Phoenix votes to change offensive street names

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The Phoenix City Council voted it can rename "offensive" street names without the public's approval. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Phoenix City Council voted it can rename "offensive" street names without the public's approval. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Mayor Greg Stanton has publicly stated that he wants to rename Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street because he believes they don't reflect the city's values.  (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Mayor Greg Stanton has publicly stated that he wants to rename Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street because he believes they don't reflect the city's values.  (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
But Councilwoman Thelda Williams said the proposal turns the council into a censorship board because it gives them the power to change the street names without public approval. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) But Councilwoman Thelda Williams said the proposal turns the council into a censorship board because it gives them the power to change the street names without public approval. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Property owners on Squaw Peak Drive have so far blocked the name change. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Property owners on Squaw Peak Drive have so far blocked the name change. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The council will look to move on renaming Robert E. Lee Street and Squaw Peak Drive later this summer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The council will look to move on renaming Robert E. Lee Street and Squaw Peak Drive later this summer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Phoenix leaders can now rename streets they find offensive without the approval of the home and business owners who live on those roads.

A divided Phoenix City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night, setting the stage to change the names of two streets at the heart of this decision.

Mayor Greg Stanton has publicly stated that he wants to rename Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street because he believes they don't reflect the city's values.  

[READ MORE: Mayor Stanton calls for name change of Confederate general street]

The first name degrades Native American women while the other honors the well-known Confederate general.

Most of the those who spoke at the City Council meeting agreed.

"It's time to stop the offensive rhetoric," one man said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

But Councilwoman Thelda Williams said the proposal turns the council into a censorship board because it gives them the power to change the street names without public approval.

"I can not be all inclusive by excluding the citizens who are most impacted," she said.

Property owners on Squaw Peak Drive have so far blocked the name change, as 75 percent of those living on the street have to agree before the change was made.

[READ MORE: Homeowners upset over Squaw Peak street name change proposal]
 
But after Tuesday night's vote, the City Council can ignore their protests and move forward. The council is expected to officially propose the name change later this summer.

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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