Skip to main content

tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  August 31, 2019 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT

8:00 pm
mer and what i did not understood about her is what drove her. yes, she is good at the blood sport but tough as nails and relentless. when i got to know her personally, i understood she was driven by her heart and in fact when i got to know hershey ex -- her that she ex sows as -- exhausted this every year. by merchants who labored to succeed and serve the community, she fought for parks for children to play in, she willed the new chinese hospital and was a big part of central subways before us. asian-americans make up over 30% of our city population we are part of 250 year history, part of building the city to make it more just. it was the six-year-old who
8:01 pm
fought the policy that prohibited asian-americans from attending the public schools. they went to the california supreme court and won. six companies in chinatown fought the first racial ban in 1892 and resisted the registry. people of color and immigrants make up the majority of population. their names are not on streets and buildings. stations are named after the streets and acknowledges like stockton and montgomery. buildings like chase. we will reflect the history that has purposely written out women and women and people of color and made them invisible that is not what san francisco standing for. thank you so much for your time so much. i will give my time to supervisor fewer.
8:02 pm
>> supervisor fewer welcome. >> supervisor fewer: thank you. i am the supervisor of district one. i am here to support the rose pak chinatown station. there are people who have thumbs down. i will give my support here. i am a fourth generation chinese american from san francisco. migrate grandfather started the first chain nose produce station. rose pak is not responsible for china or hong kong. she is not responsible for the what is happening with whatever. she is just not. rose pak, the woman i know is tough as nails. dropped a lot of "f" bombs that can be intimidated.
8:03 pm
one thing in her heart she always fought for chinatown. this idea that she recruited political people for china she has never once asked my opinion for china she did ask me to protect chinatown. she spent her life doing that. she was not a rich woman. she live dna small -- lives in a small apartment on jackson street. she lived humbly. she was tough. i want to remind you during her time in fighting for chinatown she was fighting a political war, political with really the power in white men. she was a chinese woman from hong kong. she was tough and powerbroker fighting for chinatown.
8:04 pm
i want be to say rose pak knew chinatown would be vulnerable and she played the central subway. it was a long game. i know the city well and you know it, too. the city would never invest $1 billion to make sure chinatown was alive so the store owners would continue to have commerce and economic stability that chinatown will remain a cherished destination? san francisco forever. it was a transit destination. she was caring about the people and the livelihood. i know you have a hard decision ahead of you. i don't envy you in this oven. i am here to remind you this is the board of supervisors voted unanimously to urge you the
8:05 pm
m.t.a. commissioners to vote to name the central subway station the chinatown rose pak station. thank you very much. >> thank you, supervisor. anyone else wish to comment who hasn't commented. we will close public comment and open up for discussion among the directors which i trust will be brief. before we do that i want to thank my fellow directors for patience, i want to thank the wonderful secretary and city attorney for their patience today. i would like to thank all of you particularly private citizens who helped with translations. a lot of you are here and you helped over and over again. i thank the sheriffs deputies who are probably in overtime and we will probably get work orders for that. you have behaved professionally,
8:06 pm
shown respect for the process politically and from law enforcement perspective. please thank your colleagues on our behalf as well. to you the public, this is a difficult debate. we did it civilly in the tradition of san francisco and i am proud of that. i thank you all. sor e rerefor the reppri -- sorry for the reprimandses. if there is anyone who wishes to comment. director torres, the floor is yours. >> thank you to members of the audience who were here in a difficult situation. we really do appreciate your ability to live and work and speak in a democracy, also, it is important to know i knew rose pak personally and worked with her for many years when i represented chinatown in los angeles and in san francisco.
8:07 pm
it is my honor to move we name the central chinatown station as the china town rose pak station. >> there is a motion and second. other directors wish to speak? >> briefly i will say there are a lot of people who spoke that i respect tremendously. i respect everyone and the fact that you came out. i don't know a lot of you but the persecution of religion is not right. i am a descendent of slaves. i can't say that i love robert e. lee. one could say it was treason but he led the south in a war to maintain my people being slaves. did he accomplish great things for the south? i have to acknowledge that.
