To the best of my knowledge (when it was last checked), the dubious quotations misattributed to Jefferson are apparently still in Fountain Park, on Presidents' Row.
In the interim, a handful of citizen activists took the matter into their own hands to draft a letter that was sent this morning to the Mayor (Linda Kavanagh) and the rest of the members of the Town Council. The text of the letter follows:
Dear Mayor Kavanagh and Fountain Hills Town Council Members,
As you know, on President’s Day, February 16th, 2015, two new statues were dedicated to the Town of Fountain Hills, representing the figures of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. These generous gifts to our Town are a fine addition to “Presidents’ Row.”
However, we have the following two concerns related to this dedication:
1. We would like to know the details of the Council’s policy regarding approval of public art and would like to know if the accompanying plaques’ text is also part of the approval process and if not, why?
2. We have particular concerns regarding the plaque that appears next to the Thomas Jefferson statue and believe that the public is being misled to believe that the quotes under his name are accurate and attributable to him.
It appears that seven of the eight quotes found on the plaque are spurious, incomplete or changed in some way. One of the most alarming things we have learned is that most of the spurious quotes on the plaque can be traced to email chains that have been passed around for several years, but long ago debunked.
As patriotic residents of Fountain Hills, we want to be able to trust that there is a higher level of scholarship and scrutiny when it comes to researching American History. We would hope that those responsible for such research would use primary sources whenever possible and if none are available, omit that information.
As one of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson deserves to be accurately quoted, (or not at all) for his sake, history’s sake and for the sake of those who visit our beautiful Town now and in the future.
We respectfully request that the plaque be removed immediately and replaced with one that contains accurate information which would include the source citation. In addition, we ask that all public artwork be revisited, authenticated and resubmitted to Council, if relevant, to ensure that they are aware of what is on display in our community under the assumption of their approval.
[Signed by more than 60 Fountain Hills citizens/residents]
The citizens of Fountain Hills will be carefully watching for the reaction by the Town Council. The more than 60 concerned citizens who put their names on the letter hope the Council takes the opportunity to ensure the Town of Fountain Hills saves face and doesn't become the next The Daily Show punchline.