What’s reason of changing bridge’s name?

Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dear editor,

The phrase “digging yourself deeper” came to mind as I read Sen. Hank Sanders’ column in Wednesday’s paper.

Based on earlier reports, I had suspected that he had intended to ram the Pettus Bridge name change resolution through the Legislature before us home folk knew about it or had a chance to speak out.

Now, after reading Sen. Sanders own words, written by his own hand, I have no doubt about it.

Allow me to share his words: “I rushed … and entered the Senate Chamber just as the opportunity to introduce motions and resolutions was about to conclude.”

“I was surprised by the intense interest.”

“I immediately called Rep. Darrio Melton… I wanted him to pass the resolution from the House of Representatives as soon as it arrived down there. Unfortunately the House was not scheduled … until 3 p.m. The resolution hung out there.”

“I wanted the resolution adopted during this session….”

The petition from the Freedom Foundation/Students Unite that was Sanders’ excuse to change the name began before the 50th was observed and was well reported in the media.

The legislature met for 29 days beginning March 3. Why did Sen. Sanders wait until the end of the session to introduce this? The Senator stated, “Timing is critical in so much of what we do.”

I think timing it to his advantage was on Sanders’ mind when he presented the resolution.

He laments that U. S. Representatives Terri Sewell and John Lewis called the Speaker of the House Republican Mike Hubbard to block the resolution stating, “They had never called the Legislature on any issue no matter how important.”

That, to me, speaks loudly as to how important they view this attempt to rename our bridge. Thank goodness they understand the historic irony of the bridge and the resulting symbolism.

For tourism the Edmund Pettus Bridge carries a level of name recognition that executives would pay millions in advertising to attain for their company. Without telling us Hank Sanders and Students Unite would wipe that out for their own purposes, and I don’t think we’ve heard the real reason.

Melinda Daniels Lawrence