Under cover of darkness on the morning of July 23, the city of Ventura removed the statue of Junipero Serra that stood in front of city hall and shipped it off to an undisclosed storage facility. A lawsuit filed earlier this week challenges the validity of the city council’s vote to remove the statue.
The city council voted unanimously on July 15 to remove the bronze statue from in front of city hall and the identical wooden statue from the interior of the building. After hearing hours of public comment in support of and opposition to the statue and Junipero Serra himself, with many people calling Serra a “monster” or “rapist” who has no place in Ventura, some council members couched their votes in terms of inclusivity and “hearing” the people who claimed to be hurt by the statue’s presence.
The Coalition for Historical Integrity filed a lawsuit on July 21 and asked for a restraining order against the city to prevent it from removing the statue. The lawsuit challenges the validity of the city council’s vote to remove the bronze statue, primarily on the basis that the city sidestepped rules for historic resources by simply declaring the statue was not a landmark. The petition presents pages of evidence that the city formally recognized the monument as a historic landmark in 1973, repeatedly affirmed that designation in official documents, and did not question the historic designation until June of this year.
In the city’s response to the coalition’s petition, the city public works director, Phil Nelson, filed a declaration that the statue was at “serious risk of damage,” having been splashed with paint a month ago. The statue was under 24-hour camera surveillance and surrounded by a double layer of fencing, locked with bolts and chains. He declared under penalty of perjury that the city had “a high level of concern” that the statue would be damaged if left in its present location and that he was in charge of removing, storing, and “ultimately” relocating the statue. Phil Nelson is an ordained Catholic deacon, serving at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ojai.
The court denied the coalition’s request for a restraining order, adopting the city’s argument that it was necessary to remove the statue for its own safety. The city did not acknowledge the fact that the wooden statue inside city hall, although in no danger of vandalism, is slated for removal. The lawsuit continues and could result in a finding that the city council’s vote to remove the bronze statue was illegal.
At 3 am on Thursday, city workers blocked off the street in front of city hall. A handful of pro- Serra Catholics who had heard a rumor about the statue’s removal gathered at its base. The city erected barricades, caution tape, and lighting in a matter of minutes. The police ushered the Catholics away from the statue’s base, but when Skyline Crane Rental arrived, several Catholics, ignoring the requests of the police, returned to the statue to talk to the crane operators and beg them not to be a part of the destruction.
One Serra supporter told Skyline’s CEO, Bob Cullen, that being part of the mob that takes down statues would be bad for his business. He responded that he was glad to be part of the movement and that those people who opposed the removals are the minority and not in charge anymore. Cullen led the dismantling of the statue with his own hands. Deacon Phil Nelson was present, supervising. A few anti-Serra protesters watched, video-recording and burning incense.
Despite the pleas of the pro-Serra contingent, the city and crane company had the statue unbolted, lifted off, wrapped in blankets, and tied onto a flatbed truck within two hours. The Catholics prayed the rosary and held American flags and images of Junipero Serra.
Separately, Ventura County announced a plan to redesign the county seal. The county is considering removing the image of Junipero Serra but is awaiting a recommendation from the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
California Catholic exclusive written by Mary Rose.
The Cultural Marxism Continues…soon we will all be under the hammer and sickle.
3 AM – Pretty much says it all.
Mr Nelson seems to be acting in his capacity as a city official. If so, what is the relevance of his status as a Deacon? If he is acting as a Deacon, does he have approval of the Pastor? the Archbishop?
As an aside to bohemond: Are you suggesting we all learn Russian?
You’re right, it seems Rev. Mr. Nelson was acting in his capacity as public works director, likely under orders from the city manager and/or city council. If he were acting as a deacon, he would have acted only with the approval of his bishop. Thanks be to God, in my 31+ years as a civil servant, I didn’t encounter such a potentially difficult situation.
In California more likely it would be better to learn Chinese.
Bobhemond, everything unfortunately seems to be moving in that direction. God save us!
The de Christianization of California and the US continues. The mob gets their way over and over and over again. They best
enjoy their victories now. The day of Our Lord’s Wrath approaches.
When public displays of the 10 Commandments were under attack, people put them up at their homes using yard signs.
It is both a travesty of the highest human order and an affront and insult to all those who have read about the humanizing efforts, of of the heroism, of Padre Junipero Serra and other missionaries in helping Native Americans to become transformed from their backwardness, their primitive ways, their ignorance of God, Who came to earth at Bethlehem to dispel human ignorance among all people for all time. Read and learn! No greater name exceeds than
that of Saint Junipero Serra and many more Catholic missionaries who gave up every worldly comfort and possession, family and home, in order to protect and enrich through Christianity the natives living in primitive ignorance of all that was of value–both then and now, but which was unknown to America’s and California’s Native Americans. The many missions established in California have developed into cities, their names evoking the self-sacrificing labors of so many unnamed missionaries dedicated to replacing pagan ignorance with Christianity and advanced technology.
I love Bob the Crane’s retort to the law and order folk that they “are the minority and are not in charge anymore.” Out of the mouth of cranes come gems. Sure beats, “Hey, business is business.”
Bohemond is sadly and most of all frightfully correct we are seeing the hammer and sickle appear in the United States, we all know this was NEVER about George Floyd it never was. BLM is a Marxist-Leninist party founded by three black LESBIANS they care nothing about Black lives only for the complete and utter destruction of the United States of America with the help of the Democrat Party and the MSM hand in hand. Just look at who the protesters are 70% of them are young WHITE privileged elites who don’t even know what they are protesting about. These young punks are taught from grade school to college by Communist professors from the 60’s to hate America and call for its destruction, it starts in the school system and that is a proven fact. Washington, Jefferson, Lee, Jackson, Serra, Columbus, Roosevelt, one by one ripped down by Left wing mayors and Governors, their own cities burned and looted, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Minneapolis, Philadelphia ALL run by Democrats, they have destroyed their own cities not Republicans or White people! If Trump loses in 2020 we will witness the total and complete destruction of the United States as we know it, the warning is there on television for all to see. May God save this country for we seem unable to stop the carnage that is happening.
100% in agreement with Romulus, it is Wh whoites are looting, burning, and destroying all of these cities! Yes it is also a Communist inspired revolution that has Christianity in its sights especially Roman Catholicism as its target. The Democrat Party for over 60 years has destroyed the Black family unit as we can witness by 70% of Black women having babies out of wedlock, abortions count for over 60% of Black or Brown babies being killed in the womb by Planned Parenthood, I pray that the African-American community will wake up and see what the Democrats have done to them!
And what of personal responsibility?
Bella it’s not Democrats and Republicans , Its Human personal perspective and decisions of ones Self… Because , Some wanted it because of Benifits , it’s TRUE, that’s why I supported My Only Girl… and , prayed to be away from this kind.. I Am.. not a Races , But , I Am.. a mother to Protect and love my children… I Hope you understand my Ideals and Ignorances in this Land, ..