Plan to rename Alvarado Middle School sparks controversy in Union City

Remember in the early 1990s when the renaming of Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street caused a huge stir in San Francisco? Now, suggestions to rename San Francisco International after slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk is also causing some controversy.

Closer to home, I got a taste of a similar dispute last week in Union City while covering the New Haven Unified School District board meeting. The board held a public hearing on the possible renaming of Alvarado Middle School and Union City’s large Filipino-American population came out in droves to urge the board to rename the school after Filipino-American farm labor leaders, Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz. The meeting was crowded and contentious. Some people spoke against the name change, but the vast majority of those attending the meeting were there to support honoring the now-deceased labor leaders.

The board is expected to decide the issue at next Tuesday’s meeting (March 19).

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Chris DeBenedetti


  1. It’s ideal for the namesake to have a connection to the community. But if there’s a large Filipino population in UC then it should be considered. I can only attest to the largely Asian population at Rose Garden and the predominant Mexican representation at Mexico Lindo.

    The naming public venues is often used create controversy and promote agendas. Cases in point are the Campos/SFO proposal and recently an outgoing Palo Alto council member’s proposal to name a square in downtown Palo Alto after MLK.

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