Palm Springs, CA

Bogert statue removal decision in September?

The Palm Springs Post
The possible removal of a statue of former Palm Springs Mayor Frank Bogert from the front of City Hall is expected to be addressed by the CiThe Palm Springs Post

The possible removal of a statue of a former mayor from the front of City Hall should be considered by the Palm Springs City Council in September, City Manager Justin Clifton said Monday.

“I know we had spoken of a July time period for follow up on the [Frank] Bogert statue,” Clifton told members of the city’s Human Rights Commission during its regular monthly meeting Monday evening. “We’re now targeting a September date and trying to circle that in.”

Commission members voted 5-1 in April in favor of removal of the statue of Bogert on horseback, installed in 1990, passing it along to the City Council for final consideration. Clifton said scheduling conflicts and the Council’s break in August prevented consideration to date.

Bogert served as mayor twice, including during one of the ugliest periods in city history in the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. It was then that residents who were Black, indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) were forced out of their homes in a one-square-mile section of tribal-owned land downtown — known as Section 14 — when white business owners sought to develop the land following the 1959 Indian Leasing Act.

The Commission’s vote came after its members sifted through 309 pages of documentation that detailed how Bogert and other influential white city leaders contributed to the systemic racism Palm Springs and other communities across the country are grappling with today. The resolution calls the statue a “symbol of the dehumanization and devaluation” of the lives of BIPOC citizens.

In casting the lone no vote in April, Commissioner Terrie Andrade acknowledged harm may have been done by Bogert during his tenure, but Andrade agreed with some community members who voiced opposition to the statue’s removal that much of the claims about Bogert may not be factual.

“Some of the data presented as facts is uncorroborated,” Andrade said before the April vote. “It’s possibly one-sided. … I would like to see the resolution less judgmental, more factual, and less anecdotal.”

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