Should voters have final say on Confederate monuments? Council to consider proposal

Proposal to put historic monuments decision to voters gets first reading at City Council meeting Tuesday

For the first time, city leaders will hear a proposal that would let Jacksonville voters have the final say on whether to take down historical monuments.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the first time Tuesday, city leaders will hear a proposal that would let Jacksonville voters have the final say on whether to take down historical monuments, including one connected to the Confederacy.

People on both sides of the debate have sounded off about this for years.

Of all the historic monuments, the one in Springfield sparks the most controversy. It was erected by the Florida Division of the United Confederate Veterans and stands in what used to be known as Confederate Park.

Last year, the mayor proposed a measure that would speed up the process of removing Confederate monuments, but the council voted it down.

Another measure, which would allow voters to decide the fate of these historical monuments, is expected to be introduced for a first reading during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. If passed it would bypass the council and the mayor and pave the way for the voters to make the decision in November.

RELATED: Future of Confederate monuments a top priority for Jacksonville City Council in 2022

Jacksonville City Councilman Al Ferraro filed the bill and said this is about giving citizens a voice.

“That’s the idea of this,” Ferraro said. “This putting it on the ballot is for the community to be able to voice their opinion, sort of like the straw ballot was on ‘Do you want to sell JEA?’ There was a lot of people who spoke up about it, and this is kind of that similar thing.”

President of the Northside Coalition Ben Frazier denounced the idea, saying it was dangerous. His statement read in part:

“The Public referendum proposal has the potential to make Jacksonville a national hotbed of racial controversy! Our elected representatives should stop beating around the bush.”

This is not the only hot button issue expected to be heard at City Hall on Tuesday.

A public hearing will also be held on a proposed bill that would limit city officials’ terms to no more than two total. It would apply to the mayor, sheriff, council members, school board members and constitutional officers.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.