ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

not-available-day Created with Sketch.
69°
Broken Clouds
H 80° L 61°
  • not-available-day Created with Sketch.
    69°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 80° L 61°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    77°
    Evening
    Mostly Sunny. H 80° L 61°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    62°
    Morning
    Sunny. H 86° L 65°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Voices of support dominate comment on Jacksonville's Human Rights Ordinance

A capacity crowd at City Hall with Council President Stephen Joost opening an annex room for the public before he opened the meeting itself.

While the agenda was full, this crowd came out to speak mostly on one issue- Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.  There was an opportunity for public comment on whether rights should be expanded to include protection based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

When Councilman Joost began the meeting he outlined the rules for public comment and told the audience how to participate.  Few could have expected just how many would heed that call.

The first to step to the podium was against the change.

“This bill, as we view it, is cloaked under the disguise of equal opportunity and non-discimination in the marketplace,” he said.  As his speech moved forward he clarified, “Jacksonville, Florida as well as other cities and states across America already have multiple layers of federal, state and local laws, boards and commissions that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex or national origin.  This bill adds a perceived sex gender identity or expression.”

The wording of the bill struck a chord with City Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels.  She was one of few councilmembers who took allotted time to question some of the speakers.  Specifically, she aimed to clarify the difference between labels within the LGBTQ community, and also how members of that community identified themselves.

Speakers were, largely, happy to answer.  The number of comments in support of the proposed change far outnumbered those against.  Many fought tears to read accounts of personal experience with discrimination.

“I applied to Carolina Casualty Insurance Company here in Jacksonville.  And after undergoing the interview process I was told by a manager at that company, ‘Harriet you will not work at any company here in Jacksonville.’ I was dumbfounded.”

Some also spoke for others.

“For one colleague of mine, this glaring omission is a direct invitation for current and future employees of this wonderful hospital [Mayo] to seek those protections elsewhere.”

“While I’m fortunate to work for a large corporation that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, my partner does not.  She has been targeted for the way she dresses, talks, for workplace friendships.  There have been missed promotions, missed opportunities for career growth.”

The few opponents who spoke out today say each business should have the chance to decide its own rule.  That was the main argument for Councilman Don Redman, and the comments left him unconvinced.

“I just don’t feel like there is discrimination.  I think we have enough laws on the books already to cover any discrimination that they [the audience] might want to talk about,” he said.

But Councilman Greg Anderson was touched to see so many members of the community come to the meeting and be active.

“What strikes me as, there are an awful lot of people here who have taken the time to come down and share their feelings with the council,” he said.

