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Recommendation By City Staff To Save Confederate War Memorial Upsets Some On Task Force

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A recommendation by Dallas city staff to save the Confederate War Memorial in downtown Dallas has some people involved in the decision-making process upset.

The same day last fall that Dallas city council voted to bring down the Robert E Lee statue in Oak Lawn, it approved a resolution, making "the display of public Confederate monuments… against the public policy of the city of Dallas."

"I don't know how more clear it can be," said city council Phillip Kingston.

The city's Office of Cultural Affairs, though, will recommend Wednesday spending $25,000 to add historical context to the Confederate War Memorial rather than an estimated $430,000 to remove it.

Kingston is not just opposed to that idea, he's upset it's even being suggested, following the city council vote.

"I'm angry. That's not how this government is supposed to work. When the policy body votes 13 – 2 to do something very specific, staff better do it," said Kingston.

"I feel disappointed," said Sara Mokuria, one of twenty citizens appointed by the mayor and council to the Mayor's Task Force on Confederate Monuments Task Force.
The group held meetings last August and September to study Confederate symbols in Dallas and make recommendations on their fate.

It recommended both the Robert E Lee statue and memorial be moved to a museum or educational facility.

"Unless you listen to the will of the people and follow, follow through, get the job done, it was a waste of time," she said.

At least two fellow task force members told CBS 11 News they would be fine with the monument staying.

"I think I can live with it," said Rene Martinez, who supported the monument's removal last fall. "It's huge. It's large. It's gonna cost thousands of dollars to remove it. It's going to be very costly and it's in a cemetery. To me, it's a marginal issue at this point."

City staff do concur with many of the recommendations that task force made.

It will suggest placing the Robert E Lee statue on long-term loan to the Civil War Museum near Fort Worth.

Staff did disagree on other key point – the renaming of four streets, Cabell, Gano, Stonewall, and Beauregard, which bear the names of Confederate generals.

City council will hear the suggestions and weigh in at its regular briefing Wednesday at 9 o'clock.


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