8:08 pm
there are many monuments nobody on the side of history is a winner when it comes to slavery or civil rights. the people we named things after dirt have those things. hopefully, they deserve the names they got because they worked hard to make those happen. more often the names came because people were moment business people. we have an opportunity to name something for a person who worked hard to make this happen. she didn't want the freeway torn down. when she realized it was coming down she said i don't want to see chinatown taken down like chinatowns all over the country. did people like it? no. every year we have the process two people that face-off at presidential election depending on what side you are on you hate that other person. that means we all can disagree
8:09 pm
but we have to be able to acknowledge when people do something significant. we are not saying name it for a person who lived in chinatown and did great things. this is a person were it not for her effort this subway would not be built at all. in said it should be in her mon nor. the truth is she is responsible for that happening. it wasn't priority. i see worked at the board of supervisorses in the late 1990s. i am aware what handed. i am not criticizing anyone. i don't know rose. she was not my friend. this is about me as a woman of color seeing we don't acknowledge people for great works. we hold them to a higher standard than we hold many of the white men.
8:10 pm
ultimately if she hadn't worked to make subway a reality because she was trying to preserve china town we would be in a different position. she did thinks in a way i wouldn't do those things. if we named something after me people would saythings about that. i want to honor it. it is still the chinatown station. there are airports around the country named after people that people don't say their names. it opens up dialogue about history and who the significant players are. i am surprised when the street is named after an african-american person. if they question tactics isn't it a valuable debate. the conversation around the historhistory makers is being ao
8:11 pm
acknowledge good people do good things. we have to acknowledge the achievements. we can't take that away no matter how bad they are. the reason i supporting this is not for negative things. i see it a way to elevate a person of color of a significant community in the city who fought against all pop position. chain no town north beach were opposed the only way to get done was excludes them. i am talking what happened and what i experienced. this is not personal. i am not paid. i don't know rose. she is deceased. all the harm she may have done is no more because she is not alive. it is a nice way to honor that legacy. >> director eagan.
8:12 pm
>> this is a difficult decisionir want to thank all of you for staying with us today. i want to thank those who expressed opinions. i have listened and i am weighing them carefully. three points very briefly. first, we are not starting from scratch here. when we have to weigh a tough policy decision we have to figure out the right answer. we are not starting from scratch we have a station naming policy that says name a station after a geographic location. it also says if you read all of the words it says in noteworthy circumstances an area of a station or plaque may be placed to honor an individual who or group of individuals who made a special contribution. it seems to me the decision before us today is exactly what
8:13 pm
the board anticipated when they adopted that policy a couple years ago to say we do not name stations after people we can name an area or plaza or plaque after a person. i would be supportive of that approach. the policy clearly says do not name stations after people. second point diversity, equity and inclusion. these are themes we heard a lot about today. in san francisco in 2019, we celebrate a diversity of youth. we strive to be a city that is inclusive of all people. naming any public asset after one person is likely to make some people happy and other people very unhappy. i was struck by one speaker who said this renaming in some ways symbolize this one person symbolizes chinatown.
