Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Name Game

Lynn Brezosky of the San Antonio Express-News had an article in today's paper about Arturo Guajardo Park in San Juan, Texas. The park bears the name of the then-mayor of the city.

Guajardo went on to become superintendent of schools. He has since been charged in a 22-count federal indictment that, among other things, included charges against him and others of accepting bribes. Guajardo has pleaded guilty to extortion.

Now the town is agonizing over what to do about the park's name.

It's reminiscent of the struggles
I wrote about at Ohio University which had named an athletic facility after Congressman Bob Ney who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. (Ohio University has taken Ney's name off the building.) And it also brings to mind the situation at Ohio State University which has an inn at the business school named after Roger Blackwell, now serving time for insider trading. (Ohio State has not yet taken Blackwell's name off the Blackwell Inn.)

Countless other institutions have struggled with how to handle the renaming of buildings after the namesake has broken the law.

Brezosky spoke with me as she was reporting
her article. Local television in the area has also covered the issue in pieces featuring interviews with the mayor of San Juan and others.

"It happens all the time," Brezosky quotes me as saying in
her article. "You're always taking the risk of not knowing what's going to happen with that person down the road."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being from W.Va. and having every third building named after Sen. Robert C. Byrd, I've always been an advocate of a federal law forbidding anyone from naming something after any living public servant. This way, a person could be judged by his or her entire career. But such a law has as much chance of passing as authentic campaign finance reform.