Republican council member takes another shot at Confederate monument removal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A city council member is attempting to put the city’s money where its mouth is on the issue of removing Confederate monuments.

Republican Matt Carlucci is pushing a resolution that would commit the city council and mayor to include half a million dollars to remove the city’s two remaining Confederate statues, but he says the resolution’s passage isn’t guaranteed.

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It was voted down Tuesday in its second committee hearing on a 5-to-2 vote.

It also failed to pass its first committee yesterday, but Carlucci isn’t giving up, saying city leaders need to follow through with their promise.

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Thursday will mark two years since Mayor Lenny Curry and some city council members pledged to remove Jacksonville’s Confederate monuments.

“I think promises made ought to be promises kept,” said Carlucci.

Carlucci is attempting to finally make it happen.

His resolution would commit the mayor and council members to include half a million in the upcoming budget to remove the column in James Weldon Johnson Park and the United Daughters of the Confederacy statue in Springfield Park.

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They’re monuments he characterizes as “Jim Crow remnants.”

“They were built to remind people back in the 1915 era of their place,” said Carlucci.

But the resolution is already running into staunch opposition.

In the council rules committee on Tuesday, council member Randy DeFoor likened removing the statues to Germany tearing down evidence of the Holocaust.

“It would have been far easier for Germany to remove any membrance of what happened there,” said DeFoor.

Council member Garrett Dennis pushed back, arguing that Jacksonville’s statues were raised specifically to strike fear in the hearts of the city’s Black population.

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“So, to parallel the two is not accurate,” said Dennis.

Carlucci is still holding out hope he can change the perspectives of his fellow Republican council members before a final vote next Tuesday.

“It’s just a step in the right direction to say we’re not gonna have symbols of oppression in public spaces or public parks,” said Carlucci.

Carlucci said if the money makes it into the budget, he has already lined up organizations willing to fork out the additional $800,000 or so needed for the monuments’ removal.

He said if his bill passes, it would likely take between six to twelve months before the removal would be complete.

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