PALM SPRINGS — A Palm Springs man has started a petition drive to remove the statue of former Mayor Frank Bogert that stands prominently in front of City Hall at 3200 E Tahquitz Canyon Way.
As of Monday morning, 555 people had signed the petition David Weiner, an accountant and consultant, started for residents of — and visitors to — Palm Springs.
“The time has come,” Weiner told Uken Report. “I’ve lived in Palm Springs for 16 years. This is my home. Many off those born and raised here know the history. But so many like to think we live in this idyllic community where nothing bad ever happens. We can do better than this.”
Weiner said he hopes to collect as many as a “couple of thousand” signatures and plans to present them to City Council on July 9.
The goal of the petition drive is to not only get the statue removed but also serve an educational tool.
Frank Bogert was one of the “founding fathers” of Palm Springs, a Hollywood actor who moved to the Desert oasis and became one of its bigger boosters, starting around 1930. In 1958, Bogert was elected to the Palm Springs City Council and served as mayor from 1958-1966.
It was during this time that Palm Springs had one of its greatest failures to the non-White residents of the City, particularly in Section 14, a square mile of land next to downtown that was part of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, according to the petition. Through a series of schemes that he operated with attorneys, some tribal members and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bogert and the City Council evicted many lower income and almost exclusively Black residents of Section 14. The homes they rented were torched with the assistance of the Palm Springs Fire and Police Departments, and many were “relocated” to Desert Highland Estates on the north end of town.
There is much more to this history, but the bottom line is that Frank Bogert, who was instrumental in these atrocities against Palm Springs residents, has been memorialized by a prominent statue of him in front of Palm Springs City Hall that was installed in 1990, Weiner writes in the petition.
“We, the residents, citizens and visitors of Palm Springs, California, believe it is time to remove the statue to a man that only represented White Palm Springs during his time as a booster and politician” Weiner writes in the petition.
You may sign the petition by clicking here.
Mayor Geoff Kors told Uken Report that he is on record in sharing his view that ‘the statute should not be in front of the Palm Springs City Hall given Mayor Bogart’s involvement with the mass evictions and destruction of homes of residents from Section 14 and comments he made.”
Kors said he will listen to the views of residents on this and “other issues as we work to move towards a more just and equal community.”
Councilmember Grace Garner is the Council liaison and is working on setting up a process for community meetings, Kors said.