SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — Some people say they want a mural at Santa Monica City Hall removed because it’s racist and others say it’s a piece of history that should stick around. The mural depicts the legendary encounter between Spanish explorers and Native Americans.
Oscar de la Torre says the mural doesn’t represent the city he was born and raised in.
“I think it’s racist,” de la Torre said pointing at the mural. “The city of Santa Monica should have an image that respects all people.”
He claims the mural:
“Relegates Native Americans as inferior and Europeans as superior.”
While doing some sight-seeing in Santa Monica, Kahlan Duffy and Will Sandidge said they disagree with de la Torre.
“I thought it was a cool little historical piece.” Duffy said.
“Is it racist?” I wouldn’t say so.” Sandidge said.
The mural is just steps inside city hall to left of the front door.
de la Torre plans to kick off an online petition Monday to ask the city to remove the mural. “We think that it’s better placed in a museum.”
But city spokeswoman Constance Farrell says moving the mural isn’t really an option.
“Tile piece of art, that in order to remove it, it would have to be destroyed.”
She says the public was invited to the city’s arts commission meeting two weeks ago to talk about the mural.
“There wasn’t a large turnout for that conversation,” Farrell said.
But Farrell says the city happens to be renewing its public art master plan.
“Asking the community to jump online, fill out a quick survey to really help inform what people are looking for in public art in the future.”
She says the mural is a historic part of city hall.
de la Torre disagrees”
“Pscyhological warfare against children.”
Sandidge says the mural is a way to talk about history with kids.
“Starting that conversation is probably the most important part about it.’”
Any changes would need city council approval and because the building is a historic landmark, the Secretary of the Interior would also have to approve changes.