Park City mayor, in tense moment, cuts off activist as Black Lives Matter mural returns to forefront
Angela Moschetta in May was one of the Parkites in attendance online as Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council met in a two-day retreat, an opportunity for the elected officials to talk broadly about key issues without the pressure of a typical meeting when votes must be cast.
The mayor and City Council addressed the overarching issues confronting the community, including the ideal of social equity. It is a priority for City Hall and designed to ensure the diverse tapestry of the community’s population has an opportunity to thrive.
The discussion eventually moved to comments about a series of giant murals with social justice themes that were put on the Main Street asphalt last summer, including one with a Black Lives Matter message. The murals quickly became polarizing and were vandalized shortly after they were made. The works and the vandalism spurred widespread discussion about race in the community that has stretched for nearly a year. There were also questions at the time about the City Hall process that led to the creation of the murals and whether the project was properly publicized prior to the works appearing.
The elected officials at the retreat spoke about the topic, but Moschetta provided notable input as well. She was especially direct as she addressed the mayor and City Council, indicating that Black people were not involved in the planning of the murals. She said the artist who created the Black Lives Matter mural is not Black.
“You have chosen to not involve these people. You have chosen to make decisions as white people, to turn to other white people. Anybody with any kind of curatorial experience would have known what was going on that street, would have known about the potential political implications,” Moschetta said during the retreat.
She added that City Hall “did not involve any of these people in the discussion before that you could have” and that the Park City Police Department could have been alerted to the murals prior to their creation.
Moschetta also mentioned two members of the City Council by name — Tim Henney and Max Doilney — as she spoke about the controversy. The mayor intervened after Moschetta mentioned Doilney by name, abruptly stopping her comments.
“Hey, Angela, Angela, Angela, we’re not going to tolerate personal attacks here, so if you want to keep it broad level, you’re welcome to,” Beerman told her.
Moschetta responded by saying she was addressing what she saw as a lack of process regarding the murals. Beerman then ended her comments.
“Angela, I’m sorry, I asked you not to be personal, you continue it. We’re cutting you off,” he said.
Moschetta in recent years has become an activist who has addressed topics like the trademark controversy centered on the name “Park City,” the Treasure dispute and City Hall’s plans to develop an arts and culture district. She has both praised and criticized the municipal government. She is seen as the leader of a group known as Future Park City. Moschetta is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The tense moment between Moschetta and the mayor that ended with Beerman stopping her comments highlighted the contentiousness of the topic of social equity in a community that is largely white with Latinos being the only racial minority inside Park City in any significant number. It also showed there is lingering controversy regarding the murals months after time, traffic and the elements left the works unintelligible.
Beerman provided a prepared statement regarding the matter in response to a Park Record inquiry.
“Public input is always welcome and encouraged, but it is expected to be civil and topical,” he said. “Recently one of our residents was muted after making personal attacks and disrupting an otherwise constructive discussion. She was given a chance to re-frame her statements but chose not to, so we moved forward with the meeting. Following the discussion, all of Council showed their support for my decision.”
In a later interview, Moschetta said it is concerning that, according to her, Park City leaders have recently attempted to “discredit, dismiss and undermine” public comment and dissenting opinions.
“It’s the opposite of democracy,” Moschetta said.
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