1. Archive

Race not the central issue in street-naming dispute

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Re: Protests to King Avenue belie Zephyrhills' progress, Oct. 31 editorial

Editor: The dissenters to the renaming of Sixth Avenue to Martin Luther King acted primarily because the City Council quickly railroaded the street name change in response to a special interest group led by a person who admits to being a nonresident of Zephyrhills.

How many of the petition signatures are from city residents? As a resident of Zephyrhills, I vote for City Council members who will act on behalf of and for the residents of the city. Is this too much to ask?

Your statement _ "One resident told St. Petersburg Times staff writer Molly Moorhead that the council did its job improperly because it didn't follow the will of constituents. The interpretation is incorrect. People are put in office to lead, not to pander and kowtow." _ is truly offensive. Elected officials are put in office to follow the mandates of the electorate. Have you not taken any courses or studied the Constitution? And if you truly believe they should not pander and kowtow, then why did they apparently do that for the special interest group which first brought up the name changing?

I object to the renaming of the street, that I reside on, to Martin Luther King Avenue. Mr. King does not represent to me anything other than a person in history who created and caused divisiveness and discontent. Winning a Nobel Peace Prize should not be a qualification _ after all, Yasser Arafat also is a past winner and would we name a street after him?

As an antiwar protester during the Vietnam War, King became part of the group that gave the enemy the will to continue fighting, as they knew they could not defeat us in battle but in the streets of our own country. As a Vietnam combat veteran, I hold Dr. King along with Jane Fonda and many others responsible for the names of our honored dead on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

Another of your statements _ "More accurately, the reaction is based on racial prejudice, plain and simple. There is no documentation to verify some objectors' claims that King's name brings down property values." _ is an affront to all who object to this renaming. The race card is always good to play when you want to make something politically correct and that is what the Times, and the four council members of Zephyrhills who voted for the change, did.

At least we had one council member with the backbone to listen to the constituents and vote no. A recall is not going to happen, but they can rest assured they will be remembered come next election day, and many of us will ensure that the residents of Zephyrhills know that these people chose not to follow the American tradition of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Ben Youmans, Zephyrhills

Hooters co-founder generous

Re: Bundled funds aid sheriff's campaign, Oct. 31.

Editor: Lynn Stewart is a self-made man. He was a very successful commercial painter before Hooters came about. I have been involved in over 300 charity events in the area and no one comes close to the level of generosity that I have seen from Mr. Stewart.

The Angelus concert/golf tournament is coming up in December. Mr. Stewart is a major sponsor. Maybe you could be more productive in showing your readers how this generous man has given to such a great cause without looking for any personal recognition. I am sure the people in Pasco would love to read about the great work being done in Pasco at the Angelus.

Jack Mariano, Bayonet Point