Don Redmon, now thankfully term limited from local public life, has opted to fire one last volley at the City's Human Rights Commission: a board set up by the city that allows people to file grievances in the case of discrimination in obtaining housing and employment. His plan is similar to what he attempted last year; defunding...
It, no doubt, has the support of a public enamored by the fundamentalism of traditional Southern Conservatives indifferent to anything that doesn't happen to them directly, and certainly opposed to anyone, they deem exotic, getting fair treatment from government -- even on a superficial level.
"Dandy Don" has a history of being a visible symbol of Jacksonville's boorish political underbelly. For those who remember his deeds in attempting to make an example of Parvez Ahmed, in the now forgotten incident involving Christian prayer, during his nomination as the head of the HRC. In so many words and innuendo that evening in 2010, Redmon made a statement telling Ahmed, and anyone else in the city who might disagree, that Jacksonville is a Christian community bound by the words of the "Lord's Prayer". This is a sentiment that would rear its ugly head during the 2012 campaign to expand the city's Human Rights Ordinance when other councilfolk displayed similar bigoted sentiments using their religion as justification.
Recently Redmon, after counterprotesting Occupy Jacksonville's camp in 2011 complete with an empty table and a radio set blaring the "Rush Limbaugh Program", could be seen walking the gray sidewalks of downtown during OneSpark wearing a facial expression of incredulity and contempt pointed at everything around him. It was the same expression one saw everytime he fired a glare at the Occupy Camp or any other time one sees him in public. Apparently Jacksonville is not WASPish enough, at least in "Old South" terms, for the Councilperson's taste.
And so a final question is left; will Don Redmon win one last victory for the closeted "Bunkerites" he represents? Certainly Rick Hartley, in attempting to push for a vote to reverse Atlantic Beach's new Human Rights Ordinance, will continue to carry the torch, of fighting progress, long after he returns to his barber shop. But in a budget season where there is little dissent calling to stop austerity measures, will Redmon be successful in defunding an already weak Commission? That remains to be seen. However, if he is successful, in defunding the city's Human Rights Commission, the council may as well pass a measure expanding the scope of the Human Rights Ordinance, to include sexual orientation and gender identity in it "protections", as an ironic pun. This would give the "Hallelujah Jacksonville" crowd another visceral thing to celebrate in a city desperately in need of a bright side to look at other than Redmon's term limiting.