were elected because of White Voters. If the Confederate Monument are moved, when 75% of the voters in Jacksonville, do not want them moved, there will never be another African American Sheriff or Mayor in Jacksonville. Believe that!!!

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