Group suing city over statue removal finds few places to put it; city prevails in initial hearing

On Friday, a judge upheld a tentative ruling in the case removing a temporary restraining order and denying an injunction filed against the city by The Friends of Frank Bogert.

If and when the dust settles in court, the question of where the statue of former Mayor Frank Bogert will go remains anything but settled. 

Driving the news: Last month, the removal of the statue from City Hall was halted when a trial court granted a temporary restraining order requested by the Friends of Frank Bogert, which is suing over the removal. On Thursday, members of the group and others gathered at one proposed relocation site, the Village Green Heritage Center along South Palm Canyon Drive downtown.

  • A judge on Friday denied a request from the Friends group to uphold an earlier temporary restraining order and an also denied an injunction filed against the city to halt the removal pending a full hearing.

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Big picture: The Friends are in a unique situation in that they are both slamming city officials in public and in court in an effort to prevent the removal and also hoping to work with them to find a new home for the statue. To date, it’s been “Franks, but no Franks” every place they’ve turned. Hence the gathering Thursday in an effort to find support for the Village Green location. 

  • “We drove down every street in Palm Springs looking for a place where the statue would physically fit. We inquired about more than a dozen locations on public and private property, they all said it wouldn’t work.” —Doug Evans, Friends of Frank Bogert

But wait: City Attorney Jeff Ballinger said Thursday that the Friends group hasn’t approached anyone at City Hall about the issue. The city’s elected leaders have been noncommittal about moving it to any city property other than a storage facility.

  • “Other than what we saw in the press, the City has not received any formal or even informal proposal from the Friends group, since before the February City Council meeting,” Ballinger wrote in an email.

Bottom line: Even though he plays a role in the prolonged statue saga, Evans expressed the feeling of many in the city — frustration — by phone on Thursday.

  • “The community is tired of the debate over Frank Bogert and statues,” he said. “The city has significant issues they need to deal with. … Talking about the statue is distracting them from these other issues.”

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