City Will Have to Explain Whereabouts, Fate, of Confederate Monument

A possible deal that would have ended the legal wrangling over the removal of a confederate monument from San Antonio's Travis Park fell apart in federal court this week, News Radio 1200 WOAI.

After his suggestion that the city hand over the monument and a time capsule to the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was turned down, Judge David Ezra ordered both sides into mediation, in hopes of coming to a conclusion other than a federal trial by jury.

"This is a very contentious issue and there are people who have very strong feelings about it.  That's the reason this statue was removed in the first place.  So, I would think the city would be more than happy to relieve itself of the responsibility of caring for something that they do not want to display," he said.

The statue was removed from Travis Park in 2017, as part of a wave of removals of Confederate monuments.  It currently sits in a city warehouse.

The sticking point may be the land that the statue once sat upon.  In court, during the hearing, the UDC wanted that land to be part of the deal as well.  They feel that the city gave them ownership of an easement in 1899.  The city disagrees, and attorney Shawn Fitzpatrick says any talk of that land as part of the deal would be a "nonstarter."

Thomas Crane, who represents the Daughters, is hopeful that mediation will be fruitful.

"The Daughters are interested in anything that moves thing forward. If they have custody of the memorial, they would be very happy about that."

As for the land, he says it may mean the city pays the Daughters for the property that they believe they own.  The mediation will either be done by an outside mediator, a magistrate judge or Judge Ezra.  A decision will be made within a week, and it's expected that a ruling by the mediator could come late March.

Judge Ezra doesn't want to see the case hang around for years, which is why he ordered the mediation on short time frame, likening it to a shot of vitamin B-12.

"Like any shot, it hurts. But you'll feel better later."

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