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Mediation over Pueblo Columbus statue fails

Christopher Columbus Statue in Pueblo
Christopher Columbus Statue in Pueblo(KKTV)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 9:43 AM MDT
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) -The city of Pueblo voted to hire a mediator following multiple protests over the Christopher Columbus statue near the Rawlings Library in Pueblo.

On Tuesday, the mayor of Pueblo announced the two sides failed to reach an agreement while using the mediator.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed the two groups couldn’t reach an agreement, but after decades of protests, the talks produced a chance for everyone to sit down and express their views, pain, and heritage,” said Mayor Nick Gradisar. “Mediation was worth it as it allowed both sides the opportunity to hear the pain and pride of Pueblo’s past. I would like to thank Fred Galvez for facilitating this much-needed dialogue that has been decades in the making. Mr. Galvez has made himself available to both parties for future talks.”

City council voted 5-2 on Aug. 6 in favor of hiring mediator Fred Galves.

Galves comes from California but is from Pueblo, which is one of the reasons Gradisar made the decision to hire him.

“This fellow has a feel for Pueblo, he knows Pueblo, he grew up among our multiple cultures, and so I thought it would be best if we could find somebody who had mediation skills for Pueblo. So that’s why we went with him … I think Pueblo is unique because of the multiple cultures that we have here and how Pueblo was built from people from all over the world.”

Gradisar says hiring a mediator cost the city less than the protests over the past few months have.

Galves charged the city $100 an hour for the first 40 hours, with the rate increasing after that. The mayor says this is a better way to spend the money than the previous $65,000 spent during the protests. Details on how many hours were used through the process were not immediately shared, but 11 News has requested that information.

Gradisar told 11 News, “We’ve had seven or eight protests in Pueblo since the death of George Floyd, and altogether with the initial costs for overtime and for police officers to be present and renting barricades, the cost has been about $65,000 to date.”

Both sides, those from the Native American community and the Sons of Italy, spoke with the mediator.

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