Chavez to Ross to Industrial: Now what’s going on?

Here’s a twist on the seemingly endless Cesar Chavez street-renaming story: According to the DMN, the entire city plan commission voted yesterday to recommend that the city council NOT change Industrial Boulevard’s name to Riverfront, while a subcommittee of the plan commission also voted against a plan to change Ross Avenue to Chavez.

With me so far?

Although I don’t know the inside story on this deal, it sounds like a little political dice-rolling and backroom payback is going on here.
A little history: Plan commissioners are appointed by individual councilmen to their posts, which generally involve overseeing development requests in Dallas. Usually, a plan commissioner thinks similarly to the councilman who appointed him or her, so plan commission votes on the issues roughly mirror city council votes on the same issues. Since the council’s Trinity River subcommittee already voted unanimously to ignore the results of the city’s poll that established Chavez as the most popular new name for Industrial, it followed that the plan commission would play nice and play along.

All of this sets the stage for Wednesday’s council vote about whether to change the name of Industrial to Riverfront; the DMN story on the issue says that as a result of the plan commission’s vote, the council now needs a 3/4 majority to approve the change to Riverfront.

I imagine there will be plenty of behind-the-scenes wrangling for the next week. Interestingly enough, Mayor Tom Leppert apparently wasn’t called upon to officially weigh in on the latest events, since he wasn’t quoted in the News story. I would guess, though, that he’s probably not looking forward to Wednesday, since the planned vote will involve council members going on record about their preference — and noting that the News story had 129 comments as of Thursday night, I suspect a lot more people than ususal will be paying attention to their city government leaders next week.


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