The council did not actually cast a vote, but members will have a lot to consider- public comment lasted around 4 hours.  There is still some committee work to be done on this proposal.  A vote on the changes would be, at the earliest, at the June 12th City Council meeting.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Fox News host Sean Hannity is calling an accusation of sexual harassment against him by a conservative commentator a “complete fabrication,” and said he will sue the woman who leveled the charges. Hannity was responding to a radio interview on Friday in which Debbie Schlussel said Hannity once invited her back to his hotel room after a book signing in Detroit. Schlussel, speaking to radio host Pat Campbell, said she was denied a spot on his show after she turned down his advances.  'So I met him there and it was very awkward,' Schlussel said. 'He had me stand up there with him while he signed books, and I felt very weird. These people don't know me and they didn't come for me to sign their books. So then I left to get ready for the show and he said, 'Why don't you come back with me to my hotel?' and I said 'No, I have to get ready for the show.' Hannity released to the New York Daily News in a statement a statement after the show aired on Friday.  'Let me be clear: The comments about me on a radio show this week by this individual are 100 percent false and a complete fabrication. This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and (besmirch) my reputation. 'The individual has not just slandered me over the years, but many people who this individual disagrees with. This individual desperately seeks attention by any means necessary, including making unfounded personal attacks and using indefensible and outrageous political rhetoric.' Hannity said he will sue Schlussel, and that he has hired “some of the finest and toughest lawyers in the country.” Schlussel claimed in 2010 that Hannity and the Freedom Alliance, a charity that raises money for wounded veterans, used money donated to vets for things like private jet travel and expensive hotel rooms. The Freedom Alliance and Hannity denied the allegations.
  • A Jacksonville man is charged with murdering his pregnant girlfriend, which also resulted in the loss of the unborn child.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested 38-year-old Armanuel Cummings after they said he stabbed 29-year-old D’Anna Thorn to death.  Police responded to the home on W. 21st Street Saturday evening.  According to JSO, Cummings kicked Thorn out of the house after an argument.  JSO said Thorn was attempting to climb back into the home through a window when Cummings stabbed her repeatedly.  Thorn was transported to the hospital where she and the unborn child passed away.  Cummings was charged with murder. Police said they continue to investigate and more charges could follow pending the completion of an autopsy.
  • Northeast Florida lawmakers have mixed opinions on how to move forward with gun control legislation, in the wake of a surprising sit-in protest on the House floor.  The call for common sense gun legislation is coming from both sides of the aisle in Congress following the mass shooting in Orlando, though the definition of common sense greatly varies between the left and the right.  Rep. Corrine Brown (D) is tired of her colleagues talking about gun violence without acting through policy.  “It’s just unbelievable that we’re going to have a moment of silent prayer and that’s it,” Brown told WOKV. “How many times are we going to do a moment of silent prayer and then nothing else?”  Led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Democrats stayed on the House floor for more than 25 hours, demanding a vote on gun legislation. The proposed bill would have banned people on the no-fly list from buying a gun.  It was pointed out by Rep. Ander Crewnshaw (R) that the proposed legislation already failed in committee, and received bipartisan pushback.  “It was not appropriate to have a sit-in on the floor of the House about any issue they knew they couldn’t win,” Crewnshaw said. “(Democrats) had a process, they just ignored it, and used some out-of-school tactics.”  Crenshaw sights the motion to discharge, which would’ve brought the bill up for a full vote if Democrats would have secured 218 signatures.  Much like Crewnshaw, Rep. Ted Yoho (R) claims to be open to talking about gun reform. Yoho is open to finding more funding for mental health care and an evolved screening process.  Yoho would like some kind of warning system in place, in the event that anyone once legitimately on a watch list goes to buy a gun. He said he would be “open minded” to a bill proposed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), which blocks anyone on a terrorist watch list from buying a gun but also puts in place an appeals process.  It is crucial for both Yoho and Crenshaw that some form of due process is in place for those who may be incorrectly placed on watch lists.  Democrats inside and out of the House posited the protest in the same vein as the civil rights protests in the 1960s. Many decades before #NoBillNoBreak existed, Lewis marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through Selma, Ala.   Yoho says aligning this most recent sit-in with the civil rights movement is “despicable.”  “To link this to the civil rights struggle cheapens that and is disrespectful to what the civil rights movement stood for,” Yoho said. “I think it was a very childish action on the part of the Democrats.”  Yoho, a member of the Republican House’s Freedom Caucus, qualifies his criticism of Democrats with disagreement in how Republican leadership handled the protest, as well.  Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) did not accept multiple invitations to comment on this story. 
  • Twelve jurors will decide the future of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown- and they’ll be selected from a group of 65 in a two-day process starting Monday.  Last July, Brown and her Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons were indicted in a federal fraud case centered on the group “One Door For Education”- which prosecutors say Brown and others represented as a non-profit to solicit donations, but used the more than $800,000 they collected for personal expenses instead. Prosecutors say the trio used Brown’s position as a Congresswoman to promote the group and solicit donations, without One Door having ever been registered as a charity.  Simmons and third alleged co-conspirator, Carla Wiley, have previously pleaded guilty. Brown faces a total of 22 charges including mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and more. The jury must reach a unanimous decision in order to convict.  WOKV will be in the federal courthouse through the proceedings, which start Monday for two days of jury selection. The trial is slated to start Wednesday and expected to last two weeks.  Court records show the 65 people who have been summoned as prospective jurors have already been initially screened by the court for hardship. They have been randomly numbered, and that randomized list of names- and the corresponding juror number- has already been distributed to the attorneys for both sides.  Jury selection will begin with the judge outlining the nature of the case and questioning the prospective jurors. That process can include questions which have been submitted by the attorneys, at the judge’s discretion.  Federal court records show the US Attorney’s Office has submitted proposed instructions and questions for jury selection. The instructions include reinforcing that their decision should be based on evidence alone and not sympathy or prejudice for the defendant, explaining the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and not all possible doubt, how to consider the credibility of a witness, and the meaning of the various charges. The questions include whether the prospective jurors know anyone involved, have any issue with the nature of the charges, have ever been involved in legal proceedings in any capacity, have any impression of the federal government, have any bias against plea agreements, have any political views that could influence the verdict, and more.  After questioning, the panel will be excused while attorneys first raise any challenges “for cause”, and then issue “peremptory” strikes, which don’t have to have a cause. The defense has ten peremptory strikes, while the US Attorney’s Office has six, according to the court records.  Ultimately, twelve jurors will be seated through this process, which works down the list based on the randomly assigned juror numbers. The next two jurors on the list who weren’t seated on the panel will be slated as the alternates- with each side getting one peremptory challenge to exercise on the alternates.  WOKV will have comprehensive coverage through jury selection and the trial proceedings. Check back frequently at WOKV.com for updates.
  • While President Donald Trump seems never to be at a loss for words, both spoken and tweeted, a linguistics professor at Georgetown University says there is one phase that does seem to crop up in his public speaking more often than others.  “Believe me” is the most common two-word phrase the president has used in public in his almost 100-day administration, according to a story from CNN. The network asked Georgetown linguistics professor Jennifer Sclafani to study Trump’s remarks during the past three months. Sclafani said she found that Trump said “believe me” 26 times in speeches since his inauguration. 'Trump doesn't bother to get bogged down by details,' Sclafani told CNN after studying the president’s speech patterns. 'He presents himself as a visionary type of leader, focused solely on his vision for the future of the country.' Click here to read the entire story.

The Latest News Videos