Jacksonville City Council to hash out ‘hate demonstrations’ over lunch Tuesday
Jacksonville City Council ready to draw lines on commenter conduct?

Hate on the plate: Lunch and Learn gets real.

The Jacksonville City Council Lunch and Learn series promises pyrotechnics this week, with a discussion of “hate demonstrations” on deck Tuesday.

Organizing Council member LeAnna Cumber discussed her reasons for scheduling the event, one at which representatives of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, as a response to the events around the coup attempt of Jan. 6 as well as to provocations in the City Council chamber itself.

Serial public commenter Seber Newsome offered extended remarks criticizing the Lot J development deal and asserting that Donald Trump would be “President forever,” before flashing the “OK” symbol that has been reappropriated, as Cumber noted, as a “white power” sign.

That was her limit, she said. Banning problematic commenters is not a possibility, but so-called “rules against demonstrations” she sees as having potential to be invoked.

“White supremacists do not need to be given a platform,” Cumber said, adding that demonstrations of division are something we “ignore at our peril.”

FP reached out to Newsome for comment on Friday. We have yet to hear back.

Newsome is on record denying being a white supremacist, in answering reporters’ questions about his deep affinity for Confederate iconography. He is best known to Jacksonville locals as an enthusiast for the Confederate statue that once loomed over what is now James Weldon Johnson Park.

Cumber, of Cuban-American heritage and married to a Muslim, intends to spotlight the three minutes of public comment as part of her presentation, a move she hopes will illustrate what’s at play. The Council member is extremely cognizant of the larger context of her concerns.

She acknowledges that the Republican Party has shifted in recent years, and that she may be “out of step” with Trumpism, though not with the Republican Party she joined.

Cumber has been in office since 2019, representing the San Marco area. She established a formidable cash advantage early and no one challenged her on the ballot.

The event begins Tuesday at noon in the Lynwood Roberts Room at Jacksonville City Hall.

For veteran watchers of the Jacksonville City Council, long accustomed to shocking slanders and provocations as reliable tools in the toolbox of the commentariat, it will be interesting to see if Cumber’s efforts lead to any change in a discourse that was plenty toxic long before Donald Trump.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Seber Newsome III

    February 8, 2021 at 5:00 am

    So, LeAnn Cumber wants to go after the First Amendment in the Constitution?? Lets see how that goes over with the Northside Coalition?? Did I hurt her little feelings?? So funny

  • Sebe Newsome

    February 8, 2021 at 5:03 am

    I will contacting an attorney to see if I can sue LeAnn Cumber for slander.

  • Seber is nuts

    February 8, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Seber, you need to get laid and lose some weight.

  • Mike Smith

    February 8, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Interesting this author writes about “demonstrations of hate” and “failed Como attempt” but was silent over the summer when Marxists and anarcho communists who call themselves BLM and Antifa killed dozens, violently occupied cities, attacked federal buildings, and burned and looted.

  • A.G. Gancarski is a hack

    February 8, 2021 at 7:52 am

    What a completely slanted article ! Wow so much bias . Basically here we go again if you don’t think like a liberal or a rino you must be a white supremist! This notion that if you support Trump you’re filled with hate is getting old . So transparent as a way of shutting down free speech . A.G. Gancarski you wrote a opinion piece yet again! No talent in that at all .

  • Concerned Putnam Citizen

    February 8, 2021 at 10:57 am

    I have messages from Seber who threatened me before a protest in Palatka, I am ok giving the screenshots to the FBI if they want to add it to the file.

  • Frankie M.

    February 8, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Just because people believe they have “freedom of speech” doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for what you say or do in the same way that the 2nd ammendment doesn’t allow you to go shoot up the Capitol because you lost an election.

    Seber isn’t a white supremacist. He just thinks they’re very good people that share his views.

    Good luck with that lawsuit Seber…lmao

  • Frankie M.

    February 8, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Man Seber has a ton of burner accounts

  • Hyprocrisy

    February 8, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki has given the OK sign, oh know, she is a white supremacist.

  • Grace

    February 8, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Seber has been prolific, throughout multiple counties, in showing up to assert white supremacy and threaten people. His version of the First Amendment relates exclusively to white nationalists’ speech overriding the First Amendment rights of non-nationalists. That is Not the intent of the First Amendment. But it Does reflect post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow intimidation. Not OK.

  • Logic

    February 9, 2021 at 1:51 am

    As far as I know, Mr. Newsome has never been arrested at any protest/rally. In my humble opinion, one standing up for your Southern Heritage and your ancestors, is not Jim Crow intimidation or White Nationalists speech, no more than Blacks saying monuments need to be moved, is Black Power speech

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    February 9, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Who is the person in the photo? There is no cutline, no identification.

  • Mike Smith

    February 9, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Leftists are afraid of the first and second amendments. They don’t want people to speak their mind or defend themselves. Thus the reason our Founding Fathers put them in the Constitution.

  • Seber Newsome III

    February 9, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    I attended that meeting today for “Hateful demonstrations”, what a joke it was. They started off showing me speaking at the city council meeting. wow I was the star. I was in the back of the room with my Trump mask on looking on. The city attorney told them they better be careful with any changed to public comment, because it has to implemented across the board, you cannot target one person or a group of people. I was not allowed to defend myself and speak. but at least I was there to defend myself in person

  • Star

    February 10, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you Leean Cumber, you got me so much more attention and publicity. I am sure you are not happy with how things have worked out. Lets see if the public comment is changed legally. You could be taken to court for violating peoples first amendment right to speak, but, you go ahead and go for it. Why dont you just take a deep breath and calm down. I gave the OK sign for respect towards my President, Donald Trump. Read the Florida Times Union today. I was in the online version of it. Everything is explained.

Comments are closed.


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