May 23, 1990
By Yolanda Reynolds
The Fallon statue controversy continues. The Pueblo Unido de San Jose – Coalition will bring its concerns to City Hall Thursday evening June 7.
The group appeared. at City appeared at City Hall this past Tuesday. May 15. The Tuesday meeting was the last evening Council meeting before the June elections. The group convened at the council meeting, even though the Fallon statue was not on the agenda, so that the Council could hear clearly grasp the seriousness the controversy.
The status of the controversial Fallon statue project is uncertain. Speakers at the Tuesday night council meeting gave a variety of suggestions for a solution to the controversy. The overwhelming sentiment expressed was very strong with the statue.
Reports are that the statue has already arrived in San Jose from Europe and is in storage, awaiting completion of the preparations now to be placed in the triangle opposite to San Jose Art Museum and joining the Plaza Park in downtown San Jose.
This statue depicts Fallon, a one-time mayor (1 yr.) of San Jose, as a conqueror. Contrary to current fiction and other accounts of Fallon’s exploits. Fallon was neither the first Mayor of San Jose nor the first person to raise the American flag in San Jose.
Many Hispanics and others protest the statue for a number of reasons, among which are; the inaccurate historical portrayal of that period of San Jose’s history, the cost of $820,0001 for the Fallon statue and S1,000.000.00 for renovation of the Fallon house and City Hall’s disregard of accepted procedures in by-passing review by the Fine Arts Commission.
Opposition to the statue is growing. At the recent statewide M.E.C.H.A. conference held at San Jose State the activist Latino/Chicano student group unanimously voted their opposition to the erection of a statue honoring Fallon.
San Jose Teachers Association Board of Directors – the union representing over 1500 teachers in the San Jose Uniﬁed School District has also joined the Pueblo Unido de San Jose in expressing opposition to the Fallon statue.
The Central Labor Council of Santa Clara and San Benito counties representing A.F.L./C.l.0. Unions is preparing a statement regarding the statue.
For many in the Hispanic community, the Fallon statue and the manner in which it is depicted commemorates the period in the history when Californio/Mexican-Americans were regulated to a establishment in effect or by design of legal systems and bureaucratic processes which deprived Americans of Mexican/Indian heritage of many of their civil rights and of the practice describing unscrupulous non-Hispanics as “pioneers,” while Mexicans/Indians are described as “bandidos” or “renegades”.
Some of these attitudes have continued to the present day. Some City Council representatives and others have claimed that those opposing the Fallon statue are unpatriotic. The group counters that it is not the flag that is offensive, but the hand that is holding it. Pueblo Unido leaders say that the U.S. ﬂag is the symbol of those rights that we all hold dear and that allow the citizenry in this country to protest the actions of politicians.
The Pueblo Unido leadership point to Mayor McEnery’s refusal to hear their arguments on the Fallon statue in a timely manner as an example of the manipulation of the citizenry by means of bureaucratic constraints. Since January. the group has been requesting that the Fallon issue be placed on the Council agenda so that public testimony would be heard and the community could air its grievances. During the unofficial discussion of May 15 when the group placed before the Council, the Mayor informed the audience that the Fallon Statue issue will hethe Council Agenda June 7.
For further information regarding the Fallon statue, the Pueblo Unido de San Jose Coalition can be reached by calling 280-7019.