The Frank Bogert statue in front of Palm Springs City Hall, Thursday, August 19, 2021. Bogert served as mayor from 1958 to 1966 and from 1982 to 1988.
The Frank Bogert statue in front of Palm Springs City Hall, Thursday, August 19, 2021. Bogert served as mayor from 1958 to 1966 and from 1982 to 1988.

The statue of former Palm Springs Mayor Frank Bogert will be taken down from its perch in front of city hall on Tuesday.

The statue will be stored in the city yard. The statue will be removed at 8 a.m. The Art Collective is a Palm Desert-based fine art services company.

The statue is going to be moved one day before a court hearing where a lawyer for the Friends of Frank Bogert group is going to ask for a restraining order to stop the city from removing it.

The announcement that the city will be removing the statue came just three days after an attorney for the Friends of Frank Bogert group filed for a temporary restraining order to keep the statue at city hall. A hearing on that restraining order is scheduled for Tuesday.

In the filing, Pacheco asks the court to bar the city from moving the statue until the court can hear a lawsuit he filed on behalf of the group asking that the statue be left in place. The hearing is scheduled for June 24.

The City's stated plan to remove the Bogert statue is being done in violation of the City's Municipal Code, the California Civil Code, and the California Environmental Quality Act.

Decision to move statue made in February

In February, the Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously to direct city staff to work with stakeholders to find an appropriate location for the statue. If an agreeable location was not found, the statue would be moved within 60 days.

The city council voted to deny an appeal of the Historic Site Preservation Board's vote to grant a certificate of appropriateness allowing the statue to be moved.

The City is willing to work with the group to find a suitable location for the statue. The statue will be safely stored until a new location is found, according to the city release.

In April, Pacheco told The Desert Sun that he and members of the Friends of Frank Bogert group had been talking to the mayor of Palm Springs about possible locations. There are two possible sites for the neuroscience center on East Alejo and Sunrise Park. The city and the group were unable to agree on a location because the suggested sites were too far out of the way, as was the case with Sunrise Park.

'They're sneaking it in before the hearing'

The Desert Sun was told by Pacheco that the city was moving quickly to remove the statue before the hearing.

They sneak in before the hearing and then they will say it's too late and we already removed it.

He said that the move amounted to an admission of guilt by the city.

They know we are going to win the hearing for the temporary restraining order so they are trying to get ahead of the court so that they can.

Pacheco said that there is nothing they can do to prevent a court from ordering them to return the statue.

They are actually making a mistake if they think they are getting ahead of the game. He said that courts have a way of responding poorly to that kind.

Pacheco said that this sort of tells you who is leading the city.

It tells you that they know they are going to lose and they made this decision at the last minute to prevent a judge from doing their job. They should not have a problem if they believe in the justice system. The city attorney was talking about how they were going to win. He doesn't think they will win. He and his gang of five are trying to prevent the court from hearing it. I have never seen anything like this from elected officials.

Pacheco said he would be in court on Tuesday to ask the judge to prevent the statue from being moved. He tried to give Jeff Ballinger notice that he was doing so, but he has not responded.

City attorney says plans to remove statue have been in works for days

Ballinger told The Desert Sun that the decision to move the statue had been in the works for several weeks.

The city has been working for several weeks to put this in place. The last minute is his motion. It was filed last Friday.

The statue was to be moved on May 3, a week before the motion was filed.

The process for getting a contract signed doesn't happen in a day or two. In the last two-and-a-half months, we have not heard a word from Mr. Pacheco, as staff went forward and completed the contract for removal, and then just last Friday he filed his motion.

If there is anything last minute, it is Pacheco's filings.

Most attorneys in Pacheco would have assumed the city was about to remove the statue, according to Ballinger.

If he had been talking to us he would have known, but we haven't heard from him since February.

Ballinger said that the city did not want to be involved in litigation and did not want to announce the statue's location prior to Monday.

He said that the council made it clear what the time was and when it would happen.

Ballinger said a representative of the city attorney's office will be at city hall on Tuesday.

Ballinger said that it was his right to ask the court to move it up.

Bogert was mayor during Section 14 evictions

The mayor of Palm Springs in the 1950s and 1960s was John Bogert, who was involved in the removal of 200 people from their homes on Section 14. At the time, rules around how long such land could be leased for had recently changed, and the evictions were intended to accelerate the economic development of the property.

The statue came under scrutiny during the national movement to reconsider the place of statues associated with the Confederacy and other statues that some say depict racist figures following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The statue was recommended to be removed by the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission.

The statue is seen as an offensive and painful reminder of a legacy of urban renewal that excluded the vast majority of people of color from the city limits, and the present realities of systemic racism.

The process to remove the statue was voted on by the Palm Springs City Council. The Historic Site Preservation Board considered whether city rules governing historic sites allowed for its removal from city hall. The commission voted 4-2 to allow the statue to be removed.

During the process, Pacheco has argued that the city has run afoul of its own rules governing historic sites, which state that an alterations to a historic site must not impact or impair the character defining features of a historic resource.

Alterations must assist in restoring the historic resource to its original appearance according to city rules.

The historic designation covers the features and structures located within the streets surrounding the city hall site, according to a 2012 resolution. He said that removing the statue would detract from the appearance of the historic resource.

The statue was built by the artist and was placed at the city hall. City Hall was made a protected historic site in 1996.

Ballinger told The Desert Sun that the lawsuit filed by Pacheco appeared to be devoid of any legal merit.

The city will prevail, as it has in other similar cases recently, and I expect the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

Ballinger said at the time that he was unaware of any plans to delay the statue's removal.

The story will be updated.

The Palm Springs Desert Sun reported that the city will move the statue from city hall to storage Tuesday.