I Found This Article in the Marin IJ so interesting, I decided to use it here for my Soapbox. I will forego and editorial comment on this and just let the article speak for itself—-
Sir Francis Drake Boulevard will be getting a new name in Fairfax.
The Town Council voted unanimously to change the name on Wednesday, breaking with Larkspur and Ross, which have opted to keep it. That means the road, which runs for more than 40 miles through Marin between the ocean and the bay, will have multiple names.
Fairfax has not yet chosen a new name for its 2-mile section of the boulevard.
The name change proposal surfaced last year amid the political climate of Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police. Critics said Drake’s name should not be on local landmarks because of his ties to slave trading and colonialism.
Many disagree. Some who favor keeping the name argue that Drake’s participation in slave trading isn’t what he is commemorated for. The 16th-century English explorer is thought to have arrived on Marin’s coast during a voyage around the world.
Drakes Beach and Drakes Bay, near where some historians believe his expedition made landfall in West Marin, are also named after the explorer. The name of Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo was changed last year to High School 1327 while school officials decide on a new moniker.
The boulevard got its name in 1929 at the urging of a Point Reyes business owner, according to local historian Dewey Livingston. The shopkeeper thought that branding the route with the well-known explorer’s name could boost tourism and commerce in West Marin.
“It’s been painful for me to bear witness to the divisions in the community related to this topic,” Fairfax Vice Mayor Stephanie Hellman said at the council meeting on Wednesday.
Fairfax Councilwoman Barbara Coler said she’s been driving on the road for more than 30 years and had never given much thought to its name until the proposal to change it began gaining steam.
It was just a name,” Coler said. “It meant nothing to me.”
Frank Egger, a former Fairfax mayor, told the council he was opposed to a name change because of the hassle and financial burden it would pose for people who live and own businesses on the boulevard. People will need new identifications, letterheads and other documents, he said.
“At a time when small businesses are struggling during the pandemic because of lost business, we should not be placing this additional burden on them,” Egger said.
Almost 650 parcels are situated along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, including 69 in Fairfax, and some of them contain multiple residences or businesses, according to a town report. Fairfax officials estimated that a name change will cost the town about $2,000 for new street signs.
Richard Applebaum, who lives in Fairfax, urged the council to take “a moral position, not a popular one.”
“For me, it’s very simple,” he said. “If there are a number of members of the community … that find that continued use of the name Sir Francis Drake is harmful, triggering, traumatic or upsetting, then it’s a moral issue.”
Several residents urged the council to consult with Coast Miwoks in choosing a new name for the street. Some said they favored a dual-naming approach, in which the boulevard would retain the Drake moniker but also have street signs representing the Coast Miwok.
“I vote to change the name of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard inside Fairfax town limits and center the Coast Miwok in the process of choosing the new name,” said Councilwoman Renee Goddard.
Each of the council members agreed that a new name should honor Native Americans. A process for selecting the name has not been established.
Sir Francis Drake Boulevard passes through five jurisdictions in Marin, and each local government is deciding whether to move forward with a name change for its portion of the road. In addition to the three that have already voted, San Anselmo and Marin County are also expected to decide by the end of the month.
Marin County supervisors are scheduled to consider a name change during an online meeting that begins at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The San Anselmo Town Council will vote on the proposal in a virtual session at 7 p.m. that same day.
That’s all folks!