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