Thursday, June 18, 2020

Columbus In A Box

By Ralph Cipriano

After city workers got through boarding up the 20-foot high Christoper Columbus statue at Marconi Plaza, the city solicitor signed a stipulation yesterday that will prevent trigger-happy Mayor Jim Kenney from toppling the marble monument in the middle of the night, like he did with the Frank Rizzo statue.

The stipulation was signed by City Solicitor Marcel Pratt, and George Bochetto, the attorney for the South Philly residents who went to court Sunday night seeking an emergency injunction to protect the Columbus statue from the city and Kenney.

At 12:37 p.m. today, Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick signed the stipulation, which became the judge's order. And "any violation of the terms . . . will be contempt of court, and punishable in the same fashion as an injunction order," Bochetto wrote to his clients.

The order calls for the Philadelphia Art Commission to hold a public process "to determine the possible removal" of the Columbus statue. "Consistent with its prior plan, the City presently has no intention to and will not remove, damage, or alter the Statue, until such time as the Art Commission determines whether it should be removed, or, if sooner, upon Court Order," the order states.

In the meantime, "The city will reasonably protect the Statue pending a decision by the Art Commission," the order states. 

"Accordingly, the City has constructed a wooden box that encompasses the entirety of the Statue. At the request of Plaintiff's Counsel, the City will negotiate in good faith with Plaintiff's Counsel in developing a plan within the next ten days to possibly modify the boxing apparatus."

After the city boxed up Columbus, photos were circulated around South Philly of the statue saying, "I can't breathe."

Bochetto wants to alter the wooden box. "It is my intention to get a Plexiglass panel to show the top of the statute," Bochetto wrote his clients.

The city posted a message at the base of the wooden box saying that the Columbus statue "has been a source of controversy in Philadelphia and across our country."

"Many are calling for the removal of the statue," the message reads. "The City understands their concerns," and, "We are committed to listening to all and moving forward in the best way to heal our deep divides."

"The boxing is to preserve the statue while the Art Commission process is followed. No decision has been made on whether the City will remove the statue."

And while the public process with the Art Commission plays out, "The City intends to allow for lawful First Amendment expression in the plea, with reasonable time, place and mater restrictions," the order states.

Yesterday, in South Philly, the boarded up Columbus statue was under police guard.

Meanwhile, while the cops guard Columbus, the city has ended the private security details it had asked detectives to maintain 24/7 for 11 days during the riots and protests. The detectives were posted outside the homes of 16 of 17 City Council members, and several high-ranking members of the Kenney administration. So yes, the private security details have ended, with one notable exception.

A couple blocks east of the Columbus statue, yesterday morning, two police patrol cars and an SUV that was part of the mayor's security detail were posted on the 3100 block of South 13th Street, where Letitia Santarelli, the mayor's fiancee, lives.

Police sources say there is no known threat to Santarelli's safety, but a spokesperson for the city has repeatedly not responded to requests for comment on why cops continue to guard Santarelli's home.

Meanwhile, former state Senator Vince Fumo, Mayor Kenney's onetime political mentor, has been outspoken about the security detail continuing on South 13th Street. Fumo says he frankly doesn't understand why tax dollars should be paying for Mayor Kenney's "illicit romances."

Fumo has been blasting away at Kenney on Facebook, previously denouncing his former protege as a "liar, hypocrite and pussy" for taking down the Rizzo statue in the dead of night, because Kenney as a city councilman had previously supported the memorial to the late mayor.

On Tuesday, Fumo went on Facebook to denounce Kenney as a "small-minded immature fat baby" who is so "insecure the only way he thinks he makes himself big is to punish South Philadelphia where he came from."

In his Facebook post, Fumo also blamed Kenney for "vindictively and as a punishment" transferring Captain Louis Campione, commander of the 1st Police District out of South Philly after Campione acted to quell tensions in Marconi Plaza by ejecting a so-called "reporter" for Unicorn Riot whom the captain said was "inciting a riot."


  1. FBI arrested a white woman with black tatooes on her arms and a radical t-shirt bought at Etsy. She torched two Philadelphia police cars. She lives in Abington and owns a massage studio in Jenkintown. She faces up to ten years in jail, is in custody and will lose everything she owns including her business and property

    Ask your sources how many police cars were torched , including PSP cars. How many damaged and how many totalled because they could not be repaired.

    Hope FBI catches the others for torching police cars and the Starbucks .

    1. Story has changed, she does not own a massage business and is simply an employee. She lives in East Germantown. Don't know what kind of house she lives in, a rental house or apartment or a flat house.


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