An Arizona mayor plans to change racially offensive street names in the city, despite homeowners not wanting to pay for the costs.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants to rename Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street to less offensive titles so that they can better represent the city’s values, AZ Central reported Monday.
The city shouldn’t feature “street names that revere the Confederacy or neo-Confederacy concepts or that demean our Native American brothers and sisters,” Stanton said. “We want to support all people in our community, including especially our Native American brothers and sisters, our African-American residents.”
Local homeowners aren’t happy with the proposal, as it could cost them a lot of money to adjust to the new street names. They say that they would have to change their driver’s licenses, bank account documents and other official statements.
“After I learned all this information, I decided I’m no longer politically correct. I don’t think it’s right for us to make a decision that costs people a lot of money for something they didn’t initiate,” Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams told AZ Central.
Other local residents resent the change because they believe Robert E Lee street reflects the history of the country.
“What really irks me is that they’re trying to go above our heads. At the end of the day, are we going to erase people’s names from history books because they’re offensive to some people?” Ivan Milosavljevic, a resident living on Robert E. Lee Street, said.
Currently, city policy dictates that 75 percent of homeowners need to support the name change in order for it to pass. Stanton is looking to change that policy in order to get the street names revised without homeowner support.
“The cost would be minimal, but it’s really more of a statement of our values as a community,” Stanton said.
Other cities are also looking to purge offensive historical monuments from their areas. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is considering ways to remove Confederate monuments honoring Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate women, sailors and soldiers. (RELATED: Baltimore Looks To Follow New Orleans And Remove Confederate Monuments)
“The city does want to remove these. We will take a closer look at how we go about following in the footsteps of New Orleans,” Pugh said. “New Orleans has taken on this issue. It costs about $200,000 a statute to tear them down. … Maybe we can auction them?”
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