8:14 pm
this is probably why the policy says do not name a station after a person. finally i will share this comes down to a cost and a benefit. we are on the board to weigh the potential benefit with the potential cost and make very difficult decisions. if this renaming was essential to the sfnta reaching the gelling then i would consider it. this renaming bears no relation to the ability to achieve the strategic plan goals. it is very offensive and divisive. the costs clearly out weigh the benefits. i would echo the speakers who said pick the name not offensive to anyone which is chinatown station. >> thank you. >> i love going after the director because she said much better what i was going to try
8:15 pm
to say. i support what she said. that was my view the first time this came to us. i wanted to thank everyone who spoke. i respect so many people who spoke passionate leo the other side of the issue. i want to thank everyone for efforts and voices. i did hear all of you, and i hope everyone feels that. thank you. >> drinkto.>> thank you all who. you have taken a lot of time it wish we weren't at this devicesive place but we are. i have not heard anything to change my opinion. we do need to name more things after women, people of color. we have a lot of things to
8:16 pm
rename. we are renaming some things. still come on chinatown station. we need to look at the neighborhoods and rename things particularly in chinatown. we have so many fantastic people to name things after. i support that. i can't support naming this rose pak. >> director heminger. >> this got to the board before i did. today is my first impression even though i did watch the tape of the whole meeting last time. i have heard from a lot of people on this subject. people whom i respect and admire on both sides of this question. i do appreciate the opportunity to explain my vote because i
8:17 pm
think whichever way it went, it was going to make somebody angry. i come down to 3- three basic points. tivfirst istiveviciveness. in her day she was divisive. she remains so today after her death. i don't think that is disqualifying from civic recognition. if that were the standard we would have to stare down half the street signs in san francisco, probably some numbered ones. the second point emphasized by visits today from members of the board of supervisors past and present. this item is on the agenda at the request of all 11 elected members of that body. now, i am aware the charter gives this body certain
8:18 pm
independence from that body. i think in some instances it makes sense to exercise that independence. in other instances where they are making a reasonable request we should honor the request. the maybe too nuance for this debate. i would like to speak to opponents and proponents of the change. maybe offer consolation. for proponents words of caution. i think what we tend to see with the passage of time is that it may be as difficult for future generations to remember who rose pak was as it is for us to recall who is jose castro or henry hate. history remembers who it wants
8:19 pm
to in the way it wants to with plaques or signs or not. i am going to vote in favor of the name change that is before us in the motion today. >> very good. thank you. my position will remain is same. i appreciate the input at the meeting to address a few points. i agree with the speaker who said the name chinatown rose pak is a compromise. for transit reasons i feel it has to be chinatown first for the reasons discussed here today. we cannot have confusion among visitors or residents where the station is and by having the name chinatown first that makes clear the geographic location of the station. there are questions raised about the policy, good questions.
8:20 pm
iny this is a different situation. the reason for the policy is two fold, one to prevent the requests to change to names of popular people and put us in a situation where number two we would create confusion. if we change the name of powell street to the willie brown station, joe montana station or pick your favor it san franciscan. popular people, we create confusion because people are used to the name powell street station, the maps are drawn. this is a new station. this is a new station that will bear the geographic name followed by rose pak. i don't see an obstacle. i found very moving the comments about the need to honor more women, more asian-american women and to honor rose pak for the
8:21 pm
role she played in this specific project. with that we have a motion and second. i thank everyone who participated today. if it is not clear that your voices were heard, i think the board listened carefully. i am proud of my board members foreign doo -- for over 8 hours. i will ask ms. boomer to call roll. i vote in favor of china town rose pak station. (roll call). >> the eyes have it.
8:22 pm
that condition concludes the -- that concludes the business before you today. the ayes have it. this meeting is adjourned. >> good afternoon and welcome to the san francisco historic preservation commission regular hearing for wednesday, august 21 st, 2019. the commission does not tolerate any outbursts. please state your name and speaking before the commission. if you care to, it if you'd be so kind as to silence your
8:23 pm
mobile devices. i would like to take roll call roll call at this time. [roll call] commissioners, first on your agenda is general public comment members may address the commission on items of interest to the public within the subject matter jurisdiction of the commission except agenda items. with respect to agenda items, your opportunity will be afforded when the item is reached in the meeting. he's a member of the public may address the commission for up to three minutes. i have just one speaker card. >> we have one speaker card. richard, welcome. >> thank you, commissioners. on here, on another item, i wanted to talk about some other mural projects that i am working on. first, the alamein he health centre building, which the commissioners approved as a city landmark. that building is in process of
8:24 pm
being renovated. the city found a vendor or an occupant, and they are very appreciative of the murals inside the building, we will get to see what is on the bottom of the painted mural, which nobody has seen probably in a long time and the other building i want to talk about is the mother's building and that is not going too well. we got the funds from the historic preservation fund for them to do this study, and then also supervisor tang gave money to do the short-term and immediate repairs, and they are all taken care of, but since that time, almost a year, nothing is happening. something needs to be done to get this process moving.
