By Sherman R. Fredrick
A local wag who keeps a finger stirring in the Pacifica pot of community affairs has told me once or twice over the years that since I took custody of Pacifica’s beloved Pacifica Tribune newspaper, there’s been “a lot of sh*t going down” in town.
I take that earthy tongue-in-cheek quip as a compliment, for when a community newspaper does its job, public discussions do come more into the open. Issues can’t hide in the shadows to be decided by a select few.
The issue of what to do with RVs on public streets is the latest example of this, (a development for which I am glad to take some credit). But today I’d like to draw your attention to the statue of Don Gaspar de Portola and the petition to have it removed.
The city’s website says the “9-foot statue was sculpted by Spanish artist Josep Maria Subirachs and his associate, Francesc Carulla. It was given to the State of California by the autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain in 1988. Catalonia was the birthplace of Don Gaspar de Portola, leader of the expedition responsible for the European discovery of San Francisco Bay. The explorers camped on the beach near the statue site (erected in the public parking lot at Crespi Drive and Highway One.) and later journeyed up the hills to Sweeney Ridge.”
Now there’s a petition with 2,500 signatures before the Pacifica City Council asking for a re-think of the statue. The argument put forth by opponents of the Portola statue is nuanced, but a pretty good one. The statue seems to celebrate discovery and by extension conquest, thereby making it offensive. (Take a look at the story in last week’s Tribune and see what you think. It’s also on our website PacificaLocalNews.com.)
There will be arguments on both sides, to be sure. And, I’ll be interested in the arguments for keeping the statue as is as well as a better understanding of why the statue was put up in the first place. If we keep it civil, we’ll end up better as a community for it.
Postscript: Some cities (Santa Fe and Carson City are two I am familiar with) have chosen to alter the wording on the plaques of statues to explain more fully the reasoning behind the displaying the statue. Don’t know if that would work here, but it may.
FIRST IMPRESSION OF SF
I’m reading the autobiography of Gen. George Crook. His first assignment out of West Point was to journey through San Francisco to his first post. Here’s his recollection of San Francisco then, which isn’t that much different from today:
“Everything was excitement and bustle, prices were most exorbitant, common laborers received much higher wages than officers of the Army, although at that time, by special act of Congress, we were allowed extra pay. Everything was so different from what I had been accustomed to that it was hard to realize I was in the United States. People had flocked there from all parts of the world; all nationalities were represented there. Sentiments and ideas were so liberal and expanded that they were almost beyond bounds.”
GOVERNOR ON BENDED KNEE
The New York Times reported that Gov. Gavin Newsom was told that if he wanted more federal COVID-19 he would have to ask President Trump personally and thank him.
The Times said Newsom did it. Newsom last week says he didn’t.
But, the Mercury News points out that on the day this supposedly happened, Gov. Newsom did, in fact, publicly praise President Trump in his daily news conference.
Me thinks the NYTs story rings of truth. Sadly.
IT’S CRAZY OUT THERE
— Our San Mateo County cousins in Redwood City authorized the slogan du jour “Black Lives Matter” to be painted on a city street. When a citizen asked that “MAGA 2020” also be added, the City Council had public works wash off the BLM in the dead of night. At daybreak, the Council announced streets are for driving. Save the political expression for somewhere else.
— In the file marked “You Gotta Be Kidding,” the Portland fire department has banned police from using fire stations for law enforcement activities. Something’s wrong in Portland.
POLITICS AND GOOD CANNED BEANS
In an embrace of really good canned beans, comes the story of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling on Americans to boycott Goya foods. Why? Because the owner of the popular Hispanic food company, Bob Unanue, once praised President Donald Trump and refused to apologize as AOC demanded.
AOC called for a boycott and … wait for it … sales of Goya products increased.
Subsequently, Goya named AOC “employee of the month.”
If you disagree with this thought from Maya Angelou, then I’m afraid you cannot be my friend.
ONE MORE THING
— Heck is where you go if you don’t believe in Gosh.
— When a bird poops on my car, I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my front porch. Just to show ‘em what I’m capable of.
— Due to the lack of cicadas this year, I’m planning to climb into the trees and scream.
— Someone left a grocery list in this cart that read: “Wine and stuff to eat with wine.” I’m pretty sure my soulmate is out there.
— I am taking up birding and I’ve received my first manual.
And with that, I’ll pick up my knitting and let myself out. Until next week, be safe, read a newspaper, wear a mask, and avoid soreheads. Life is always better that way.
Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, publisher of intensely local community newspapers, including Pacifica Tribune. You may drop him a line at email@example.com.)