City council should gauge opinion of residents before renaming Lapsley

Published 8:06 pm Monday, March 24, 2014

The Boynton family is undoubtedly one of the most important in Selma’s civil rights history.

Mother, father and son all fought to ensure African American’s were afforded the basic civil rights that were systematically denied by bigots in our society.

Last week, city councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw proposed naming a portion of Lapsley Street after the family.

The Boyntons aren’t the only ones who have made significant contributions to history, but it’s certainly understandable to name a street after them.

However, Crenshaw is actively against holding a public hearing on the matter. In fact, Crenshaw previously said she refused to even contemplate the idea.

Technically, not having a public hearing is legal, according to the city’s street-naming resolution.

The resolution says the “council, at its discretion, may provide the opportunity for all affected property owners and interested person to speak before the council at a public hearing.”

According to the resolution, the council could vote on the matter without even considering what affected persons think.

But that’s not how a democracy should work.

As contributors to the tax base and residents of the city, Selmians should be afforded the opportunity to speak on the matter.

A petition on the renaming was drafted several years ago, but the area’s demographics may have changed.

We don’t aren’t taking a position for or against the renaming, as the Boynton and Lapsley families are both important in Selma’s history. Rather, we simply want the people’s voice to be heard.

Voting on the matter without a public hearing is doing a disservice to the Selmians that elected the city council into office.