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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PURPLE ROOM REOPENING: Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, shuttered for 16 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, has an official reopening date following a successful GoFundMe campaign. Holmes announced Monday that he and a full slate of performers will relaunch the acclaimed venue starting Aug. 31. Relaunch events include two performances by Sam Harris on Sept. 3 and 4. “One of my all-time favorite films is ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey,” Holmes said in a news release. “I always cry when the movie ends because it is so beautiful how the community surrounds, supports and celebrates by helping George through his most desperate of times and always thought to myself, what a beautiful world it would be to experience such love. I now know it isn’t only in the movies. It is right here. It is an active part of this glorious community.” The full schedule and ticket information for the 2021 Purple Room season can be found online here.
NEW LEADERSHIP AT CENTER: Rob Wheeler has been appointed executive director and CEO of The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert (The Center) following a nationwide search led by an executive search group. Wheeler succeeds previous CEO Mike Thompson and Interim Executive Director Mary Sue Allen, who will resume her role as co-chair of The Center Board of Directors. Wheeler joins The Center following 22 years at the New York LGBT Community Center, where he served as deputy executive director and chief operating officer since 2010. He is credited with leading the New York Center through a decade of transformational growth with an array of health, arts, and community programming, all while growing the annual budget of $8.5 million to $20 million. Wheeler earned his undergraduate degree in organizational sociology and political science from Hunter College and his MPA from New York University, where he subsequently taught as an adjunct associate professor of public service.
DESERT ROSE MOVES HERE: The Desert Rose Playhouse, a live stage company producing and presenting the finest in LGBTQ and gay positive plays, musicals and attractions, was forced to close its Rancho Mirage location during the pandemic. But it is now set to reopen in a larger space — the former Zelda’s nightclub in Palm Springs, at 611 S. Palm Canyon Dr. The move was made possible, its artistic and managing directors said, thanks to donations from the community that helped them pay a deposit and sign a lease at the 7,000-square-foot facility. Since signing that lease, a crew has been hard at work transforming the former nightclub into a new state of the art theater. “The lights are hung, the sound system is installed, the new 20 person dressing room is beginning construction,” its leaders wrote. “(W)e just announced our new LGBTQ Youth Performing Arts Outreach Program and we are ready to start rehearsals for the remaining 2021 productions and begin programming our 10-year anniversary season!” Community donations are still needed, however, and can be made by becoming a member here.
HELPING THE HUNGRY: Palm Springs Grocery Outlet and the Mizell Center are teaming in July to help feed the needy. When you donate $5 or more at Grocery Outlet, 350 S. Palm Canyon Dr., you’ll receive $5 off your next purchase of $25 or more. Mark and Kimberly Roznoski, who own the store, have been partnering with the Mizell Center since opening in 2019, offering ongoing support to both the Center and its Meals on Wheels program.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 10 events today, beginning at 8 AM. For a complete list of today’s offerings for everyone in the community, turn here.
SCHOOL DISTRICT: The Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Directors holds a special meeting at 3 PM to consider the hiring of a new principal at Cathedral City Elementary. The meeting is broadcast here on YouTube, and an agenda can be found here.
WORKSHOP: The City of Palm Springs Planning Department hosts a second community workshop to discuss the ongoing update of the city’s General Plan this evening from 5:30 PM until 7 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in room Primrose B. For more information about the General Plan update, or to register for the workshop, visit this site.
ONE-PS: The monthly membership meeting of Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) takes place tonight from 5:30 PM until 7 PM. All materials for that meeting are located here.
POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays this evening at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05 PM. A complete schedule is available here. Because it’s Taco Tuesday, expect to find Foodie Rescue selling tacos on the third base side all night.
Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? The following links should help: