FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to add a controversial charter amendment to March 2024’s election, that would give Fresno County the right to name unincorporated places and streets.
Supervisor Nathan Magsig says if the amendment were to pass, it would give every county voter a say in how name change issues are handled.
“Over the course of the last, really two years, um I believe at the local level we’ve been under assault. A lot of names that have significance in our communities are just being changed,” said Magsig, who represents District 5 on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
The item passed three votes to two on Tuesday.
The names highlighted, included Kings Canyon Road, Ventura Avenue, and California Avenue in Fresno, which Fresno City Council voted to change to Cesar Chavez Boulevard in March as well as Squaw Valley, which was renamed by the federal and state government to Yokuts Valley.
“This particular charter amendment that is going to be going before the voters, it will give an opportunity for all residents of Fresno County to weigh in. And really, their votes have been left out of the process,” said Magsig.
During Tuesday’s meeting, controversy for the chapter amendment came especially over the case of Squaw of Yokuts Valley.
“To this day you have yet to acknowledge what the state and the federal government have decided. Instead, you want to change the rules because you lost by the rules of which we are all bound to play by. It’s disgusting. It absolutely is. The racism, the blatant racism,” said Roman Rain Tree with the Rename S-Valley Coalition, and a key contributor to the name change to Yokuts Valley.
Area residents of the disputed region, like Lonnie Work, owner of Squaw Valley Realty, and head of the Save Squaw Valley Committee say even if the chapter amendment were to pass, it likely will not do enough for those who want to preserve the Squaw Valley name.
“They can pass whatever they want to pass. The state could still say, you know what? You don’t have the authority. We have the authority,” said Work.
Magsig argues if the amendment were to pass, it would give the county more ammunition in future renaming fights.
According to Fresno County Registrar of Voters James Kus, the amendment would require a 50% plus one majority to pass.