Historic monument legislation gets public hearing at Jacksonville City Council

File photo.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s already been a hot topic of conversation, but legislation first introduced by Jacksonville City Councilman Al Ferraro in regard to historic monuments in the city was placed in the spotlight of discussion during public comment at Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

The bill authorizes and directs the supervisor of election to place a referendum on the November ballot, addressing the question of whether the city should remove historic monuments and markers “that are identifiable because of particular historic, national, local or symbolic significance” from city-owned properties.

The proposal lets voters have the say on those monuments, including one in particular that’s tied to the Confederacy — The Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy, which depicts a woman reading to two children.

The Northside Coalition and other activist groups have advocated to remove the Confederate monuments in Jacksonville, while others have advocated for the new bill to let people vote on whether to take them down or leave them.

“The Confederate monuments are billboards to intimidation and violence, and that is what they’re about, and that is why they need to come down, now,” said Lisa Lloyd.

“Let the people make the decision and then it’ll be over with,” Tim Wayne told the City Council. “And let’s teach history, let’s teach coming together instead of the hate.”

“We need to unify, we need to do something for everybody,” said Gordon Terry. “Not tear down statues but add to them.”

“Dealing with an issue like this, if the white community wants to negotiate in good faith, let’s negotiate in good faith,” said Carnell Oliver. “I don’t want markers, I want statues that cost the same amount as that statue in Springfield Park.”

No decisions were made on the bill Tuesday night — it was just up for a public hearing.

In March, Councilman Matt Carlucci introduced a bill that asks the mayor, council, and city administrators to put together a plan and timeline for removing the monuments. He announced earlier this month that he was deferring the bill for now.