VALLEJO (LIVE 105) – A mural in Vallejo dedicated to young lives lost was painted and erased accidentally. One mother who son was tragically killed tells KPIX 5’s Christin Ayers her plans to move forward from yet another loss.
For Champagne Tafoya, the mural in Downtown Vallejo was a source of comfort for her and her family. It had been at the corner of Georgia Street and Main Street for nearly six years, which bears the face of her 12-year-old son Joey, who died in 2011 after being struck by a city garbage truck.
The mural by Alvaro Garcia, a local artist, was called “Vallejo Rising.”
“I thought this was going to be there forever.” Tafoya says. But suddenly it was gone.
The wall had been painted over with the building owner’s permission by movie studio Paramount Pictures which has been shooting the Transformer’s spinoff, Transformers Universe: Bumblebee in Downtown Vallejo and on Mare Island.
“I broke down. I was so angry and so sad. Just to see the wall just blank.” Tafoya continues.
On Monday, film producer of Paramount Pictures Lorenzo di Bonaventura apologized. “Our guys didn’t realize the importance of the mural.” di Bonaventura said. According to the East Bay Times, di Bonaventura said there was a “breakdown in communication that was the cause” for the recent painting.
“I’m sorry about this,” di Bonaventura said in a statement to the Times-Herald. “We will do as much as we can do to replace the mural — this was really unfortunate.”
In a statement over the phone, Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan tells Ayers:
“Paramount has stepped up and they acknowledge that they should have done research, that they should have reached out to the artist and those who were depicted in the mural. They were absolutely mortified that they did this.”
Tafoya says Paramount is trying make amends. They studio invited her and her family on the set during the last day of filming in Vallejo. The film’s producers promised to cover all costs for a new mural. Mayor Sampayan is already scouting new locations in public parks.
“The only thing we can do is do something bigger and better and just as meaningful” Tafoya said.
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