Palm Springs, CA

Lawsuit over Marilyn statue moves forward with fewer claims allowed

The Palm Springs Post
Fans and opponents of the Forever Marilyn statue in downtown Palm Springs turned out for its unveiling on June 20.The Palm Springs Post

A Riverside County Superior Court judge on Thursday upheld a ruling from earlier this week that many of the points made by the Committee to Relocate Marilyn (CReMa) in its lawsuit against the city cannot be carried forward in the proceedings.

In the lawsuit, filed earlier this year, CReMa argued that Palm Springs officials violated multiple city, local, and state laws when they approved closing Museum Way to allow for installation of the Forever Marilyn statue. Four of the six claims made by the group, mostly about traffic and environmental laws, were dismissed on Thursday at the request of the city. The two remaining claims assert the statue’s three-year installation does not constitute a “temporary” placement.

“We are extremely pleased that the court today reaffirmed that the City Council’s action was in compliance with state and local laws,” said City Manager Justin Clifton in a prepared statement. “It is the city’s hope that the committee will end what remains of its lawsuit, so that we as a community can move on and focus our energy on more productive issues, such as homelessness, affordable housing, economic development, and the environment.”

CReMa has not indicated if it plans to halt the legal proceedings. It continues to seek funds for legal fees, while its members and other opponents continue speaking out at public meetings and in online forums against the 26-foot-high statue.

Those opponents were criticized by Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege during a public meeting earlier this month for what appeared to be conflicting statements both supporting the statue’s location at a planned downtown park and also calling for its removal entirely, saying it was a misogynistic disgrace. A representative of the Committee of Courageous Resistance of the Desert/Indivisible 36 was quick to point out in an email to The Post, however, that there are actually two groups with separate messages acting in opposition to the statue.

“The folks in one camp (CReMa) may feel strongly about the issues in the other camp (#metoo movement), but they each represent entirely different issues and the mayor knows this,” wrote Lisa Schoenberg, coordinator of the Committee of Courageous Resistance Women’s Issues Committee. “This controversy is between many of the constituents that feel strongly about the statue’s location and it’s existence.”

PS Resorts, an organization of hoteliers and tourism stakeholders in the city that purchased the statue for $1 million, unveiled it on June 20, drawing both fans and detractors.

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