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Unveiling of Ronald Reagan statue draws small protest

October 11, 2011 |  9:15 am

The unveiling of a statue honoring Ronald Reagan over the weekend drew members of Congress, the state Legislature and City Council -- as well as a small protest.

“In dedicating this memorial, we, the people of Newport Beach, add our names to the millions around the world who are grateful to President Reagan for his banishment of international communism to the ash heap of history — a tired and twisted dogma unable to keep in chains, people yearning to breathe free,” said Councilman Keith Curry, who spearheaded the memorial effort, according to the Daily Pilot.

Curry also worked for Reagan during his time as California’s governor.

More than $60,000 was raised after the City Council authorized the collection of funds earlier this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the late president’s birth in February 1911. However, the campaign to erect the statue of the 40th president caused a debate that continued Sunday about whether a Republican commander-in-chief — especially one with relatively weak local ties — should be honored in such a way on public land.

Newport Beach residents Kirby and Gina Piazza held up signs stating their opposition to the statue. Their signs read: “Reagan: Against civil rights since 1964” and “Keith Curry’s Golden Calf statue not welcome in Newport.”

"They bypassed city standards, and we are just really upset about how they went about this,” Kirby Piazza said. “We have no other political statues in Newport Beach. If they wanted a statue of Ronald Reagan, they can put one in their house.”

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--Britney Barnes, Times Community News

Photo: People attend the dedication of the Ronald Reagan statue in Newport Beach Credit: Kevin Chang / Times Community News

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