Pettiness Pitiful Over Piestewa Peak


Miles of bureaucratic red tape was cut Thursday when state leaders decided to forgo the five-year "cooling off" period required before renaming a geographic feature after a deceased person.

Today, State Route 51 is no longer the Squaw Peak Parkway; it will now be known as Piestewa Peak Parkway in honor of Lori Piestewa, the first known Native American female to be killed in combat.

Someone once said something along the lines that academic arguments are so incendiary because they are so inconsequential.

That about sums up the stand of a few Republican legislators and the appointed leaders of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names and the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names.

They originally decided to stick to the rules -- apparently carved in stone in some high, holy place -- prohibiting naming or renaming a geographic feature in honor of a deceased person within five years of the date of death. In doing so, they stirred up a hornets' nest.

A federal appointee went so far as to say in a published report, "There's never been an exception."

There is a stretch of Beeline Highway that was quickly renamed after the Department of Public Safety Officer who was killed making a traffic stop on it.

Are roads not geographic features? If not, then there is a big hole in the argument against at least changing the name of Squaw Peak.

When is a place not a geographic place? Or perhaps these cases were different because of the people for whom they were named -- where they came from and what they did.

Cape Canaveral became Cape Kennedy relatively soon after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Any number of schools and roads all over the country had their names changed to honor either John F. or Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

The five-year "cooling off" rule is idiotic, bureaucratic red tape. Standing by such a rule and the fact there has supposedly "never been an exception" is pitiful pettiness of monumental proportions.

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