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Capitol 'Remodel' Permit Quietly Filed For Area Where Columbus Statue Stands

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Christopher Columbus statue inside the California Capitol building could be moved out as early as Tuesday morning, CBS13 learned Monday.

A public CHP permit shows administrative access will be needed inside the Capitol for 12 hours for a "remodel" near the west side access — the spot where the Columbus statue stands.

The Department of General Services, the Joint Rules Committee, and the CHP would not comment on the story.

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The formal removal would come just days after demonstrators tore the Father Junipero Serra statue down in the Capitol garden and vandalized the El Soldado statue also on the Capitol grounds.

Phil Rios is president of the California Mexican-American Memorial Foundation, which cares for El Soldado. The statue honors World War Two Mexican-American soldiers who returned home to California to face discrimination in their own country.

"They're just tearing down statues, they're anarchists," Rios said. "This is a hate crime. This is a hate crime."

The scrutiny of historic statues and their place in civic pride intensified following the George Floyd protests. The Capitol's Columbus statue is the only one Democratic-led legislators announced would be legally removed. A group of Republican legislators sent a letter to the Joint Rules Committee requesting the statue be allowed to stay.

Republican State Senator Jim Nielsen signed that letter of opposition to the Columbus statue plan.

"I don't think there needs to be a great review of every statue and every picture that is in the Capitol, my goodness gracious," Senator Nielsen said.

The public permit for the west entrance remodel starts at 6 a.m. and will last until 6 p.m. So far, we don't know where the Columbus statue will be moving.

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