City Announces Removal of Statue of Former Palm Springs Mayor

City News Service

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – Following an emotional court battle, the city
announced today that a statue of former Palm Springs Mayor Frank Bogert in
front of City Hall will be removed Wednesday.

The will be carried out by the Palm Desert-based Art Collective Fine
Art Services, beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The removal is expected to be
completed by 2 p.m.

The removal follows a back-and-forth court battle between the city and
the Friends of Frank Bogert group, which wanted the statue to remain in place.

The Friends group took filed court papers in hopes of blocking the
removal. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Carol A. Greene initially
granted the group’s request for a temporary restraining order, blocking the
originally planned May 17 removal of the statue. The judge’s decision coincided
with a protest by local veteran Amado Salinas, who sat on the base of the
statue for most of the day in his uniform.

But Greene subsequently declined to extend the restraining order,
rejecting a bid from the Friends group for a preliminary injunction. That
decision cleared the way for the statue’s removal.

The city plans to store the statue at a maintenance facility. The city
also plans to work with the Friends group to find a new location for the
statue.

The Palm Springs City Council unanimously voted to begin the process
of removal on Sept. 29, 2021, following a resolution issued by the Palm Springs
Human Rights Commission recommending that the statue be removed.

The commission determined the statue was perceived as an “offensive
and painful public reminder” of what it called systemic racism during Bogert’s
mayoral leadership from 1958-66.

Since the removal was approved, the Friends group has lobbied the
city’s Historic Site Preservation Board to stop the move.

The HSPB approved a certificate of appropriateness on Feb. 1 in favor
of the removal from City Hall, recommending that the city relocate it to a
suitable and publicly accessible site in perpetuity.

Attorney Rod Pacheco — who represents the Friends of Frank Bogert
group —  appealed the action on Feb. 10. The City Council unanimously voted to
deny the appeal on Feb. 24, and directed staff to find an appropriate location
or place the statue in storage within 60 days.

Last September’s resolution by the Human Rights Commission stated that
“Mayor Bogert and Palm Springs civic leaders persecuted their lower-income
constituents who resided on the land owned by local Tribal Members. Attempting
to dispossess the Indians of their tribal lands, and erase any blighted
neighborhoods that might degrade the city’s resort image, Palm Springs
officials developed and implemented a plan that included having non-Indian
conservators appointed by a local judge to manage the Indians land claiming
they were unable to manage it for themselves. The successful implementation of
this plan resulted in the removal of the city’s people of color and
restructured the race and class configuration of the city.”

The commission specifically referred to the city-backed destruction of
about 200 dwellings in Section 14 from 1965-66, which the commission said
“displaced many working-class, Black, Indigenous, and people of color
families.”

Negie Bogert, Bogert’s widow and member of “Friends of Frank
Bogert,” explained why she is against the resolution.

“I don’t think that he was perfect but he was not by any means what
they portray him as being,” Bogert told KESQ. “For them to say my husband is
racist, it could not be any further from the truth.”

Bogert died in 2009.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

CNS-07-11-2022 14:34

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