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Should we name anything after a non-resident?

Original post made by Kate on Feb 14, 2007

I have nothing against Martin Luther King or Mrs. King, their heritage or their legacy. But neither had anything remotely to do with Palo Alto - and at that years after the Rev. King was assasinated. If we are going to name anything after someone, how about Bill Hewlett or Dave Packard or Russel Varian who helped to make "Silicon Valley" and put Palo Alto on the global map. How about a Stanford Nobel great in medicine, science, or economics? How about Sally Ride? This emotional suggestion by LaDoris Cordell and Peter Drekmeier was, in my opinion, inappropriate and could be unneccesarily divisive. Sadly anyone who opposes it will be labeled a 'racist'. Such is not the case. This proposal is, in my opinion, ill advised and patently unnecesssary. Both councilmembers have more important items on the agenda, and this was not one of them. May I politely suggest that they, along with Mr. Barton, back off and drop it.

Comments (11)

Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2007 at 8:19 am

I argee with you, but we "beat" this issue to death about 3 weeks ago and the magority of responses felt like you and I.


Posted by Merle, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Everything is being named King or Chavez these days..I understand they did important work but enough..we all get it, the minority's contributions to the community are important. But what about the important non-minorities who have made major economic and intellectual contributions to our local community? I think that society has some false sense that naming any public facility anything but King or Chavez is not "PC". Times have changed and it is not always about a certain groups rights, feelings, or desires to shape and conform every city within their belief system. Palo Alto has many major contributors and they should all be recognized equally regardless of status.


Posted by Franz, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Churchill only remotely relates to Palo Alto too, to name one.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2007 at 2:52 pm

In the older sections of Palo Alto, many of the streets were named after authors- Poe, Homer, Tennyson, Waverley (novels), Emerson, etc. I am fairly certain that "Churchill" was named after the author, not the English prime minister.


Posted by Peri w., a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Kate wonders why we don't name anything after "Bill Hewlett or Dave Packard or Russel Varian."
er, Kate, ahem, have you noticed a few big corporations in town that have names like Hewlett, Packard, and Varian? Check the phone book.
I agree it probably wasn't a good idea to suggest the name change. But what's the harm? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Shallow Alto, a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2007 at 10:31 pm

. . . it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words of the bad people, and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."
Somewhere we must come to see that social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals; and, without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time. We must realize that the time is always right to do right.

King on Time: an excerpt from an address by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, 14 April 1967.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 16, 2007 at 8:10 am

To Peri w.

What is the harm in renaming a street? It will cost thousands of dollars to change road signs, city accounts. Not to mention that if you live or have a business on that street- you have to change all your mailing material, business cards, anyone you do bussiness with, family, friends, ect. It is not easy process.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 16, 2007 at 10:48 am

Remember what Chris Rock said, " if you ever find yourself on MLK, don't walk- RUN"!


Posted by joyce, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2007 at 5:33 am

So, I missed this - what's being proposed for renaming?


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2007 at 8:04 pm

The majority on the Policy and Services Committee (Barton, Cordell, and Drekmeier) drew up a list of suggestions including Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall, a building someplace, a park, or the "Main Library" to be renamed after MLK and Mrs. King.


Posted by joyce, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 20, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Thanks. Well, I think this is a bad idea. Some of the parks, etc. are named after Palo Alto residents who contributed significantly to the city. The streets named after authors have been part of the fabric of Palo Alto for a long time.

While my first thought when I read the opening statement was about Churchill, I do see what the commenter is getting at, keeping Palo Alto history. Let's not disrupt our town for this, there are a zillion places already named for Rev. King in the country.


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