Name the park after King

It is time to do the right thing.

Last week the Chico City Council discussed and adopted criteria for the naming of a location to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—an amazing bit of backpedaling in a confounding process. More than a year ago citizens brought forth the idea of naming the Ivy-Warner street corridor after King. But that was shot down as too expensive and disruptive to businesses and residents who live there. So an alternative was put forward—extend the name of the 20th Street Community Park by adding King’s name.

A simple and proper idea, we thought. The park borders Chapman, Chico’s most diverse neighborhood, and is host each weekend to hundreds of kids playing organized sports. We were naïve enough to think the solution was a shoo-in. However, a majority of the Chico Area Recreation and Park District Board of Directors could not bring themselves to OK the name extension. Now the discussion, at least as carried out in the letters to the editor and the local daily’s phone-in column for illiterates, has turned ugly and racist. Decent people supporting the idea have been maligned.

Frankly, we are ashamed by the way this thing has played out. Name the park after King, already. He wasn’t just a great African-American, he was a great American.