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Shafter backpedals on adding names to Veterans Memorial

Posted at 11:21 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 02:21:21-04

SHAFTER, Calif. — The Shafter City Council on Tuesday backpedaled on a controversial item that would have put the council member’s names on a plaque in the city’s Veterans Park.

There was a strong veteran presence at Tuesday's council meeting, all showing up with one goal, to make sure that the council’s names are not included in the park.

“I wasn't trying to upset anybody or anything like that I just wanted to get my point across that it’s for veterans and that’s basically it," said Shafter resident Mike miller.

Miller served 23-years in the military and he cares about Veterans Park. He says that’s why he didn’t want to see the council member's names added.

“It kind of upset me once we find out that they wanted to put their names on it, a lot of people felt like they were trying to memorialize themselves,” he said.

In June the council passed an item that would add the council’s names and titles to a plaque near a flower bed in the park. Some residents then questioned why the council would be a part of veterans plaza, if none of them are veterans.

“It was just an idea because there are some markers on the flower bed. Those that are supporting the donations or volunteers or material. The council was saying hey we just want to have a marker there just like the other ones were. Nothing bigger or smaller just the same size saying hey we dedicate this portion of the park to the veterans," said Shafter mayor Gilbert Alvarado.

Many residents also worried that the new plaque would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. But Mayor Pro Tem Cesar Lopez compared the plaque to an expensive Christmas tree that the city purchased.

“Now 1,000 dollars is a concern, but what? Ten or sixteen thousand dollars? That was OK?" Lopez said. "Once again I don’t want my name on there, and I refuse to. But at the same time there’s another issue besides this plaque."

The council voted unanimously to scrap the idea of adding a plaque with their names. Each council member was firm in their opposition Tuesday, even though some voted in favor of the idea last time.

"There’s a lot of misunderstandings going around, and tonight was the night we were able to clear everything. I think this was healthy," Alvarado said.