SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) –- After hours of contentious and boisterous debate, the San Jose City Council late Tuesday night voted to remove a controversial Christopher Columbus statue from the City Hall lobby.

The statue of Columbus has taken a prominent place at San Jose’s City Hall since the 1950’s.

Much of Tuesday night’s debate came when city officials suggested places to put the statue. However, every suggestion aroused opposition.

One idea was to put it at the San Jose Mineta Airport, but that was considered too controversial. No local museum reportedly wants it. Finally, the council members gave leaders of the local Italian-American community six weeks to find a suitable location before the statue is simply placed into storage.

Among those who supported the statue’s removal was San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“Columbus never landed in the Alviso Marina. So there is no policy basis for keeping a statue of somebody who was not from San Jose in City Hall,” said Liccardo.

The marble statue, hand carved in Italy, was a gift to the city of San Jose from Italian-American groups in 1958.

Some members of those same groups still want the statue to stay.

“It’s kind of a setback in our culture. Columbus is renown throughout the world, not just in Italy,” said Tony Zerbo with the Italian American Heritage Foundation. “Italian Americans here, in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area are very proud of that.”

But over the decades, the statue has become a focal point in San Jose culture wars.

While some view Columbus as a brave explorer, others see him as a ruthless colonizer.

The statue has been attacked and pieced back together twice.

“Look, I’m Italian American. I think my grandfather was a member of the group that donated it,” said Liccardo. “But I think that our understanding of history evolves as we learn more.”

San Jose has a history of public art controversy.

A statue of Thomas Fallon raising the American flag over San Jose during the war with Mexico was kept in crates for years because it offended Mexican Americans.

Another statue of an Aztec plumed serpent was commissioned to provide cultural balance.

Statue backers say they expected more support from Liccardo.

“I’m really disappointed in him, he’s supposed to be our leader in the Italian American community,” said Zerbo.

Comments (48)
  1. Doug Day says:

    Aztecs? A failed and vanished “culture” of war and doom? Pathetic.

  2. Bob Suyak says:

    What next liberals honoring Africans for discovering America?. Anyone who know history, mainly not liberal educated, know the truth.. Too much liberal bull sh.t going on and pretty soon people will wake up and see it.

  3. Do you think any these big mouthed anti-Columbus people have ever read a history book about Columbus? Maybe they read some pamphlet by some leftest; but their activism is a disgrace to a Civilized society. Is their hero Lenin; the Father of modern terrorism.

  4. Ken Badoian says:

    In 1492 who knew, but in San Jose they knew. I did not know Columbus discovered the West coast. But remember great people of San Jose at lease there was no ICE and he was legal.

  5. Bill Becker says:

    Italians were once the disparaged “Dreamers” in America. That’s why the statue was installed. Now that they are mainstream, perhaps they will install a statue of a transgender Muslim illegal alien.

  6. A plumed serpent? A Satanic homage nonetheless…very un-American. History cannot be erased by disposing of statues or flags…thse people are totally ridiculous. Should then we destroy Buchenwald or Auschwitz? Tear down the Colosseum in Rome? they are out of their mind…it’s like in math…dividing and dividing and dividing equally we get very close to zero but ero is in reality non existant because zero would be the absence of something…so here it is the same thing…we keep trying to make “everything politically correct” in the eyes of today but by keeping up with this political insanity we will tend to zero and nullify our presonalities, history, etc. in the appearance but not in the substance since history HAS HAPPENED and for that you cannot change or erase…these material items are a reminder that can be sending a message of good if your heart is good and bad if your heart is bad…it is the morality and sould and spirit of people that makes the difference not a piece of rock in human shape that should represent something positive and not negative…everything is negative if you want to depict it that way…These people are FOOLS

  7. Brian Ball says:

    St. Joseph never visiting San Jose, yet the city is named for him.

    1. beefrank says:

      Well said. Next, the liberals will remove Father Junipero Serra because he converted California natives to “evil” Roman Catholicism.

  8. craniumlogos says:

    What absurdity – a small minority is taking over our country, and the majority is letting them.