8:25 pm
i was hoping maybe the commission could ask recreation and park and the zoological society president to come and ask them what they are planning to do to open the building to the public, and also i'm concerned on having discussions with the zoo staff of how will the building be open to the public so that they may enjoy seeing these murals. when i started on the project, i just thought about how, i just realized how beautiful the murals are, but since working on the project, i've come to discover that the two women artists, helen and dorothy, and the three sisters who did the mosaics, were really pioneers in the women's movement. this was the first time that women started to work outside of
8:26 pm
the house, and this is one of the largest collections of solo women artwork around the bay area. donna graves, whenever you get the concept report, she wrote a report about it. i hope you will have a hearing and shed some light on this so we can get moving on this project. thank you. >> thank you. is there any other member of the public who wishes to address the commission? close public comment. >> they'll place us under department matters, director's announcements. >> afternoon, commissioners. no report from the director, welcome to the sauna, apologies to the room. we are used to metaphorical heat
8:27 pm
in this room, but not quite as literal as it is today. i do want to introduce amory rogers who wants to speak about the organizational changes related to historic renovation. >> good afternoon, commissioners i'm the director of city wide policy, which is the long-range to pit -- division. i know you are aware, but i wanted to take an opportunity to share probably with the folks in the audience that we have been integrating the preservation history staff with policy staff throughout the department. within citywide, we already did have specialists on topics such as housing, transportation, equity and sustainability, and now we are very pleased to have a historic preservation staff at our disposal. so what i also like to take an opportunity to encourage you to consider all of our staff as staff of this commission, and utilize them when you have preservation topics that may cross over and interact with some of those other topics under
8:28 pm
the planning department's purview. with that, we're very excited to be working more visibly before the commission, and i will be introducing the second item on your regular agenda. >> thank you. are there any questions that commissioners have? welcome, we look forward to working with you. >> item two, review of past events and announcements. >> is there an update on the planning commission? >> apologies, it is august, it is quite. >> no reports. >> that will place us under commission matters, item three, president's report and announcements. >> no report. >> item four, consideration of adoption dropped minutes of june 19th, 2019, in the regular hearing for august 7th, 2019. >> we will open this up for public comment. would any member of the public like to comment on the draft
8:29 pm
minutes from the architectural review committee or the historic preservation commission hearings seeing none, close public comment. >> move to approve. >> second. >> thank you. on that motion to adopt the minutes for june 19th, 2019, and august 7th, 2019... [roll call] so moved. that motion passes unanimously 5 -0. item five is commission comments and questions. >> okay. >> seeing none, we can move onto your consent calendar. the matter listed here under constitutes a consent calendar and considered to be retained by the historic preservation commission and maybe acted upon bicycle roll call vote. there will be no separate discussion of this item unless a member of the commissioner public or staff should request it to be removed. item six, 1,000 market street,
8:30 pm
this is a permit to alter. i have no speaker cards. >> i need to ask for a refusal. arg was a consultant that did the assessment on the cornice, so if someone could motion. >> is that a motion or a removal >> i so moved. >> second. >> thank you, on the recusal of commission president hyland... [roll call] so moved, commissioners. you are hereby recused. you probably don't have to leave unless the item comes off the consent calendar. >> we will take public comment at this time. is anyone interested in removing this from a consent calendar? -- from the consent calendar? >> i move that we keep it on the consent calendar. >> second.
