MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) About a week ago, a plaque honoring a confederate general was dismantled outside Colton Hall, according to the City of Monterey. The city announced that it will not be replacing it.
The plaque recognized Robert S. Garnett, a Confederate general who designed the state seal.
“We have the state seal in front of Colton Hall and we don’t need to celebrate the designer of that seal,” Assistant City Manager, Nat Rojanasathira, said.
In the wake of the incident, people in Monterey are questioning the presence of historical monuments in the city.
“If I identified differently than I do, I might find the monument offensive,” resident Lauren Mauck said.
The city said they believe the motivation for removing the plaque was related to racial tensions throughout the country, especially with Garnett standing as a symbol of slavery.
But a local historian said this is only a shallow solution.
“I don’t think that indiscriminately toppling monuments addresses anything,” Chair of the CSUMB School of Social Behavior and Global Studies, Ruben Mendoza, said.
Mendoza said that, to make a true change, people need to vote.
“The community needs to find a way to create dialogue and they need to get at the issues that center the reason that people want the statue removed,” Mendoza said.
But, he said, if memorials are to be dismantled, they need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For example, he said that, in his studies, Junipero Serra might not be deserving of the reputation he's gotten on social media. And his statue should not be torn down.
“He actually came here believing that he could make a difference for native peoples,” Mendoza said.