SAN JOSE, Calif. - A controversial statue is one step closer to being removed in the South Bay as critics say it honors an imperialist who persecuted indigenous people.
The bronze depiction of mid-19th Century San Jose mayor Thomas Fallon stands downtown, but the city's Arts Commission voted unanimously to remove it.
Fallon, who was mayor of San Jose from 1859-60, is a divisive figure because of his hostile treatment of native people and embodiment of American imperialism. He claimed San Jose for the United States shortly after the American government declared war on Mexico in 1846, an act that is now viewed far less favorably.
Activists have long demanded the city remove the Fallon statue. It was set on fire last year during protests after police officers in Kentucky were not charged for the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Months of public input have made the critics' goal one step closer to fruition now that the Arts Commission voted.
The statue of one of San Jose's first mayors was commissioned in 1988 to memorialize the raising of the U.S. flag in the city in 1846, but Fallon is a divisive figure because of his hostile treatment of native people and embodiment of American imperialism after he claimed the city shortly after the United States declared war on Mexico in 1846.
If approved, the city will spend an estimated $150,000 to operate a crane to remove the 12,000-pound statue, jackhammer the concrete foundation, then barricade traffic to transport it to storage, according to the Mercury News.
The city council will make the final decision on Nov. 9 on the fate of the statue.