What do you know? There is one rational adult in a position of responsibility in Connecticut, New Britain’s 33-year-old Republican mayor Erin Stewart.
The Hartford Courant reports:
New Britain’s controversial Christopher Columbus statue won’t be heading to storage — at least not yet.
Mayor Erin Stewart on Thursday vetoed the common council’s decision to take down the statue, meaning the issue will drag into January or possibly beyond.
After learning of her decision Thursday afternoon, a top council Democrat said he’ll try to get his colleagues to override it next month.
In a statement condemning “cancel culture,” Stewart warned taking down the monument would set a bad precedent. …
The veto was the latest twist in a local culture battle that began with the nationwide campaign to pull down Columbus statues after the George Floyd protests in June.
Republican leaders and Italian-American groups in New Britain largely pushed to keep the city’s statue in McCabe Park, while Puerto Rican activists, the New Britain Racial Justice Coalition and council Democrats argued it should be moved off city property.
The arguments largely mirror those in cities across the country: Columbus’ defenders portray him as a brave explorer and symbol of Italian-American heritage, while critics say he was a genocidal slave trader and racist.
But earlier this month, several council Republicans sided with Democrats in a 10-4 vote to take it down.
Stewart said Thursday that they never explained how the city would pay to remove it, nor what would replace it at the park. She signaled that she might reconsider if the council provides detailed answers,
“If the council is going to retire Columbus, they ought to have a concurrent and concrete plan for what will go in its place,” she wrote, saying anything less would be an affront to Italian-Americans.
Democratic Alderman Chris Anderson, one of the most outspoken voices demanding removal of the statue, said Thursday afternoon that he’ll look to override the veto next month. That would take 10 votes; currently the council has 14 members because Democrat Emmanuel Sanchez’s seat has been vacant since he resigned last week.
If the Republican aldermen who voted with Democrats also vote to override the veto, they’d prevail. But the GOP caucus has long been loyal to Stewart, and Alderman Sharon Beloin-Saavedra was the only Republican who has appeared passionate about removing the statue.
I think she has a good chance of winning. There are a lot of Italians in Connecticut. And how come the Puerto Ricans, descendants of the Spaniards after all, are on the wrong side? Did some Marxist professor convince them that they all descend from Caribbean cannibals?