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Monument referendum stalls again

Memorial Wall.jpg
Peter Haden
A proposed referendum could have eliminated all monuments on public property, including the Duval County Veterans Memorial Wall.

A proposed referendum on removing historical markers from public places has hit another roadblock.

The Rules Committee of the Jacksonville City Council voted down legislation Tuesday to hold a public referendum on whether to remove all historical markers from public places, including the Confederate monument in Springfield Park. 

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman and mayoral candidate Al Ferraro, has been rejected by every committee so far. Ferraro’s fellow Republicans, including Councilman Nick Howland, criticized the bill for passing off the responsibility of the council and for its far-reaching consequences beyond Confederate monuments.

“It puts in jeopardy all of our monuments, which make our city so rich in history — the Veterans Memorial Wall, the fallen police memorial, the fallen firefighter memorial, the Bob Hayes statue on the east side— all the historical markers and monuments that teach us how we got to where we are today,” Howland said.

"It's a lot of bluster without a whole lot of result," Rory Diamond, the sole 'yes' on the committee, said. Diamond previously opposed other measures to take the Confederate monument in Springfield Park down, arguing that it should be contextualized rather than removed from public property.

Despite voting in favor of the ordinance, Diamond echoed many of the criticisms offered by Howland. "I just think that this thing is kind of poorly written," he said.

A rival piece of legislation from Councilman Matt Carlucci that would commit the council to removing only Confederate markers from public property was deferred by the same committee.