Chavez street-name plan sparks controversy in San Antonio






(CNN) -- Plans to rename a street after Mexican-American labor organizer Cesar Chavez have sparked controversy in San Antonio, where a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the name change this week.

City council members approved "Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard" in a 7-4 vote, but the San Antonio Conservation Society filed a lawsuit against the measure.

"We consider the name of a street historic," said Rollette Schreckenghost-Smith, the organization's president.

Advocates of renaming the 5.4-mile street say local opposition has more to do with Chavez's history with the labor movement.

"If we had picked anyone other than Cesar Chavez, we would not have had a problem," said Jaime Martinez, who has been advocating naming a street after the labor leader for more than 10 years. "He was for labor. He was for civil rights. He was for human rights. He was for the poorest of the poor. He was like Martin Luther King, and some of them are very conservative."

San Antonio is the latest battleground in a longstanding debate over how -- or whether -- to honor Chavez's legacy.

"For 20 years, communities throughout the country have been coming together to name streets after him. Some places it's been an easy process, but in some places it's been a contested process," said Raymond Rast, an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fullerton. "It really does boil down to who has the political power to influence and make these decisions."...




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