Officials Want to Rename Street: Jose Rizal Who?

Some residents along Moneta Avenue in Carson are bewildered by the identity of the man whose name soon appear on their mail, drivers license and official identity, it was reported Sunday.

A Carson city councilman wants to honor Jose Rizal, a freedom-fighter executed in Manila in 1896, by renaming Moneta Avenue. But the Daily Breeze reports that nearly everyone on the street says they have never heard of the Philippine liberation hero.

Moneta Avenue would become Jose Rizal Avenue under a proposal by councilman Elito Santarina, a Filipino-American. Many people living along Moneta Venie say they have never heard of Rizal and have no desire to change their address, their identification, and identity to honor the hero of another nation.

The proposal threatens to open ugly racial rifts in Carson, a South Bay city where no racial or ethnic group has a majority, the Daily Breeze reported.

"Moneta is a good name," said Mickey Abraham, who lives in one of the 183 houses along the street.

A Filipino who lives on the street agreed: "It's not fair for everybody," Manny Flores told the newspaper. "It doesn't make sense. Everybody knows we live on Moneta."

The controversy threatens to reopen divisiveness triggered when the local school board named a new high school after a hero police officer, Randal Simmons, an African-American who died in the line of duty. Latino activists wanted the school named after Cesar Chavez.

Santarina says the revolutionary leader was executed by Spanish colonialists in 1896. "There has been talk of naming things for Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez," he told the Daily Breeze. "I know Jose Rizal preceeded all these big-time personalities in terms of human rights, peaceful revolution and influencing the minds of young people."

Santarina said his proposal is up to the resident of Moneta Avenue to decide on, but the newspaper could find no one who had heard of it, and only one person who -- after being filled in on the plan -- approved it.

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