The City is seeking greater community input through a survey on the George Washington bust. The survey will be open through September 30. A series of Town Hall Meetings will be scheduled in October to share survey results and collect ideas from residents to create viable options for consideration of the Parks and Recreation Commission during its meeting on November 2.
Please participate in our survey by September 30! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/washingtonbust
Please feel free to share our survey with anyone you know who may have interest in this topic. Please note that survey responses require contact information. This is for the purpose of reducing duplicate entries and to determine residency only. Personal information will not be shared and responses will remain confidential. Non-resident responses will be counted separately.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.
More Information regarding the George Washington Bust
The City of Watsonville is seeking your input on the George Washington bust in the City Plaza. On May 25, 1999, the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution approving the acceptance of a monetary gift of approximately $100,000 from the Estate of Lloyd F. Alaga, for the purpose of placing a bust of George Washington in the City Plaza and using any excess funds to refurbish the historic fountain, also in the City Plaza. The Council also accepted a monetary gift of approximately $200,000 from the Estate for the acquisition of library reference works. Mr. Alaga was a Watsonville native of Croatian descent. Artist Michelle Armitage created and installed the bust and an unveiling ceremony was conducted in 2001.
Recently, an online petition was created calling for the removal of the George Washington bust. A counter petition was then created calling for the bust to remain in its current location. A sit in was hosted on July 17 in front of the George Washington bust that was attended by community members both in support of and against its removal. Another group organized a sit in to save the bust on July 31. The City Council, City Manager, City Clerk and Parks and Community Services Director have received many emails regarding this matter, which has also been reported on by the Register Pajaronian, KION and other media outlets. The Parks and Recreation Commission held a study session regarding the bust on August 3 that was attended by over 190 community members, many of whom expressed their opinions advocating that the bust be removed or remain.
Some of the viewpoints expressed by supporters of the removal of the bust include that George Washington owned 100s of slaves, aided in the genocide of the Indigenous people of this land and is a symbol of White Supremacy. If we are going to display representations of men like Washington in a public space, we should then include features that reflect their dark, inhumane and genocidal qualities as well. If monuments are meant to be permanent tributes to individuals and what they stand for, this idea is laden with many flaws and this bust does not reflect the values of our community and must be removed.
Some of the viewpoints expressed by supporters of the bust remaining include that the bust serves as a reminder of our country’s history, recognizing we are a nation of diverse people who fought against tyranny and oppression. Considered the Father of our Country, Washington was a farmer, a soldier, a politician and businessman. Washington was also a man of conviction and regrets. As he grew older, his attitude toward slavery changed, and was instrumental in the fight for liberty. In his will, his estate paid for the care of freed Mount Vernon slaves for decades after his death.