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Supes say ‘no’ to change in Mt. Diablo’s name

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 2:44 pm in Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

The stationery lobby is furious but it is official: The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors rejected this morning requests to support changing Mount Diablo to Mount Reagan or Mount John Muir.

Save Mount Diablo, the Mount Diablo School District and the dozens of businesses that use “Mount Diablo” in their monikers can rest easy. The board will send a letter to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, the arbiter of these things, expressing the county’s support of keeping the longstanding name.

Watch video clips below of the chief proponent of the name change, Art Mijares, and an opponent, Mount Diablo State Park Superintendent Craig Mattson.

I’m with Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho on this one: Enough already. The county has a lot bigger problems, like a nearly bankrupt fire department and cuts in almost every one of its services.

Everyone appreciates that Mr. Mijares has the right, along with any citizen, to submit a name-change application. Which he has done. Several times.

With each application, he generates another round of news coverage. That’s good for Mijares; he wants to make his point that “diablo” is “devil” in Spanish, and the devil is bad and no one ought to name a major hunk of rock after evil.

But the community is clear: It’s just a name. It’s a name we’re used to. It’s a name that’s been around a long time. It’s name that reflects an aspect of historical interpretation. The devil is not a chunk of rock and dirt and trees and in fact, most devilish behavior comes in human form.

And what would Save Mount Diablo call itself? I suspect its members wouldn’t be too excited about Save Mount Reagan. And Mount Vorderbrueggen? Well, modestly speaking, of course, it’s just way too many letters.

“It’s not as though we’re waiting for the right name to come along,” added Supervisor John Gioia. “The community likes Mount Diablo.”

Perhaps the county can put a couple of extra copies of the letter in the file, just in case more applications come its way.

Here is Mount Diablo State Park Superintendent Craig Mattson:

Here is name-change proponent Art Mijares:

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  • Paul Davis

    Thanks for a spot-on blog. And kudos to the Board of Sups for letting sanity prevail on this one.

    Mr. Mijares may have rights — but do they include hijacking government in this way during a time of crisis? His arguments that the name “Diablo” is “profane” or “genocidal” were beyond ludicrous. The early Spanish and Anglos who settled this area certainly did not lack for piety. Yet, many names across the US west contain the word “devil” because the early settlers found the arid, hot climate so forbidding. And if one were to take the “genocide” aspect seriously, then every English or Spanish name in California would need to be changed to a native name.

    Mr. Mijares has had his day and his say. If he continues with these petitions, he should be fined for the costs incurred by his frivolity.

  • steve weir

    Yes, and for anyone who has ridden their bicycle up to the summit of Mount “D” knows what “H” this Mountain can dish out. And, we wouldn’t have it any other way.