During a Placerville City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Council members voted unanimously to remove the noose in the Placerville city seal due to modern day racial justice considerations.
Controversy over the noose, which stems from the city’s ‘western justice’ roots and real incidents of criminals being hung, have been brewing since the early 2000’s, when the first calls to remove the noose were made. While the noose and Placerville’s nickname of “Old Hangtown” don’t involve African Americans or post-reconstruction racially-charged lynchings in which they are better known for today, a growing number of people have argued that the new symbol of the noose as one of violence against African Americans has overtaken the historical roots of the noose and should be removed.
Earlier this year, Placerville lawmakers finally announced that a decision over the noose symbol would be decided on, leading to groups both for and against the noose to gather for the city council meeting on Tuesday. In total, 173 people signed up to comment on the logo decision, known during the meeting as “Agenda Item 12.1”.
Those against the noose vehemently argued that, in addition to racial violence connotations, that the noose was a symbol of death and violence.
“I am horrified and deeply hurt that we have a symbol of a noose in our logo,” said a commenter on Tuesday via the phone. “A noose is a symbol of death. A noose is a symbol of lynching. A noose is a symbol of racism. I think we’re better than that.”
“I kind of wish that our town was known more for like the gold mining than like the hangings because that just feels, like, unnecessarily violent,” noted another Placerville caller.
Others argued that the noose could possibly hurt future growth of the city due to the unpleasantness associated with it.
“If you want to be a welcomed welcoming town, I would think that you would want to have a symbol for this city that represents that,” said another resident.
Many supporters of keeping the noose also called in, firing back that removing the noose would take away part of the city’s history.
“I would like us to keep our noose. It’s taking away from our history,” exclaimed a Placerville caller on Tuesday. “We need to keep our history. This world right now is taking inch by inch little pieces of our history and throwing it away. If you guys are gonna change anything it needs to come out to the people and the people should be able to vote on it. If we remove this, and the next thing you’re going to do is remove ‘Hangtown’ name itself, in 10-15 years, our kids aren’t going to know anything about it.”
Other resident’s tied the noose to it’s wild west, gold rush-era past.
“It’s part of this historic town.” It’s part of us. It’s the Old West… leave it alone,” explained a different resident.
A unanimous City Council vote to remove the noose from the Placerville seal
However, despite the large number of passionate defenders, the council subsequently voted unanimously 5-0 to remove the logo. Mayor Dennis Thomas noted that the vote is proof that Placerville is a changing and diverse town.
“This meeting has been a long time coming,” said Mayor Thomas on Tuesday. “Tonight shows you what a diverse and unique town we live in. I’m here to tell you, I’ve heard a lot from inside our community. Our path is much richer than the symbol of this noose. In my mind if a symbol is this divisive, is it truly worth keeping?”
Vice Mayor Kara Taylor added that the council’s job wasn’t to fight change, but to simply navigate it.
“I know a lot of people want us to stand up and fight this battle against change,” stated Vice Mayor Kara Taylor. “But our job at the city is not to fight change, but to navigate it. We are tasked with looking at factors beyond our own subjective feelings and experiences on this matter. It’s about the morale of our community and quality of life.”
Following the vote, the noose logo is now due to be removed from both the city logo and all places that the logo is on, including city facilities and city facilities. While it is known that the total amount to make all the changes will be around $5,300, it is not yet known when the removal process will formally begin.