Under an awning that did an admirable job keeping back the rain (not so on the wind, though), Bill Mildenberger Jr. of the Nite Hawk Cafe on Interstate just delivered a speech—a final plea before the city council votes on whether or not to rename Interstate Avenue for César E. Chávez on Thursday afternoon at 3 pm. Nearly a hundred residents and businesses owners joined him for the press conference—the “first press conference in the history of the Nite Hawk,” he noted.
Citing the strong opposition to a name change from neighborhood associations and businesses along Interstate, Mildenberger says he’s “saddened that our elected leaders haven’t listened to us.”
Mildenberger called on the council to still find “a reasonable way forward that honors Mr. Chávez without losing Interstate.” He also expressed his disappointment in Mayor Tom Potter, for his blanket characterizations of rename opposition as racist. “Mr. Mayor, that’s inappropriate. Shame on you!” The crowd cheered.
Businesses owners like Mildenberger are speaking with attorneys, exploring options like a temporary restraining order, should the rename pass. Another idea on the table: A referendum. Or, rather, a pair of referendums—one would outline a process for future renames, one that takes neighborhood sentiment into account. The other would roll back the Interstate rename unless it successfully completed the new process.
Mildenberger, however, hopes it won’t come to that. “Let’s look for the right solution, not just one that’s expeditious.”
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