Council members appear to be taking sides on antisemitism bill — an issue they say they agree on

Jacksonville Councilman Matt Carlucci requests antisemitism bill be withdrawn, says council process was circumvented

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Last week, Jacksonville City Council members filed two bills, which are set to appear on Tuesday night’s agenda. They appear to do the same thing.

The response to antisemitic images that purportedly were projected onto a building in Jacksonville seemed unanimous — outright condemnation from members of the Council.

RELATED: City leaders propose multiple bills to stop messages of hate, antisemitism in Jacksonville

“We’re getting all these hate messages all of our buildings. It’s just disgusting and it’s time to stop it,” previously said Councilman Rory Diamond.

“My thoughts are like everybody else,” said Councilman Matt Carlucci. “They’re sick — well, they’re cowardly.”

“We are going to call it out for what it is, and we are not going to allow this to happen in our city any more. Period,” said Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber.

Members of City Council seem to be taking sides, even on an issue they all say they agree on.

Carlucci attended the bill announcement outside the CSX building. He supports the bill filed by Cumber a week ago.

However, Carlucci sent a letter Monday, complaining that Council rules were circumvented and that disrespect was shown to other members.

Part of it (in full at bottom of story) says: “It is a disappointment to see Council members undermine the work of others, especially concerning an issue of such importance to our city.”

Later, Carlucci says, “In the spirit of professional courtesy and statesmanship, I respectfully request the withdrawal of (the bill) 2023-0044.”

City Council President Terrance Freeman led a news conference the same day as Cumber’s news conference last week and briefly addressed the dueling bills.

”We have an issue that was impacting our city. We have a process and a plan now to address it, and it’s going to be addressed,” Freeman said. “Who gets the credit, that shouldn’t matter. That shouldn’t be the story. The story should be that we are not, as a city, we are not going to stand for hate speech to be acceptable in our city. And that’s what’s most important to me as president.”

Freeman responded to a request for comment Monday night with the following statement about Carlucci’s letter:

“It’s a shame that in a moment of unity, with the Mayor, Sheriff and 13 of my colleagues coming together in support of Bill 2023-44 that Mr. Carlucci has chosen to play politics. We should be focused on condemning antisemitism and standing up for our Jewish neighbors - not self-righteous grandstanding over who gets credit for what.”

It’s unclear what will happen Tuesday night when the bills are read and potentially voted on.

The full letter from Carlucci reads:

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.