Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th)
Dear Alderman Hairston:
I will be unable to attend the community meeting mentioned in your newsletter about renaming S. Stony Island Avenue.
I am opposed to renaming it, for the late Bishop Arthur Brazier or for anyone else, however deserving.
My reasons are as follows:
1) We have many honorary street names for many deserving individuals. This is honor enough for Bishop Brazier and other such individuals. With all due respect to the late Bishop Arthur Brazier, he was no Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. That renaming (of Grand Boulevard/South Parkway) was appropriate; this is not.
2) Stony Island is a unique and interesting name, referring to a geographical feature recognized many years ago. Why should this aspect of Chicago history and uniqueness be lost?
3) As has been amply noted elsewhere, renaming the street entails substantial costs to the City of Chicago, which is flirting with bankruptcy, and to the Postal Service, which is also in financial chaos, to the financially strapped CTA, and to the many residents of this avenue, who would have to change everything related to their postal address. Would you personally want the street on which you live to be renamed? I would certainly not want this for myself.
4) If this foolishness prevails, i.e., renaming a street for the late Bishop Arthur Brazier, then why not rename one of our many numbered streets? An example is 63rd Street, which is a street more relevant to the late Bishop Arthur Brazier than Stony Island Ave is. Renaming a numbered street is what was done for Mayor Anton Cermak (22nd Street) and General John Pershing (39th Street). Whether these renaming were appropriate is moot, the point is that numbered streets have no uniqueness or appeal; they are placeholders. Note that the North Side has no numbered streets.
Thank you for your consideration.