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City Council takes on hate speech; mayor’s race heats up; investigating the ‘sheriff’s circle’; JME DJ session

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16), right, embrace after an NFL wild-card football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville.
Gary McCullough
Associated Press
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence embrace after the Jaguars' victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville.

Less than a week after the towering image of a cross and swastika were projected onto the CSX Transportation building Downtown, the Jacksonville City Council will have two emergency bills to review Tuesday night to fight similar actions. Both bills say the same thing.

The first, filed Monday by Councilwoman and mayoral candidate LeAnna Cumber, would make projecting any message onto a building or structure illegal without the property owner’s permission. Those who do would be liable for arrest and up to 60 days in jail, a $2,000 fine and confiscation of the equipment used to project it. A bill from City Council President Terrance Freeman, introduced after Cumber’s, proposes the same thing.

Mayoral candidate Daniel Davis sued

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has been named as a codefendant with CEO Daniel Davis in a lawsuit challenging his continued employment while running for mayor.

In a statement released Thursday, JAX Chamber Chairman Brad Talbert decried what he described as a “disrespectful” suit from conservative activist Billie Tucker Volpe. The lawsuit claims the Chamber has been weaponized in favor of its CEO in the most competitive and expensive Jacksonville mayoral race in modern history.

Investigating the ‘sheriff’s circle’

Kent Stermon, the influential Republican donor who was under criminal investigation when he died last month, was issued five separate badges giving him access to Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office buildings, starting in 2013 under former sheriff and current congressman John Rutherford.

Rutherford was the first of three Republican sheriffs to allow Stermon access to JSO buildings, according to aJacksonville Todayinvestigation.

About 400 people not employed by the city have been granted access to the Sheriff’s Office over the past decade. Most of them are contractors and interns, but Stermon was one of nine classified as part of the “sheriff’s circle.”

The Sheriff’s Office has released conflicting records that hide exactly how Stermon used his cards and hasn’t explained why non-employee members of the community had such widespread access — including late at night.

Jaguars head to Kansas City

The Jacksonville Jaguars head to Kansas City this weekend for a playoff matchup against the Chiefs after a miracle win in the wild-card playoff round against the Los Angeles Chargers.


Jacksonville Music Experience DJ Session

The JME team covers all the latest music news from artists far and wide, including those making music right here in Duval County. Matt Shaw shares three new local songs that have been reviewed on and added to the rotation on The Independent 89.9 HD4, WJCT’s new music discovery station.

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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.