Mayor Emanuel tables plan to rename Stony Island Ave.

October 16, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The Mayor wants to rename the well-known Chicago street in honor of civil rights leader Bishop Arthur Brazier.

This is an embarrassing episode for the mayor and a disappointment for a South Side mega church.

Small businesses along stony island led the revolt but why weren't they asked about changing the name on their addresses to Bishop Brazier Avenue.

"We as a community, we didn't have an opportunity to have an input in it," said Frankie Payne of Genesis Print and Copy.

"Brazier's a great man, don't get me wrong. But I feel it would be an inconvenience," said Sherman Hardy of Exquisite Cuts.

It was Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to honor the late Christian and civil rights leader Bishop Arthur M. Brazier by renaming Stony Island Avenue that stretches from 55th Street South to the Calumet City line. But the Mayor never consulted residents and gave Aldermen only a few days' notice.

"It's very important to contact and have discussions with people in the community about such a major change," said Alderman Willie Cochran of the 20th Ward.

"Sometimes we all shoot from the hip and maybe the Mayor shot from the hip on that one," said Ald. Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward.

"I think it was agreed upon by all parties that we need to pull this back and re-visit it," said Ald. Anthony Beale of the 9th Ward.

The Mayor's statement on stony cited, "logistical and operational pieces to this that require a bit more time".

Barber Sherman Hardy says he thinks Emanuel's motive toward the black community was political.

"Probably to get my vote again, probably to get my vote again," said Hardy.

There is disappointment in the 20,000-member church founded by Bishop Brazier, now headed by his son Byron who said, "we certainly believe my father is worthy. We have to be patient":

"The concept and the idea is still alive, to honor bishop brazier. So, we want to find a way to do that," said Beale.

A spokeswoman said the Mayor had not given up entirely on the Stony Island proposal. But aldermen said they want schools, other streets or public buildings considered to be named after Bishop Brazier.

If the Mayor's play was an attempt to gain political favor in the black community, he was thrown for a loss.

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