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Residents rally ’round noose

“This is not about race but the struggle the town went through to become a town.” — Tiffany Moore, Placerville resident

Demonstrators opposed to Placerville City Council’s vote to remove the noose from the city logo showed up in front of the downtown Placerville courthouse for a peaceful, if noisy, protest Friday afternoon.

Waving signs and banners dozens of people gathered as a steady stream of cars, trucks and other vehicles drove by with drivers honking in support and giving the thumbs up sign.

In front of the courthouse a noose hung from a tree as a reminder of what the protest was about.

American flags and banners calling for the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom competed with handmade signs that read, “Heritage is not hate,” “Don’t erase history, learn from it,” “Hangtown lives matter” and “Whose pockets are the City Council in? This is gold country, not Bay Area wine country.”

Moving through the crowd were several people circulating petitions to recall Mayor Dennis Thomas, accusing him of “abusing his power in favor of commercial growth that is not conducive with the General Plan while doing little to promote the mom and pop businesses of the downtown.”

A recall election would fall under the city’s jurisdiction to review and approve a petition prior to circulation, according to El Dorado County Registrar of Voters Bill O’Neill, who said that the based on the most recent report of registration, 1,660 signatures would be needed to qualify.

Other protestors indicated they wanted the entire City Council recalled with the common refrain being they didn’t want the city’s history destroyed.

Tiffany Moore, a Placerville resident and one of those circulating a petition, said she wanted the town to decide rather than the City Council. “I’m very disappointed in the City Council,” she said.

“They made it seem they wanted our opinions but they really didn’t,” she continued, adding that she thinks those behind removing the noose will go after the name Hangtown next. “This is not about race but the struggle the town went through to become a town.”

Liz Murphy, a Pollock Pines resident and former teacher of American history, said she was there because she didn’t want cancel culture to change the actual history of the area. “People need to be educated about what really happened,” she said. “It was about law and order. It was very important to keep an orderly society as much as possible. It was just enforcing the law. There was nothing racial about it. History is real life, not white-washed stories. I’m tired of the move to water down our textbooks and not record accurate aspects of our history. It was called Hangtown because justice was swift.”

Camino resident Sue Taylor, an advocate for protecting the area’s history and owner of the Hangman’s Tree building, said she thinks the city doesn’t want a historical district in the downtown and instead wants to turn it into an art district. “This is just the beginning of changing the culture,” she commented.

The protest wrapped up around 6 p.m. with Placerville resident Ronny Merrill saying protestors would be back every week if necessary.

The noose was removed from the city’s logo on its website following the City Council’s decision and logos and nooses that appear elsewhere on city property are expected to be updated or removed in coming weeks.

People using the El Dorado Trail in downtown Placerville Tuesday morning might have noticed a noose hung from electrical lines. The noose was reported to Placerville police who reportedly documented it before asking PG&E crews to take it down. A noose was also hung from a tree in front of the courthouse during Friday’s protest. Police say because the noose and the issue surrounding it is a topic of debate, people hanging nooses are not necessarily committing a crime, as defined by Penal Code 11411, because the noose symbol might not be intended to terrorize, rather to represent local history. Courtesy photos

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