Political observers weigh in on Jacksonville City Council’s vote to ban projecting unwanted messages on property

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – The Jacksonville City Council met to fight anti-Semitic messages projected on city buildings.

Early Wednesday morning, council approved a measure in a marathon meeting banning anything being projected onto a building without the owner’s permission.

But there has been controversy around the proposal because some say it’s all tied to the upcoming municipal elections.

The most recent hate message that prompted quick response from council members was a swastika and the outline of an anti-Semitic cartoon apparently displayed on the CSX building during a Jaguars game.

Under the law, anyone caught throwing anything at a building without the owner’s permission could go to jail and be fined. This is something that the entire council applauded in passing the law.

The questions that led to this were who had the idea to act on the issue first – council member LeAnna Cumber, who is running for mayor, or council chairman Terrance Freeman. Both are Republicans who introduced identical legislation.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Council members appear to take sides on anti-Semitism bill – an issue they say they agree on

But it was Freeman who won. However, he added the name of every member of the council, except that of Brenda Priestly Jackson. She said she supported the legislation but voted against it because the council still hadn’t addressed Confederate monuments.

“We’re a unified group, and I knew one of the challenges I was going to face is leading during a time of chaos when so many of us are running for re-election or other positions,” he said. Freeman said. “And that’s always been my desire to lead in a way that’s fair, to lead in a way that voices are heard. but to always keep — always keep — the interests of citizens first, not necessarily our personal agendas. And I believe I did.

Council Member Matt Carlucci originally sponsored Cumber’s bill. He is glad the council met, but said what happened to come to this was troubling.

“I supported that. I supported the bill, and it was his bill, regardless of who gets the credit. The big problem is that we passed the bill. GOOD. And I think after the meeting is over, time heals all the wounds, and I think that wound healed pretty quickly,” Carlucci said. “And I think we’re all ready to move on to other issues, and luckily we did something really good last night – a little messy, but it got done.”

Freeman added that other issues such as monuments will be addressed soon. He also thinks homelessness, health care and workforce development will be the other issues the council will try to address in the near future.

The only thing observers — including News4JAX political analyst Rick Mullaney, executive director and founder of Shircliff of the University of Jacksonville Institute of Public Policy — say is happening now is that politics is always in play.

“There was community support, there was political support, there was council support at the end, but council members who showed more leadership face re-election challenges,” said Mullaney. “They of course wanted to be recognized for their leadership, and whether it was Terrance Freeman or LeAnna Cumber, both showing leadership on this issue, in the end the legislation was done, but we are in the political season. ”

It only remains for the mayor to sign the law. He should do it soon.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.

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Political observers weigh in on Jacksonville City Council’s vote to ban projecting unwanted messages on property

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