November 03, 2017
Joe Mastronardo, the grandson of former Philadelphia mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo, said Friday he is "offended" but not surprised with the news that his grandfather's statue would be moved from its place on a Center City plaza.
"It’s pretty sad, and I don’t feel sadness very often," Mastronardo told PhillyVoice. "It’s not a good statement about where we are as a society and where we’re going as a country when they cater to, pander to, and allow these crazy people to run roughshod with their revisionist history."
The controversial bronze statue of Rizzo stands at Thomas Paine Plaza in front of the Municipal Services Building. When calls to remove it intensified after the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, city officials asked residents to submit their ideas for the future of the statue.
"I’m sick and tired of defending a guy, my grandfather, who gave his life to this city. If anybody deserves a statue, it’s him." – Joe Mastronardo, Frank Rizzo's grandson
On Friday the city announced that the statue would be moved, but that several sites were under consideration and study, and that a decision on the new location would not be made for at least six months.
Here is the full statement provided to PhillyVoice by Mastronardo, who lives in Montgomery County:
"It’s disrespectful, and I’m not OK with that. It’s not a happy medium. It does offend me. But at the same time, I’m not surprised.
"Once I saw Jim Kenney on the news turning it over to the Art Commission, it was pretty much a joke. Even though I don’t know much about the people on the Art Commission, I know there aren’t that many artists out there with a conservative way of thinking.
"It’s pretty sad, and I don’t feel sadness very often. It’s not a good statement about where we are as a society and where we’re going as a country when they cater to, pander to, and allow these crazy people to run roughshod with their revisionist history.
"I knew it was pretty much only a matter of time (that this would happen) because of the people in positions of power here. You still have to stand up and resist, though. You can’t let them bully you with this liberal nonsense and hypocrisy. You have to stand up for what you believe in. Otherwise, where does it stop?
"I’m sick and tired of defending a guy, my grandfather, who gave his life to this city. If anybody deserves a statue, it’s him. It’s sad. They’re letting people run around and make up whatever they want to make up about him. But, we know firsthand the truth. Even if we were out at the mall, he was asking, ‘What am I going to do to make this city better?’ We saw how concerned he was. We saw how he returned everyone’s phone calls.
"I’m not exactly sure what he’d say, and how he’d feel about this. I don’t know if he’d be upset about the statue being moved or if he’d just think ‘it’s a piece of stone or whatever’ and just laugh about it."