City commission votes to not rename McNair Family Drive - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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City commission votes to not rename McNair Family Drive

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Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 10:15 pm

During a regular meeting on Tuesday, the Brownsville City Commission voted to not rename McNair Family Drive back to E. Fronton Street.

The item failed with commissioners Rose Gowen, Joel Munguia, John Cowen and Jessica Tetreau voting against renaming it. Mayor Trey Mendez, commissioners Nurith Galonsky and Ben Neece voted in favor.

“We have met all the requirements that the City has asked for,” Yolanda Valtierra, a supporter of renaming the street back to Fronton, said in Spanish during the public comment period. “We need a resolution from you, we need a perfect resolution like all of you are.”

The decision to change the name from E. Fronton to McNair Family Dr. was made in May and an attempt to reverse the change was made in August.

In July, the commission voted to approve a resolution adopting and implementing a street renaming policy that states that the application for street naming has to be signed by no less than 75 percent of all owners.

City Attorney Rene De Coss said the interpretation of the policy is one vote equals one owner and that those looking to rename the street back to E. Fronton met the requirements.

Neece advocated to rename the street back and said the requirements from the policy are met.

“I feel that they have really gone over the top to comply with the policy that we drafted and adopted and we have a legal opinion supporting this and as a district commissioner for district four I urge and implore to my fellow commissioners and mayor to vote in favor of this,” Neece said.

Gowen said she does not agree with the interpretation of the policy. Munguia, Cowen and Tetreau echoed the sentiment.

“I believe the policy needs to be improved and for that reason alone I will vote no,” Gowen said.

Galonsky said she is disappointed with the decision and that renaming a street should not erase the history and affect those who are living there.

“You have shown me what true community is like and I appreciate it,” she said. “I wish there was more I could do.”

Tetreau said it is a difficult decision to make because there has been so much chaos in the issue. She said it has been a failure on behalf of the city and that it’s wrong to give the McNair family the name of the street and then take it back.

“Fronton is not gone, Fronton still has the other side of the street,” Tetreau said.

After the meeting, Ernesto Hernandez Chapa, a property owner from the street and one of the people leading the change, said he is disappointed with the result.

“I’m disappointed with the commission, especially with John Cowen because before he told us that if we could get 75 percent of the votes he would vote in favor and he did not do it,” Hernandez Chapa said. “We did what they told us to do, we followed the policy they adopted and in the end they did the things that were best for them. It was not convenient to give us our name back because then Mr. McNair would get mad, but people will not forget who were the ones who voted to keep the name of McNair.”

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