Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SAN JOSE CITY COUNCIL RECENTLY APPROVED HISTORIC ART

ADVISORY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

July 3, 1991

By Yolanda Reynolds

La Oferta Newspaper.

After months of meetings. The Historic Arts Advisory Committee (HAAC) has completed its work. HAAC was established by the San Jose City Council after months of protest, demonstrations and many horns of public testimony regarding the City’s Master plan for Public Art. The City Council charged HAAC with reviewing, in particular, the Historic Art segment of the Master Plan with resolving the very thorny Fallon statue issue.

Many in the community, particularly Latino‘s objected to the distorted historical perspective of San Jose’s history in the Past/Historic Art Plan of the City.

The previous mayor, Tom McEnery, who is also a history buff, had written a fictionalized version of early day Salt Jose history in which an early day mayor, Thomas Fallon, was featured and given credit for deeds of valor and courage in which he was not involved.

On the basis of this fictionalized account of early day San Jose, McEnery approved the expenditure of millions of dollars to build and to commemorate a statue to Fallon and to restore Fallon’s home in downtown San Jose.

Fallon memorabilia was given top priority by former mayor, McEnery. The statue was to be placed in the very center of town. That caused a furor in San Jose unlike any felt for many years in the city. The furor was not limited to the Hispanic community – many others in the City were offended and outraged as well.

HAAC worked very hard, there were many hours of testimony from the community and from historians whose specialty was early day California such as Joseph King, Edna Kimbro, Elsa Crumply and others. The controversy raged on and series of meetings evolved that revealed truly interesting, historical information that has been excluded from accounts of early day San Jose/California history.

HAAC, before setting new priorities for the Public Arts Plan of the City, made a recommendation on the placement and unveiling of the controversial Fallon statue.

The recommendation consisted of the following items:

1.- “The Fallon statue must not be placed on the north Island of Plaza Park as originally proposed by the Redevelopment Agency.”

2.- “The Fallon statue should be cited downtown.”

3.- “The Fallon statue should be placed on the traffic island adjacent to Pellier Park.”

4.- “THE FALLON STATUE SHOULD BE PLACED IN STORAGE AND NOT UNVEILED UNTIL FOUR OTHER WORKS OF ART READY FOR SIMULTANEOUS UNVEILING. THE FOUR WORKS MUST BE COMPLETED

BY DECEMBER 1. 1995; MUST BE TAKEN FROM THE HAAC’S PRIORITY LIST AND MUST PERTAIN TO THE FOLLOWING PERIODS:

Priority one, TWO WORKS OF ART DEPICTING FIGURES OR EVENTS BEFORE 1850, PREFERABLY THE INDIAN-SPANISH PERIODS.”

Priority two, “ONE WORK DEPICTING FIGURES OR EVENTS FROM PERIOD 1750 THROUGH WORLD WAR II.”

Priority three, “ONE WORK DEPICTING FIGURES OR EVENTS AFTER WORLD WAR II.”

“Priority 0ne” possibilities recommended by HAAC and approved by the City Council are: A. The 0hlone Way of Life. B. The founding of the Pueblo San Jose de Guadalupe. C. Agriculture. D. Ernesto Galarza.

“Priority two” HAAC suggestions are. A. The evolution of labor. B. The advancement to human rights. C. The communications revolution.

“Priority three” were individuals that HAAC determined were deserving of commemoration from:

  1. Spanish Mexican Period – the 68 fundadores (founders of San Jose).2) Philipe de Neve. 3) Peralta. 4) J.J. Moraga and 5) Antonio María Pico.
  2. The period from 1850 to 1945. 1) Clara Foltz and 2) Sarah Knox Goodrich.
  3. From 1945 to the present- 1) Louis Benson. 2) Inez Jackson and 3) Father Moriarty

The lists within the three categories are not to be construed as being in priority order but merely to agree upon sub priority order but merely to agree upon subjects that are felt to be representatives of that period of San Jose history.

The fifteen member HAAC group was reflective of San Jose’s diverse community. Many who participated in this process feel that the recommendations made by HAAC will inspire stunning works of art that dwell on relevant themes and are more likely to assure the inclusion in the artwork of the many different groups of immigrants to this valley that are major contributions to the development of San Jose.

It was especially pleasing, to those in San Jose who feel a great kinship to their Native American heritage, that the first setters of the Ohlone Indian, is included as a first priority. The Olhone presence in this Valley, which goes back thousands of years, will last be formally recognized.

In order to arrive at these recommendations, the HAAC group formed three committees, one for each of the periods identified, to thoroughly study each of the periods and then to present their findings to the entire committee for approval.

HAAC members made a major agreement, which was to delay the removal of the Fallon statue from storage until the simultaneous unveiling of other artworks – whose subject must be selected from the priorities approved by the City Council on June 18, 1991.

Committee member Patricia Martinez Roach, introduced Mrs. Ernesto Galarza, Dr. Galarza’s widow, to the City Council. Dr. Galarza the only individual recommended as a first priority was a community organizer, scholar and writer who did much to improve working conditions and educational opportunities for the San Jose’s Mexican-American community.

Alex Stuart, HAAC Chairman, and also chairman of the Fine Arts Commission of which HAAC was a part, said that he personally does not believe in the storage of artwork and prefers that the Fallon statue be taken out of storage without delay.

Should the City take such an action and ignore the results on the Commission’s labors at the request of the City it would be very provocative and would arouse fierce opposition.

Rick Trujillo. a San Jose resident, among others objected to the expense of storing the statue but he also warned that erecting the statue – even at Pellier Park – would not be well received by most Mexican Americans in the City and that the City should expect the ire of an angry community.

Kathy Chavez Napoli, Xavier Salazar, and Patricia Martinez Roach, members of HAAC, all addressed the Council and expressed their appreciation for the cooperation of their fellow committee members. Indeed, the committee members undertook a very special responsibility in forging a sense of respect and honor to those who came before us and created a community and city that today has become home to an increasingly diverse community.

The citizen of San Jose, particularly those who have so strongly expressed their dismay over the process in which the Fallen project evolved expect and demand that the recommendations made by HAAC and adopted by the City will be honored to the letter, and that the Fallon statue will not be unveiled prematurely. © La Oferta Newspaper.