Bay Ridge

Capano tells de Blasio to leave Columbus statue alone

Candidate says statue task force is ‘stupid idea’

August 23, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Republican City Council candidate Bob Capano says the mayor’s plan to form a statue task force “is a waste of time.” Photo courtesy of Capano’s campaign
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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to create a task force to review hundreds of statues around the city for possible removal as a response to the violence in Charlottesville isn’t sitting well with one Brooklyn City Council candidate, who decried the move as “a stupid idea that is a waste of the taxpayer’s money.”

Bob Capano, a Republican and Reform Party candidate in the 43rd Council District (Bay Ridge- Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) called on de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to drop a plan to form a Statue Review Task Force.

The mayor announced the plan on Aug. 16.

“After the violent events in Charlottesville, New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property,” the mayor wrote on Twitter.

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Capano, an adjunct professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, called the plan “ill-conceived” and said it smacked of “political correctness.”

Removing a statue is akin to “ripping the pages out of a history book,” according to Capano. 

Capano, who is an Italian-American, said he was particularly incensed when he read a comment Mark-Viverito made about the need to look at the possibility of removing the statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle. The statue was erected in 1892.

“I know if Melissa Mark-Viverito had her way she would be replacing the Christopher Columbus statue with one of FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera,” Capano told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email. 

Capano was referring to Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist who spent decades in prison for a series of bombings in an around New York City in the 1970s. Lopez Rivera was chosen as an honoree in this year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, a move that Mark-Viverito defended. 

Italian-Americans across the city will rise up and defend the Columbus statue if the de Blasio Administration makes a move to tear it down, according to Capano.

“The mayor and the speaker are on a collision course with myself and other Italian-American New Yorkers if they think they are they are going to tear down this iconic monument donated to the city by our ancestors. Instead of attempting to sow discord among various ethnic groups, perhaps Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark Viverito should focus on real issues: fixing schools that don’t educate, a failing subway system or the homeless crisis,” Capano said. 

Capano is running in the Sept. 12 Republican Primary for the Council seat against Liam McCabe, John Quaglione and Lucretia Regina-Potter. There is also a Democratic Primary for 43rd Council District. The candidates are Justin Brannan, Vincent Chirico, Kevin Peter Carroll, the Rev. Khader El-Yateem and Nancy Tong.

The mayor’s announcement came in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12 in which clashes erupted between white nationalists and counter-protesters. The white nationalists were in Charlottesville to hold a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. 

A 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a white nationalist allegedly rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Two Virginia state troopers were killed when the helicopter they were using to survey the crowd crashed.


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