Placerville City Council votes to ’lose the noose’

Andrew Vonderschmitt
Mountain Democrat

In a vote that came just before 10 p.m. Tuesday night the Placerville City Council directed staff to remove the depiction of a noose from city logos and other public assets.

The Placerville city logo as it is now. <em id="emphasis-7c55537f9f8a52938de3856fcb808218">Provided</em>

Interminable public comments, including remarks regarding perceived erasure of history, calls for the council to “lose the noose,” peppered with comments on cancel culture, lynchings, bias, hate symbols, history, some mild adult language and several people going over their allotted time helped to paint a picture of public sentiment for the council, who listened for more than three hours to the split views of their constituents.

“It’s not a new issue,” said Council member Michael Saragosa, starting off the conversation. “It’s not just because ‘woke-ism,’ this issue has come up in Placerville for at least the last 40 years in different iterations.”

“We’re sort of playing catch-up here on the logo,” said Saragosa, referring to other institutions that have removed depictions of nooses in Placerville.

“A lot has been lost by not being able to have a face-to-face conversation with our neighbors,” said Council member Jackie Neau, expressing her disappointment that an in-person conversation could not take place. “I didn’t hear a whole lot of listening going on today.”

“The noose symbol didn’t appear on our logo until the 70s — and it was 1970, not 1870,” said Council member Patty Borelli, adding that she did not believe it was meant with malice then.

City Manager Cleve Morris had earlier in the meeting made the distinction between the city’s logo, which is used on assets recognized as city property, and the city seal, which is the emblem used by the city clerk to stamp official documents. The city seal does not have a noose. Morris also discussed various versions of the logo used by different city departments throughout the years.

Borelli said she was not giving in to cancel-culture, “I just think we’re living in a different time now.”

“I know a lot of people want us to stand up and fight this battle against change,” said Vice Mayor Kara Taylor. “But our job at the city is not to fight change — but to navigate it.”

“We are tasked with looking at factors beyond our own subjective feelings and experiences on this matter,” Taylor continued. “It’s about the morale of our community and quality of life.”

Taylor made the motion to remove the noose from the logo and public property.

Saragosa seconded the motion.

“I don’t feel harassed, I feel a profound sense of concern for our community,” said Mayor Dennis Thomas, explaining that some people thought a lot of the influence on this discussion was coming from outside the community and tantamount to intimidation, “I’m here to tell you, I’ve heard a lot from inside our community.”

“Our path is much richer than the symbol of this noose,” said Thomas, “In my mind if a symbol is this divisive, is it truly worth keeping?”

A vote was called for and the motion passed 5-0.

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