Having solved all of the other challenges facing Silicon Valley and the bay area in general, the municipal leaders of San Jose, California have voted to remove a marble statue of Christopher Columbus from the lobby of City Hall. This clear and present danger to the city’s residents may soon be gone, but we have no idea where it will land since they couldn’t find any other prominent location willing to risk having the “offensive” artwork on their property. (CBS San Francisco)
After hours of contentious and boisterous debate, the San Jose City Council late Tuesday night voted to remove a controversial Christopher Columbus statue from the City Hall lobby.
The statue of Columbus has taken a prominent place at San Jose’s City Hall since the 1950’s.
Much of Tuesday night’s debate came when city officials suggested places to put the statue. However, every suggestion aroused opposition.
It was suggested that the statue be relocated to the municipal airport, but they passed. None of San Jose’s museums were interested. In the end, the council gave “leaders of the local Italian-American community” (however that is defined) six weeks to find a new location.
The general objections are the usual ones, attempting to depict Columbus as some sort of conquering, colonial slavemaster. We’ve heard it all before, but nothing changes the fact that he remains a hero and iconic figure for Italian Americans. The “official” reason being given by the city officials, however, is even more idiotic. Their mayor, Sam Liccardo, is quoted as saying, “Columbus never landed in the Alviso Marina. So there is no policy basis for keeping a statue of somebody who was not from San Jose in City Hall.”
Really? So your city only has a “policy basis” for having memorials to people who were specifically from San Jose? (Or who at least “landed” there I suppose.) So you would turn down a statue of, let’s just say… Martin Luther King? He was from the opposite side of the country. I’m just imagining the reception you’d get if you were rushing to toss out an MLK memorial.
It appears that San Jose doesn’t have a Sons of Italy club like we do in my town, but they do have an Italian Men’s Club. There’s also a Sons of Italy proper a short ways up 101 North in Redwood City. I’m guessing that either one of them would love to have it. Keep in mind that this isn’t some cheap concrete cast. The statue is made of marble and was handcrafted in Italy. It was a donation to the city made by Italian American residents back in the fifties. Heck, if none of them want it, ship it out here to upstate New York. I can assure you there’s a thriving section of the local Little Italy where fights would break out over a chance at landing it.