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Artist ordered to paint over mural beaver

Oct. 1, 2011 at 4:30 PM

MARTINEZ, Calif., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Officials in Martinez, Calif., ordered an artist to paint over the image of a beaver he included in the mural he was commissioned to create for the city.

Martinez officials said they had artist Mario Alfaro paint over the beaver because the animal, while beloved by city residents, does not belong on the downtown mural alongside images of Martinez natives including John Muir and Joe DiMaggio, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

"Everyone's saying we hate beavers, but this is not about liking beavers or not liking beavers," Public Works Director Dave Scola said. "We went through a lengthy planning process, and never once did anyone ask for a beaver. Not one person said, 'Hey, I have an idea, let's put a beaver in there.'"

Alfaro said he was so upset by the city's request that he also painted over his own name on the mural.

"I feel they do not respect me," he said. "Every day, people ask me, 'Where is the beaver?' So I want to please the people and I put in a beaver. It was really a very small beaver. But the city did not want it."

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