For the record, we citizens still care about the facts and want to share somewith the community.
Palm Springs Human Rights Commission adopted a false report in an effort to make up a reason to remove the statue of Frank Bogert from its position in front of City Hall where it has been since 1990.
The City continues to refuse to identify who wrote this false report. They DO say that it WASN’T a city department head or city manager.
Friends of Frank Bogert has obtained information via public records requests that indicates the Report appears to have been authored by one individual: Ron deHarte, Chair of the Human Rights Commission.
Those records also indicate then-Mayor Geoff Kors and Ginny Foat were also involved. DeHarte, Kors and Foat determined that the Bogert statue should be removed, so they created a report to support that removal, despite the facts. No effort was made to understand what really happened in Section 14.
The facts did not stand a chance.
When repeatedly asked about it by the Desert Sun, deHarte was quoted as saying the false report was “compiled by the members of the Human Rights Commission,” but the City Clerk and the City Manager have stated there are no public records of meetings to “compile” the report. If this did occur, it would have been a violation of the Brown Act, which prohibits elected officials from meeting in secret on matters related to an upcoming agenda.
The alternative is that deHarte is not being factual; he’s not telling the truth. The official records we obtained from the city corroborate this.
The fact is there is no evidence the report was compiled by commissioners, but rather it was put together by deHarte, Kors and Foat in secret. DeHarte is on record as stating that the removal of the statue was a political effort made to appease a particular group.
On April 2, 2021 deHarte wrote Foat that “I’ve done a good amount of research to support the Commission’s Section 14 apology resolution which was approved at our March meeting. However, there are gaps in our case to remove the statue.” Adding, “I would appreciate any records you can share that can help us make the case to remove the statue.”
The records we obtained also include an email from deHarte to Kors who then apparently contacted Foat.
After talking with Foat, Kors emailed deHarte saying, “Ginny [Foat] is going to have Claire Lucas [deputy finance director of the Democratic National Committee in Washington D.C.] who did the research call you.”
The City Council and the Human Rights Commission talk about transparency in both written policy and when speaking to the public. They regularly attack others, like the College of the Desert for lack of transparency.
Transparency and honesty are the hallmarks of local government. Palm Springs gets a failing grade on both.
The statue removal was just the first step. Now they are discussing paying hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations without ever investigating the facts around Section 14. And they are again doing it behind closed doors. Sadly, the facts don’t stand a chance in Palm Springs.