San Jose, California City Council voted Tuesday night to rid itself of an "offensive" statue of Christopher Columbus that has stood in its city hall for more than five decades.
City officials had asked citizens for input on where to move the statue, but only a handful of members of San Jose's Italian-American community, which gifted the statue to the city in the 1950s as a celebration of Italian-American contributions to society, argued to keep the marble likeness.
The town's mayor, Sam Liccardo, said that the city wasn't interested in keeping Columbus in its main building because Columbus never landed in California and therefore could not have made any meaningful contribution to San Jose's unique culture.
"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,” Liccardo said during the meeting, as if that is ever a qualification for building a statue in any major city. Others argued that the marble statue was not aesthetically in line with the rest of San Jose's historic architecture, which is ridiculous, but only because San Jose has a statue that looks shockingly like a pile of poop (it's supposed to be a mythical "plumed serpent," but it's . . . not).
After asking around, San Jose determined that no public or private building wanted the "offensive" statue or the ire it brings. Residents have already attacked the statue twice, and it's had to undergo major repairs both times. Instead, San Jose will chip out the statue sometime in the next six weeks and place it in storage.
Action against the statue began shortly after a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, held ostensibly to save monuments to the American Confederacy, ended in the death of an anti-racist protester. Confederate statues have since been toppled across the country, though that hasn't satisfied those who would seek to erase all non-progressive historical figures from the public square.