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Ordinance that would allow voters to decide to remove confederate monuments was denied

Members of the city council said it is their responsibility to address the confederate statues.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a 6-to-13 vote, the city council decided to deny a referendum that was proposed by Councilman Al Ferraro. His proposal could have allowed voters to decide if monuments should be removed. If it had been approved, the referendum would have been a straw ballot. 

Officials basically described it as "taking the pulse of the public by asking for a 'yes' or 'no' response."

A few council members believe it is their responsibility to address the confederate monuments, in particular, the statue in Springfield park. Councilman Nick Howland described the proposal ordinance as "weak". 

"No action is mandated to be taken from the decision," Howland said. "It's broad, it covers all historical markers even though we've seem to have made it about confederate monuments." 

Despite Mayor Lenny Curry promising the public to remove all confederate statues, to Councilman Matt Carlucci, a referendum could be seen as a political commitment. He said it can be "political binding." He made an example on how city officials once did a straw ballot on a three percent tax cap. He recalled how it passed with at least 70% of the vote. The councilman said they were political bound to uphold that tax cap. 

"Be careful what you put on the ballot, even as a straw vote," Carlucci suggested.

Councilwoman Brenda Priestly Jackson said her commitment is to support the Mayor's promise to remove the monument. Jackson mentioned how Curry made a bold move saying the statues were going to be taken down, but it was a bold move she agreed with. 

"I'm not gonna relive the history, I'm not gonna take it back to anyone else," Jackson said. "You can't repurpose it." 

City Council President, Sam Newby said there needs to be a discussion about the confederate statue. He also mentioned how there is a strategic plan to "do what is best for the citizens of Jacksonville." While he did not show favor of Ferraro's ordinance, he mentioned how he wouldn't support the ordinance Councilman Carlucci introduced, either. 

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