8:31 pm
>> is that a motion to approve? >> yes. >> thank you. on that motion to approve item six under the consent calendar ... [roll call] so moved. that motion passes unanimously 4 -0. that will places under your regular calendar for item seven, the george washington high school murals, this is for your review and comment. >> good afternoon, commissioners shannon ferguson, planning department staff. i'm here to present an update regarding the george washington high school landmark designation as you will recall, washington high school is significant for association as it was built largely using public works administration funds. is also architecturally significant as it embodies the characteristics of the modern style and represents the work of a master architect and exhibits higher -- i artistic values with its murals by some artists which
8:32 pm
were all part of the federal art project. as a reminder, the landmark designation report was prepared by the historic preservation consulting and donna graves with coordination provided by san francisco heritage, and funded by the preservation fund committee. >> could you slow down a little bit? >> they added george washington high school to the landmark designation work program on august 17th, 2016. they initiated designation on august 8th, and october 18th , 2017 and recommended landmark designation on december 6th, 2018. the legislation is currently with the board of supervisors. as part of our staff work, we made three presentations to the school board about landmark designation. those presentations took place on september 28th, 2015, october 23rd, 2017, and march
8:33 pm
6th, 2018. the final staff presentation was on alterations to the building, and generally the city does not regulate the school district. i did reach out to the school board about this hearing and they were unable to attend. if you have any questions about the landmark designation, i would be happy to answer them. thank you. >> as part of our staff presentation, they there will be another presentation. -- there will be another presentation. >> i have some slides here of the murals. let me just bring it up.
8:34 pm
so victor on a toff did 13 separate murals and an additional three banners that are also done in fresco. two very large murals on either side of the entry stairs and two large murals in the upper hall, and six murals in out cloves that open off the main hall. this is the largest one on the right-hand side of the stairs that picks the french and indian war and george washington early life as a surveyor. this is opposite it showing the coming of the american revolution, including riots, the boston tea party, the boston massacre, port working class men raising the flag of the new republic, and washington taking communion of the army.
8:35 pm
the next two show events of the revolution beginning with the battle of trenton, ending this one, iltv did not show washington crossing the delaware , that famous a very unrealistic painting, and instead showed two enlisting men taking surrender of a mercenary. opposite it is his version of the valley forge. did not show washington praying in the snow, instead he showed washington in his office -- and his officers dressed in spotless winter clothing, talking to enlisted men dressed in rags. on the ceiling above those two murals is a moon, what you said at the time was his depiction of war. in the alcove on the opposite side of the upper hall we have peace, we have washington eating
8:36 pm
his officers farewell, including lafayette, indicate -- indicating the importance of foreign assistance during the revolution. opposite this one we have washington as president, mediating between hamilton and jefferson over how to implement the new constitution, which is on the table in front of them. the ceiling of this alcove presents the sun and rainbow, which iltv said was his depiction of peace. so these two opposite alcoves show war and peace. this is the banner that introduces the alcove showing peace, and if you can read it, i can't read it from here myself, but i will let you read it.
8:37 pm
the third alcove shows washington bidding farewell to his mother, who was dying of cancer, he was reluctant to leave her, but she said it was important he accept the responsibilities of the presidency, and that is what is depicted in this mural. on the opposite wall, we have washington agitating for creation of a national university, something he referred to in one of his final addresses to congress, and that he also provided for in his will , but it never happened. the upper hall -- this is the ceiling over those last two, showing liberty placing new flags in the firmament, just as we have new stars in the flag on a blue-black -- blue background. the upper hall includes the two murals that have been the subject of the greatest controversy, depicting slavery
8:38 pm
and the deaths and dispossession of native americans. this is iltv's depiction of washington at his mount vernon plantation, and here he put enslaved african-americans in the center, reminding everyone that washington was dependent upon slave labour, even though he subscribed to the notion that all men are created equal. the opposite mural was based on iltv's discovery -- arnautoff's
8:39 pm
discovery. this is my shameless self-promotion. i might add that the newspapers have said repeatedly that he was a communist, but he actually didn't join the party until 19308, so at the time he painted these murals, his politics were clearly on the left, but he was not yet a formal communist. i'm happy to take any questions you may have. very informative. we really appreciate it. thank you. are there any questions for staff before we go to public comment? >> if i could ask miss ferguson, i just wanted to ask you one question. can you just clarify for the commission one more time, it is my understanding that the school board initially voted to remove the murals, and now, can you give me the status of what is happening now? >> i have a copy of the resolution if you would like me
8:40 pm
to read it. >> they voted to cover them up. >> they voted to cover them up, and now? >> originally it was to destroy them by painting them. >> this is as of august 13th, okay. >> thank you. why don't you go ahead and open this up to public comments. we have three speaker cards.