  9. Grotesque to pretend that there is any moral undertone to this America hating, Italian hating move which now will honor blood thirsty Aztec culture which contributed NOTHING to the forward advancement of the human race.

  10. David Shaw says:

    Finally leftists find an immigrant they don’t like….Christopher Columbus!

  11. The pathetic and ignorant members of the left have completely lost their minds. This stature does no one any harm. And those who are offended are imbeciles!

  12. In the Middle East we had ISIS destroying the history of the country… We have uneducated uninformed “public servants” destroying our history- our culture. Becoming Judge and jury for a time period they know nothing about. A time these current destroyers could never had lived. They would have quit This country would never have been what it is expecting anything but whining from these spinless wimps.

  13. Let’s just preempt all the leftist twits and ban every statue and painting because it might “offend” someone. Once that’s done, we can go after all art and music too. What a bunch of pathetic fools these people are.

  14. Liccardo…typical Italian, hands up surrender!

  15. John Weekley says:

    This is the most idiotic move I’ve seen a council make in a long time. San Jose is part of California, and California is one of 50 states. And, Columbus discovered America in 1492. This strikes me as just another racist move in a state losing its American identity from the invasion.

  16. America did not gas any Jews so get ALL the “holocost memorials” out of America.

  17. More nuts growing in California

  18. Now if they could just clean up the human feces around Cesar Chavez Plaza downtown. Seriously, I had to step over it last time I was in SJ.

  19. OK, get rid of Columbus and leave it all to the Indians. I admire the Indians, but why think they wouldn’t have been murdering each other for the last 500+ years if he hadn’t shown up?

  20. Frank Marino says:

    Willfully Ignorant arrogant Liberals continue to verify their psychosis.
    Please just vote to remove yourself from the Union.

  21. New York needs to send some “Goodfellas” to San Jose to jog their memory about the respect they should show for Christopher’s statue.

  22. Thomas Port says:

    Good way to recruit more Trump voters. The left thinks they are gaining but they are likely in for a surprise.

  23. Everyone is afraid to go against these people as they will be called racist, bigot or whatever name these Communists can think of. They are all about destruction and making the nation into a different America from what we grew up with.

  24. Clegg Jensen says:

    CA must be banned from participating in national elections, CA’s congressmen should be sent home, and CA residents should be required to present a passport and a health certificate before being allowed to enter the United States of America.
    Furthermore, the State Department should issue a Travel Warning regarding the Banana Republic of California. Anyone who ignores the warning should at least get the full package of vaccines before traveling to that 3rd World Loony Bin.

  25. I expect people of good conscience will look back at this current period of historical purging with great regret and shame. At very least, they will feel this same pang of sadness and astonishment when history they hope to protect and remember is disregarded, disrespected, or destroyed before their eyes.

  26. ISIS was removing statutes in Iraq that is until Trump decimated them..

  27. Ha habido mucho debate sobre los monumentos varios de Cristóbal Colón y otras figuras históricas quien no creemos son de acuerdo con nuestros valores actuales. Mientras creo que es mejor quitar o alterar esos monumentos que no, no es suficiente afirmar que los deben se cambiar– es necesario clarificar los términos de tal cambio. La manera específica en la que un monumento se cambiaría no mi importa con tal que la historia que rodea cada monumento se ponga en contexto. Así que yo estaría por el reemplazo o la reutilización de una estatua.

    Sin embargo, creo que tus prioridades demuestran lo que te importa. Por eso, primero debemos enfocar en fijar problemas que producirá beneficios tangibles en las vidas de ellos que sufren. En este caso, mi opinión es que lo es irrespetuoso ser santurrón en tu oposición una estatua que celebre el genocidio de la gente indígena sin preocupación para la cualidad de vida de las poblaciones de indígenas que están viviendo en pobreza. Si queremos enfrentar la historia horrible que esta estatua invoca, entonces tengamos que reconocer la manera en la que la nos está afectando todavía hoy.

  28. They want to remove Columbus and leave that thing that looks like a pile of dog poo? SMH This is why I’m leaving this area. Thanks for ruining my state weirdos.