Marion BCC meeting on Tuesday at 9am
by BRUCE SEAMAN
The Marion County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will have its first of two September meetings on Tuesday, September 1 at 9am at the Commission Auditorium, 601 SE 25th Ave, Ocala.
Bridges Project activists have been vocal advocates at the meetings for the BCC to remove the five flags display, which includes the universal symbol of racial hatred and exploitation, the Confederate flag, and place them within display cases in the museum.
Bridges Project activists will be present once again this Tuesday. A compromise offer deemed acceptable by Bridges Project leadership will be presented.
The “process” engaged by the BCC in deciding what to do with the flag display meant referring the matter to the Marion County Historical Commission, a county-authorized and funded citizen’s advisory board. The Historical Commission’s recommendation was made and has been received by the BCC. It calls for moving the flag display from its current location in front of the Fallen Officer Memorial on SE 25th Ave to a location around the corner on Fort King Street facing Veterans Park. The Bridges Project regards any flying of the Confederate flag by the county government to be an insult and an effort to glorify and honor a flag whose legacy has always been rooted in racial hatred from 1861 to the present.
Since there is no action item on the docket regarding the Historical Commission’s recommendation, the expectation is that their recommendation will be formally received and then acted upon at another BCC meeting.
However, the re-raising of the Confederate flag occurred late in the July 7, 2015 BCC meeting following the objection of a handful of Confederate flag supporters during public comment. The flag had been lowered the previous week by then-Interim County Administrator Bill Kaufmann after consulting with BCC Chair Stan McClain. The BCC quickly decided unanimously to return the flag to its position of “honor” without having any docketed agenda item.
Subsequent cover-the-rear revisionism by the BCC claimed the flag as taken down out of respect for the victims of the Charleston racial massacre, and returned it after a period of mourning. The video of the July 7 meeting indicates no such thought process. Rather, the video strongly indicates that commissioners had colluded to act together prior to the meeting in complete violation of Florida Sunshine Laws.