8:41 pm
>> thank you so much, commissioners. my name is woody and i am the new vice president of advocacy and programs at san francisco heritage. thank you for having me today. for heritage today, on this matter, what we really want to bring forward, mike mueller, our president and c.e.o., he was part of the original reflection group that made the initial recommendation to the school board, so we have been part of this project from pretty early on. what we really don't want is the destruction of the murals, and we would like to offer some, which i sent earlier to the commission, some different technical solutions that consensus, perhaps a remediated process might bring about in opposition to painting over the murals, so we provided this p.d.f. of different solutions that were used with different public artworks around the world
8:42 pm
, and the most important thing is recently the school board came up with a resolution to obscure or screen or hide parts of the murals. the most important thing about any kind of acted like that, for us, is the reversibility of that action. we don't want any kind of permanent, damaging, solution here. everybody might want these screened at some point, but we want to make sure people in the future have a say in what they see. that is about as far as we want to present today on this matter, but if you have any questions, i can try to answer them, although it is my first week, so i may not have the answers. >> thank you. >> thank you. richard?
8:43 pm
>> very much involved in this process. i went to george washington, and to be honest with you, i don't even remember the murals, although i went in that entrance every day, i have other memories of going to high school there, but the principles let me give tours there for the last year and they are just really great, you know, they should be interpreted -- heritage did a lot of work in presenting alternatives and using them as a teaching tool, one proposal is to use technology, 3d animation to put glass over the murals, and there's a lot of alternatives. this is in the first time. we had this same controversy in the late sixties and early seventies, and the response was that -- there was a response
8:44 pm
mural painted in the hall next door which are in storage now because they are doing major renovations at george washington , but they promised they are not going to touch the murals. there's other artwork in the building there, there are some murals up in the library, and there's a freeze in the football field, so george washington is really fortunate that timothy fluker had all these architects and all these artists to paint all these murals, and it was just the right time. abraham lincoln school was painted. it was a year later, and they have no murals. so this is a fine example of w.p.a. artwork and it really needs to be shown off and
8:45 pm
explained, so i hope that everybody can come to a solution where we respect everybody's values and people get to see them. if they have to be covered up some time, they did this in washington, d.c. there were some offensive urals in the g.s.a. they put a shower curtain and covered it up. it is -- and then when they give tours, they can open it up for the people, and i think we could do this with the two most offensive murals because they are sort of separate. there are, you know, alternatives for heritage. i hope you will have a chance to read this. thank you for having the hearing >> thank you.
