Mission Viejo Planner Applies Tea Party Principles to Naming Streets: No More Español!

The passive-aggressive-but-informative Mission Viejo Dispatch blog has been both reporting on and creating a racially tinged mini-scuffle in Mission Viejo. As you might expect from the master-planned South County burg where residents revolted over a city manager's desk, the controversy centers around something important: street names.


"Lennar Ignores Mission Viejo Heritage" was a headline in the Dispatch on August 21. The beef? The fact that homebuilder Lennar, the developer of a forthcoming affordable housing community in town, had proposed naming a set of new streets with monikers like "Kylie," "Zackaria" and "Quinn"--modeled, we imagine, after some of the builders' employees' trendily-named kids. 

Historically, Mission Viejo has had street names drawn from Spanish. After all, the Dispatch points out, the city's original developer sent representatives to Spain in the 1960s to get design ideas for the new master-planned community.

The issue came up at a planning commission meeting, leading Lennar to submit a new batch of more Mission Viejo-ish names, like "Via Cielo" and "Via Panorama." 

Planning commissioner Robert Bruchmann, though, wishes they'd kept the old names. Here's part of his letter to the Mission Viejo Dispatch:

Frankly I liked the initial submission of names [by Lennar], mainly because I can pronounce them. With all the various Spanish names throughout Southern California I believe we need to intersperse some good old common American names for some of our streets, like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Reagan, etc. While Mission Viejo may have been founded on a Spanish theme, that does not preclude in my mind the use of traditional American street names and we need to remember this is an American city in America populated by Americans, isn't it time we started being proud of our American heritage?

Dispatch editor Brad Morton labeled the letter with the question "Is It Racial?" He also posted a snippet from an anti-Muslim email that allegedly Bruchmann circulated last in January. The commissioner pops up in the comments section of the blog to tie the entire thing to Obama. Read up on the fun here.


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