Jacksonville City Council: No vote on whether to remove Confederate monuments
Republican Al Ferraro wants a monument referendum. It didn't pass muster.

Al Ferraro
The bill failed in two committees last week.

The Jacksonville City Council rejected a proposal to allow citizens to vote on whether monuments, including the city’s remaining Confederate tribute, should be moved.

There was little surprise in the rejection of the proposal from Republican Al Ferraro, a candidate for Mayor. Two Council committees had reported unfavorably on the bill (2022-265).

Ferraro’s bill proposed a vote on “City Removal of Historic Monuments and Markers On City-Owned Property,” posing the question: “Shall the City of Jacksonville remove historic monuments and markers, defined as fixed assets that are identifiable because of particular historic, national, local or symbolic significance, on City-owned property?”

But for most members of the Council, that question proved to be better off not answered by a popular vote. Going into the vote, the sponsor grumbled about the process and the seeming result.

“This was supposed to be moved through the Council last year and it wasn’t,” Ferraro complained, saying he wanted people to be able to “voice their opinion.”

The bill compelled a straw ballot, which Ferraro said “wasn’t going to change anything” but “just put people on record.” Despite those assurances, Council was unmoved, with Republicans speaking up first.

Republican Michael Boylan said the bill was an attempt to arbitrate a complicated social issue with a “hatchet,” saying the referendum wouldn’t be a “fair opportunity” for citizen input on this issue.

“It is our decision to make,” added Matt Carlucci.

Republican Nick Howland said his desire was to “contextualize” the monuments and make them “objects we can learn from.”

Democrat Brenda Priestly Jackson addressed that line of thought, saying that the need to contextualize a monument constructed in 1915 at the height of Jim Crow “boggled her mind.” She urged following through on the Mayor’s vow to remove all confederate monuments, made in 2020.

“The Mayor took a bold move. I may not agree with him on a whole lot, but I agree with him on this one,” Priestly Jackson said.

What could happen in the interim: more community discussions. Aaron Bowman is advancing a proposal to have outside help come in from the University of Virginia to get community input on the statuary’s future. President Sam Newby advocated that proposal in his remarks.

The major sticking point in this discussion: The Women of the Southland in Springfield Park.

Legislation filed last year to remove the structure failed. Mayor Lenny Curry sought $1.3 million to move the Tribute to the Women of the Confederacy from Springfield Park, but all three Council committees of reference rejected that appropriation, and the bill was ultimately withdrawn.

A sticking point was the price tag itself: the $1.3 million needed for a careful move, hoping to preserve the piece’s artistic value.

While another controversial confederate statue was removed from a park across the street from City Hall in 2020, that was a less complicated move, one accomplished without publicity or seeking approval or appropriation from the Council.

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


  • We will not forget the Rinos

    May 24, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    The Rino’s have shown themselves, we will not ever forget!!!!!!!

  • Contextualation

    May 24, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    I think we have the ten votes needed to contextualize the monuments and not remove them.

    • Mike

      May 25, 2022 at 11:31 am

      How do you contextualize racism

      • Margaret Koscielny

        May 26, 2022 at 2:15 pm

        To contextualize monuments which are perceived as racist, you might make a teachable display, create an accompanying monument which expresses the historical realities. It is possible to have an intelligent, educational response to images which are offensive because of their original context, i.e., commenmorating the “lost cause”, as many of these controversial monuments do.
        We canntot erase history. We need to confront it: the original facts, the romantisized version, and the true story not yet told.

        • they want to destroy

          May 27, 2022 at 8:55 am

          the liberal/socialist Ben Frazier types, do not want to have teachable moments, they want to destroy destroy destroy

Comments are closed.


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