8:46 pm
>> good afternoon. i am the vice president of the george washington high school alumni association. first, i want to say i am in big favor of making george washington landmark status building. i also want to bring to your attention that our efforts to preserve the murals as they are is our position. this controversy is now being observed nationally and internationally. i have been interviewed in europe, russia, i have been quoted in numerous foreign papers, all the major newspapers in the country, particularly art critics, the new york editorial board, they are really going to shame san francisco if they continue with this nonsense about covering these murals. locally, from former mayor willie brown, and others,
8:47 pm
reverend brown, matt gonzalez, alice walker, when chan, i can only tell you there's others. they will eventually come out to tell this city or the board that anything less then leaving them alone will be something not acceptable. we would consider some other things, but they need to go back to square zero. a second vote that they did on august 13th was a response from their unanimous vote to whitewash. that tsunami started an incredible set of energy from the national coalition against censorship, and numerous other
8:48 pm
organizations that have come out to support this. the former n.e.a. executive director for barack obama was appalled that this even happened , and when the short notice to have an open house on august 1st, i sent an e-mail because the school district supposedly told people there was going to be a two hour window to see these murals because there was an outcry, and real briefly, it turns out that -- that's how important he feels and supporting our cause. i'm sorry, i don't want to take any more time. if you have anymore questions, i would be more than happy. >> thank you. are there any other members of the public who wish to speak? >> i would just like to mention that i spoke to the board twice and used my one minute of public
8:49 pm
comment both times most recently to remind them of their obligations under ceqa. i have given them written comments reminding them of their obligations under ceqa, and all the board discussions, i don't remember a single board member saying the word ceqa, and at least two of them have denied that the murals are historic resources, but clearly under ceqa they are. so if any of you have contact with members of that board, you need to inform them of their legal obligations under ceqa. >> thank you. any other member of the public wish to speak on this item? >> commissioners, pardon me, i'm not actually here for the subject, i'm here for the next one. my wife was vice vice president of the student body in washington and 52, including my
8:50 pm
generation there are now six generations of family living in san francisco. i have had the pleasure of seeing paintings in france, i have seen public art carved murals, if you will in cambodia, and all around the world, and there isn't one that isn't controversial, that isn't, by some, a contra version of history. the initial presentation from the staff mentioned to you that there's no depiction of washington crossing the delaware or kneeling in the snow, and yet we have renowned art that shows that. this, to me, these murals are a teaching tool. it is an educational institution where else do you put a teaching
8:51 pm
tool if you don't put it there? and who else do you teach to other than students in this grade level? to even cover them up with a screen, to me is a travesty. thank you. >> thank you. any other member of the public who wishes to speak? >> thank you. my name is drake davis and i am a sixth generation californian and a native san franciscan. thank you for letting me speak. i'm here over the 1,000 market east and i live there and i just graduated from state, but it is nice to be able to address this. i agree with most of what we have heard today with the sentiment that i think when we censor history and the past, you
8:52 pm
know, i hate to be contrite or for those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, but seems to me that the artist's intent was showing the wrongdoing of the native indians and that they were just stepped over hastily in our expansion to the west, so i don't see any reason why -- i think it could be covered up if nothing else, and yes, absolutely nothing should be done that would damage it permanently for future generations, and i think that it should remain there, and if we have to do anything, perhaps there should be a curtain over it. i can have some empathy for the students were native american or otherwise offended. that is pretty much my take on it. thank you very much. i would have dressed more appropriately if i knew i was addressing the board today. [laughter]. >> thank you so much.
