Fresno City Council creates commission rename structures named after ‘racist or bigots’

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) — Fresno buildings and structures might have to be renamed if a city commission determines the name is connected to a historical figure that has a history of being a racist or bigot.

Fresno Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria headed the resolution that uses the Fresno Historical Preservation Commission to vet new and existing property to make sure it is not named after a “racist or bigot”.

“I am proud that we were able to establish a process that will not only give the council an opportunity,” said Soria. “But will give resident and the community at large, a say on if we want to name it after this person or if we don’t.”

Soria said the idea for the proposal came after Euless Park, a baseball field at Fresno City College, was under fire for the origin of its name. John Euless was an alleged leader of the Ku Klux Klan back in the 1920s in Fresno. The building was built

Fresno City College President Dr. Carole Goldsmith created a task force similar to the city’s to that will review names on campus.

“While it may be difficult, we must take a deep look at ourselves, our actions, and our history,” said Goldmith in a statement to the station.

Some citizens wonder what this will mean for Meux Home, which the city owns but does not run. It was built by Thomas Richard Meux who was a doctor for the Confederate Army.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld was the only no vote. He believes the council has overstepped its role.

“I don’t believe in canceling people from our history,” he said. “I believe in studying from our history. Learning from our history and prove the things that were wrong. But not canceling it. Not acting as it never existed.”

Soria recognized the new proposal might be controversial.

“Previous councils have taken stances on a variety of issues that some people think are controversial,” she said. “But I think it is the right thing to do. A few years ago, we took a stand to not ever fly the confederate flag in the city and that was controversial for some people. But I believe it was the right thing to do.”

The commission will only make a recommendation. This does not mean buildings will immediately have to be automatically renamed. Each suggestion will go to the council for a final vote.

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