California city washes away Black Lives Matter mural after Trump supporter asks to paint 'MAGA 2020' on street
Redwood City did away with Dan Pease's Fourth of July art after a real estate attorney told the city she wanted to paint a 'MAGA 2020' sign because the street was a public forum
REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA: A California city did away with a 'Black Lives Matter' mural, possibly in a bid to avoid an ideological confrontation, after another resident asked for permission for a 'MAGA 2020' mural on the same street.
Redwood City resident Dan Pease had gotten permission from city officials to paint the 'Black Lives Matter' sign on Broadway as part of a Fourth of July public art celebration, reported CBS San Francisco.
The city had even provided him with the yellow poster board paint he needed for the project which would deteriorate on its own in a certain amount of time. "Because we were using the poster board paint that would eventually deteriorate over time, my understanding from them was that the mural would last as long as the paint lasted," Pease shared.
However, last Thursday, July 16, the city quietly washed away the mural after being contacted by real estate attorney Maria Rutenberg, who told them she wanted to paint a 'MAGA 2020' sign because the street was a public forum.
"I saw 'Black Lives Matter' sign appearing on Broadway Street on the asphalt and I figured that’s gonna be a new public space, open for discussion, and I wanted to get my message out, too," she said.
In a statement to KRON4, she further explained, "Governments cannot and should not get to pick and choose who should be allowed to speak. Now that the cities open up asphalts as public forums, everyone with any political message is free to write their own. I, for one, would like to paint MAGA 2020. At a time like this, it’s especially important that we allow free and open political discussion for all sides, not just BLM."
'MAGA 2020' -- MAGA stands for Make America Great Again -- would be a reference to President Donald Trump's re-election campaign slogan, with Rutenberg's reasoning opening the gates for political or legal ramifications for the city. The city ultimately ruled that Pease's mural was a "traffic hazard" that might cause accidents and washed it away during the middle of the night.
Pease said he was disappointed in the decision because he did not consider 'Black Lives Matter' to be a political statement but conceded he understood the position the city had been placed in by Rutenberg.
"Black Lives Matter is not a political statement. Black Lives Matter is a human rights issue, it’s a call, it’s a message, it’s a symbol," he said. "I have no hard feelings to the city council," he insisted. "I am disappointed but, at the same time, I am very grateful that they allowed me to put that message on Broadway."
His disappointment was shared by area resident Art Elola, who similarly lamented how the city could not even express the idea that Black lives mattered without someone making the issue a political one.
"They’re afraid, you know?" she said. "And that’s the whole movement — is we’ve been afraid to do what’s right. The whole crux of the movement is to be bold and let’s do the right thing and here they’re setting an example and it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate other people put the pressure on them, too."