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Jacksonville takes over a week to respond to complaints about Klan flyers

The city of Jacksonville periodically sees Ku Klux Klan flyers put out in various places, and January offered the latest example.

A man — name withheld here, as the Klan is a terrorist organization — emailed Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Jan. 14.

“I am visiting Jacksonville, and was disturbed to see these flyers (such as those pictured) rolled up and strewn along Riverside Ave. in Five Points in short intervals.  They are everywhere in the area between the Publix and Bell Riverside Apartments, and beyond.  Regardless of the content of the messages, it is illegal to litter City rights of way and private property like this, per the Florida Litter Law, Section 403.413(4)(a) and (c), Florida Statutes,” he wrote.

The cover described the “Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” as “fighting for the white race.” The interior text referred to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a “communist alcoholic pervert.”

A woman — name withheld here also for the same reasons — emailed Curry Jan. 16.

“I’m from Jacksonville, and am disturbed to see these (KKK) flyers rolled up and strewn along Riverside Ave, in Five Points in short intervals. They are everywhere in the area. Regardless of the content of the messages, it is illegal to litter City rights of way and private property like this, per the Florida Litter Law, Section 403.413(4)(a) and (c), Florida Statutes, and the Jacksonville Litter Law, Section 380.210(b)(1) and (2), Jacksonville Code of Ordinances,” the complainant said.

“I would have emailed this to your Solid Waste Division, but did not find an email address. Would you please request Solid Waste to issue a citation, or a one-time warning, to the organization that is clearly identified by name and contact information on the attached flyers that were discarded and strewn as litter? Thank you very much for your leadership in keeping Jacksonville beautiful. Have a great day!”

Curry emailed both parties back: the man on Jan. 16; the woman a day later.

“To investigate, I am sharing your message with Bryan Mosier, chief of our Municipal Code Compliance Division (MCCD). I am confident that he will review your message and advise of any findings,” Curry wrote.

The investigation moved slowly.

And revealed, by Jan. 29, that there was little City Hall could (or would) do about Klan flyers.

“Unfortunately, the City’s litter law can only be enforced by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and an officer must witness a person littering.  In this case, I am not aware that any citations were able to be issued for the litter,” wrote Neighborhoods chief Stephanie Burch.

“However, I have asked Dan Durbec, our Environmental Programs Coordinator and Adopt A Road representative to reach out to the neighboring businesses to encourage them to assist in clean-up efforts on their properties and potentially setting up an Adopt A Road program for the area, if one currently doesn’t exist.  Thank you for contacting the City, we appreciate your feedback,” Burch added.

Will official response reassure riverside residents and businesses that, in the face of leaflets from a domestic terrorist organization, they should set up an Adopt A Road program?

Memorably, flyers much like this were distributed in 2015, during the Human Rights Ordinance expansion debate.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry condemned as the “lowest forms of human behavior and bigotry” recent bomb threats and Klan flyers targeting the community conversations about the potential expansion of the Human Rights Ordinance to LGBT people.

The HRO debate is resolved. But the Klan flyers recur.

We have reached out to city spokespeople for reasons that the response was so slow to multiple citizen complaints.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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