Paseo no more

Well, boys and girls, the fix is in. Get a good look at those street signs that say The Paseo on them because if the Mayor and his blue ribbon commission to rename The Paseo after Dr. Martin Luther King gets their way (and they will), those Paseo street signs will be a thing of the past.

Let this history minded news-pooch be clear, we’re against any such name change that would erase a 110-plus-year-old piece of history. The Dog watched the press conference last Friday afternoon and we noticed a number of interesting things, most notably how petulant and defensive Mayor James was throughout the event, almost to the point of being combative about the matter. The more he reinforced his position on the matter and the issue of involving the community, the less this critically thinking canine believed him in regard to involving the community in what was clearly his agenda. Given his track record of my way or the highway, the dog believes this is just a stepping stone and a process to be tolerated until he can get his way, and The Paseo as named will be no more.

Want more proof? Parks Board President Jean Paul Chaurand in so much as capitulated to the Mayor’s wish when he was asked for comment at the press event last Friday. This despite the Parks Board rejecting the re-naming proposal via a letter to the petitioners late in March of this year. Additionally, the Mayor’s commission reads like a who’s who of “yes-men,” including Board President Chaurand, interestingly. That certainly looks like a conflict of interest to this Dog. He should, as President of the Board making the decision whether to re-name The Paseo, resign from this commission on this committee or recuse himself from the Parks Board vote to re-name The Paseo. The dog isn’t optimistic about either.

This critically thinking pooch wonders where the Latino activist community is, given The Paseo was named for a grand, urban boulevard in Mexico City. Why have we not heard from groups like LaRaza or the Hispanic Economic Development Committee on this issue? This questioning pooch thinks that’s more than a little odd. All we’re hearing is crickets, though. Maybe they recognize the bullying tactics the Mayor is employing to get his way and are not picking this as their hill to die on.

The bottom line is this: landscape architect George Kessler and the Parks Board in 1893 approved the naming of The Paseo as part of the city’s master plan for Boulevards and Parks. This history-minded Newsdog is completely against the renaming of The Paseo just to appease the vocal minority. While a fitting tribute to Dr. King is a laudable idea, spending taxpayer money to re-name The Paseo in his name is a bad idea and sets a bad precedent. Erasing history in order re-make history based on an emotional and knee-jerk decision is wrong-headed and inappropriate.

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