8:53 pm
any other comments from the public? close public comments. i would like to just have a couple introductory comments to the commission and then i will open it up. i have some other questions and comments, but we brought this agenda back because of the ongoing conversations that the school board has had. we obviously want to the building and the murals landmarked, that was obvious in our past actions. we put this on the agenda prior to the school board's recent change, but we have reached out to the school board, the president, and the staff. we wrote them a letter. the purpose of us continuing the dialogue is that we feel that we can add some value to their process. they haven't responded, i'm sure they are very, very busy, but from this meeting, what i'd like to do is have us write another
8:54 pm
letter. so if there's some items that each of you want to include in the letter, let's do that so that staff can capture that. commissioner pearlman? >> thank you. thank you to everyone who is here today. i had asked that we discussed this at our last meeting because i think it's critical that because of the structure of the government of san francisco, you know, our planning department, our commission, has no, there's no connection through the school board, as we have discovered with the landmark process for the buildings. i think there were three school buildings that we had voted to landmark, and it seems like the school board is just not interested and they have kind of table to that. so we don't really have any connection, but given the international nature of the controversy, i thought it was critical that we at least get on record as the historic preservation commission of the
8:55 pm
city of san francisco about these particular actions, and while i know there was a vote to reverse the first boat, you should notice that it was 4-3. it wasn't a unanimous decision. so clearly we -- there's still a significant portion of the school board who believes that these should be destroyed. i have a few points. i wrote them out, so i will read them. some of it is quoting from some articles in the chronicle, but particular things i thought were important. i wrote that the recent vote of the school board feels half-baked and tepid, only sponsored international ridicule and a way to quell public uproar this is from the chronicle editorial board. this compromises -- this compromises the best we can expect from this group, the school board. and his disregard for history, public art, and the ability of san francisco students to think critically. that i think it's a is a most important piece. the good news is that they save
8:56 pm
-- the face-saving decision to preserve the meals will be preserved for the day when the school board members are succeeded by elected officials with a greater position for -- appreciation of art and history. again, that is what is happening here is that it seems very common today that people don't like something, they feel bad, they don't have to take the course, they don't have to go to that lecture, but, you know, how do we learn as a society? it seems the school board is unwilling to educate about the content of the murals, that are just as relevant now as when they are -- they were painted pick. and his is hyper- partisan, racially charged environment, these murals are still relevant to discuss history and current events. what better way to talk about our current president and his particular actions than to refer to things that happened hundreds of years ago and the response from this particular artist in the 1930s?
8:57 pm
this was a comments from someone who had gone to george washington. i was a student there more than 60 years ago. the murals were an essential part of my education. by examining -- examining them closely, i learned about justice , truth, oppression, prejudice and about how american history was being depicted in our textbooks and classes by the victors and not the victims. we had many discussions with in and out of class about the murals. during my years there, we were the most ethnically and racially diverse high school in san francisco. those murals, i believe, contributed to my lifelong career and pursuit to help others speak their truth. what better testimony from someone who was there 60 years ago. i think most of the other things have been said by the other speakers. one thing i thought was interesting, one little factoid that i found out was that maya angelou had gone to gw and had
8:58 pm
graduated from there. the hypocrisy and irony that the same school board head entertains the idea to name the school after maya angelou has not been lost to the public. it seems very odd that this is the same school board that would honor someone like maya angelou and then choose to destroy this particular piece of art. so instead of spending money, tax money for sequel studies and others, how about for the education about these topics and censorship. so i just wanted to echo what mr. magill said, even covering them with a screen is a travesty and i agree with that. thank you. >> thank you. commissioner black? >> i think i can understand how young students of color, who are at a certain stage in their lives, they're trying to figure out who they are, their developing their identities, and i can understand how they might be offended, having to pass
8:59 pm
every day a visual reminder of our -- one of the deplorable aspects of our country's history over the past few weeks, i have had a number of people share opinions. i suspect my fellow commissioners have, as well. obviously now the planet is aware of this. [laughter] unfortunately, i think there are a number of people who are missing how sensitive these may be two people, but it is very important that we all have an opportunity to give our opinions on it, and as an artist and architectural historian and a planner, and a preservationist, i spent a lot of time thinking about this and i prepared some notes. i just want to review them. throughout our history, we have employed deeply offensive
9:00 pm
practices, and we continue to do so now. parenthetically, i am unaware of any other country that is free of this. i appreciate the opportunity to provide my comments to the school board, and i hope they take everyone's comments, not just this commission's but all of the member of the public, as well. i think there is a really significant difference in how we treat history, represent it, and learn from it. to me, there is a huge difference between a monument, say a robert e. lee sculpture with him charging on his horse, waving the confederate flag placed prominently in a town square, and the murals at george washington high school. monuments are intended to inspire and celebrate the exploits of a person


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on