Long-time peace activist Jerry Rubin temporarily handcuffed himself to a chain link fence Tuesday, and has started a 10-week liquid-only fast in an effort to save an iconic Santa Monica work of art slated to be torn down because it’s crumbling in the salt air.
The 26-foot-tall sculpture dubbed "Chain Reaction" depicts a nuclear mushroom cloud made of chain links, and has been a part of the landscape at Santa Monica's Civic Center for more than 20 years.
The Santa Monica City Council voted to remove the sculpture by November citing safety concerns unless private donors can raise more than a quarter-million dollars to restore it.
"There are many people for whom it is a beloved landmark, and others who feel it is an eyesore," said Jessica Cusick, Santa Monica cultural affairs manager.
Still others want the anti-war monument, created by three-time Pultizer Prize winning political cartoonist Paul Conrad, designated as an historic landmark.
Conrad died 2010, but Rubin said his message must continue.
"He said this is a statement of peace. May it never become an epitaph," Rubin said. "We have tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, still. Iran, North Korea's on the verge of getting them nuclear weapons. We not only have to strengthen 'Chain Reaction'; we have to strengthen the anti-nuclear movement as well."
The city said if the sculpture can be made safe, they'll keep it, but they don't have the money, so donations are welcome.