The question of where Mountain View should display two recently donated sections of the Berlin Wall is dividing city leaders much like the Cold War barrier once partitioned Germany's capital.

The city council wrestled with the decision Tuesday night, ultimately turning down the Visual Arts Committee's recommendation to place the concrete slabs in either Charleston or Pioneer Park. Instead, council members voted 4-3 to direct city staff and the committee to come up with some other options.

The majority of the city council concluded that Pioneer Park, while easily accessible and secure, was already packed with public art. Charleston Park, on the other hand, was deemed too remote because of its location in the North Bayshore area.

"You want it some place a lot of people can see it," Council Member Jac Siegel said about the wall sections, which each stand more than 10 feet tall and weigh seven tons each.

Siegel, along with council members Margaret Abe-Koga, Ronit Bryant and John McAlister, formed the bloc that supported exploring alternative sites. Siegel and Bryant, in particular, said they wanted options that don't include parks, like the downtown transit center.

"They have historical significance. They're important to many people. But if you look at them objectively, they are two very large pieces of ugly cement," Bryant said about the wall sections.


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"As far as I'm concerned, what you put in a park is a tree or a plant or an object of beauty. This is not a tree. This is not a flower and also not an object of beauty. Cement goes against cement."

Vice Mayor Chris Clark disagreed that the slabs were a poor fit for parks.

"For me, a use of a park is just a little bit different. I go there to reflect and I like to see art and things that stimulate thought," Clark said. "And I think this is one of the things that I don't have a problem putting in a park."

Mayor John Inks and Council Member Michael Kasperzak joined Clark in expressing a preference for Pioneer Park.

The city council voted in September to accept the wall sections. They were offered by the family of deceased Los Altos resident Frank Golzen, who bought them in 1989 and erected them as a monument to the United States at an office park he owned at 2685 Marine Way in Mountain View.

One of the slabs features a caricature of Elvis Presley and the other a heart encircling the words "wir lieben dich" (we love you).

Siegel said he was proud to have the Cold War relics in Mountain View, which he noted played a crucial role in bringing down the Berlin Wall.

"We are closely connected. This was the center of the high-tech industry. It was also the center of the aerospace industry and the aerospace industry was what helped defeat the (Iron Curtain)," Siegel said. "It wasn't just because Mr. Reagan said, 'Tear down your wall.'"

Email Jason Green at jgreen@dailynewsgroup.com; follow him at twitter.com/jgreendailynews.