Mayor Harmon opposed to statue of Roosevelt, noting gender

January 11, 2019

Mayor Heidi Harmon

The city of San Luis Obispo is considering placing a monument to President Teddy Roosevelt in Mitchell Park, prompting Mayor Heidi Harmon to question why there is a need for “more monuments of white men.” [Cal Coast Times]

In recent months, former SLO councilman John Ashbaugh has spearheaded a campaign to honor Roosevelt, the United States’ 26th president, for helping launch the conservation movement and for once visiting San Luis Obispo. Ashbaugh’s plan calls for a bronze statue of Roosevelt by artist Paula Zima to be placed in Mitchell Park.

“We have have an extraordinary chance to honor Roosevelt with a monument to his legacy as one of the founders of our nation’s environmental movement, along with John Muir,” Ashbaugh stated last week in a Facebook post. “One week before meeting John Muir and traveling with him to Yosemite, Roosevelt spoke in San Luis Obispo, May 9, 1903.”

Harmon, SLO’s recently reelected mayor, responded to the Facebook post with a string of comments.

“Wondering why we need more monuments of white men at this point,” Harmon wrote. “Is it not way past time to honor a border group?”

Harmon inserted in one of her comments a link to an opinion article in The Guardian headlined, “Across America, racist and sexist monuments give way to a new future.” The mayor then continued arguing her case.

“We have no monument whatsoever to any women in this beautiful city — why would we put resources to this in light of that? Just saying,” Harmon wrote. “I just don’t understand why we continue to put all of our resources into only lifting up white men and there’s close to zero resources put into white women or people of color whatsoever in terms of monuments etc.”

Ashbaugh responded, saying Roosevelt is just the start and he would support more public art honoring important local leaders of all races, ethnicities, gender identities and causes.

The Roosevelt monument proposal is expected to go before San Luis Obispo’s parks commission next month.


Can we focus on the content of a person’s charachter instead of the color of their skin?

Theodore Roosevelt did many progressive things that helped shape the development of the country we love. How about giving TR a statue and creating a statue at French Hospital for Dr. Charles R. Drew, who also made signifcant contributions to our nation and the world. He developed blood transfusions, blood plasma and blood banking prior to World War Two, saving countless lives. Dr Drew was an African American. Would Mayor Harmon support a statue honoring him or would we hear bitching about honoring “another Man”?


Perhaps the enlightened Mayor could recommend a specific person whom she would choose to memorialize, rather than just make negative comments about the effort to erect a monument to an admired leader.


Mayor could recommend a specific person

I am not interested in any monument candidate that is recommended based on race and/or gender. Nor should any other non-racist person.

Niles Q

Isn’t there a bronze by the train station of Chinese RR workers?

There’s a Chumash girl and bear fountain in Mission Plaza.

There’s that wonderful abstract woman sculpture at Higuera and Nipomo.

The Christ stained glass at Foothill and Santa Rosa too is a man of color/Middle Eastern.

I can’t even picture a single public art piece in SLO that is of a white man!

The majority of art is abstract in SLO.

Is the Mayor full of it, clueless or talking in overall, prejudicial terms, equating SLO with the worst this nation has to offer? Or maybe she’s hankering for a fight?


Don’t give Harmon so much credit. She’s just clueless.


She’s just following her ultra liberal philosophy. They have no original or workable ideas to offer so they simply resist any and all ideas from conservatives. Even if they agreed with the idea in the past. Note the current situation in DC. So transparent and insincere. Too bad SLO voters don’t seem to care who they elect to office.


I find her comment UN-AMERICAN. Who is she representing?


Racism is racism, period. I found her comment deeply offensive and repulsive as her mind goes to race and victimization first. This is NOT a unifying leader. It really tells us about how dysfunctional SLO City elections are. Kudo’s to John Ashbaugh. He is a real leader , able to bridge ideologies and his heart is all about this monument. Sorry John, this dysfunctional gal is just starting phase two of wreaking havoc on SLO. RUN FOR MAYOR JOHN!!


What a tool. Another hater of her own kind, and yes why put up a statute of a white woman then? Im sure Snoop Doggy sheet would love a statute of him, after all he pioneered the art of rap music and slo if full of arts aint it?


Perhaps she said those words because they are the ‘sabor del dia.’


To use her own logic: why should I listen to a white woman then?

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