Steve Blair won't resign after comments about mural

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by Alicia E. Barrón

azfamily.com

Posted on June 8, 2010 at 9:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 8 at 10:05 PM

GLENDALE – Prescott City Councilman Steve Blair has said he does not understand why there is a "black guy" on the mural when, according to him, Prescott has never had a "culture problem."

He thinks the mural is political and meant to make race an issue where no issue existed before. His comments already cost him one job.

Blair said, “I have absolutely no intention to voluntarily step down!”

After controversial comments he made criticizing a publicly-funded school mural ignited a racial firestorm.

Blair said on KYCA 1490, “I disagree with the whole perspective that you would have a black guy painted on two sides of that building."

The radio station cancelled the Prescott council member’s show because of those comments and protesters took to the streets over the weekend.

Now Blair is facing a possible recall. He says, “They've taken out papers to recall me, if they get 'em, they'll be an active recall."

The mural was supposed to promote "Green" environmentally-friendly transportation but the response, according to artist R.E. Wall has been black and white and anything but friendly with some critics reportedly telling him, “Get the black kid off the wall, with the n-word."

Wall says the school's principal told him to lighten the skin of the child on the mural because of mounting political pressure. That decision has since been reversed.

Blair and Wall ran into one another Tuesday but Blair did not have much to say. “I've got a meeting that I gotta.”

Many people in Prescott support Blair's critique and say the mural is an expensive, unwanted eyesore.

Councilman Blair says he has "bridges to repair" even as he blamed an old political enemy, former Prescott Mayor Jack Wilson for the backlash that could cost him his job.

Blair says, “He doesn't like me now. I doubt he'll ever like me then." Blair stands by his controversial critique of the mural meant to promote diversity. He says he is speaking as a private citizen and not on behalf of the city.

As for former Mayor Wilson, he says he will give Blair a week to voluntarily resign otherwise the recall process will begin.
 

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