Palm Springs — The Palm Springs City Council is finalizing its scheme to rip out the Frank Bogert statue tomorrow and remove it from public view, thus erasing a piece of Palm Springs history.
Friends of Frank Bogert — the grassroots group providing sunlight to the process and defending the record of Palm Springs’ longest-serving mayor spanning 14 years, whose service to the city spanned over 40 years — says the City has not acted in good faith.
The City Council’s lack of action to agree to an alternate solution means the city is either incapable of finding simple solutions, or they intentionally dragged their feet.
One prime example is zero action from City Manager Justin Clifton. At the February 24th City Council meeting, the council instructed Clifton to work with stakeholders to find a mutually-agreeable site for the statue within 60 days. Despite this directive, Mr. Clifton never reached out to the Bogert family nor Friends of Frank Bogert. During that time, the Bogert family and Friends of Frank provided numerous alternate solutions, include the Village Green. Not until July 8th did Clifton respond with, “absent a mutually agreeable site for relocation, I have been instructed to proceed with removal of the statue.”
This is not a good-faith public process.
Previously, other questions arose regarding the integrity of the process. A Public Records Act request revealed that Human Rights Commission chairman Ron deHarte stated, “There are gaps in our case to remove the (Bogert) statue.” HRC member Terrie Andrade also questioned the integrity and transparency of the process.
A Public Records Act request also revealed that a national Democrat Party operative helped pen the Human Rights Commission report which initiated the quest. Following the report, the City Council continued their maneuvering to get rid of the statue, including an attempt to tear down the statue in late May without notifying the public, for which Friends of Frank went to court.
Tomorrow’s statue removal comes as the City Council has continued to fail to find a solution for the statue.
A few reminders of the City Council’s broken promises:
- The City Council initially PLEDGED to form a committee to determine the fate of the statue, yet they never convened;
- The City Council REJECTED every public city location suggested by community members, including numerous locations put forth by Friends of Frank Bogert, Board Members, and the general public;
- The City Council also committed to arrange for private business locations to house the statue, yet FAILED to do so, as the narrative put forth by the City spoiled any opportunities to gain property owner approvals;
- The City Council PASSED a RESOLUTION to wait a total of 90 days to further examine and settle the matter; they have taken no further action to solve the problem and in fact, attempted to tear down the statue in late May, before the 90-day period expired.
All of those City Council promises were broken.
“This could have been resolved initially had the City Council had the professional courtesy to simply speak with the surviving members of the Bogert family,” said Rod Pacheco, attorney for Friends of Frank. “Instead, the City has dragged his memory through the mud and taken the family and the entire City of Palm Springs with it.”
Ironically, just a few years ago the City previously paid tribute to Mayor Bogert, including producing a glowing tribute video touting numerous accomplishments for Palm Springs.
“Once again, we are shocked that the City we believed was operating in good faith would do such a thing,” said Frank’s widow, Negie Bogert, a Mexican-American who served as First Lady of Palm Springs and welcomed all to the region.