On July 21, 2020, the Coalition for Historical Integrity (CHI), a grassroots organization in Ventura, filed a petition for writ of mandate asking the Ventura County Superior Court to void the actions taken by the Ventura City Council on July 15. These actions include the vote that the Father Serra statue was not a historical landmark and the vote to remove both that statue and the wooden statue of Father Serra inside City Hall.
The lawsuit also asked for an immediate order from the Court preventing the City from removing the statue while the lawsuit is pending. The City opposed the request, stating that “There is a serious risk of damage to the statue if it is left in its current location,” and that the City was removing the statue “for safekeeping.” Based largely on the argument that the statue was in danger of vandalism and destruction while in front of City Hall, the Court denied CHI’s motion and allowed the city to remove the statue to a secure storage facility, with the understanding that the City would have to return the statue to its location in front of City Hall if it lost the lawsuit.
Despite this initial setback, CHI will continue with its lawsuit to reverse the City Council’s illegal resolution that the statue was not a historic landmark and its evasion of California environmental regulations that would require an environmental review before the statue can be permanently removed.
Check back regularly for legal updates!