Citizens Verbally Spar Over Confederate Monument

Aug 31, 2017

Around two dozen San Antonio police were stationed in and around City Hall and council chambers Wednesday night in expectation of potential skirmishes between opposing protester camps that never materialized.  

Fifty or so people chanted slogans outside council chambers in support of removing Travis Park's 118 year-old monument to confederate dead ahead of an evening "Citizens To Be Heard."

The San Antonio City Council is considering removing and ultimately donating the monument to a museum or other nonprofit.

Unlike another recent "Citizen's To Be Heard," members of the "This is Texas Freedom Force" did not show up in force. According to one speaker, many members were in Houston dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Today's vote comes unusually quick, being fast tracked past normal committee hearings.

At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, 67 people had signed to speak for or against the monument's removal. That number mushroomed to 130 by the time the meeting began at 6 p.m.

"The relocation of this statue is not to erase history, but to stop celebrating white supremacy," says San Antonio's Tracy Talavera.  The standing-room only council chamber erupted in applause.

Paul Gescheidle says the monument should not divide, but be seen as a monument to those that didn't return like many San Antonio natives who, like his ancestors fought for the confederacy. 

"The monument serves to pay respect to my ancestors as well as any other San Antonio natives. It unifies all San Antonians from all nationalities to one cause," Gescheidle was cut off by the two-minute limit imposed on all the speakers.  When asking for more time, many shouted over him. Gescheidle asked for the vote to be postponed.

The packed room was at times disorderly with Mayor Ron Nirenberg calling for calm.

Today's city vote comes on the heels of North East Independent School District voting to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School